UCA's Hays, Dittrich earn honors

The Central Arkansas Sugar Bears continued their most successful season ever last week, as it was announced that outside hitter Jessica Hays was named the Southland Conference’s Student-Athlete of the Year.

Middle blocker Alicia Dittrich also earned SLC All-Academic honors.

This marks the third time in her career that Hays, a native of Friendswood, Texas, has been named to the All-Academic team. She previously earned the honor in 2009 (second team) and 2010 (first team). Hays is the second Sugar Bear to earn the Student-Athlete of the Year Award, joining Chloe Smith, who took the honor three consecutive times from 2008-10.

Hays led Central Arkansas to a series of firsts this year, as the Sugar Bears built on their first 30-win season to earn a share of the SLC regular-season title. They then won their first ever Southland Conference Tournament title and made their first NCAA Tournament appearance. Hays lead the SLC with 4.34 kills per set and 0.43 aces per set, while also averaging 2.36 digs per set. She set the UCA record for kills in a season, with 517, breaking her own record set in 2010. Hays is in her first year of grad school and holds a 3.43 GPA in pursuit of a degree in nutrition.

Alicia Dittrich.

Dittrich, from Houston, Texas, lead the SLC with a .374 hitting percentage, which ranks second in UCA history. She averaged 2.26 kills per set and 0.57 blocks per set. She played in 127 sets, tied for the second most on the team and was one of three Central Arkansas players to appear in all 35 matches this season. The sophomore holds a 3.88 GPA.