MEDFORD – The Tufts volleyball team had two members honored when the New England Women's Volleyball Coaches Association (NEWVA) teams were announced recently.
Junior Heather Holz and freshman Cate Desler were among the 22 players named to the NEWVA first, second and honorable mention teams. Holz, a junior middle blocker, was named to the Second Team. Desler, a freshman outside hitter, was named to the Honorable Mention Team and NEWVA All-Rookie Team, and was selected as the Rookie of the Year. Bowdoin had three players named to the three teams, while the Jumbos and Middlebury both had two players on the teams. Wesleyan was the only other NESCAC school to have players selected, as they had one player on the First Team.
Desler played 92 of the Jumbos 98 sets as a freshman, taking the court in 25 of the Jumbos 26 matches this year. She led the Jumbos in kills per set with 2.68 and total kills with 247. She also had a team-high 41 service aces for a 0.45 ace per set average. Her 2.27 digs per set was the third most on the team. She also collected 36 blocks on the year.
The outside hitter turned in double-digit kills number 14 times this season. She posted double-digit kills and digs in eight different matches. Against Amherst she finished with a season-high 17 kills and ten digs. In a 3-1 win over Williams she registered 14 kills and 16 digs. She added at least one ace in 18 of the Jumbos matches this season, including a season-high five against Wesleyan.
Holz was a force at the net for the Jumbos this season. The middle blocker played in 88 sets this season and 25 of the 26 Jumbos matches. She averaged 1.49 kills per set with a .295 hitting percentage and added 0.50 digs per set. She was second on the team in total blocks with 60 total, 12 solo and 48 block assists, and averaged 0.68 blocks per set. She also added 24 service aces over the season.
The Palatine, Ill. native turned in double-digit kills three times this year, including a season-high 12 against No. 2 nationally-ranked Johnson and Wales. She had a block in all but six matches this season, and turned in a season-high eight blocks, three of those solo, in the Jumbos 3-2 setback to Bowdoin in the NESCAC semifinals. In 19 matches she registered more than one block.
Holz was an American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Northeast Region selection and earned AVCA All-American Honorable Mention honors last season as a sophomore.
The Jumbos finished the season with a 16-10 record and a 6-4 mark in conference play. They earned the fifth-seed in the NESCAC Tournament and beat fourth-seeded Middlebury, 3-0, in the conference quarterfinals. The win was the first for the Jumbos over the Panthers in conference tournament play. In semifinal action against Bowdoin, the Jumbos were up 2-1, but weren't able to hold off a Polar Bear comeback and fell in five sets to the eventual conference champions.