NEW ORLEANS – Four players from the Tulane volleyball team were recognized by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association after a historic 2018 season with the Green Wave, the LSWA announced on Sunday.Junior libero Kaylie McHugh was named Libero of the Year, freshman outside hitter Makala Heidelberg was voted Freshman of the Year, and both junior right side hitter Erika Hansel and senior middle hitter Dayna Kern earned spots on the All-Louisiana First Team.
McHugh broke multiple records in her third season in New Orleans, finishing the year with 63 service aces to stand at sixth in the nation and earn the highest single-season total in American Athletic Conference history. The junior libero also became the program record holder for single-season digs in 2018, totaling 626 to average 4.41 per set and rank sixth in the conference. McHugh recorded a season-high 31 digs in Tulane’s win over UConn, totaling 12 matches with 20 or more digs.Heidelberg recorded 11 double-doubles in her first season with the Green Wave, totaling 293 total kills to average 2.09 per set and 534 digs to average 3.81 per set. The freshman standout tallied double-digit digs in 33 of Tulane’s 38 matches, earning a career-high 23 against Arkansas State in the first round of postseason action. Heidelberg recorded a career-high 16 kills while hitting .312 against Georgia Tech.
Hansel earned a spot on the First Team All-Conference in 2018 for the first time in her career and was one of only three players to have earned unanimous selection. The junior right side finished the regular season with 351 kills to average 2.66 per set, and 79 total blocks, totaling 392.5 points. Starting in all but four of the Green Wave’s 38 matches, Hansel tallied 15 matches with double-digit kills and earned a career-high 20 kills while hitting .364 in Tulane’s win over SMU.
Kern also earned First Team All-Conference honors this season for the first time in her four years with the Green Wave, leading the AAC in blocks with a career-high 152, averaging 1.20 per set. The senior middle tied her single-match career record with nine total blocks in wins over Clemson and SMU. Finishing the season with 293 kills, averaging 2.31 per set, Kern checked in at fourth in the conference standings with an overall hitting percentage of .310.
After having been picked 10th in the preseason coaches poll, Tulane finished the year with a third-place conference standing and made its first postseason run since 2009, eventually becoming the first team in AAC history to advance to the final round of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC).
Article Courtesy of Tulane Sports Information Department