This past week, Monica Holguin, junior forward, for the Trinity Women’s basketball team was named an honorable mention Division III News All-American. This marks yet another accolade in Holguin’s highly successful 2015-2016 campaign, having been named to D3Hoops.com’s All-South region second team, the All-SCAC first team and the All-SCAC tournament team.
She was also named the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference’s Player of the Year and SCAC Tournament MVP. Holguin’s accomplishments are not only a testament to the player she is on the court; it also reflects how successful the Tigers’ season was as a whole.
“All these accolades are not only flattering but encouraging. I am appreciative and happy and proud because they are helping bring deserving recognition to the amazing program at Trinity,” Holguin said.
Those close to Holguin have nothing but positive things to say about how she conducts herself with her teammates on the court. They are also excited for her, as being named an All-American is no small feat.
“We have a very special group; everyone is working hard to make our team great, and Monica has a role that will yield this kind of formal recognition. She will tell you, none of it would be possible without teammates like she has around her,” head basketball coach Cameron Hill said.
Her brother and team manager Sergio Holguin echoed what Hill said, but also provided a dimension to the story that can only be provided by family.
“I am extremely proud of my sister for all the honors that she has received so far. It is really not surprising when you consider the amount of work that she puts in all year round. It feels great to have an All-American sister. I already knew she was good, but it is nice to see everyone else is catching up [to that fact],” Sergio said.
Holguin’s individual season is reflective of how successful the Tigers’ season was overall. The Tigers finished the regular season 22-6, won the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference,and earned an automatic bid to the Division III March Madness tournament. Unfortunately, the Tigers’ dancing card was taken too early, dropping to the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas 63-57. However this season displayed many positives for the Tigers.
First, the game in Tyler was very instructive and provided experience for the Tigers. Playing in March Madness had a positive impact on the team.
“The game in Tyler was significant for us. I think we all left the floor knowing we could have won that game and that we are very close to impacting the national tournament. Experience is the biggest takeaway, you can’t recreate that in practice. Having that experience will help us a lot next season. Our girls all know that the need to improve is constant. As long as we play the game, we can get better. We have a lot of talented players; we need to continue to develop our ability to think and play and execute,” Hill said.
Second, the Tigers’ season success went beyond conference play. The Tigers beat a Division I opponent, the University Incarnate Word’s Cardinals, and won a tournament at Johns Hopkins University.
“Beating a [Division 1 opponent] was very cool, winning the Durgala Invitational at Johns Hopkins “¦ Lots of players made amazing plays, so I can’t single out any one play. I am very proud to have coached this team,” Hill said.
Sergio also recalled some fond memories of the game against UIW. In that game, according to Sergio, his sister shined in the 4th quarter.
“One of my favorite moments was the game against University of Incarnate Word, a Division 1 team,” Sergio said. “[Holguin] made 12 points in the fourth and the Tigers came up on top.”
Holguin also found the win against UIW to be especially rewarding. Going up on the court against a Division I opponent can be surreal.
“This season my favorite individual and team performance was against University of the Incarnate Word. There was a lot of pressure with that team being DI. It was almost a movie-like moment, we were the underdogs and we came out with the W in the end. We played great basketball and it was a very rewarding victory,” Holguin said.
Despite the Tigers having a large graduating class of seniors, including guards Natalie DeWitte, Ashley Alexander, Alison Staley, and forwards Bryony Harris and Anecia Harris, the team has confidence in their underclassmen.
“Going forward, I am confident that other players will step up and fill in the gaps to have a great team,” Sergio said.
For Holguin, 2016-2017 will be her senior year. She plans on working hard during the offseason in preparation for her final season.
“Every game is definitely going to be bittersweet since it will be my last year but it has definitely kicked me into overdrive. I will be working hard during the summer to improve my skill set. I am certain my teammates will be doing similarly,” Holguin said. “Be on the lookout for some even better performances this coming season.”