Weststeyn Named NAIA Player of the Year

Amy Weststeyn finishes fabulous career with biggest honor.

Dec. 8, 2014 By Neil Morgan

Senior Amy Weststeyn is a double-threat. The volleyball player is one of the greatest student-athletes to ever play for Biola University. Weststeyn a senior journalism major won the NAIA/AVCA National Volleyball Player of the Year on Dec. 8, 2014.

Weststeyn earned the program’s first-ever NAIA/AVCA Player of the Year honor on the heels of ending her volleyball career with a third-straight NAIA Final Four finish at last week’s NAIA National Championship Tournament in Sioux City, Iowa.

“Amy embodies everything you want in a volleyball player at Biola,” said Head Coach Aaron Seltzer. “She is a great player, but more than that, she is a great person. She is competitive, loves Jesus and really loves other people.”

Weststeyn capped off her four seasons at Biola with her best one yet, leading the NAIA in hitting percentage (.433) and finishing in the top-five in kills (490). She was Seltzer’s go-to attacking threat throughout the latter stages of this season’s deep postseason run, earning all-tournament honors for the fourth time in her career while leading Biola to a 32-5 final record and its sixth third-place national finish.

The senior middle blocker earned her fourth NAIA All-American honor and added this prestigious award to her NAIA Freshman of the Year honor from the 2010 season.

She ends her career at or near the top of nearly every statistical category that applies to a middle blocker, including kills (1,451), hitting percentage (.396), points (1,888) and blocks (340 total).

This national honor comes on the heels of a season where she set career-high numbers in kills, service aces, assists, digs, blocks and points.

“Our whole program is excited for this,” said Seltzer. “It is a huge honor that speaks very well for the program and speaks well for her.”

Weststeyn has been a great representative for the program ever since she arrived as a freshman in 2010.

She was key in helping freshman Tess Van Grouw commit to join Biola volleyball this season as she spent one year with Van Grouw at Central Valley Christian High School in her hometown, Visalia, California.

The two did not spend time on the court together during high school, but Van Grouw witnessed Weststeyn in off-the-court scenarios, and she was convinced of her character and wanted to play with her here.

“Obviously she was a stud then, just like she is a stud now. We all watched her in awe and looked up to her,” said Van Grouw. “I remember she was always so nice and sweet whenever we saw her on campus. She always had a smile on her face, typical Amy.”

Do not be fooled by the smile, because inside of the 6-foot-3-inch Weststeyn lies a roaring competitive spirit that helped her carry Biola to four national tournament appearances and finish inside the top-8 each season.

It was this competitive spirit that kept her coming back to the gym to work hard and improve all four years even after accomplishing more than most could ever imagine.

Weststeyn’s work ethic and determination to succeed is bound in her desire to glorify God and lift up her teammates in any aspect of the game or outside of the game.

“Amy is one of the most passionate women I have ever known. She does everything full-force in the most God-honoring way,” said fellow senior Jaci Schork. “She never shows even an ounce of laziness or lack of competitiveness. She works so incredibly hard and is so driven to do well and enjoy it.”

What makes Weststeyn such a strong leader is that she does not put that desire to succeed ahead of the importance of forging deep, personal relationships with her teammates, coaches and officials. She also does not let her goals in volleyball distract her from her academic goals and achievements. She is a three-time Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American and two-time NAIA-Daktronics Scholar-Athlete.

She’s spent the last three seasons growing as an individual, and she got to spend this season investing in those around her as a decisive, competent team captain and leader.

“I appreciate Amy for her leadership abilities,” said junior middle blocker Lauren Hoenecke. “She is able to be outspoken, make decisions quickly and is always confident in her decisions which really helps all of us trust her and be more confident.”

Since Weststeyn and Hoenecke play the same position, middle blocker, Hoenecke has been able to directly apply on-court lessons from Weststeyn.

Hoenecke spoke of constant encouragement and mentorship from Weststeyn as she recounts how crucial her relationship with Weststeyn was as she spent much of her first two seasons fighting for playing time.

“She is always so empathetic and encouraging. She could be having the worst day, but still takes time to listen and encourage when others go through troubles,” said Hoenecke. “I know we will be friends for life. She’s had a huge impact on me.”

With Weststeyn's widespread impact on the court, off the court and in her personal relationships, it's not wonder the senior earned the biggest individual award of her brilliant Biola career, this year. 

For more information on Weststeyn and Biola Volleyball visit http://athletics.biola.edu/index.aspx?path=vball




  • Rev Bob Fritch Dec. 10, 2014 at 2:47 PM

    A very worthy honor to such a fine athlete and person. If Coach Seltzer has not recommended it, I think she should first pray about it, but I think she should try out for the US Olympic team and also volunteer this summer at FCA camps. Many young volleyball players can learn a lot from her as an athlete as well as pertaining to her character. May God bless her in whatever He has planned for her!

  • Branden Kirk Jan. 7, 2015 at 9:47 AM

    "Do not be fooled by the smile, because inside of the 6-foot-3-inch Weststeyn lies a roaring competitive spirit that helped her carry Biola to four national tournament appearances and finish inside the top-8 each season." Neil, you do great work and I can totally see you in your writing :) Congrats to Amy!

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