By Eva Dean Folkert
McKenna Otto has joined some very good company, both nationwide and on Hope College's all-time volleyball and athletic stage.
The sophomore middle hitter from Wheaton, Illinois (Wheaton North HS) has been named as a second-team All-America by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. Otto is one of 42 to be honored out 7,199 student-athletes who play volleyball on 434 teams in NCAA Division III volleyball.
The awards will be presented today at the NCAA Division III Women's National Championship banquet in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where the 2019 TeamSnap/AVCA Division III Player of the Year will be announced. The NCAA Division III National Quarterfinals begin Thursday, November 21.
Otto is the seventh Hope player all-time to receive the award. It is the 11th time overall that a Hope volleyball player has earned All-American accolades.
"McKenna earning All-American honors is incredibly well deserved," said head coach Becky Schmidt. "She not only made a huge difference for us as an attacker but also through her work ethic. She made significant gains in strength this off-season and was relentless in her conditioning. She would be the first to credit our passers and setters for getting her the ball, and rightly so, but her consistency throughout this season was really something special. Not only is she a tremendous athlete, but a dedicated student and wonderful teammate.
"I am so proud of her and the way this award reflects on everyone in our program."
During the 2019 season, Otto, a mechanical engineering major who made the MIAA Academic Honor Roll as a freshman by having a GPA of 3.5 or higher, led the Flying Dutch in several offensive categories: hitting percentage (.314), kills total (396), kills per set (3.41) and total points scored (490.5). She was second on the team in blocks per set (.89) by two one-hundredth of a percentage.
In the MIAA, Otto was second in hitting percentage, fourth in kills total, fifth in kills per set, and sixth in blocks per set. She was named an All-MIAA first team honoree for the second year in a row and was the NCAA Player of the Week on October 28.
Hope volleyball finished the 2019 season with a 24-8 overall record and 7-1 in the MIAA for second place in the league. The Flying Dutch received an at-large bid for the NCAA Division III Tournament and advanced to the regional finals before bowing to Calvin University on four sets.