SXU Women's Volleyball Receives Mideast Region Honors
Saint Xavier University (SXU) senior outside volleyball hitter Nadia Atton has been named the NAIA-AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association) Mideast Region Player of the Year and was named First Team All-Mideast Region for the SXU women's volleyball team. Freshman setter Kaleigh Ritter was named NAIA-AVCA Mideast Region Freshman of the Year and also earned First Team All-Mideast Region honors. Head coach Bob Heersema was named the NAIA-AVCA Mideast Region Coach of the Year.
Atton is the first Cougar to be named NAIA-AVCA Mideast Region Player of the Year and the first player since Kelly Hendry '00 to earn an all-region Player of the Year. Ritter joins former Cougar Cassidy Wyman '20 in earning NAIA-AVCA Mideast Region Freshman of the Year. Atton and Ritter have become the 10th and 11th players from SXU to earn All-Mideast Region First Team honors since 2012.
It is the first time that Heersema has won NAIA-AVCA Mideast Region Coach of the Year honors. He was named the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Coach of the Year for the sixth time last month. Heersema has also won NAIA District 20 Coach of the Year in 1989 and 1998 as well as NAIA Region VII Coach of the Year in 2000.
Atton finished the season with 534 kills, the fourth most in the NAIA. She also became just the fourth player for the Cougars to record 500 or more kills in a season. Atton also ranks No. 5 in kills per set at 4.73, as well as ranking No. 4 in points with 583.0 and No. 6 in points per set at 5.2. She wrapped up her career at Saint Xavier with 1,268 kills and had the 10th best attack percentage at .257. She was named CCAC Attacker of the Week five times this season and earned NAIA Attacker of the Week twice, becoming the first player for SXU to win multiple times in the same season and just the second ever to claim national honors.
Ritter ranks No. 5 in the NAIA with 11.32 assists per set and No. 8 in total assists with 1,279. She became the 12th player to record 1,000 or more assists in a season and the 16th for SXU to post 1,000 assists in a career. Ritter was named CCAC Setter of the Week six times this year, the most by any player in program history in one season.
Heersema is currently No. 4 in the NAIA in wins for active coaches with 769. This was the 23rd time in Heersema’s 34 seasons at the helm of the Cougars that they won 20 or matches in a season and the 15th time that they won 25 or more matches in year. It was the seventh time that SXU won the CCAC regular season title and their third outright championship and the fourth CCAC Tournament title.
To learn more about the NAIA Regional Awards and American Volleyball Coaches Association, visit the website.