Senior outside hitter Leanna Deegan named Patriot League Player of the Week


Lafayette volleyball’s Leanna Deegan dominates four consecutive matches en route to PL Player of the Week Honors. (Photo Courtesy of Athletic Communications)

By Caroline McParland

After managing 20-plus kills in each of three of the volleyball team’s four matches last week, senior outside hitter Leanna Deegan was named Patriot League Player of the Week for the second time in her career. Deegan was first named the Player of the Week on March 8, named to the Patriot League All-League First Team and to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll in spring 2021 as well.

“It’s a really big honor and I’m really appreciative of it, but I couldn’t do what I do without [everyone] else on the team,” Deegan said.

Deegan opened the week with a hitting accuracy of .457 against NJIT with 24 kills before a double-double at Sacred Heart with 36 kills, hitting .418 and 14 digs. The 36 kills are the second-most earned by a Division I player this season.

“My setter (sophomore) Alyssa Vitale is the one that gets me the sets, but honestly everyone out on the court and on the bench brings the energy to help,” Deegan said.

Last week, Deegan totaled 101 kills in four matches with 33 digs, seven blocks and five service aces.

The volleyball team entered Patriot League play this week and is now 1-1 in the conference after losing in a tight game to Colgate but rebounding and winning straight sets against Holy Cross. Deegan led the way in both games.

“The season’s been going pretty well. In preseason we played a lot of harder teams, so now we’re in Patriot League play, and we started off losing to Colgate but we were pretty close, and then we beat Holy Cross,” Deegan said. “We have Lehigh and Bucknell next, so hopefully we get some wins there too.”

The volleyball team has already had an unusual season both on and off the court, but they remained a tight-knit group despite the challenges.

“We’ve had crazy moments so far, like our first game being canceled because of the power outage. Yesterday our bus window had a crack in it, so we were supposed to play at 2 p.m. but we ended up playing at 5 because we had to wait for a new bus to come from Easton,” Deegan said. “Beating Holy Cross yesterday was really exciting, and we’re just looking forward to making more memories.”

Deegan was inspired to play volleyball by her mother who was a two-sport athlete in college, playing volleyball and lacrosse at Delaware.

“My mom played volleyball in college, and growing up she was in an adult league so I would go and watch them play. I wanted to play volleyball since I was little, and I started in middle school,” Deegan said. 

At Easton Area High School, Deegan proved to be a star player as a four-year letter winner. She recorded 303 kills during her senior season, which ranks second in program history, and finished second in Pennsylvania in hitting percentage (.412) during her senior campaign.

She served as team captain for her high school team for two consecutive seasons and was the recipient of the Lehigh Valley Live Extraordinary Athlete of the Year award in 2018. Between volleyball, basketball and lacrosse, Deegan collected 12 varsity letters and was garnered 2017 Girls Volleyball Scholar Athlete and U.S. Army Reserve Scholar Athlete laurels.

Additionally, Deegan was selected to be on the 2017 All-State PA Volleyball Team, served as the school representative on the EPC Student-Athlete and Character Council and was inducted into the Easton Area H.S. Wall of Fame in 2018.

In addition to putting in work on the court, Deegan proved to be an academic asset as well. Deegan was a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society and achieved high honor roll all four years of high school.

At Lafayette, Deegan is a Civil Engineering major and a member of the Engineering without Borders club. She hopes to get a job in engineering after college and go into the construction management industry.

“Lafayette had a really good program here, so that was a big thing for me,” Deegan said.

In her freshman year, Deegan started eight matches and played in 28. She was second on the team with 256 kills and broke the Patriot League record for kills in a single match with 34 against Bucknell.

“Freshman year I broke the Patriot League kill record, but hopefully this year will be my greatest accomplishment,” she said.

In her sophomore season, Deegan appeared in 32 matches, led the team in kills with 372, totaled 47 blocks and was named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll. 

“I’ve been playing sports my whole life and volleyball is an outlet and a destresser for me. All my teammates are the reason I’m there,” Deegan said.

In the spring of 2021, Deegan started in all of the Leopard’s seven matches, totaled a team-high of 121 kills, had 297 total attacks, 60 digs, three solo blocks and four block assists. She also notched a career-high 61 attacks and 17 digs at Lehigh on March 7, a career-high two assists at Colgate on March 21 and a career-high three total blocks, including a career-high two solo blocks against Lehigh on March 5.

“We have a lot to work on, but I think just being more confident in ourselves is important, especially the seniors who have been here. We’ve had a couple of rough seasons, but we’re a lot better now. We’ve talked a lot about keeping consistent energy on the court,” Deegan said.

“I want to get to the Patriot League tournament, and I think everyone on the team wants that, too,” Deegan said. “I have the goal of just having fun also. This is probably my last year playing volleyball competitively, so I’m just making the most of every moment, having fun with my teammates and hopefully getting some wins, that’s a bonus.”

The volleyball team continues conference play with two away games this weekend against Bucknell tonight at 7 p.m. and Lehigh on Saturday at 4 p.m.