MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Nicole Hilton '20 of the Wesleyan University volleyball team added another accolade to her incredible 2017 season as the sophomore outside hitter/middle blocker was named a Division III Second Team All-American, as announced by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) on Tuesday. Additionally, Stasie Litinsky '20 was named an Honorable Mention to mark the first time in program history that two Wesleyan athletes received All-America praise in the same season.
Hilton is just the second Cardinal ever to be named to an All-America Team, joining 2008 Second Team selection Lisa Drennan '09, while Litinsky is just the third Wesleyan athlete to be named an Honorable Mention—Drennan in 2007 and Ruby Hernandez '11 in 2009 and 2010.
The Second Team All-America honor adds to a long list of accomplishments for Hilton in just her second season with the program. Other awards include NESCAC Player of the Year (2017), Northeast All-Region Team (2017), All-NESCAC First Team (2017), All-NESCAC Second Team (2016), and three NESCAC Player of the Week honors.
"It is an honor to receive this award," said Hilton. "But I would not have been able to have a successful season without the help of my teammates who pushed me to play better and better every day."
Hilton, who hails from Wantagh, N.Y., finished the season with 265 kills and 75 blocks to rank eighth and ninth in the NESCAC, respectively. Her .330 hitting percentage was second-best in the conference while her 0.79 blocks per set ranked ninth and her 2.79 kills per set ranked 12th. Hilton concluded the 2017 campaign by recording double-digit kills in each of the final eight matches. She also registered a hitting percentage above .300 in 17 of the team's 28 matches this year.
Hilton was just one of two NESCAC athletes to be named to an All-America Team (three, 14-member teams) as she was joined on the Second Team by Lisa Sheldon of Bowdoin.
Litinsky had a breakout sophomore campaign for the Cardinals. A Northeast All-Region Team and All-NESCAC First Team selection, the Evanston, Ill. native finished the year with a 2.82 kills per set mark to rank 11th in the conference while her .246 hitting percentage was 17th-best. In the team's two NCAA Tournament matches, she recorded 11 kills with a .333 attack mark in a 3-0 sweep over Wellesley while following up with 13 kills in the Regional Semifinals against No. 8 Johnson & Wales.
Hilton and Litinsky guided Wesleyan to a historic season this fall in which the Cardinals won their first-ever NESCAC Championship, advanced to the NCAA Regional Semifinals, claimed their second Little Three title in program history, and finished the year with a 22-6 overall record.
"Nicole and Stasie had great seasons," said Head Coach Ben Somera. "Offensively, they each took their transition and attacking to a new level this year. I know they would be the first to say that their individual success is the by-product of our team's success and their ability to score is made possible by our tremendous passers, defenders, and setters they play with. I hope every member of our team takes pride in the fact that their teammates received these national honors and know that this is a reflection of our team's efforts as a whole."