Holtan sisters headline 2017 MIAC Volleyball Awards

Gustavus setter Nora Holtan earned MIAC Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive season.
Gustavus setter Nora Holtan earned MIAC Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive season.

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) enjoyed another outstanding volleyball season in 2017 and the League recognized its top performers with the announcement of the 2017 MIAC Volleyball Awards on Wednesday.

Gustavus did exceptionally well at the ballot box, as the nation's No. 13-ranked team now officially features the MIAC Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year. For the second consecutive year, Gustavus junior setter Nora Holtan (Rochester, Minn. | Mayo) took home top honors as the 2017 MIAC Player of the Year. The Holtan family has more than one accolade to celebrate this year, however. First-year outside hitter Kate Holtan (Rochester, Minn. | Mayo) was named MIAC Rookie of the Year. The Conference also recognized a pair of defensive specialists as Co-Defensive Players of the Year in Gustavus junior Brittany Luethmers and Augsburg junior Macey Terhell. St. Thomas head coach Thanh Pham was named MIAC Coach of the Year for the fifth time in his 15-year tenure at the helm for the Tommies.

In addition to the individual honors, the 22-member All-Conference team was also announced, along with the 2017 MIAC All-Sportsmanship Team. The All-Conference team and individual awards were nominated and voted on by the MIAC's 12 head volleyball coaches, and each program selected one student-athlete for the Sportsmanship Team.

With her latest accolade, Nora Holtan becomes just the fourth player in MIAC Volleyball history to win the Conference's top individual honor multiple times. With one year of eligibility remaining, Holtan also has a chance to join Kelly Foley (St. Thomas, 2012-14) as the only three-time winners of the award. Holtan has been consistent all season, ranking among the MIAC's top-five in hitting percentage (.321), assists (382) and service aces (17). She has also logged 123 digs, 70 kills, and 12 blocks in 11 Conference matches this season. Additionally, Holtan earned All-Conference honors for the third time in her career, a feat only 30 women have accomplished in the history of MIAC Volleyball.

Terhell becomes the fifth MIAC player to repeat as a Defensive Player of the Year. The junior defensive specialist was credited with 570 total digs in 2017, tops among all MIAC competitors, with 205 of those digs coming in Conference play. Terhell was also selected All-Conference for the second consecutive season. Joining her as a Defensive Player of the Year is Brittany Luethmers. The three-time All-Conference pick ranked among the MIAC's top ten players in both digs (185) and service aces (13) this season.

Kate Holtan had an exemplary start to her collegiate career, registering 132 kills in conference play and the second-highest kills-per-set average in the MIAC this year with a mark of 3.47. The first-year outside hitter and All-Conference selection also tallied a .251 hitting percentage in MIAC matches. Her sister, Nora, also won Rookie of the Year honors in her debut season back in 2015.

Pham was voted the Conference's Coach of the Year for his role in St. Thomas' 10-1 MIAC record and regular season championship. The Tommies have won 11 MIAC titles during Pham's tenure as head coach and he is now the only five-time Coach of the Year in Conference history (2005, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2017). The Tommies will open the MIAC Playoffs as the No. 1 seed with home-court advantage throughout on Thursday.

The 22-player All-Conference team was headlined by Gustavus' three-time selections Brittany Luethmers and Nora Holtan, along with fellow three-time All-MIAC honorees Kristin Stern (Bethel), Lucy Stevens (Carleton) and Megan Pekarek (Saint Benedict). Repeat All-Conference selections include Macey Terhell and Taylor Linn (Augsburg), Tina Hoppe (Bethel), Brandi Blattner (Saint Mary's) and Whitney Lloyd (St. Thomas).

Augsburg and Gustavus each placed four players on the All-Conference team. Saint Benedict, St. Olaf and St. Thomas all had three players recognized, while Bethel had two and Carleton, Macalester and Saint Mary's each had one. The All-Conference team includes six seniors, eight juniors, two sophomores and six first-year players. 

