Leah Edmond crowned 2023 Athletes Unlimited Volleyball Champion

© Athletes Unlimited, LLC 2023 / Credit: Jade Hewitt Media
Savanna Collins
Nov 06, 2023

Nothing could hold Leah Edmond back from the 2023 Athletes Unlimited Volleyball Championship. After five weeks of play, she finished the season No. 1 on the leaderboard with 4,313 points.

“This season is the first season where I feel like I’m playing how I’ve always played, how everyone back home has seen me play,” Edmond said. “I feel like myself.”

Edmond started in all 15 matches this season, leading the league with 224 kills and finishing with a .300 hitting percentage. She had double-digit kills every match. Edmond was the only athlete to be a captain all five weeks and posted a 10-4 record.

On Sunday evening, Edmond became the third player in AU Volleyball history to accumulate 2,000 stat points in a single season and hit a career milestone of 500 kills.

Edmond has spent her entire pro career competing with AU; she was a rookie during the league’s inaugural season. Due to injury and illness in previous years, Edmond has never been able to compete in all 15 matches in a season. That was her ultimate goal coming into her third year.

Edmond accrued more stat points than any other athlete with 2,193 overall. It was supplemented by 380 MVP points. She was voted an MVP in 10 matches.

“I matured as a person,” Edmond said. “I think being in the professional world and being around all these ladies, I found who I am as a person and then that transferred over to the volleyball court and I was able to be my true self. I’ve learned so much from them and how to elevate my game and they’ve definitely pushed me to have to be better in things that I wasn’t before. So in every aspect, I’ve become better in everything.”

Second-Place medalist: Alli Linnehan

First-year AU athlete and outside hitter Alli Linnehan logged 3,748 points this season for the second-place medal. Linnehan’s journey throughout the season was an uphill climb – she was the overall top point earner for Week Three and Week Four. Her game is defined by her crafty and strategic shots from the pin and great passing skills.

Linnehan and Edmond are former Kentucky Wildcat Volleyball teammates and played together during Week One of the season.

Third-Place Medalist: Brooke Nuneviller

Brooke Nuneviller continues to prove that she belongs in the outside position, finishing as the third-place medalist this season with 3,582 total leaderboard points. Nuneviller was one of six draftees from the 2023 AU Volleyball Draft Class.

She logged the third-most kills this season with 179, along with 156 digs. She made only 36 hitting errors on 476 attempts. Nuneviller was heralded for not only her offensive production as an outside but also like playing with a “second libero on the court” because of her defense and serve receive.

Fourth-place medalist: Natalia-Valentin Anderson

Natalia Valentin-Anderson finishes the AU season ranked fourth overall on the leaderboard. She was second in the league in assists with 544. She was voted an MVP in five matches and outside of her ability to run an offense, Valentin-Anderson was proficient in her defense this season. She had 163 digs; the only athletes with more digs than her were three of the liberos. Valentin-Anderson was also second in the circuit for service aces with 14. She broke the single-match record for aces this season with five on Oct. 13, 2023.

Defensive Player of the Year: Morgan Hentz

Morgan Hentz’s defensive prowess is not only unwavering but progressing every year. She is the first-ever back-to-back winner of an end-of-season award in AU Volleyball history.

The libero led the league with 212 digs. On Oct. 6, 2023, Hentz broke the single-game digs record picking up 25 in the match. She is now the only player in the league with 10 or more digs in every match this season. Hentz was also a captain for four out of the five weeks this season, and was undefeated in her first nine matches.

Blocker of the Year: Molly McCage

Molly McCage not only had the best season of her AU Volleyball career but won her first end-of-season award as the Blocker of the Year. McCage recorded 22 blocks and 19 block assists this season. She also contributed 122 kills.

Teammate of the year: Deja McClendon

Deja McClendon ends her decade-long professional career with her third season with AU, but not before being named Teammate of the Year. Whether on the court or on the bench, McClendon could be found uplifting her teammates and strategizing with her captains. Her infectious attitude throughout the season and constant encouragement led to her being voted the honor by her peers.

2023 All-Position Team

Seven athletes we also named to the 2023 All-Position Team earlier this weekend: Hentz (libero), Nootsara Tomkom (setter), Willow Johnson (opposite), McCage (middle blocker), Tori Dixon (middle blocker), Edmond (outside hitter), and Claire Chaussee (outside hitter).


Athletes Unlimited also announced that it will continue with a fourth season of volleyball in 2024. Details regarding timing and location will be announced at a later date.

To commemorate her victory, Edmond will receive a medal designed and hand-fabricated by Lisa Issenberg, founder of Kiitellä, inc. Athletes Unlimited will also commission a portrait of Edmond for its Champions Collection, which features emerging artists whose work and approach speaks to the mission and values of Athletes Unlimited. The portrait will be created by Selina Scott, a local artist who specializes in portraiture and was born and raised in Tempe who graduated from ASU in 2021.

“Congratulations to Leah Edmond on becoming our 2023 Athletes Unlimited Volleyball Champion, Morgan Hentz for winning the Defensive Player of the Year award, Molly McCage on winning our Blocker of the Year award and Deja McClendon for winning our Teammate of the Year award,” said Cassidy Lichtman, Director of Sport for Athletes Unlimited Volleyball. “With women’s volleyball surging in popularity, our incredible fans were treated to the best the sport has to offer, and we can’t wait for season four in 2024.”

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