When one looks at stat sheets for Women’s Volleyball, three names constantly stick out: Taylor Yontz (’20), Aubrey Cox (’20), and Katie Hiestand (’22). These three names stick out for good reason, as all three were named to the 2019 All-NCAC First Team during the NCAC Women’s Volleyball Tournament on Nov. 8.
In addition to her inclusion on the All-NCAC team, Yontz was also named Libero of the Year for the second year running, marking her as the third Wittenberg player to earn the honor in back to back seasons. “Putting in lots of work in the off season is crucial when trying to maintain a high level of play. That’s a huge contributor to my success as a libero, making the most out of every open gym and lift from the end of one season to the moment the next begins,” said Yontz of the honor. Yontz’s off season work showed as she posted a career high 5.86 digs per set this season. Yontz and Cox were members of the 2017 Women’s Volleyball squad which returned from the 2017 NCAA National Championships as runners-up.
“Over the last four years, Aubrey and I have played in very high stakes and high-pressure situations, which almost always occur in the NCAA Tournament, leads to finding out who you really are as a competitor,” said Yontz, “Regardless of the outcome, whether it’s a national championship or being limited in the first round, I’ve learned a lot about myself as a person and a player. I love high intensity, high pressure moments, that’s what makes competing so fun!”
Aubrey Cox (’20) was a special note on the 2019 All-NCAC team, as she was the only member of the team to have earned All-NCAC honors throughout her career, in addition to earning NCAC Newcomer of the Year in 2016. “I have had the best teammates during my time here at [Wittenberg]. I would not be able to play [middle blocker] if I didn’t have great passer and great setters,” said Cox of the honor. Cox was a member of the 2017 National Runners-Up squad, and says that, “Our continued success has come from the heart, passion, and dedication that each player has at every practice and every game. We want to be the best we can be not only on the court, but off it too.”
Katie Hiestand (’22) was named to the All-NCAC team after appearing in 26 of the Tigers 27 matches this season, recording a career high 305 kills over 88 sets this season. “Being honored as an All-NCAC First Team athlete is truly an award for the entire team. I could not have done anything without each member of my team. Whether they pass the ball, set the ball, or give me confidence to help me do my job, they continuously push me to grow and improve during practice and games. They even assist me during game s with technique or strategic tips. I am honored to have received this award with [Yontz] and
[Cox] because I have looked up to them for the past two years as both players and friends,” said Hiestand of the All-NCAC Honor. When asked about Women’s Volleyball’s NCAA Tournament appearance streak of 23 years, Hiestand said, “the key factor for our success is how our program is built on tradition. We have traditions for practice, pregame, the actual game, and post-game. Many of these traditions have been in our program for over 20 years, and it ultimately brings our team closer together, making us a tight knit family. The traditions tie together every Wittenberg Women’s Volleyball team there has ever been, whether through the dancing, songs, cheers, or mottos.”
Wittenberg Women’s Volleyball ended their season Thursday, in a loss to Muskingum in the first round of the NCAA Tournament after earning an at-large bid. The Tigers finished with a 15-12 record and were NCAC Conference Champions for the 14th season in a row, and 25th time in program history.