Red Hawks’ Clark sweeps AVCA, NJCAA weekly awards

Red Hawks’ Clark sweeps AVCA, NJCAA weekly awards

HICKORY, N.C. — Catawba Valley Community College sophomore volleyball player Emma Clark continued adding to her legacy as a Red Hawk on Wednesday.

The 6-2 middle hitter received weekly honors from both the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) and National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).

The NJCAA honors marks Clark's third this season and fourth of her Red Hawk career.

Wednesday also marks the first time in program history that a member of the CVCC volleyball team has won a national weekly award from the AVCA, which includes schools not only in the NJCAA, but also institutions in the California Community College Athletic Association and the Northwest Athletic Conference (Oregon, Washington, Idaho and British Columbia).

"That's kind of overwhelming," Clark said of her AVCA honor. "I am honored for anything that I receive, but this is a big deal because it's the whole country. That's pretty cool. I never thought that I would be able to do that."

Clark helped the fifth-ranked Red Hawks (29-4) go 2-0 last week, including a 3-0 victory last Wednesday against NCAA DII Belmont Abbey on "Sophomore Night" at the Tarlton Complex.

This past Thursday, Clark helped guide CVCC to a 3-0 win against conference foe Surry Community College, and in the process, set the program record for blocks in a career (312), breaking the mark held by former Catawba Valley and UNC Charlotte volleyball standout Anna Henderson (311).

During the two victories last week, Clark tallied 5.16 kills per set, a .489 hitting percentage and 31 total kills.

Despite such strong showings in those two matches, Clark is constantly challenging herself to improve.

"I always feel like I can take it up another level," she said. "I honestly don't focus on anything that I do that's good. I focus more on the negatives. I feel like that's just a normal athletic mindset to have. You dwell on the negative things you've done or mistakes rather than the really good things you do. I always want to improve."

Clark currently leads CVCC in multiple offensive and defensive categories, including kills (320), kills per set (3.30), total blocks (110), blocks per set (1.13) and hitting percentage (.422).

"Emma is that once-in-a-lifetime kind of player that every coach dreams of having," said CVCC head volleyball coach Shannon Hudson. "She is the entire package. She is an awesome kid and a hard-working student who is humble.

"For her to be recognized by the NJCAA again and then to have this AVCA Player of the Week — we're just so proud of her," Hudson added. "It could not happen to a better young lady and athlete. It's great for her going into her next couple of years. I think it gives her the confidence to understand that she can perform at the NCAA Division I level, which is where she is looking. I'm just so proud of her."

Clark and the Red Hawks now prepare for the Region 10 tournament, which starts Friday at Surry Community College in Dobson, N.C.

Catawba Valley enters the tournament as the top overall seed, and it faces No. 8 seed Bryant & Stratton during the first round Friday at 2 p.m.

While she's achieved a lot of personal success, Clark is focused more on making sure her team achieves its season goals.

"Our team is really good," Clark said. "I think it's amazing how far we've come. I'm really impressed with everyone and really proud of everyone, but we're not done yet."