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Posed shot of Jenna Holmes with CMS logo

Jenna Holmes Wins AVCA Division III National Player of the Year Award

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Junior outside hitter Jenna Holmes earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division III National Player of the Year Award, the organization announced today.

Holmes was joined on the AVCA All-America teams yesterday by sophomore outside hitter Brenna Bell, a first-team honoree, and junior setter Georgia McGovern, a second-team selection, as well as honorable mention selections Dede Carranza and Audrey Sawyer. Today, she earned a major national award, along with assistant coach Melanie Hughes, who earned the National Assistant Coach of the Year Award, as CMS finished the year with a 30-1 record, including its first undefeated regular season (26-0) in program history. 

Holmes becomes the first AVCA National Player of the Year at CMS, after Margaux Arntson (2017) and Phoebe Madsen (2018, 2019) came close, finishing as runner-up in the voting and settling for first-team All-America distinction. Holmes was a six-rotation player all season and led CMS with 348 kills (3.47 per set), which was 138 more than her closest teammate (Bell), finishing the year hitting .299. 

In addition to her attacking prowess, Holmes was also a valuable back-row player, leading the Athenas with 549 serve receptions, and finishing second with 304 digs (3.27 per set). She contributed 38 blocks and 29 service aces as well.

What set Holmes apart in the National Player of the Year voting, though, was her performances against some of the nation's top teams. She had 21 kills, hitting .381, against top-10 NYU on opening weekend at the Pacific Coast Classic at Roberts Pavilion, as well as hitting 12-19 against regionally-ranked Millikin and 12-25 against UC Santa Cruz, which ended up in the top 25. The following week, she was the Most Outstanding Player of the East-West Battle after tallying 18 kills against Johns Hopkins, 17 against Trinity and 12 against Emory, while recording double-doubles in all three matches, and was named the AVCA Division III National Player of the Week. 

In the Athenas' third tournament of September, Holmes had two more big efforts against top teams, including a 19-kill, .500-hitting percentage effort against nationally ranked Colorado College, as well as hitting .435 against regionally ranked Endicott.  

Holmes' big-game performances continued right until the end of the year, when she had a career-high 23 kills in the regional finals against Trinity, a tough 3-2 defeat. She had three straight kills to give CMS a 10-8 lead in the fifth set, but Trinity took advantage of her moving to the back row and came back for a 16-14 win to end the year for CMS at 30-1, a new program record for winning percentage. She had double-doubles in all five postseason matches (SCIAC and NCAA), averaging 13.6 kills and 10.8 digs in that span. 

Hughes joined the CMS coaching staff a year ago, and has so far helped CMS to a combined 61-3 record in her tenure, including a perfect 36-0 against SCIAC competition. The Athenas have lost just one regular season match in two seasons (on the road at Calvin last season), and have reached the national semifinals and the NCAA Round of 16. She is now one of two major award winners on the staff, as head coach Kurt Vlasich won the National Coach of the Year honor last season.