ROCK HILL, S.C. (TheSAC.com) – For the second year in a row, Lincoln Memorial University senior defensive specialist Erica Whiteaker is the Google Cloud Academic All-American® of the Year for NCAA Division II volleyball, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
She becomes the first volleyball student-athlete to repeat since Nebraska's Sarah Pavan received the honor in 2006 and 2007. She is only the third volleyball student-athlete outside of Division I to twice be tabbed as the Academic All-American of the Year and first since 2001-02.
The Kingston Springs, Tenn. native holds a spotless 4.00 GPA with her biology/pre-medicine major. The two-time CoSIDA Academic All-America® first team selection is fourth in the NCAA with her 6.81 digs per game. Whiteaker's 736 total digs place her ninth on the 2018 Division II list. She led the Railsplitters this season with 48 service aces.
Whiteaker ended her brilliant four-year run in the Blue and Gray as the Railsplitters' all-time leader in career digs with 2,345, digs per set with 5.57 and service attempts with 1,831. She also ranks among the top-10 in program history in aces with 165 (4th), aces per set with 0.39 (6th) and serve percentage at .962 (8th).
Additionally, Whiteaker has the two-highest single-season digs and digs per set totals in program history. In 2016, she posted a then program-record 678 digs and 6.46 per set. Whiteaker reset those marks this past season with 736 total digs and 6.81 per set, which ranked fourth in the nation. For that, she garnered the first postseason accolade of her career with a selection to the All-SAC second team. Whiteaker is also responsible for the five-highest dig outputs in a match in program history, including a program-record 51 against Mars Hill in 2017 and three separate 47-dig efforts.
Whiteaker is the reigning Lincoln Memorial Female Athlete of the Year award winner. In addition, she is a two-time winner of the SAC Elite 20 Award, presented to the student-athlete with the top GPA at the league championship site.
Whiteaker and Anderson junior setter Emily Conlin both make the first team for the second year in a row.
Conlin started every match for the Trojans this season while keeping a perfect 4.00 GPA in business: computer information systems. She was named to both the South Atlantic Conference All-Tournament Team and to the NCAA Southeast Regional All-Tournament squad. In the postseason, Conlin earned selections to the Division II Collegiate Commissioners Association (D2CCA) and American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Region Team, along with All-America Honorable Mention honors from the AVCA for the second straight year. The Glendale, Ariz. native earned SAC Specialist of the Week on four occasions this past season and led the league with a career-high 1,319 assists.
Conlin also paced the SAC in aces and ranked ninth in digs and 14th in digs per set. She recorded 23 double-doubles on the season, while standing 10th in the country in aces and 18th nationally in assists per set. She dished out double-figure assists in every match this season and reached 40+ assists on 17 occasions and 50+ assists in six matches this season. Conlin is a four-time member of the Dean's List and is a member of SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll. After three seasons, Conlin is third all-time in the Anderson record books in total assists.
Wingate's senior middle blocker Anna Holmquist garners Academic All-America second team honors, maintaining a 3.94 GPA while majoring in political science.
The Lincoln, Neb. native gives Wingate 115 lifetime Academic All-America® honorees, the most in SAC history. She is the 106th honoree since 2000, which is the most among any NCAA Division II school and is also more than any school in North Carolina. Holmquist is the 11th Wingate volleyball player to earn Academic All-America® recognition and the first since 2015.
A two-time All-SAC selection, Holmquist was an All-Region and AVCA third team All-American in 2017, ranking fifth nationally with a school-record .405 hitting percentage. She has played a role in three regular season SAC championships and a pair of SAC Tournament titles, while also helping Wingate win the NCAA Southeast Region championship in 2018, earning All-Tournament honors.
Holmquist has been piling up the academic awards as well. She earned Academic All-District honors for the second straight year in 2018. The 2017 SAC Elite 20 Award winner was named the SAC Volleyball Scholar-Athlete in 2018
For a full list of the 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-America® Teams, click here.
The 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-America® Volleyball Team, selected by CoSIDA, recognizes the nation's top student-athletes for their combined performances on the court and in the classroom. The Google Cloud Academic All-America® program separately recognizes volleyball honorees in four divisions — NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA.
The Division II and III Google Cloud Academic All-America® programs are partially financially supported by the NCAA Division II and III national governance structures to assist CoSIDA with handling the awards fulfillment aspects for the 2018-19 Divisions II and III Academic All-America® programs.
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