LEXINGTON, KEN. (USF) – Senior outside hitter Averey Yaksich of the University of Sioux Falls Volleyball Team has become just the second in school history to earn NCAA DII American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American honors. Yaksich, who had a record-setting year for USF, was named to the third team.
Yaksich joins Bria Barfnecht, a right side hitter, who was honored with a second team honor, as the only USF players to earn the AVCA All-American recognition. Yaksich is among the 42 players—14 on the first, second, and third teams—from 29 schools. St. Cloud State and West Florida lead the way with two players each on the first team.
A senior from Omaha, Neb., Yaksich recently completed one of the best seasons by a volleyball player at USF. In 2021, Yaksich set six game and season marks at USF with 19 total game, season and career top-10 marks.
Yaksich, a psychology major who was named Academic All-NSIC twice, also earned D2CCA Second Team All-Region and First Team All-NSIC honors. She is a two-time All-NSIC performer (2nd team, 2018).
USF Head Coach Dan Mathews was pleased to learn that Yaksich was recognized by the coaches in DII volleyball for her leadership and effort to lead USF to a 17-11 record, including 12-8 in league play.
“An All-American is someone who embodies the ideals of sport.These ideals include work ethic, selflessness, sportsmanship and performance. Averey is a model of these ideals,” said Mathews. Somehow, Averey operated at the peak of both quantity and quality this season. She carried an enormous load for us, yet somehow still managed to maintain phenomenal statistics. Usually load and performance are inversely related, but Averey proved that this doesn’t have to be the case,” he said.
In the best year by an outside hitter in school history, Yaksich ranked first in the NSIC in total kills with 442, which was 10th in DII. She was sixth in DII and first in the league with a school record 4.46 kills/set and ranked first in the NSIC and fourth in DII in points per set at 5.09 with a NSIC-best 503.5 points. She set school records for points in a season (503.5), points/set (5.09), kills/season (442), kills/set (4.46) with a game record 30 kills (five sets) and 32 points against Grand Valley State in a five-set win to open a season. In addition, she led USF to a sweep of nationally-ranked Wayne State with a school record 22 kills in a three-set match.
Mathews also noted that Yaksich has always been team-first and her selfless demeanor translated into success individually and for the USF team.e
“Averey succeeded for a couple different reasons this year. First, she was open-minded about making changes to her game, and she was willing to implement instruction and feedback. Secondly, she was unwavering in her desire to serve the team above herself. Although Averey was undoubtedly our offensive star this season, she was supported by an entire team of great volleyball players. Averey will be the first to admit that individual accomplishment is a team effort,” said Mathews.
Yaksich hit .289 on 1,082 total attacks, which ranks second ever at USF. Yaksich had 13 assists, 27 service aces, 243 digs, and 61 total blocks. This year, she registered 25 matches with double-digit kills, six matches with 20 or more kills and 11 double-doubles (kills/digs).
From a career standpoint, Yaksich has totaled 950 career kills for sixth all-time at USF. In 306 sets across 87 matches, she has the second-best kills per sent mark of 3.1, which is just behind Emily Johnson at 3.18 in 2012-14 (342 sets). Yaksich ranks second all-time at USF with 3.6 points per set with her 1,107 career points ranking sixth at USF. Other USF top-10 marks include third all-time with 2,617 total attacks as well as seventh in service aces with 78; seventh in digs with 644, ninth in hitting percentage at .231, ninth in blocks assists with 123 and total blocks with 140.