Tartans Land Four on AVCA All-Region Team

Tartans Land Four on AVCA All-Region Team

(LEXINGTON, Ky.) – Senior middle blocker Jackie Gibbons (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township), senior setter Emily Newton (Manhattan Beach, Calif./Chadwick School) and senior libero Molly Higgins (Vero Beach, Fla./Vero Beach) of the 21st-ranked Carnegie Mellon University volleyball team were selected to the All-North Region team by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) on Thursday, November 10. Sophomore Lauren Mueller (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown STEM Academy) joins the three seniors on the squad as an honorable mention honoree.
    
It marks the second straight season that Gibbons and Higgins were honored by the AVCA. Last season, Gibbons was named to the all-region squad and Higgins received honorable mention recognition.

"These four have worked incredibly hard throughout the year and I am very happy to see the region recognize them for the work they have done to help the team be successful," said 11-year head coach Kim Kelly. "The game is a total team effort and these four know they couldn't have accomplished what they have without the support and competitiveness of their teammates."
    
Gibbons leads the team with a .316 hitting percentage and ranks fifth individually in the University Athletic Association (UAA). Her 298 kills and 2.61 kills per game rank second on the team. The senior also finished second on the team with 75 blocks. She tallied a career-best 19 kills in the Tartans' victory over John Carroll earlier this year as well as tabbing her 1,000th career kill. Gibbons currently ranks 11th on the school's all-time kill list with 1,111 for her career.  
Newton leads the team with 1,055 assists which ranks her third in the UAA. Earlier this season, Newton tallied her 3,000th career assist and currently ranks fifth on the school's all-time assist list with 3,492 for her career. The senior ranks third on the team with 40 blocks and fourth with 29 service aces.  In the Tartans UAA semifinal win over Chicago, Newton tied her career-high with 54 assists, as it also marked her fourth match of 50 or more assists this season.

Higgins leads the UAA with 620 digs and 5.30 digs per game, marking the second straight season the senior has accomplished the top spot in both categories. Her 43 service aces are tops on the team and rank fourth in the UAA. In the same match that Gibbons recorded her 1,000th career kill, Higgins collected her 2,000th dig. She currently ranks third on the school's all-time digs list with 2,209 and needs seven more to move into second all-time. Higgins recorded a career-best 46 digs in the Tartans UAA semifinal win over Chicago.

Mueller leads the team in kills with 307 and with 2.62 kills per game. Her 307 kills is sixth best in the UAA. The sophomore is second on the team with 30 service aces and ranks fifth with 30 blocks. Mueller collected the match-winner and tallied a career-best 19 kills in the Tartans UAA semifinal win over Chicago.
    
Carnegie Mellon, ranked 21st nationally, will face DePauw University on Thursday, November 10 at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan at 5:30 p.m. in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship. It marks the Tartans fourth appearance in the NCAA tournament and third under 11-year head coach Kim Kelly.