WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — After leading the Purdue volleyball team to its most wins since 2011 with a 24-9 finish to the season, redshirt senior Sherridan Atkinson and redshirt junior Blake Mohler garnered American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America accolades, the organization announced on Wednesday.
The selections mark the fifth time in program history that Purdue secured multiple student-athletes earn All-American recognition in the same season. Purdue now has 18 All-Americans accounting for a total of 39 All-America honors. Of its 18 All-Americans, 13 have been coached by head coach Dave Shondell. Shondell's All-Americans are credited with 24 of the 39 accolades.
The duo was mostly recently earned AVCA All-Northeast Region honors and collected All-Big Ten plaudits earlier this season.
Following a stellar senior season, Atkinson wraps up her career with her second All-America honor in a first-team selection. A unanimous 2018 All-Big Ten First Team selection this season , she topped the conference with 546 kills on the year, registering a career-best 4.20 kills per set average on 1,388 swings to earn a .296 hitting percentage. Her kill total ranks ninth in the NCAA and is the best performance by a Boilermaker in the last six years.
Pacing Atkinson's offensive effort were nine 20+ kill performances, including a career-high 32 kills against then-No. 4 Penn State. She also posted double-digit kill tallies in all but two of 31 matches this season and was the 17th Boilermaker in Purdue program history to notch 1,000 career kills. In Big Ten action, Atkinson averaged 4.26 kills per set, third most in the league, while hitting at a .302 clip and adding 22 aces.
"It's an incredible accomplishment and honor for Sherridan [Atkinson] to be named All-America First Team," Shondell said. "It is a tribute to her growth as a competitive athlete and woman. It has been very rewarding for our staff to see her dedicate herself to becoming great. Her positive leadership style was an extremely positive factor in allowing our young team to enjoy a very successful season. I know she will continue her development as she shifts her focus to a professional career in America's game."
Atkinson joins Ariel Turner, Stephanie Lynch, Marianne Smith and Danielle Cuttino as the five first-team All-Americans in program history. Last season, the California native garnered third-team All-America recognition.
Mohler earned her first All-America honor with a third team selection after guiding Purdue at the net for a third consecutive season. Improving from 0.92 blocks per set a season ago, Mohler paced the Boilermakers with 1.08 stuffs per set, while also sitting sixth in the Big Ten with a team-best 0.358 hitting percentage. Her 140 total blocks rank sixth in the league and 43rd in the NCAA. In conference action, she ranked among the top-15 blockers with 0.95 stuffs per set average and was 10th with a .321 attack clip.
"This has been another tremendous season of growth for Blake [Mohler]," Shondell said. "Her play during the final half of the B1G season rivaled any middle-hitter in our league. She has committed herself to becoming an elite player in our sport; and her intensity and explosiveness continues to amaze me. I have always believed Blake can compete at the highest level and this season is another big step in reaching her goals. Our program anticipates Blake becoming a very effective leader during her final campaign."
The Ocean Springs, Mississippi native started in all 33 matches this season, she also ranked third on the team with 316 kills for a 2.43 kills per set average while adding 46 digs, 10 assists and one service ace on the season. The All-Big Ten selection also took home MVP honors at the Stacey Clark Classic and Alabama's Crimson and White Tournament earlier this year.