MO State HS Sports

Sullivan and Sands Earn SEC Volleyball Awards, Three Tigers Named All-SEC

Dawn Sullivan_Bench_BANNER_VB_vsCentalArkansas_KD_08252023-057

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri Volleyball Head Coach Dawn Sullivan and sophomore libero Maya Sands were both awarded 2023 SEC Volleyball Awards while three Tiger student-athletes earned All-SEC honors, the league announced Sunday.

Sullivan was named SEC Coach of the Year with Jason Watson of Arkansas, Craig Skinner of Kentucky, and Eve Rackham Watt of Tennessee. Sands was tabbed the 2023 Libero of the Year.

Sands along with rightside hitter Jordan Iliff were selected to the All-SEC Team while setter Sierra Dudley was listed on the seven-member All-Freshman Team.

Missouri last had three All-SEC players in 2020 with Anna Dixon, Kylie Deberg and Andrea Fuentes earning all-conference honors. 

Dawn Sullivan 

Sullivan has guided the Tigers to a 17-12 mark including a .500 (9-9) record in SEC play in her first season at the helm of the program. 

Selected to finish 12th in the SEC preseason poll, Mizzou surpassed both the 2022 (two wins) and 2021 (two wins) conference win totals.

In SEC play, Missouri has went on both three-match and four-match win streaks this season. The Tigers have picked up 2-0 series sweeps of Texas A&M and Auburn, along with wins over South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi State, Georgia and Ole Miss. 

Sullivan and her staff have engineered an eight-win overall improvement from 2022 (nine wins), which is tied for 12th nationally and ranks second among Power Five institutions. 

Missouri is also one of eight schools in the country that have surpassed their combined win total from the past two seasons (nine in 2022, five in 2021). The Tigers three-win improvement ranks second in the nation behind Manhattan.

Mizzou has also picked up five wins over top-50 AVCA (based on KPI, Pablo, and RPI rankings) teams and nine wins over top-100 AVCA teams including two ranked wins over Auburn (#23 and #24, Oct. 20 & Nov. 12). 

Missouri is currently ranked 32nd in RPI (Rating Percentage Index) and on the verge of returning to the postseason for the first time since 2020. Mizzou has surpassed its overall win total from that 2020 campaign (16-8, 15-7 SEC), when the Tigers last made an NCAA Tournament appearance.

Sullivan is the third Missouri Volleyball Coach to earn the award after Wayne Kreklow earned the distinction in 2013 and 2016. 

The coach of the year honor is the third in Sullivan’s career and her second straight after being tabbed Mountain West Coach of the Year in 2020 and 2022.  

Maya Sands

Sands, a sophomore from Rock Falls, Illinois, paced the conference with 339 digs and 4.99 digs per set during SEC play.

In 2023, the two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Week (Oct. 16 and Nov. 13) has finished with double-figure digs in every match this season. 

The UNLV transfer has registered three-straight 20-plus dig outings twice, at Texas A&M (Oct. 1, 21), against #22 Kentucky (Oct. 6, 22) and at #13 Arkansas (Oct. 8, 24), and then against #12 Tennessee (Oct. 25, 20), at Ole Miss (Oct. 29, 24) and against Mississippi State (Nov. 3, 20). 

Sands grabbed a career-high 30 digs to go with two assists and an ace against Ole Miss on Oct. 15. She also posted consecutive 23-dig performances against Texas A&M (Nov. 10) and Auburn (Nov. 12).

Overall, in 2023 she has registered a career-best 524 digs (4.81 digs/set, 35th in the nation), which also tops the SEC. In the Mizzou single season record books, Sands is fifth overall for digs. 

Sands has registered 20 or more digs in 14 matches this season including 10 of the last 18 matches (five of the last nine).

She also ranks second on Mizzou with 32 aces (0.29 aces/set, eighth in the SEC) and has recorded 100 assists in 2023.  

In her career, Sands has compiled 936 digs and is on the heels of 1,000.

Sands is the first Tiger in program history to be voted SEC Libero of the Year which was first awarded in 2009. 

Jordan Iliff 

Iliff, a junior from St. Louis, ranked eighth in the SEC for points (4.31 points/set, 293.0 points) and 10th for kills (3.54 kills/set, 241 kills) during conference play. 

The two-time SEC Offensive Player of the Week (Oct. 23 and Nov. 6) also paced the league with 31 aces (0.46) during the SEC slate.

She posted double-digit kills in 15 of the 18 SEC matches this season including 12-straight 10-plus kill matches from Oct. 1 to Nov. 12. 

