Ottumwa -- Indian Hills sophomore Yanjiao Zhao has been named to the National Junior College Athletic Association All-American 2nd team. The native of Baotou Inner, Mongolia, was a two-year starter for the Warriors as their number-one setter and earlier received all-region recognition.
Zhao helped lead IHCC to the district championship match each of her two seasons. Her 1544 assists in 2016 were 4th for a single season in program history and she ended her IHCC career 2nd all-time in assists with 2996.
Indian Hills head coach Lyndsey Michel said it's been an honor to have such a talented setter as Sally, as Zhao has been known ever since arriving on the IHCC campus, for two seasons in which the Warriors had a 69-10 record.
"Sally came in and truly wanted a culture that would produce a successful team, on and off the court," Michel said. "She always said that we were her BIG family -- coming from China where families are smaller and being so far away from her home. She helped to create a family that enjoyed winning! Sally quarterbacked her hitters and allowed them to be successful. Not only do her stats reflect the kind of athlete she is, but to have TWO hitters (Camila Nicoletti and Bailey Darnall) near the top of national stats in the kills category really speaks for her ball control, consistency and athleticism."
Michel concluded by saying, "Sally will be missed, and I'm not sure I will let her leave or not!"
Zhao gives Indian Hills All-American volleyball players for three straight years. Tamara Merseli was an NJCAA Honorable Mention pick in 2014 and a second-team choice last year, with Zhao as her setter. Teammate Kameo Pope was named an Honorable Mention All-American in '15.