As part of a Conference-wide sportsmanship initiative, the MIAC announced the 12th-annual All-MIAC Sportsmanship team for volleyball. Members of the All-MIAC Sportsmanship team are selected by their coaches and teammates as individuals who demonstrate ideals of positive sportsmanship both on and off the court.

2017 MIAC Volleyball Awards

Player of the Year: Nora Holtan, Gustavus (Jr., S, Rochester, Minn. | Mayo)
Coach of the Year: Thanh Pham, St. Thomas (15th season)
Co-Defensive Players of the Year: Brittany Luethmers, Gustavus (Jr., DS, Prior Lake, Minn.) and Macey Terhell, Augsburg (Jr., DS, Osceola, Wis.)
Rookie of the Year: Kate Holtan, Gustavus (Fy., OH/RS, Rochester, Minn. | Mayo)

 2017 MIAC Volleyball All-Conference Team
 Position Name Institution Class  Hometown | High School
OH Hanna Albers Gustavus Jr. St. Louis, Mo. | Webster Groves
OH Clara Baumann Macalester Sr. Wausau, Wis. | Wausau East
OH Brandi Blattner Saint Mary's Jr. Eyota, Minn. | Dover-Eyota
OH Kate Holtan Gustavus Fy. Rochester, Minn. | Mayo
OH Tina Hoppe Bethel Jr. Shakopee, Minn.
OH Summer Reid St. Olaf Fy. Spokane, Wash. | Ferris
OH Lauren Rewers St. Olaf So. Pasadena, Calif. | La Salle
RS Hunter Weiss Saint Benedict Fy. Shakopee, Minn.
S Nora Holtan Gustavus Jr. Rochester, Minn. | Mayo
S Morgan Malley Augsburg Jr. Harmony, Minn. | Fillmore Central
S Megan Pekarek Saint Benedict Sr. Plymouth, Minn. | Osseo
S Lexi Wall St. Olaf Fy. Chanhassen, Minn.
MB Corrina Evans Augsburg Fy. Blaine, Minn.
MB Taylor Linn Augsburg Sr. Shoreview, Minn. | Mounds View
MB Whitney Lloyd St. Thomas Sr. Stewartville, Minn.
MB Julia Spacek St. Thomas Jr. Wayzata, Minn. | Orono
MB Kristin Stern Bethel Sr. Sioux Falls, S.D. | Sioux Falls Christian
MB Lucy Stevens Carleton Sr. Portland, Ore. | Oregon Episcopal
MB Madison Weiss Saint Benedict Fy. Shakopee, Minn.
DS Madie Kroehler St. Thomas So. Brooklyn Park, Minn. | Totino-Grace
DS Brittany Luethmers Gustavus Jr. Prior Lake, Minn.
DS Macey Terhell Augsburg Jr. Osceola, Wis.

 2017 MIAC Volleyball Sportsmanship Team
Name Institution Class  Hometown | High School
Jordan Weeding Augsburg Sr. Greenfield, Minn. | Rockford
Emily Kukacka Bethel Sr. New Richmond, Wis.
Katherine Miles Carleton Sr. Park Ridge, Ill. | Maine South
Emma Chandler Concordia So. Absarokee, Mont.
Anne Ladwig Gustavus Sr. Albert Lea, Minn.
Morgen Coleman Hamline So. North Branch, Minn.
Deborah Pickford Macalester So. Denver, Colo. | East
Emily Marso Saint Benedict So. Clitherall, Minn. | Battle Lake
Tara Nagy Saint Mary's Sr. Oak Lawn, Ill. | Mother McAuley
Emily Neumann St. Catherine Sr. Duluth, Minn. | Hermantown
Katie Payne St. Olaf Sr. Bloomfield Hills, Mich. | Cranbrook Kingswood School
Grace Duffy St. Thomas Sr. Long Grove, Ill. | Stevenson