(ROCHESTER, N.Y.) – Freshman Heather Holton (Haslett, Mich.) of the Carnegie Mellon University volleyball team becomes the first Tartan to be named University Athletic Association (UAA) Volleyball Rookie of the Year as the Association announced its postseason accolades on Tuesday, November 11. Joining Holton with UAA honors are five other Tartans marking the most All-UAA selections in school history. It also marks the 17th straight season that the Tartans have had at least two members named to the All-UAA team. Holton also was named to the All-North Region team by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) as an honorable mention selection.
Senior right side hitter Ali Celentano (Mission Viejo, Calif./JSerra Catholic) was named to the first team. Holton along with sophomore middle blocker Jackie Gibbons (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township) and sophomore setter Emily Newton (Manhattan Beach, Calif./Chadwick School) garner second team accolades while sophomore libero Molly Higgins (Vero Beach, Fla./Vero Beach) and freshman Eliza Donohue (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) were named honorable mention.
Celentano is making her third appearance on the squad, after being named to the first team a year ago and second team following her sophomore campaign. For Gibbons, it is the second straight year she is being honored, as she was named honorable mention last season.
Holton ended the regular season second on the team with 265 kills, 2.60 kills per game and a hitting percentage of .243. The freshman had 58 total blocks, ranking third for the Tartans. Her 2.60 kills per game ranks seventh in the UAA and tops for freshmen while she ranks 12th in hitting percentage. In 16 matches this season she has reached the double-digit mark in kills with a career-high 16 against Brandeis.
Celentano has a team-high 291 kills and 57 service aces. It marks the fourth straight season she has led the Tartans in kills. Her 57 service aces ranks second in the UAA while her 291 kills ranks 10th. The senior also leads the team with 2.72 kills per game. Celentano is tied with Holton for third on the team with 58 blocks. She currently ranks fourth on the school's all-time career block assist list with 214 and fifth in kills with 1,355.
Gibbons appeared in all 118 sets played during the regular season, marking the second straight season she has done so, while leading the team with a hitting percentage of .299, which ranks sixth in the UAA. The sophomore finished second on the team with 85 blocks and was third with 34 service aces, 236 kills and 2.00 kills per game. She tallied a career-best 16 kills against Case Western Reserve and recorded a career-best nine blocks in the Tartans victory over nationally ranked Mount Union.
Newton leads the team with 768 assists which ranks her fourth in the UAA. The sophomore currently is second on the team in service aces with 50, ranking her fifth in the association. Against nationally ranked Emory, Newton tallied a career-best 40 assists and earlier this season recorded a career-high five service aces at Ithaca.
Higgins ranks fifth in the UAA with 516 digs while leading the Tartans. Her 32 service aces is fourth best for Carnegie Mellon. Higgins recorded a career-best 28 digs against Stevenson and had 29 matches of double-digit digs this season, including nine of 20 or more.
Donohue leads the UAA with 29 block solos while ranking second with 118 total blocks. Her 89 block assists is the most by a first year Tartan and her 118 total blocks is the second most.
The Tartans (22-11), who finished fourth in the UAA, will host the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Southwest Region Tournament on Saturday, November 15 with matches starting at 10:00 a.m.