Lexington, Ky. - November 21, 2016 - For the third time in the past four years, the Springfield College women's volleyball team had four student-athletes named to American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III All-America teams. Senior Lauren Holt (Granby, Conn.) was named a First-Team All-America for the second-straight season, while Marnae Mawdsley (Bolton, Conn.), Anagabrielle Sanchez (Caguas, Puerto Rico) and Kayleigh Helgesen (Oceanside, Calif.) earned Honorable Mention All-America accolades.
This season, the Pride owned a 29-6 record and advanced to the NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship Sweet 16 for the second-straight season under the direction of Moira Long. Of the 427 NCAA Division III women's volleyball programs in the nation, Springfield was one of only seven programs to have four All-America selections.
Holt becomes first player in the history of the Springfield College women's volleyball program to repeat and earn multiple AVCA First-Team All-America selections. The only other time Springfield earned an AVCA First-Team All-America recognition was in 1995 with Kerri Camuso and 2011 with Lauren Torvi. Additionally, Holt is just the fourth-player in program history to earn a pair of AVCA All-America honors in her career, as Camuso took home first-team honors in 1995 and second-team honors in 1996, while Tessa Smolinski earned consecutive second-team accolades in both 2012 and 2013, and Kelsey McGayhey was a second-team selection in 2014 and third-team honoree in 2015.
In her senior season, Holt was dominant on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball for the Pride as Springfield earned its seventh-straight trip to the NCAA Championship. The Athletic Training major registered 347 kills at a sensational .359 clip, which ranks in the top 25 nationally. The New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Women's Volleyball Athlete of the Year and Defensive Athlete of the Year has recorded the most blocks of any women's volleyball student-athlete at the NCAA Division III level for the second-consecutive season with 193. A two-time first team and two-time honorable mention All-America selection, Holt's 1.60 blocks per set was the best at the NCAA Division III level this season.
In her second season at Springfield, Helgesen continued to dominate on the pins en route to her second-straight AVCA Honorable Mention All-America recognition. An especially versatile player for the Pride, the junior produced 313 kills at a .263 clip to go along with 59 blocks while playing both the left and right side. In addition to previously earning All-NEWMAC honors, Helgesen picked up NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team accolades after powering the Pride to its second-straight appearance in the NCAA Championship Sweet 16.
Mawdsley earned her second-consecutive AVCA Honorable Mention All-America accolade after orchestrating the Pride's offense this season to a .240 hitting percentage, which ranked in the top 20 nationally. After transitioning from a 6-2 to 5-1 offense early in the year, the Sport Management major totaled 1,023 assists and 320 digs and finished her career ranked sixth all-time in program history with 2,396 assists. Additionally, Mawdsley has been a standout off the court, earning CoSIDA Academic All-District honors twice and being chosen to attend the NCAA Career in Sports Forum in the Summer of 2016.
In her first season with the Pride, Sanchez garnered the national honor after becoming the first Springfield College women's volleyball student-athlete to ever earn the AVCA Regional Freshman of the Year accolade. As the Pride's libero this season, the Criminal Justice major produced 646 digs, averaging 5.30 per set, with her total digs ranking in the top 30 nationally. Sanchez is one of only three Springfield College student-athletes to eclipse the 600 dig total for a single season in program history, and finished the season ranked fourth on the program's all-time single season mark.