For the first time, a State College alumna is an AVCA All-American.
North Carolina’s Taylor Leath was named a second-team All-American on Wednesday by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, joining a list of women that also included a pair of Penn State players named to the first team.
Nittany Lions Simone Lee and Haleigh Washington each made the organization’s 36th annual list, released in Columbus, Ohio, ahead of the NCAA championships set for Thursday and Saturday.
Leath, a redshirt sophomore, made the list for the first time. She is a 2014 State College graduate and CDT Snyder Award winner, as well as the Pennsylvania Gatorade Women’s Volleyball Player of the Year.
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She had a spectacular season with the Tar Heels, who were the No. 7 seed for the NCAA tournament and advanced to the sweet 16 before falling to UCLA. The Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year led the Tar Heels with 374 kills and 3.20 kills per set. She hit .252, adding 19 service aces, 70 blocks and was second on the team with 299 digs.
Lee paced the Nittany Lions with 503 kills, averaging 4.16 per set, and hit .264. She also had 17 aces, 63 blocks and 194 digs in earning her first All-America honor.
Washington posted 291 kills, also notching a team-best 140 blocks to go with 24 aces for her second straight first-team All-America award. She hit .430 this season, which led the Big Ten and ranks third in the nation.
The Nittany Lion program, which finished this season in the sweet 16 with a 24-10 record after a five-set loss to No. 1 Nebraska, has now produced 41 All-American players winning 91 total awards, with 29 making first-team status.
The Big Ten, the dominant conference this season in women’s volleyball, placed seven players among the 14 selections on the first-team list.