Iliff totaled a personal-best 22 kills (.500 hitting percentage) to complement seven digs, five blocks, two aces and an assist in Mizzou’s five-set win over Georgia on Nov. 5. 

She also notched 21 kills (.455, one error on 44 total attacks) and a career-best 15 digs against South Carolina on Sept. 24. 

Overall, Iliff ranks eighth in the SEC for points (4.14 points/set, 447.5, seventh in the SEC). She is also averaging 3.44 kills per set (10th in the SEC, career-best 372 kills, seventh in the SEC).

Iliff is fourth in the SEC for aces (42), averaging 0.39 aces per set. 

She has recorded 10 matches with at least 15 kills during the 2023 campaign, clocking 10 or more kills in 23 matches this season.

Iliff has also tallied six double-doubles in 2023, totaling 220 digs to go with 67 blocks and 15 assists.

The All-SEC honor is the first in her career at Mizzou. 

Sierra Dudley 

Dudley ranked fifth in SEC play with 10.90 assists per set (730 assists) this season. The Spartanburg, South Carolina, native, was the top true freshman setter in the conference in 2023. 

She registered 19 or more assists in every SEC contest this campaign including 30 or more assists in 14-straight matches from Sept. 24 to Nov. 12. 

Dudley, a two-time SEC Freshman of the Week selection, registered a career-best 60 assists and 12 digs in the Tigers’ victory over Ole Miss on Oct. 15. 

Her stat column against the Rebels not only marked the third-highest total assists for an SEC setter this season in conference play, but also was the most assists by a Tiger setter since Andrea Fuentes registered 62 assists against Alabama on Nov. 8, 2019.

Dudley also passed out 43 assists to go with two kills and two digs as the Tigers hit a season-best team hitting percentage of .458 in a 3-0 sweep of Mississippi State on Nov. 3.

She then registered 50 assists, adding eight digs, three kills, two blocks, and an ace as Mizzou hit .260 as a team in the Tigers’ five-set victory over Georgia on Nov. 5.

Dudley posted consecutive 50-assist matches against Georgia (Nov. 5) and Texas A&M (Nov. 10) before compiling 55 against #24 Auburn (Nov. 12). 

Overall, Dudley ranks fifth in the SEC with 1,100 assists this season (10.28 assists/set, 43rd in the NCAA). She is the first Tigers setter to have 1,000 assists in a season since Fuentes in 2019 (1,306 assists).

She has posted 20 or more assists in 17 straight matches this season. Dudley has also finished with 40 or more assists 16 times in 2023 including six of the last eight matches. 

Dudley has also logged 22 matches with five or more digs, including securing double-digit digs eight times this season. She leads Mizzou with eight double-doubles in 2023 and has registered 217 digs, 51 kills, 38 blocks and 21 aces.

Dudley is the first Missouri student-athlete to earn All-Freshman honors since Fuentes in 2018.

All-SEC Team

Jill Gillen, Arkansas

Taylor Head, Arkansas

Hannah Hogue, Arkansas

Madison Scheer, Auburn

Kennedy Martin, Florida

Kacie Evans, Georgia

Sophie Fischer , Georgia

Eleanor Beavin, Kentucky

Brooklyn DeLeye, Kentucky

Emma Grome, Kentucky

Reagan Rutherford, Kentucky

Azhani Tealer, Kentucky

Jordan IliffMissouri

Maya SandsMissouri

Morgahn Fingall, Tennessee

Caroline Kerr, Tennessee

Jenaisya Moore, Tennessee

Logan Lednicky, Texas A&M

All-Freshman Team

Kennedy Martin, Florida

Brooklyn DeLeye, Kentucky

Molly Tuozzo, Kentucky

Jurnee Robinson, LSU

Sierra Dudley, Missouri

Caroline Kerr, Tennessee

Bianna Muoneke, Texas A&M

2023 SEC Volleyball Awards 

Player of the Year: Sophie Fischer, Georgia

Libero of the Year: Maya Sands, Missouri

Freshman of the Year: Brooklyn DeLeye, Kentucky

Scholar-Athletes of the Year: Hannah Hogue, Arkansas and Morgahn Fingall, Tennessee

Coaches of the Year: Dawn Sullivan, Missouri; Jason Watson, Arkansas; Craig Skinner, Kentucky; and Eve Rackham Watt, Tennessee


  • Mizzou will next watch the 2023 NCAA Tournament Selection Show on Sunday, to see the Tigers postseason destination. The show will be broadcasted on ESPN at 5 p.m., CT.
  • Mizzou looks to make its 18th NCAA Tournament appearance in program history and earn its first berth since 2020. 


This article is provided by University of Missouri Athletics