WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Kate Borsato, an All-Northwest Conference volleyball player who finished her career as the all-time leader in career assists at Whitman College, is the 2007 winner of the Mignon Borleske Trophy, which is presented annually to the top female athlete on campus.
The trophy, which is awarded by a vote of the Whitman coaching staff, recognizes athletic ability and accomplishments, leadership and sportsmanship qualities, and contributions to the campus as a whole.
Borsato, a 5-foot-8 setter from White Rock, B.C., handed out a Whitman school record of 3,598 assists in her four seasons as a starter. In statistics for NWC matches only, she led the conference in assists as a senior, averaging 11.80 per game. Discounting two games she played in a non-setter’s role, she averaged 12.21 assists per game in NWC play.
A two-year captain, Borsato was twice named NWC Player of the Week during her senior campaign, and she was one of seven players named to the All-NWC First Team. With Borsato at the controls, Whitman’s well-balanced offense topped the conference last fall with a .227 hitting percentage in NWC matches. Whitman posted a team hitting percentage of .300 or above in five matches, including one late-season victory in which the Missionaries hit .515. That was the highest single-match hitting percentage posted by an NWC team during the 2006 fall season.
"Kate is everything that a coach could want in a setter," Whitman volleyball coach Dean Snider said. "We had five players reach double digits in kills in two matches last season. We had four players get double-digit kills in five other matches, and we hit above .300 as a team against a number of opponents. None of those things happen unless you have a very accomplished setter running the offense."
Borsato, who earned All-NWC Honorable Mention recognition in her first year, was among the conference leaders in assists in each of her four seasons. "Kate was a very good setter when she first came to Whitman, but she kept getting better with each new season," Snider said. "As a senior, she kept getting better with each match. The offense she directed this past season was the most prolific we've had in my 11 seasons here. We've not had a setter play at a higher level than Kate."
Borsato, a psychology major at Whitman, plans to travel through Europe this summer and then pursue master's and doctoral degrees in counseling psychology. She served a volunteer internship during the 2006 spring semester at a Walla Walla middle school, where she worked alongside two school counselors. She also served as co-chair of Whitman's Student Athlete Advisory Committee as a junior in her second year with the group.
Borsato, a graduate of Semiahmoo High School in Surrey, B.C., is the daughter of Louise and Roland Borsato of White Rock, B.C.
The Mignon Borleske Trophy honors a woman who first came to Whitman in 1915 as the young spouse of Raymond V. Borleske, a sports legend in the making. Her husband, who had starred as a football and baseball player at Whitman, was embarking at the time on a long coaching career at his alma mater. Mignon Borleske taught dance and women's education classes at Whitman for nearly four decades.
For a complete listing of past Mignon Borleske Trophy winners, please click here.