LOUISVILLE, Ky. – History continues to be made by the Johnson & Wales University women's volleyball team. For the first time in program history, the Wildcats have four All-Americans as announced by the American Volleyball Coaches Association on Tuesday.
Leading the group was middle blocker Kate Walker (Oakland, Calif.) as she earned First-Team All-America honors. Outside hitter was Maria Coniglio (Old Bethpage, NY) was tabbed Second-Team and setter Brylee Frank (Palm City, Fla.) is a member of the Third Team. Outside hitter Katie Leidhold (Acushnet, Mass.) garnered an Honorable Mention award.
The New England Region Player of the Year, Walker leads the NCAA with a .488 hitting percentage. A two-time GNAC Player of the Week, she tops the GNAC and is among the NCAA leaders in blocking. Over the weekend she was named to the Providence Regional All-Tournament team after 11 kills and four blocks against Wesleyan and nine kills and five more blocks versus MIT. MVP of the GNAC Tournament, she has eight matches with double-digit kills – highlighted by 14 versus #19 Juniata – to go along with nine matches with four or more blocks.
For Coniglio this is the second All-America award of her career after an Honorable Mention in 2016. Twice named GNAC Player of the Week, Coniglio is averaging 3.44 kills and 3.26 digs per set against regionally ranked teams. She rates fourth in the GNAC at 3.10 kills and sixth at 3.6 points per set. During the NCAA regional she had a pair of double-doubles with 12 kills and 20 digs versus Wesleyan as well as 12 kills and 10 digs in the regional final against MIT.
Like Coniglio, this is Frank's second All-America honor. The quarterback of the top offense in the country, she rates 14th in the NCAA, and leads the GNAC, at 10.41 assists per set. Named MVP of the Providence Regional, Frank is averaging 10.00 assists and 2.41 digs per set against regionally ranked opponents. A member of the GNAC All-Tournament team, she has six matches with 40 or more assists, including a season-high 51 at #19 Juniata.
Leidhold gave the Wildcats another offensive weapon this year and she's been the hottest player on the team in the postseason. During the GNAC & NCAA Tournaments, she's averaging 3.05 kills per set and 2.52 digs per set. Leidhold was named to the Providence Regional All-Tournament team after 17 kills against Wesleyan and MIT. She added 15 digs versus the Engineers for her seventh double-double of the year.
The only undefeated team in the country, Johnson & Wales is prepping for its NCAA Tournament Elite Eight matchup on Thursday in Grand Rapids, Mich. The Wildcats, seeded fourth, will take on the host Calvin College at 8 p.m.