AU Volleyball: De La Cruz, Group Hentz dominate second-week motion


Ali Bastianelli blocks Natalia Valentin-Anderson throughout Week 2 motion/Jade Hewitt/Athletes Limitless

Various eyebrows had been raised round Athletes Limitless volleyball when captain Sydney Hilley opted to make rookie outdoors hitter Claire Chaussee the primary total decide in Week 2’s draft.

That left a famous person with an impeccable monitor file in AU, Bethania De La Cruz, on the board for captain Morgan Hentz, who unhesitatingly snapped up the reigning league factors champion.

On Monday at Legacy Park in Mesa, Arizona, Hilley and her shellshocked mates realized to their dismay why the participant referred to as “Betty” turned out to be Hentz’s greatest wager.

Morgan Hentz passes throughout Week 2/Jade Hewitt, Athletes Limitless

After a nip-and-tuck time beyond regulation first set that went Group Hentz’s manner, 28-26, Group Hilley was outscored 25-13, 25-16 within the subsequent two. An combination tally of 78-55 left Hentz’s pleased crew 3-0 in Week 2 motion (dropping just one set) and Hilley’s bunch at 2-1.

Backside line: Merely an excessive amount of Betty, who recorded an otherworldly hitting share of .621 with 16 kills and one error on 23 swings.

Whereas Group Hilley needed to maintain a cautious eye peeled for De La Cruz, veteran reverse Saskia “SassI” Hippe was the difference-making X-factor for the staff sporting blue jerseys. The ultimate two factors of the OT (and in the end pivotal) first set got here on a scorching line blast in transition by Sassi that tattooed center blocker Tori Dixon taking part in protection within the again row, and on a deep hybrid-float-serve ace by the 32-year-old German nationwide that cut up passers.

Sassi recorded a noteworthy stat line of 15 kills with two errors on 31 swings (.419 effectivity), two aces and 5 digs, eye-catching sufficient to be voted the match’s first MVP. Betty was the MVP2 and Hentz (13 digs and 4 assists, plus the great sense to draft Betty) the MVP3.

“I used to be with the Orange staff final week and we had been struggling so much,” Hippe mentioned. “Now this weekend was actually nice with great teammates. I’m simply grateful that I’ve this chance (with AU) and that I’ve discovered my pleasure for volleyball once more. With the staff this weekend, our secret, our recipe, was that we had enjoyable collectively, and that we fought one for the opposite. I noticed so many unimaginable rallies, which I’ve by no means seen in my life, and we had so lots of them over these three days. It was simply superb.”

Bethania De La Cruz assaults throughout Week 2/Jade Hewitt, Athletes Limitless

After one week away from an AU captain’s chair, De La Cruz returned to a well-known place within the standings, climbing all the way in which to No. 1. Betty had certified to draft her staff on Tuesday. Nonetheless, in a improvement introduced throughout the telecast of the Monday nightcap on ESPNU, De La Cruz has been recalled to the Dominican Republic’s nationwide staff to play within the Pan American Video games. She is not going to be lively subsequent week, thus can’t be a captain.

Former Marquette standout Jenna Rosenthal, fifth on the leaderboard, will substitute Betty as a captain, changing into the primary center hitter to imagine that mantle in AU. The opposite captains for Week 3 might be Leah Edmond, Hentz and Hilley.

Leah Edmond passes throughout Week 2/Jade Hewitt, Athletes Limitless

De La Cruz’s 1,874 factors complete after Week 2 in AU’s non-traditional scoring system included 720 “win factors,” 500 from her three matches with Group Hentz; 934 “stat factors,” 57 than the No. 2 particular person scorer, Edmond; and 220 “MVP factors.”

The 36-year-old worldwide standout was voted the primary MVP on Friday in a sweep by Group Hentz over Group Linnehan (76-51 combination, 25-11, 25-16, 26-24) that featured the second-largest margin of victory in Athletes Limitless historical past. De La Cruz ripped 20 kills with 4 errors on 46 makes an attempt (.348) and picked up two solo blocks. Betty’s bodily looming 6-foot-2 presence on the internet on the left facet was instrumental in limiting harmful lefty-swinging reverse Willow Johnson, the third decide within the Week 2 draft, to .100 hitting on 30 makes an attempt.

Setter Natalia Valentin-Anderson acquired in on the enjoyable for Group Hentz with 5 aces utilizing her crisp “right-to-right” hybrid float serve, an AU single-match file that bettered the mark of 4 De La Cruz twice logged throughout the 2022 season.

