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Dakota Wesleyan's Ady Dwight becomes school's first NAIA volleyball first-team All-American

Dwight, a sophomore middle blocker, ranked in the top-10 nationally in kills

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Dakota Wesleyan University middle blocker Ady Dwight poses for a photo at the Christen Family Athletic Center ahead of the NAIA National Tournament. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Matt Gade
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More history for the Dakota Wesleyan University volleyball program arrived Thursday with the announcement of DWU's Ady Dwight as an NAIA All-American first-team selection, becoming the first in Tigers history to receive that honor.

Dwight, a sophomore from Langford, had 473 kills and 136 blocks during the Tigers' breakthrough season. Dwight averaged 3.88 kills per set with an attacking percentage of .308. She led the Tigers in kills, hitting percentage, total blocks, and blocks per set. Dwight was ranked eighth in the nation for kills and 14th for total blocks. An NAIA All-America committee picks 14 players to an All-America first team, second team and third team.

Dwight, who was an honorable mention All-America pick in 2020-21, is only the second DWU volleyball player all-time to be named to one of the three All-America teams. Julie Gustafson was a two-time third-team All-American in 1989 and 1990.

The other national awards were dominated by the team that eliminated DWU in the NAIA tournament pool play finale.

Park University, of Missouri, which won DWU's pool and rolled to the national championship match, had the nation's player of the year and attacker of the year in outside hitter Nada Meawad. She is now a three-time winner of the national player of the year award, (winning in 2018 and 2020) and had 595 kills for the season. With having an extra year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Meawad is now the NAIA's first five-time first-team All-American. Park coach Mike Talamantes was also named the national coach of the year as well.

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Missouri Baptist, which won the national championship in five sets over Park, had the nation's defender of the year in Ariana Macies and setter of the year Manuela Vargas.

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Dakota Wesleyan University's Madeline Else (8) and Mariah Gloe (12) jump to block Saint Xavier University's Chloe Memenga kill attempt during the first round of the NAIA National Tournament on Saturday, November 20, 2021 at the Corn Palace. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Tigers finish ranked No. 14 in the nation

The final NAIA volleyball poll of the season came out this week, ranking the teams following the conclusion of the NAIA national volleyball tournament. DWU finished the season in a tie for the No. 14 ranking with Montana Tech. The Tigers, who finished 25-10 and were 2-1 in NAIA tournament play, dropped one spot from the pre-tournament rankings after falling in the pool-play finale to Park.

Missouri Baptist (33-2), which was the preseason No. 1 and won the national championship, finished in the top spot, with national runner-up Park (34-3) at No. 2.

Jamestown (35-1), which had ranked at No. 1 from late September until the NAIA tournament in Sioux City, finished at No. 3 after being swept by Park in the national semifinals. Other Great Plains Athletic Conference teams to be ranked in the top-25 included No. 6 Concordia, No. 8 Northwestern, No. 10 College of St. Mary (Neb.), No. 12 Midland and No. 18 Dordt.

Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at mtraxler@mitchellrepublic.com.
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