Clayton is WLU Volleyball's 1st NCAA All-American

LEXINGTON, Ky. – West Liberty University volleyball standout Madison Clayton made history on Tuesday when she became the first Hilltopper to earn NCAA Division II All-America honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).

   Clayton, a 6-5 middle blocker and graduate student from Roseville, Ohio, was one of only five players from the Atlantic Region to attain All-America status when she was selected as an Honorable Mention All-American on the AVCA's 40th annual NCAA Division II All-America Team.

   "I'm so happy for Maddie Clayton," Hilltopper head coach Riley Schenk said. "Hard work pays off when you push yourself to be the best and that's what Maddie has done from the day she arrived on campus. She has put in countless hours of time and effort and has been so dedicated to this program on and off the court.

   "To be one of just two NCAA Division II All-Americans from our conference is a huge accomplishment but it is also incredibly well deserved. Maddie deserves every bit of recognition she receives as a fitting conclusion to a record-setting career. We will miss having her on the court for us next year but we're absolutely thrilled to be able to keep Maddie around as a graduate assistant coach."

   A first-team AVCA and D2CCA All-Region selection this fall, Clayton earned her third consecutive first-team All-MEC honor after leading the conference and ranking No. 6 nationally with 148 total blocks. A dominant force at the net, Clayton also ranked among the Top 10 in the conference in kills, hitting percentage and points scored and etched her name in the WLU record books as the school's all-time leader in career hitting percentage (.313).

   Helping lead Coach Schenk's Hilltoppers to a 21-win season and the highest regional ranking in school history, Clayton stood tall in some of the biggest matches of the season. She had a career-high 21 kills with 8 blocks in a 4-set win over NCAA Division II Atlantic Region qualifier East Stroudsburg (Pa.). Clayton had a career-high 12 blocks in a narrow 5-set loss to MEC champion and Atlantic Region finalist Wheeling and followed that up with a 15-kill, 9-block night in the rematch with the Cardinals.

   Wheeling senior Audrey Francis joined Clayton as the MEC's two representatives on the AVCA All-America Team. Francis was a third-team selection at libero. Gannon's Lauren Sampson and Cassidy Snider along with London Fuller of Clarion were the only Atlantic Region picks, all of whom earned honorable mention.

   The 2021 NCAA Division II National Championship tournament gets under way Thursday in Tampa, Fla. Atlantic Region champion Gannon is the No. 5 seed and will take on No. 4 seed Hillsdale, Mich. in a 5 p.m. quarterfinal.


2021 AVCA All-America Team

First Team

Name                                 School                                               Pos.              Yr.

Alexis Cardoza                  Cal State-San Bernardino               OH                Sr.

Laura De Marchi              Michigan Tech                                 S                    Sr.

Audrey Fisher                   Central Missouri                              MH               Sr.

Megan Flom                     Winona State                                   MB/OH        Sr.

Kenzie Foley                     St. Cloud State                                 OH                R-Fr.

Kailyn Gilbreath               Angelo State                                     S/R               Sr.

Gabby Gunterman           Western Washington                     OH                Jr.

Rylee Hladky                     MSU-Denver                                     OH                Jr.

Allison Maxwell               Washburn                                         MH               Sr.

Katie O'Connell                Ferris State                                       RS                 Sr.

Charlotte Richards          Missouri-St. Louis                            OH                Sr.

Maddy Torve                    St. Cloud State                                 S                    Sr.

Taylor Vaneekeren          West Florida                                     S                    Jr.

Veresia Yon                       West Florida                                     MB               So.

Second Team

Name                                 School                                               Pos.              Yr.

Genna Berg                       Washburn                                         OH                Sr.

Jayln Hayes                       Cal State-San Bernardino               MB               R-Jr.

Anna Jonynas                   Michigan Tech                                 OH                Sr.

Payton Kirchhoefer         NW Missouri State                          OH                R-Fr.

Avaline Lai                        MSU Denver                                     R                   Sr.

Taylor Prall                        Lenoir-Rhyne                                    OH                Sr.

Claudia Rivera                  Tampa                                               L                    Jr.

Faith Rottinghaus            Washburn                                         L                    Sr.

Karla Santos                      Cal State-Los Angeles                     OH                Sr.

Jasmine Schmidt              Palm Beach Atlantic                        S/RS             Sr.

Madison Squiers              Nebraska-Kearney                          S                    Sr.

Eve Stephens                    Alaska-Anchorage                           OPP              Jr.

Drew Stokes                     Colorado School of Mines             S                    Sr.

Allyssa Van Wienen         Hillsdale                                             MB               Sr.

Third Team

Name                                 School                                               Pos.              Yr.

Baleigh Allen                     Angelo State                                     MB               Sr.

Tia Andaya                        Central Washington                        S/OH            So.

Madi Cooler                     West Florida                                     OH                Jr.

Brooke Dexter                  Simon Fraser                                    OPP              Fr.

Amanda Donais               Colorado School of Mines             OPP              Sr.

Mariah-Daisy Duke          Cal Poly-Pomona                             OPP              So.

AUDREY FRANCIS           WHEELING                                       L                    SR.

Erin Krupar                        Ashland                                              OH                Sr.

Ally Offerdahl                   Central Missouri                              S                    Sr.

Jamie Poppen                   Lewis                                                  L                    Sr.

Alexandra Psoma            Nova Southeastern                         OH                Sr.

Karoline Shelton              Hillsdale                                             OH                Jr.

Anna Squiers                     Nebraska-Kearney                          MH               Sr.

Averey Yaksich                 Sioux Falls                                         OH                Sr.


(Atlantic Region)

Name                                 School                                               Pos.              Yr.

MADISON CLAYTON       WEST LIBERTY                                 MB               Sr.

London Fuller                   Clarion                                               S                    Jr.

Lauren Sampson              Gannon                                              OH                Sr.

Cassidy Snider                  Clarion                                               OH                Fr.

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