Then on Sunday, despite the fact that she appeared to twist an ankle stepping on a foot beneath the online about halfway by the match, De La Cruz blasted 17 kills with two errors on 42 makes an attempt (.357 hitting) and dug 12 balls as Group Hentz defeated Group Edmond (73-64 total, 25-16, 23-25, 25-23).

De La Cruz was “solely” the MVP3 as rookie outdoors hitter Brooke Nuneviller was voted prime honors. The previous Oregon sensation cracked a gaudy .435 hitting share, making no errors on 42 makes an attempt whereas ripping 17 kills, and picked up 13 digs. The passing prowess of libero Hentz and former libero (with the Geese) Nuneviller supplied a platform of consistency for Valentin-Anderson to use all through a sensational Week 2.

Though her week in the end led to a staff crash-and-burn, Chaussee loved a extremely productive three matches. On Monday, Claire posted 12 kills with two errors on 35 swings (.285) and 5 digs, giving her 1,397 complete factors and a five-spots soar up the leaderboard to No. 6.

Chaussee’s gaudy 24-kill effort on Friday in opposition to Group Edmond, the fourth-best match complete in AU historical past, got here on 50 swings with 5 errors, a .380 hitting share. Hilley’s crew notched a 74-62 aggregate-score victory during which they dropped the second set (25-15, 24-26, 25-21). Sunday’s match noticed Chaussee rip 13 kills and make 12 digs, incomes her second MVP1 award of the week as Group Hilley rolled over Group Linnehan (75-53 total, 25-17, 25-18, 25-18).

Setter Hilley made an effort to unfold the hitting wealth round in her staff’s opener (4 gamers acquired not less than 15 swings), however discovered Chaussee to be far too tempting of a goal to withstand.

“I attempted to distribute evenly, but it surely acquired to the purpose the place Claire had such a sizzling hand that I used to be simply feeding the beast,” Hilley mentioned with amusing. “It’s actually arduous to defend when you’ve got hitters who can rating from in every single place.”

Chaussee, the 2022 ACC participant of the 12 months for Louisville, was all too pleased to be fed.

“Syd mentioned earlier than the sport that protection and serve-receive had been going to be our keys and that’s what helped us probably the most” Claire mentioned. “However with that, she will be able to sauce me a buttery set to get kills.”

Rookie center blocker Kayla Caffey continued to impress when given taking part in time. Caffey rode the pine on Friday, however stepped into the lineup for Group Hilley on Sunday due to an unspecified damage to Danielle Hart. Caffey rang up 309 factors on a stat line that included seven kills with a .545 hitting share and 5 solo blocks.

Caffey additionally was picked as one of many MVPs for the second time when she was voted MVP3. Veteran center Dixon had seven kills on an errorless 12 swings (.583) and added two blocks. The dominating block performed an enormous think about captain Alli Linnehan’s hitting in adverse numbers (minus-.088) with eight errors in opposition to 5 kills on 34 makes an attempt. Caffey concluded the week with 5 kills and three errors on 13 makes an attempt, plus a solo block and two block assists in opposition to Group Hentz.

“All the things we scouted within the report got here collectively,” Caffey mentioned of her staff’s efficient first line of protection on Sunday. “All of us adopted the report and it labored out rather well.”

Caffey lasted till the thirty sixth decide (out of 44) within the first week’s draft and was taken with the thirty third choice in Week 2. She had a message for the captain’s selecting on Tuesday: “Decide me, guys!”

Competitors in Week 2 ended on Monday with Group Edmond getting off the schneid with a victory (69-63 complete, 19-25, 25-21, 25-17) over Group Linnehan, which completed 0-3. Group Edmond center Molly McCage picked up MVP1 honors after cracking 10 kills on .473 hitting, whereas chipping in 5 digs and three block assists.

Week 3

Friday, October 20
Group Hilley vs. Group Hentz, 7 p.m., ESPN+
Group Edmond vs. Group Rosenthal, 9:30 p.m., ESPN+
Sunday, October 22
Group Rosenthal vs. Group Hentz, 7 p.m., ESPN+
Group Hilley vs. Group Edmond, 9:30 p.m., ESPNU
Monday, October 23
Group Rosenthal vs. Group Hilley, 7 p.m., ESPN+
Group Hentz vs. Group Edmond, 9:30 p.m., ESPNU



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