Coming off a stellar freshman campaign, Catawba Valley Community College sophomore volleyball player Emma Clark has been recognized by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) as one of its two-year players to watch.
The preseason list was officially released on Wednesday afternoon by the AVCA and includes two players each from the Division I, II and III levels of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) as well as two players each from the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) and the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC).
“It’s a big honor to have been chosen as one of the AVCA two-year players to watch,” Clark said. “I am very blessed for this opportunity for I see it opening some doors to where I’ll be continuing my career next year. I am really hoping and praying that God watches over our team this coming year and gives us strength for the long journey through our season.”
The reigning Region 10 Player of the Year and an All-Region 10 first team performer, Clark tallied 377 kills and 106 digs in 46 matches and 147 sets played last fall.
The 6-foot-1 middle hitter from Boone shattered Catawba Valley’s single-season record for total blocks (204) previously held by McKala Bozman (174 in 2016). Clark’s 572.5 points last season are also the third-most in a season behind only Megan Fair (2015-16).
Among Clark’s many accolades last season included being named to the Pasco-Hernando Bobcat Invitational and Valley Invitational all-tournament teams as well as being selected as the NJCAA DII Defensive Player of the Week for matches played from Oct. 22-28, 2018.
Clark helped lead the Red Hawks to a 36-10 overall record in 2018, including a 14-0 mark in conference matches and an eighth district championship.
Catawba Valley extended its conference winning streak in volleyball to 126 straight matches, and it won three matches at the NJCAA National Tournament in Charleston, West Virginia, for the first time in program history.
Clark’s performance at nationals, which included 37 kills and 24 blocks in four matches, earned all-tournament team honors.
“We had an amazing year last year, and I believe that we can have an even greater year if we all do our part and come together as a family,” Clark said. “At the end of the road, we all are thriving to improve as players and to go back to nationals.”
On Dec. 4, 2018, Clark became just the fifth Red Hawk volleyball player to earn All-American status when she was named a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) DII First Team All-American. She’s only the second-ever freshman first team All-American in school history, joining women’s basketball player Anika Jones.
“I am extremely proud of Emma and all that she has accomplished so far at Catawba Valley,” said Catawba Valley head volleyball coach Shannon Hudson. “Emma continues to work hard daily to develop her game and is definitely deserving of the ‘AVCA Player to Watch’ recognition. She is a dynamic, powerful athlete, and I can’t wait to see how this season unfolds for her.”
Hoping to repeat and exceed their successes from a season ago, Clark and the Red Hawks host a quad preseason scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 24, at the Tarlton Complex. Catawba Valley will compete against Lenoir-Rhyne (8 a.m.), Catawba College (9:30 a.m.), Lees-McRae (1 p.m.) and Belmont Abbey (2:30 p.m.).
The Catawba Valley volleyball team officially kicks off its 2019 regular season on Tuesday, Aug. 27, with a home match against Southwest Virginia Community College.
For a complete look at the Red Hawks’ volleyball schedule, visit http://gocvcc.com/sports/wvball/2019-20/schedule .