HICKORY, N.C. — After capping a phenomenal freshman season, Catawba Valley Community College volleyball player Emma Clark has been named a first team All-American by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
The All-American honors were officially announced on Tuesday by the NJCAA.
Clark, the 2018 Region X Player of the Year, becomes the fifth Red Hawk volleyball player to earn All-American status, joining Terri Ferber (2006-07), Jennifer Beatty (2012), Mariah Wallace (2016) and Megan Fair (2015-16).
She also is the second freshman at Catawba Valley to ever be named a first-team All-American, joining women's basketball player Anika Jones (2012).
Clark called it "a dream come true" to be selected as an All-American.
"It means a lot because I wasn't expecting to get it this year," Clark said. "I wasn't expecting to get it at all. I kind of started off the season a little slow just because I was trying to get used to everything. I didn't start off the best, but I was like I've just got to come off stronger next year and hopefully I can be an All-American. I wasn't expecting this. It's sweet."
A Boone, N.C. native, Clark tallied a team-best 377 kills (2.56 per set) with a 0.337 hitting percentage, leading the Red Hawks offensively.
Perhaps Clark's best asset though was her blocking ability. She led CVCC with 204 blocks (1.39 per set) and 161 block assists, helping to set a new program record for blocks (382).
The 6-foot-1 middle hitter also finished second on the team with 72 aces and 0.49 aces per set
"Emma has done a tremendous job for us this season, and I couldn't be prouder of all that she has accomplished," said Catawba Valley head volleyball coach Shannon Hudson. "What an honor for her to receive the NJCAA All-American award as a freshman. Obviously, Emma is a phenomenal middle with an immensely powerful swing and a dominating presence at the net, but what impresses me most about Emma is that she is a selfless, hard-working player who consistently puts team before self and is always encouraging to her teammates. I am so happy for Emma and can't wait to see how she continues to develop and grow her game this upcoming year."
Behind Clark, the Red Hawks finished the 2018 season with a 36-10 record, including a 14-0 mark in Region X matches — the seventh-straight season that CVCC has won its conference championship with an unbeaten Region record.
After winning the District O championship, Catawba Valley advanced to the NJCAA DII tournament in Charleston, W.Va. where it finished in ninth place — the second-highest national finish in program history. The Red Hawks also won three matches at the national tournament for the first-time ever.
"We went far, and nationals were amazing," Clark said. "It was such a good experience to have, especially my freshman year of college. I wasn't expecting any of this. I was expecting to go and hopefully play for a team. It was great to have this experience. I love playing for CVCC. I'm grateful for everything I've received and learned and the friendships I've made and the bonds I've made with our coaches."