Altena and Gesink Named All-Americans

Altena and Gesink Named All-Americans

(Tuesday, December 5; Sioux Center, Iowa) The NAIA has announced the 2017 Volleyball All-America Teams for the recently completed season.  Ema Altena (Junior; Sioux Center, Iowa) and Jamie Gesink (Junior; Sioux Center, Iowa) were named to the first-team. The teams were selected by the NAIA Volleyball All-America Selection Committee.

Altena averaged 4.36 kills per set this season with a .271 kill efficiency.  Her kills per set average led the Defenders and she also led the team in ace serves with 47 and she got to 2.16 digs per set. Altena is a three-time All-GPAC First-Team selection and she was a Third-Team NAIA All-American last year.  She’s twice been named to the NAIA National Championship All-Tournament Team.

“Ema’s collegiate climb has been steady and strong.  It’s amazing to consider that she entered our program as a very talented middle hitter and that was our intent to utilize her gifts, speed and power in that role.  Within that first year, we had a greater need for her as an outside hitter and she embraced that new role with trust and excitement to which she wrapped up the season as a First-Team All-Conference player.  She grew in her other areas of serving and backrow play through 2016 to become a Third-Team All-American.  This year, her total game showed tremendous confidence and poise as she still worked to develop in so many areas including attacking.  This honor is well deserved and reflects an exciting season for Ema and her teammates,” said Dordt College coach Chad Hanson.

Gesink put up 10.79 assists per set for the Defenders while also registering 1.07 kills per set.  Gesink averaged 2.38 digs per contest as the Defenders made another run through the NAIA National Championship and claimed runner-up honors in the 32-team field at Sioux City, Iowa last week.  Gesink has also claimed first-team honors from the GPAC three times and was a Second-Team All-American pick in 2016.

“Jamie continued to do things throughout our season and in big time matches that amazed me.  She is an incredible athlete with an incredible work ethic.  She loves the physical aspects of the sport whether it is diving to lay out for a volleyball save, digging a hard driven ball from an attacker, or jousting a trapped ball at the net against an opposing blocker.  Most every play on our court went through Jamie’s hands and that is one more reason why we were so successful this season.  Her volleyball intelligence continued to climb this season as she connected with each hitter more and more as our season progressed.  She leads us in great ways throughout many areas of our program and she is well deserving of this honor,” said Hanson.

The Defender recently concluded the 2017 season with a 34-8 record and a runner-up finish in the NAIA National Championship or the second year in a row.