Johnson, Anderson named All-Americans

Johnson, Anderson named All-Americans

Alesha Johnson and Kealey Anderson added another layer on their already incredible resumes as Iowa Central volleyball players, being named NJCAA Div. II All-Americans.

Johnson becomes just the fourth Triton to make the first team and Anderson is just the second to earn honors in back-to-back seasons. Together, they are just the second set of Iowa Central standouts to be named an All-American in the same year, joining Anderson and Amaya Finley from 2019.

Captains along with Karli Eckert, the two helped lead the Tritons to a third consecutive ICCAC title during the regular season and the first-ever appearance in the national semifinals in school history. Iowa Central earned its highest finish in program history, going 22-4 and placing third.

Johnson and Anderson came together to Iowa Central from the same high school club team, continuing their development as players and students. Both are currently 4.0 students this year and are headed for first team academic All-American status, as well.

"I don't think anyone realizes just how much organization, dedication and tenacity it takes to accomplish everything they accomplished this year, particularly with all of the uncertainty that has happened," Iowa Central head coach Sara Horn said. "It is really, really hard to be successful in all areas of life, particularly for a college student-athlete, but these two have unlimited potential. 

"I'm excited to see what they do beyond college, too."

Johnson, who earned the ICCAC Player of the Year award earlier this season, finished fourth in the country with 934 assists, with her average of 10.86 placing her third. She also had 242 digs, 40 kills and 57 total blocks to go along with 28 aces.  

"It's amazing," Johnson said. "I couldn't imagine getting here without my coaches and teammates pushing me. This year was very different compared to all the others especially with a reversed season and COVID affecting the players, but that's what led to this unbelievable honor.

"To be one of four is an incredible recognition at Iowa Central and that says a lot of the coaching staff here. All-American athletes are hard-working in their respective sports and it's just an honor be a part of this team that helped contribute to this merit."

Johnson is on a list that includes current assistant coach Gabby Sullivan, Alicia Moreno and Finley as first team All-Americans. 

"Alesha is a great example of what hard work can get you," Horn said. "Alesha was one of four setters her freshman year, and some days, Alesha was the best setter of the four. Other days, she was the fourth-best setter of the four. She worked her tail off from the moment she got here her freshman year, doing setter workouts in the morning twice a week on top of normal practices, and that carried over into the offseason and then even through the pandemic as her step-dad built her a setter hoop so she could continue to work on her setting skills while at home.

"Alesha is a student of the game, and is always asking what she can do better. Even after winning the ICCAC Player of the Year, Alesha continues to be her hardest critic, pointing out what she can do better and what she wants to continue working on. I am infinitely proud of Alesha for what she has accomplished this year, and one of these days we're going to convince her of just how good she is."

Anderson, who was on the second team in 2019, joins Moreno as two-time All-Americans. Moreno accomplished the feat in 2011 and 2012. 

"To have two All-Americans both years just shows how much fight we put in everyday in trainings and games," Anderson said. "This just shows that Iowa Central is a force to compete with and that comes from practice, coaches and teammates. 

"As a sophomore who is not sure if they're coming back, it's bittersweet being able to have been an All-American both years at Iowa Central."

Anderson finished sixth in the nation with 349 kills, averaging over four per set. She also had 44 total blocks, 25 serving aces and 247 digs. 

"I am so proud of Kealey for getting this award," Horn said. "Kealey battled with her health at times this year, and pairing that with a demanding radiology schedule, was still able to excel on the court and in the classroom. Kealey is such a great all-around player, and regardless if we needed her to be our best passer, best defender or best attacker that day, she figured out how to get it done."

This marks the seventh consecutive season Iowa Central has had a player named to the All-American team.

Joining Johnson on the first team was Kirkwood's Anna Gorsich with Katie Kopriva of Kirkwood on the second alongside ANderson. North Iowa Area's Grace Tobin was honorable mention.

-By Dana Becker