Penn State’s All Decade Volleyball Team (2006-2015)
This list is a mixture of stats, overall impact, and my personal opinion (not the opinion of anyone else at BSD). I’m sure I left a few All-Americans off of the list, but everyone on this list (and most of the reserves) were all named All-American at least once, and did their best work on the biggest stage. Enjoy!
OH: Deja McClendon (2010-2013): 1,631 kills and a career hitting percentage of .282, including hitting .331 with 418 kills and starting all 37 matches as a true freshman. She also clinched the 2014 NCAA title win (See below). Oh, and did I mention she replaced another player on the list?
OH: Megan Hodge (2006-2009): It was only fitting to include Penn State’s first of several All-World volleyball players in the last 10 years. 2, 142 kills and a career hitting percentage of .322. Hodge’s hitting percentage went up every year, and she passed 550 kills three out of her four years at Volleyball U. She also got the kill to give Penn State the 2007 and 2009 NCAA titles.
Setter: Alisha Glass (2006-2009): This was a tough one to pick, as Micha Hancock makes a strong case. Although Hancock’s overall numbers are better, the two-time First Team All-American setter edges Micha out here. 1452 assists as a senior (almost 12 per set), and she started 111 of her last 112 matches. Oh, did I mention she was a hitter in high school? That’s versatility.
Middle Hitter: Christa Harmotto Dietzen (2005-2009): Time for what may be the most controversial pick. Even discounting Harmotto’s first year in 2005, her numbers are still impressive--541 blocks in the three years, and a vocal leader of the Nittany Lions as they began their dominance over the volleyball free world. She’s now a star for the USA women’s volleyball squad, helping them win a silver medal in London.
Libero: Dominique Gonzalez (2011-2014): This position was the most difficult for me, as many players who end up playing libero (Roberta Holehouse, Alyssa D’Errico, etc.) start as serving and defensive specialists. Having a consistent and producing libero is essential and Gonzalez started every match (that’s 111 matches) her final three years, averaging 3.76 digs a set. For those who watch women’s volleyball, not everyone is blessed with an accurate and deadly serve, and Gonzalez only registered 92 service errors in four years while serving 78 aces. That may not seem like much, but the only player to serve more aces per set her senior year was Micha Hancock.
Katie Slay (2010-2013): 597 career blocks, red hair, and ALL OF THE HEIGHT. She also clinched the 2010 NCAA title.
Megan Courtney (2012-2015): MOP in 2014 NCAA Tournament, Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2012, averaged three kills and three digs per set in 2015.
Blair Brown Lipsitz (2007-2010): Two-time All-American at Penn State, averaged over four kills per set as a fifth-year senior. Now head women’s volleyball coach at Buffalo and married to former men’s volleyball player Max Lipsitz.
Arielle Wilson (2007-2010): Led the team in hitting percentage at .425 and total blocks (139) as a senior, first-team All-American as a junior, second-team as a sophomore, Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2007.
Nicole Fawcett (2006-2008): First Team All-American from 2006 to 2008. Hit .387 with 4.20 kills per set in the NCAA Tournament in 2007, and recorded 3.78 kills per set as a senior. Fawcett got the kill in the 2008 NCAA title match.
Micha Hancock (2011-2014): 5,578 career assists with 11.14 assists per set. Plus, that killer serve-380 career aces, with 126 in her senior year (including one to set up championship point).
Here’s some video of the 2007 title win over Stanford