Very few players in the storied history of Hillsdale College volleyball have turned in the type of season Paige VanderWall did in 2018.
Tuesday morning, she was properly recognized among the best in her sport.
VanderWall received Third-Team All-American recognition by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. This is the second year in a row VanderWall has been named an All-American by the sport's governing body, and she becomes just the third player in school history with multiple All-American honors in her career, joining Ashlee Crowder and Clara Leutheuser.
Wednesday morning, VanderWall was named Second-Team All-American by the Division II Conference Commissioner's Association. The D2CCA awards program is made up of nominations and votes by sports information directors across NCAA Division II institutions. Links to both All-American teams can be found at the top of this release.
In leading Hillsdale to a perfect regular season conference record and a second straight G-MAC Tournament championship, VanderWall was off-the-charts good on the court for the Chargers. She led the conference in averaging 4.17 kills per set and had 417 overall, third-most in a single season in school history since the 25-point rally score system was implemented in 2008. She also tallied 315 digs, making her the first member of the 400 kill-300 dig club.
A two-year team captain, VanderWall was a driving force of the offense all season for Hillsdale. Her seven matches of 20 or more kills is a new school record, and her 27 kills Oct. 13 versus Ashland is a single-match school record. She had 20 kills and a .613 hitting percentage in the G-MAC regular season-clinching match against Findlay Oct. 30 and threw down 25 kills in a G-MAC Tournament Semifinal win over Lake Erie Nov. 9. She had a hitting percentage of .330 for the year, an extraordinary figure given how many attempts VanderWall had for the season (981) and how frequently she would attack from the back row.
She was G-MAC Player of the Year for a second year in a row and was named conference player of the week twice. She was named the Midwest Region Player of the Year by D2CCA, and was a candidate for National Player of the Year.
For her career, VanderWall finished fifth in school history with 1,293 career kills. She did all of this while working through a traumatic knee injury, suffered late in her freshman season of 2015. Like any great story, the one written by Paige VanderWall includes ups, downs, pain and ultimately, triumph.
PHOTO: Todd Lancaster