HADLEY, Mass. - Wesleyan sophomore Nicole Hilton is the NESCAC Player of the Year as voted on by the league’s coaches. She is the first Wesleyan player to earn the honor since 2008 and the third Cardinal overall, joining Alexis Keeler (2001) and Lisa Drennan (2006, 2008). Hilton, an All-NESCAC Second Team selection last season, leads the league in hitting percentage (.345) and helped the Cardinals claim the NESCAC Volleyball title for the first time in program history.
• Bowdoin and Wesleyan each had three players earn All-NESCAC honors. Four players on the All-NESCAC First Team are repeat all-conference honorees and three former Rookie of the Year selections are among the honorees.
• The Tufts duo of junior Mackenzie Bright and sophomore Kelly Klimo represent the Jumbos on the All-NESCAC First Team. The pair helped Tufts post a perfect 10-0 NESCAC record and earn the top seed in the NESCAC Championship for the second straight season. Bright earns the first All-NESCAC honor of her career after leading Tufts in kills per set (2.78) and ranking third in hitting percentage (.222). Klimo moves to the First Team after earning Second Team honors as a rookie last season. Klimo leads the Jumbos and ranks fifth in the NESCAC in digs per set (4.70).
• Sophomore Gabi Eustache of Bates is one of the top liberos in league and is the NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year. She is the first Bobcat to earn NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year honors since 2001 when Lauren Fennessey was selected in back-to-back years (2000 & 2001). Eustache averages 5.77 digs per set to rank third in the league overall. In conference-only matches, she leads the league at 6.89 digs per set. This is the first All-NESCAC honor of her career.
• Caroline Flaharty, last year’s Rookie of the Year, earned All-NESCAC Second Team honors last season and moved to the First Team this season. The sophomore ranks second in the NESCAC in kills per set (3.44) and raised her average to 3.79 kills per set against conference opponents.
• Hilton is joined on the All-NESCAC team by sophomore teammate Stasie Litinsky, a first-time All-NESCAC honoree. She leads the NCAA Championship-bound Cardinals in kills per set (2.80), while also hitting .252 for the NESCAC Champions.
• Middlebury senior Becca Raffel, a two-time captain, is an All-NESCAC First Team selection for the third consecutive season to go along with being named the NESCAC Rookie of the Year in 2014. She leads the Panthers in kills per set at 3.34, which ranks fourth in the NESCAC, while also averaging 3.05 digs per set.
• A Polar Bear is the NESCAC Rookie of the Year for the second straight season as first-year setter Kate Kiser joins teammate Caroline Flaharty to earn the honor. Kiser leads the NESCAC in assists per set (10.55) and earned a spot on the All-NESCAC Second Team.
• Tufts head coach Cora Thompson is the NESCAC Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season and sixth time overall in her 16 years at the helm of the Jumbos. She also garnered the honor in back-to-back seasons in 2008 and 2009. Thompson guided Tufts to a perfect 10-0 conference record and the No. 1 seed in the NESCAC Volleyball Championship for the second year in a row.
Volleyball All-NESCAC Teams
Player of the Year: Nicole Hilton, Wesleyan
Defensive Player of the Year: Gabi Eustache, Bates
Rookie of the Year: Kate Kiser, Bowdoin
Coach of the Year: Cora Thompson, Tufts