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Madison Lilley becomes first volleyball player to ever win SEC Female Athlete of the Year

One of the best UK Athletics has ever seen continues to make history.

2020 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Kentucky Wildcats volleyball superstar Madison Lilley has been named the 2020-21 SEC Female Athlete of the Year, the league announced Wednesday.

Lilley becomes the first-ever volleyball player to win the award in the history of the SEC. She’s also just the second female student-athlete from Kentucky to win the award, joining Jenny Hansen in 1995.

“Given the number of incredible athletes in our league, to be elected SEC Female Athlete of the Year is an elite honor,” said Mitch Barnhart in a press release. “What made Madison so special is that she is worthy of being chosen from both an individual and a team perspective. Individually, her record-setting performance on the court speaks for itself. In addition, the way she led her team – with unyielding commitment to make her teammates their very best and her indomitable will to win – makes her deserving of this distinction.”

Lilley is the eighth athlete from UK ever to win the award (AJ Reed, 2014; Anthony Davis, 2012; Tim Couch, 1999; Jenny Hansen, 1995; Jamal Mashburn, 1993; Kyle Macy, 1980; Jack Givens, 1978).

“I’m proud of what Madison has achieved as an athlete. It’s truly incredible what she’s accomplished,” UK head coach Craig Skinner said. “What I’m even more proud of is her vision that she set forth for herself and the team. She set out a path to win a national championship and she followed through with it like the champion she is.”

Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith, who won the 2020 Heisman Trophy, was named the male winner of the award.

The SEC began the men’s award in 1976 and the women’s award in 1984. Past winners include Peyton Manning, Joe Burrow, Candace Parker, Tim Tebow, Bo Jackson, and Bridget Sloan.

Madison Lilley Season Accomplishments

  • 2020 NCAA National Champion
  • 2020 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player
  • 2020-21 AVCA National Player of the Year
  • 2020-21 AVCA First Team All-American
  • 2020-21 SEC Player of the Year
  • 2020-21 AVCA Region Player of the Year
  • All-time assists leader at Kentucky
  • Led the NCAA with 12.37 assists per set
  • Paced the UK offense to the highest hitting percentage of any team in the NCAA
  • Senior CLASS Award finalist
  • Graduated from Kentucky in May with a degree in Integrated Strategic Communication

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