FOREST, Va. --- Washington and Lee University collected a pair of special individual laurels and was joined by both Randolph-Macon College and Virginia Wesleyan University with five all-conference selections each to headline the 2021 All-ODAC Volleyball Awards.
Generals outside hitter Sydney Heifner earned ODAC Player of the Year honors, while longtime W&L mentor Bryan Snyder garnered ODAC Coach of the Year recognition. Marlins middle blocker Emma Claytor received ODAC Rookie of the Year plaudits, and Randolph College outside hitter Tomi-Lauren McGinnis was tabbed the ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the league's athletic communications personnel.
A total of 14 standouts earned all-conference status for at least the second straight season. That list includes seven of this year's All-ODAC First Team picks. Bridgewater College setter Grace Hayes repeats on the league's top team along with R-MC middle blocker Sydney Koch and W&L libero Caroline Gard. Eastern Mennonite University opposite Paris Hutchinson, who earned ODAC top rookie honors last spring, moves up from last year's All-ODAC Second Team. The same can be said of Yellow Jackets outside hitter Grace Parker and Generals setter Ashley Webb. Virginia Wesleyan setter Haley Sutton made the leap from the spring's All-ODAC Third Team to this season's first team.
On the second team, University of Lynchburg outside hitter Abbi Leeper and Roanoke College outside hitter Linsey Bailey were first team picks last season. VWU middle blocker Sydney Collins was a third team choice in the spring. Lynchburg outside hitter/right side Emma Drake, Maroons defensive specialist Kennedy Clemmer, and W&L middle blocker Katy Blain appear on the third team after earning second team spots last year. Shenandoah University outside hitter Jillian Warter repeats as a third team pick.
Heifner, a sophomore from Nashville, Tenn., is the second straight Generals outside hitter to earn ODAC Player of the Year honors (Brynne Gould). Heifner has taken to her role as W&L's primary outside offensive option like a duck to water as she has racked up ODAC-bests in kills (417) and total attacks (1,230). She is also first in total points earned (471.0), second in points per set (4.4), and third in kills per set (3.90). Heifner, who has registered 10 or more kills in 24-of-32 matches played, set career-highs for kills (24) and points (27.0) in a 3-2 win over Randolph-Macon during the ODAC regular season. Her career-best 18 digs came in a 3-2 non-conference setback to Birmingham-Southern. Defensively, Heifner ranks eighth in digs (313) and has been a part of 46 total blocks. She has picked up 10 or more digs in 14 matches.
Snyder completed his 22nd season holding the reins of the Generals volleyball program and 24th overall as a collegiate volleyball head coach. This is the second straight and 11th time overall that he has been named the ODAC's top coach, previously earning the recognition in 2001-06, 2010-11, 2013, and last spring. Washington and Lee earned its 18th conference title on Sunday and the 14th under Snyder's tenure. W&L went 26-7 overall, including 11-0 in league play. Snyder's record at Washington and Lee stands at 574-179 (.762) with an overall career mark of 615-204 (.751). He earned his 600th career win in a 3-1 victory at Ferrum College on September 25. He is one of just 19 coaches in Division III women's volleyball history with 600 or more victories.
Claytor, a first-year from Pembroke, Va., has been solid all season at the net but stellar since returning from a mid-season injury. Claytor has collected 216 total kills at 2.35 per set. She is fourth in the league with a .323 hitting percentage as she has committed just 60 errors in 483 attacks. Defensively, Claytor has earned 82 total blocks at 0.89 per set, both of which rank fifth in the conference. She missed all or part of six matches during the middle of October, but since returning, she has hammered 97 kills to go with 37 blocks over eight matches and 30 sets. She posted a season-best 18 kills at a .424 clip in the Marlins 3-2 semifinal win at Randolph-Macon. Her season-high eight blocks came in a 3-1 win over Averett University in mid-September.
McGinnis, a junior from Ringgold, Va., shines both on and off the floor for Randolph. In the classroom, McGinnis maintains a 4.00 grade point average as a history major with a minor in international relations. She is a two-time All-ODAC Academic Team honoree and earned a selection to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team last spring. She is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa (leadership) and Phi Alpha Theta (history) national honor societies. McGinnis participated in the Summer Research Program assessing the monument landscape throughout Virginia. She is currently enrolled in an internship program researching the history of Randolph's land from the Monacan Nation's presence and past anthropological associations with the College.
On the court, McGinnis was Randolph's primary attacking option as she collected 159 kills (2.15/set) over 658 attacks. She also picked up 169 digs (2.28/set) and collected 21 aces. She posted seven matches of at least 10 kills, tying a career-high with 14 winners in a 3-2 victory over Mary Baldwin in the second match of the season. She set a career-high with 21 digs in a 3-1 win over Mary Baldwin later in September.
Listed below are the 2021 All-ODAC Volleyball Awards. For more information, visit any of the participating schools' websites, or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com. Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook and follow @odacathletics on Twitter and Instagram.
ALL-ODAC VOLLEYBALL AWARDS
Player of the Year: Sydney Heifner, Jr., OH, Washington and Lee
Coach of the Year: Bryan Snyder, Washington and Lee
Rookie of the Year: Emma Claytor, Fy., MB, Virginia Wesleyan
ODAC/Va. Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete: Tomi-Lauren McGinnis, Jr., OH, Randolph
|ALL-ODAC FIRST TEAM|
|Paris Hutchinson^||So.||OPP||Eastern Mennonite|
|Haley Sutton+||Jr.||S||Virginia Wesleyan|
|Caroline Gard||Jr.||L||Washington and Lee|
|Sydney Heifner||So.||OH||Washington and Lee|
|Ashley Webb^||Jr.||S||Washington and Lee|
|ALL-ODAC SECOND TEAM|
|Emma Claytor||Fy.||MB||Virginia Wesleyan|
|Sydney Collins+||Sr.||MB||Virginia Wesleyan|
|Isabelle Gaudet||Fy.||L||Virginia Wesleyan|
|Morgan Ludovici||So.||OH||Virginia Wesleyan|
|Carson Allsteadt||Sr.||OH||Washington and Lee|
|ALL-ODAC THIRD TEAM|
|Katy Blain^||Sr.||MB||Washington and Lee|
|* 2021 Spring All-ODAC First Team
^ 2021 Spring All-ODAC Second Team
+ 2021 Spring All-ODAC Third Team