Jan. 26, 2020
Just a few days following the conclusion of a spectacular deep postseason run the postseason awards begin flowing for Biola Volleyball. Amy Weststeyn, Alyssa Mason, Joclyn Kirton and Lauren Hoenecke each earned the highest possible athletic award in the NAIA, All-American.
Weststeyn led the way with her fourth career NAIA All-American award and third first team honors. The Eagles spectacular middle blocker also earned the most prestigious individual athletic award the NAIA has to offer, the NAIA National Player of the Year Award. More information on that win and its impact is to follow.
Kirton and Mason each landed spots on the NAIA All-American second team. It is Kirton’s second straight season as an All-American and Mason’s first honor. Hoenecke was one of 52 student-athletes named honorable mention.
Weststeyn capped her career at Biola with a nearly flawless final season in the red, black and white. She tallied just under 500 kills on the season while leading the NAIA in hitting percentage at .433 overall.
Somehow Weststeyn, who already had All-American, all-conference and all-tournament numbers through the first three seasons of her career found ways to improve on just about every statistical category while leading the team to a national semifinal appearance for the third year in a row.
She made noticeable strides in the blocking and defensive categories, breaking 100-plus block assists for the first time in her career and 100-plus digs as well. Her blocking tallies put her inside the top-10 in the nation in blocks and blocks per set.
Weststeyn was the conference player of the year and earned two GSAC Volleyball Player of the Week awards this season.
“I cannot stress how excited and ecstatic I am for Amy,” said Head Coach Aaron Seltzer. “Not only is she a great player, but she is just a great person that embodies everything you want for your program. She is competitive, loves Jesus and other people and she works her butt off. She’s really something special.”
Kirton made huge strides through the final stages of the season, helping carry Biola to its first Golden State Athletic Conference Championship since the 1997 season.
The junior outside hitter was third on the team with 368 kills and averaged 2.75 per set throughout the Eagles’ 32-5 season. She hit .259 on the season and contributed to Biola’s fantastic blocking numbers with 23 solo blocks and 45 block assists (0.51 per set).
She improved on last season’s kill totals while limiting to the exact same number of attacking errors, resulting in .015 increase in hitting percentage from the 2013 season.
Kirton played some of her best volleyball of the year during the most challenging week of the season for Biola. She earned the conference player of the week award on Oct. 27 after leading Biola to three wins over three top-ranked opponents in Concordia, Texas-Brownsville and Vanguard.
“Joclyn continues to climb up the levels of national recognition,” said Seltzer. “Everyone knows who she is. I love her heart, the time she puts in and her spirit of competition. She is a cornerstone for us on the outside, and I’m looking forward to her senior year and what she could do.”
Alyssa Mason claims her first NAIA All-American honors following a phenomenal junior season that was capped by a thrilling performance during Biola’s NAIA National Tournament appearance.
Mason was the Eagles’ heaviest hitter throughout their five tournament games, slamming 67 kills while posting the fifth-best hitting percentage among attackers at the tournament.
She had double-digit kills in three of the five matches and posted nine in each of the other matches while Biola went 4-1 overall. Her best match of the season came in the tournament-opener against Coastal Georgia when she powered 18 kills and hit .667 with zero attack errors.
She ends the season second on the team with 389 kills, a new career-high, and fewer than 100 attack errors, upping her attack percentage by nearly 100 points from last season (.224 to .312) and placing inside the top-35 in the NAIA.
Mason made heads turn across the GSAC this season, winning the conference player of the week award twice (Oct. 6 and Nov. 3).
“I am so excited for Alyssa. She played her best volleyball at the tournament last year and then carried that into this year,” said Seltzer. “She carried us for stretches through this year’s tournament, and I am very excited for where she is. We’re so glad she came to Biola and it is great for people to see who she is. She’s developed into a great leader for us.”
Hoenecke exploded onto the scene in 2014, seeing substantially more playing time than in either of her previous two seasons combined. She was ready for the jump in playing time, evidenced by her consistent numbers and this national honor.
She saw time at middle blocker whenever Weststeyn was in the back row to serve and posted 223 kills (1.63 per set) in her time on the floor. She was the second most effective blocker in Biola’s rotation, posting 0.77 blocks per set on the season (87 solo, 105 assist).
Her best stretch of the season came between Sept. 20 and Oct. 11 when she accumulated four double-digit kills games and 66 total kills in seven matches against GSAC opponents. She hit higher than .312 in all but one of those matches to be named GSACP Player of the Week on Sept. 29.
“Lauren has been sitting behind two of the best middles we’ve had ever for the past two years, but all the while she’s been working hard, and look at how well she did at the first opportunity she got,” said Seltzer. “No one was surprised by how well she played. All her hard work is finally paying off and we are all so happy for her.”
Three of these four have a chance to add to their trophy collection next season as Biola looks to make it nine straight trips to the NAIA National Championships.
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