Alumni – Regina Thomas Named All American

OXFORD, Miss. – Junior middle blocker Regina Thomas became the first All-America selection in Ole Miss volleyball history when the Texas native was named a third team selection by the American Volleyball Coaches Association on Wednesday.

Thomas helped the Rebels advance to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in the last five seasons as Ole Miss posted a 19-11 record on the year, finishing fourth in the Southeastern Conference overall standings and second in the Western Division.

She is the first volleyball player from a Division I school in Mississippi to garner more than Honorable Mention honors in the All-America voting.

“It’s almost a surreal feeling. It’s something I’ve always wanted and was a dream, but it’s weird when it finally hits you that you’ve accomplished something you set out to do,” Thomas said. “It will probably hit me harder when I get to the banquet at the Final Four this weekend.

“It’s amazing to know I will be a part of the history of such a long-standing program at Ole Miss,” Thomas said. “I would walk by the wall of honors in the Gillom Center and get to the section reserved for volleyball All-Americans and it would be empty. I would tell myself that I wanted to be a part of getting a name in that section of honors. I think it’s a big milestone for our program and adds credibility to what we’re trying to build here in Oxford. It definitely provides us another opportunity to move forward and keep working to bring a championship to Oxford.”

Ole Miss just completed its 35th season of volleyball after beginning competition in 1976.

“This award just embodies Regina’s career to this point,” said head coach Joe Getzin. “She came in and redshirted her first year but worked through that season to improve and has improved every year since. This was her best year and her numbers were pretty spectacular. It’s been a long time since someone put up her numbers in a tough league like the Southeastern Conference. I’m excited we have her for one more year.”

Thomas hit .421 for the season and stepped up her play in SEC matches, hitting .451 against league competition as she led the SEC in both categories to claim yearly honors and making her one of the top hitters in the SEC in the last decade. Her hitting percentage in 2010 puts her seventh all-time among the league’s yearly leaders in hitting.

The last time a player claimed the league hitting title with a higher average than Thomas was seven years ago when Benavia Jenkins hit .465 for Florida. The last time a player hit higher than Thomas to claim the league’s hitting title in conference matches only was when Florida’s Michelle Chatman hit .467 in 2004 against SEC teams.

She also is the all-time leader at Ole Miss in hitting percentage.

Thomas was not only unstoppable offensively at the net this season, but she was among the SEC’s leaders in blocks this year as she averaged 1.16 blocks per set. The consistent level of play from Thomas earned her a spot on the All-SEC first team and first team All-Region honors from the AVCA.

She is the first Rebel to earn a spot on the All-SEC first team since the 1990 season when Michelle Whitby-York was named a first team selection, and Thomas is the first Rebel to earn first team All-Region honors from the AVCA in the history of the program as well.

The middle blocker turned in her career-best performance against Southern Miss this season when she put down 19 kills and tallied 11.0 blocks to help the Rebels down the Golden Eagles. She also was instrumental in the team rattling off a pair of seven-match win streaks – including a 3-0 sweep of then No. 12 LSU in Oxford – to put the Rebels in first place in the SEC Western Division at the time.

The junior missed the final seven matches of the season, including the second meeting of the year with LSU and the match against North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament, after tearing her ACL with three weeks remaining in the regular season.

Thomas posted double-digit kills in nine matches and was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week on October 18, after helping lead the Rebels to the shutout win over LSU.

Ole Miss Rebels Women’s Volleyball

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