Announcements and Important Events
Congratulations to Allyssa VanWienen (GRCHS Class of 2017) on being named G-MAC Female Athlete of the Year!!!
This is what GRCHS Volleyball Head Coach, Tiffannie Gates, had to stay about Alyssa:
I am beyond proud of Allyssa for her accomplishments at Hillsdale but I am not surprised. I knew the minute I saw her as freshman in high school that she would do big things in the sport of volleyball. She was inexperienced when she started in high school but her commitment and drive to be great made her the player she is today. Not only is Allyssa a great volleyball player but she is an even better person and teammate. I am so thrilled that she has been honored with this prestigious award!
Here's the press release sent out by Hillsdale College!!
Even by the very high standards of the Hillsdale College volleyball team, middle hitter Allyssa VanWienen had a special junior season in 2019.
So special that even now, with the 2020 season just a couple of months away, she’s still being recognized for her achievements with major hardware.
Today, the Great Midwest Athletic Conference announced that VanWienen (Grand Rapids, MI/Grand Rapids Christian) has been named the 2019-20 G-MAC Female Athlete of the Year. The prestigious honor is awarded to just one male and one female athlete from among all 13 of the conference’s member institutions and recognizes the most accomplished athlete in the conference among their gender during the calendar year.
“I think it’s a well-deserved honor for Allyssa, and the numbers she put up this past year and the accolades she’s received really speak for themselves,” Hillsdale College coach Chris Gravel said. “As talented and skilled as she is individually, she is every bit as good as a leader, and she’s one of the best teammates we have in the program, which is a very important part of what made our team so successful this past season.”
VanWienen is certainly deserving of the honor after a record-setting season that saw her earn consensus first-team All-American honors from both the AVCA and D2CCA, the only G-MAC volleyball player to receive the honor from both sources in 2019.
From the beginning of the season, VanWienen and the Chargers served notice to the rest of Division II that they were among the best in the nation. In Hillsdale’s very first match of the year, the junior helped the Chargers upset fifth-ranked Concordia St. Paul in the opener of the Terrace Hotel Classic, putting up a monster stat line in that five-set victory that included seven blocks and 21 kills on a .452 hitting percentage.
For her achievements in that tournament on Sept. 6 and 7, VanWienen became the second Charger in program history to earn AVCA Division II National Player of the Week honors, following in the footsteps of three-time All-American Ashlee Crowder, who earned the recognition in 2012.
The match against Concordia St. Paul showcased VanWienen’s offensive efficiency, a defining trait that would show itself time and again throughout the rest of the season.
Not only did she finish 2019 with 414 kills, the fourth-most in Charger history, and average 4.92 points per set, the fourth-best mark in Division II, she did so with a .427 hitting percentage that was the second-highest in Division II and a G-MAC single-season record. VanWienen was the only player in Division II to finish in the top 15 in both points per set and hitting percentage.
She put up big numbers in other categories as well. VanWienen’s 2019 season saw her finish eighth in G-MAC history in total points (512), tied for seventh in kills per set (3.98), tied for eighth in total blocks (117), fourth in blocks per set (1.13) and fourth in solo blocks (33).
Those numbers helped VanWienen win an unprecedented seven G-MAC Offensive Player of the Week awards, the most any athlete has ever received in any G-MAC sport in a single season, and earn the G-MAC Player of the Year award in volleyball.
VanWienen’s performance also helped the Chargers reach heights as a team they hadn’t seen in seven years. Buoyed by her standout play, Hillsdale finished 2019 with a 28-4 record, capturing their third consecutive G-MAC regular season and tournament titles and going unbeaten in conference play for the second straight year.
In the NCAA tournament, the Chargers earned the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Regional and reached the regional final round for just the third time in program history and the first time since 2012.
This is the second-straight season that a volleyball player from Hillsdale has won the G-MAC Female Athlete of the Year Award. VanWienen takes the mantle from Class of 2019 graduate Paige VanderWall (Kentwood, MI/East Kentwood), who won the 2018-19 award.
“It’s a great honor for the Hillsdale College volleyball program, to have two different players earn such a prestigious award in back-to-back years,” Gravel said. “It’s a real testament to the character and the ability of the student-athletes that have come through our program, and we as coaches are truly blessed to get to work with people of such a high caliber on a daily basis.”
VanWienen will return for her senior season in the fall looking to build off of her excellent 2019 campaign and lead the Chargers to even greater heights. Hillsdale College is scheduled to open the 2020 season with their annual weekend showcase, beginning on Thursday, Sept. 3.