Four members of the Emory volleyball program have been recognized for their outstanding play, culminating with recognition on the 2018 Division III All-America Team as chosen by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).
Highlighting the quartet with a first-team selection is senior setter Mady Arles (Richmond, VA). Arles has run the Emory offense with precision this season, with her play helping the Eagles post a hitting percentage of .246, tops in the University Athletic Association and 11th among all Division III programs. The 5-foot-11 Arles, who has played in 106 of the Eagles' 109 sets, is averaging 10.7 assists per game, good for the No. 2 spot in the league, 15th in Division III and tied for 13th on the program's seasonal ladder. Named the AVCA South Region Player of the Year, Arles has dished out 40 or more assists on 10 occasions during the year, including a 46-assists outing (tying her second-highest career total) in a 3-0 triumph over Mary Hardin-Baylor in the finals of the NCAA Mount Berry Regional this past Sunday. Arles averaged 13.78 assists per set over the three matches en route to being named the Regional Most Outstanding Player. In addition to her assists total, she has dialed up a team-leading 43 service aces and stands eighth in the conference service-ace average (0.43 aps). She is hitting .331 (104-19—257) and is averaging 1.74 digs and 0.61 blocks per set. A two-time UAA Player of the Week, earlier in the season Arles landed a spot on the East-West Challenge All-Tournament Team, which was hosted by Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Career-wise, she ranks eighth on the school's all-time ladder with 2,125 assists and assists average (7.72 aps).
Senior outside hitter Karissa Dzurik (Columbia, PA), a key component of the Emory offense, garnered a second-team nod. Heading into this weekend's NCAA Championships, her team-high average of 3.19 kills over 104 sets of play ranks seventh on the conference ladder. Named to the All-UAA First Team, Dzurik has chalked up a team-high 22 matches of double-figure kills including a 13-terminations performance against Mary Hardin-Baylor in the finals of the NCAA Mount Berry Regional. The club leader in terminations in 13 matches this year, the 5-foot-11 Dzurik has been tabbed as UAA Player of the Week twice, most recently following her effort in helping the Eagles to the league title where she topped all players with a 4.56 kills average over nine sets of play while producing match highs in kills in all three matches. Earlier in the campaign, she recorded a career-high 19 kills vs. Whitworth with that total representing the high-water mark by an Emory player this year. Career-wise, Dzurik has compiled 893 kills.
Junior Elyse Thompson (Tallahassee, FL) and sophomore Leah Saunders (Simpsonville, SC) both played their way to honorable-mention recognition.
Thompson has been a lynchpin of the Emory defense this season with her play at the libero post playing a key role in helping the Eagles hold down the top spot in the UAA in opponent hitting percentage (.146). A Second Team All-UAA honoree, Thompson has chalked up double-figure digs in 29 matches, including seven of 20 or more. The lone Eagle to have played in all 109 of the team's sets, Thompson paces the team and stands fourth in the UAA with a 4.39 digs-per-set average.
Saunders, who was named the UAA's Most Valuable Player, is second on the squad and 13th in in the league with an average of 2.71 kills per set. She also ranks among the conference's top 20 in digs average (2.42 dps) with nine matches of 10 or more to her credit. The 5-foot-8 Saunders has produced 12 matches of double-figure kills including a team-high tying 11 in a sweep of No. 4-ranked Colorado College in the semifinals of the NCAA Mount Berry Regional this past weekend.
All four players will be recognized at the Division III Championship banquet held on Wednesday, November 14th at the Marriott City Center in Pittsburgh.
Emory, 27-6 on the year, opens the NCAA Championships on Thursday (Nov. 15) with a 5:30 pm quarterfinal-round bout against Ithaca College (21-7). The Championships are being held in Pittsburgh at the A.J. Palumbo Center.