Lexington, Ky. (April 24) – MIT men's volleyball sophomore Thomas Nelson (San Ramon, Calif.) became the fifth student-athlete in program history and first since 2014 to be named as an American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III All-American when the organization released its selection yesterday. Nelson was named to the Second Team and was one of three libero's to be honored from the 28 student-athletes selected this season.
Nelson joins Praveen Pamidimukkala (2006 & 2008), Matt Hohenberger (2012 & 2013), Brandon Chang (2013 & 2014) and Paul Syta (2014) to earn AVCA Division III All-America accolades. Nelson was also one of ten student-athletes selected from the United Volleyball Conference (UVC) for the honor.
Nelson, who was also named as the UVC Libero/Defensive Specialist of the Year as well as to the UVC All-Conference Second Team, guided the Engineers defense all season long as he led the conference and ranked eighth in the country in digs per set at 3.21 over 73 sets played. His 234 digs were an improvement by over 50 from his freshman campaign and ranked third overall in the UVC. The 3.21 digs per set will also place him third in the MIT record books.
Additionally, Nelson's outstanding defense held opponents to a .164 hitting percentage (876-493-2337), which ranked only behind Vassar in the conference and 32nd in Division III. Back on March 3 in a five-set thriller against No. 14 Eastern Mennonite, Nelson posted 28 digs which was the second-highest total in a five-set match and third-highest overall from anyone in a single match in the country this year. In that match, he came up just two digs shy of breaking the program record which has been around since 1999.
MIT wrapped up its 2018 season with an overall record of 16-9 and a mark of 4-5 in UVC play. With 16 wins this year, the Engineers registered their 14th straight season with at least 15 victories. Additionally, MIT tallied four wins over nationally-ranked opponents including No. 7 NYU, No. 13 Wentworth, No.14 Eastern Mennonite and No. 15 Elmira under first-year head coach Todd Elwell.