RICHMOND, Ind. – The most successful season in recent Earlham College volleyball history resulted in five Quakers earning Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference honors and Head Coach Lauren Horton getting the nod as the conference’s Coach of the Year when the league’s annual accolades were unveiled Wednesday.
Senior middle hitter Ashleigh Burton and first year Sarah Dickman were both First Team All-HCAC selections, while senior libero Megan Hedinger and junior setter Lauren Jackson were Honorable Mention picks to the All-HCAC roster.
Dickman and first year opposite Abbey Zanatta were both named to the HCAC volleyball All-Freshman team.
Senior Denisha Mataia was named to the Christopher M. Ragsdale Sportsmanship Team.
Burton led Earlham with 373 kills (3.19/set), and is second in the HCAC in total kills. She recorded a .305 hitting percentage, to go with 49 total blocks (0.42/set). A two-time HCAC Offensive Player of the Week, Burton recorded 21 double-digit kill performances in 2018 with a season-high 19 kills in a 3-2 win over Saint Mary’s (Ind.). She finished her career with 1,245 kills, and ranks third among Earlham’s all-time kills leaders.
Dickman was one-half of Earlham’s talented tandem of first year pin hitters, capping her rookie season 280 kills (2.75/set) with a .213 attack percentage. She was tied for seventh in the HCAC in total kills. Dickman charted 14 double-digit kill matches in her first season in Maroon and White, putting away a season-best 19 terminations in the Quakers’ thrilling 3-1 regular season victory at then-conference leader Rose-Hulman.
Hedinger turned up 551 digs (4.59/set) for the Quakers in 2018, and was twice named the HCAC Defensive Player of the Week. Her best defensive effort of the season statistically was a 28-dig performance in a 3-2 triumph over West Virginia Tech, with 27-dig efforts against Kenyon and HCAC-rival Anderson. She also recorded 38 service aces, tied for second-most on the squad this season. Hedinger recorded 1,927 digs over her four-year career to set a new Earlham all-time digs record, eclipsing the previous mark of 1,803 digs held by Jodie Bauman (1988-91).
Jackson charted an HCAC-leading 1,137 assists (10.43/set) while running an Earlham offense that hit a conference-high .198 during the 2018 season. She was second among Earlham digs leaders with 222 (2.04/set), and recorded 15 service aces. Jackson finished the year with 3,110 career assists, and will enter her senior season ranked second among Earlham all-time assist leaders.
Zanatta played left side hitter in her first season at Earlham and recorded 264 kills (2.51/set) with a .237 hitting percentage. She finished the season 12th among HCAC leaders in total kills, giving the Quakers three of the top 12 kills leaders in the conference. Zanatta was second on the team with 32 total blocks (0.30/set), and turned up 118 digs.
Mataia turned up 154 digs (2.37/set) in her 65 sets played to go with nine service aces and 21 kills. She closed her career with 248 kills (0.74/set) with 817 digs (2.43/set).
In her fourth season at the helm of Earlham volleyball, Horton guided the Quakers to a 20-13 overall record, only the third 20-win season in program history, and the most wins since 1991. The 6-3 HCAC record was the most conference wins since the Quakers joined the Heartland prior to the 2010 season. Earlham earned the no. 3 seed for the 2018 HCAC Volleyball Championship, advancing to the tournament semifinals with a 3-0 win over Anderson in a first round matchup.