RUTHERFORD, N.J. – During the first 15 years of varsity intercollegiate women's volleyball at Felician University, the Golden Falcons placed a combined three players on the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) postseason all-league teams. When the 2019 balloting was released on Tuesday, four Felician student-athletes were honored.
Sophomore Sierra Gallagher (Honolulu, Hawaii/Kamehameha) was elected to the All-CACC First Team, the first volleyball player in Felician history to receive that recognition. Freshman Miquela Martinez (Santa Fe, N.M./St. Michael's) was chosen for the Second Team, and junior Katie Asbery (Mililani, Hawaii/Mililani) and senior Raamiah Edwards (Bloomfield, N.J./Bloomfield) were voted for Third-Team honors.
The CACC's all-conference teams and special award winners were voted upon by its 14 head coaches. Winners will be formally honored at the annual CACC Women's Volleyball Awards Banquet on Friday night at the Radisson Hotel Philadelphia Northeast. The complete 2019 All-CACC Women's Volleyball Teams and special award winners can be viewed at https://caccathletics.org/sports/wvball/2019-20/releases/1119POY.
Felician (16-17, 13-6) captured its first CACC North Division regular-season championship and has set program records for overall and conference victories. The Golden Falcons will face event host and 2018 champion Holy Family University in the CACC semifinals on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
"I couldn't be happier for these young women," said sixth-year Felician head coach John Chang, who was voted the CACC Coach of the Year by the conference's sports information directors. "They play sore, they play tired, they push themselves to do a great job in the classroom, and they handle well whatever it is that we ask our student-athletes to do. They deserve this recognition."
Gallagher, a 5-foot-5 libero, was also named the CACC Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the first Golden Falcon volleyball player to ever claim a major conference postseason award. She was chosen the CACC Defensive Player of the Week six times this season, including five consecutively. Her 625 digs in 2019 are a Felician record, as were her 38 during a 3-1 victory at Nyack College on Oct. 10. She leads the Division II East Region and is 21st nationally with 5.73 digs per set.
Martinez, a 5-foot-6 setter, enters Saturday with a school-record 965 assists this season. Felician owns a team attack percentage of .154, which would also be a program standard. Martinez ranks sixth in the CACC with 7.85 assists per set and 16th (third among setters) with 2.98 digs per set. She was the conference's Rookie of the Week Oct. 21.
Asbery is enjoying a breakout junior campaign. The 6-foot middle blocker is attacking at a school-record pace, hitting .300 (fourth in the CACC) with 2.08 kills and 0.57 blocks per set. With a year remaining, she already sits third on the Felician career list for total blocks (177).
Edwards, in her second year with the Golden Falcons after transferring from Essex County College, is making the most of her only season as a starter. After appearing in just 30 sets in 2018, she has played in all but one this year (122 of 123). She is averaging 2.58 kills and 2.66 digs per set with 10 double-doubles.
"I'm so much prouder of these ladies for winning these honors than I am for the Coach of the Year award," Chang said. "All I do is set the lineup. They are the ones who win games."
This year's foursome joins Nicole Degenhardt (2007, 2nd team), Olivia Emerson (2013, 2nd) and Kahea Aea (2018, 3rd) as all-CACC volleyball players for the Golden Falcons.
Felican has now garnered eight all-conference athletes during the 2019-20 academic year.
Felician University engages more than 2,400 undergraduate, graduate, and adult students through programs in Arts & Sciences, Business, Nursing, and Education. Universal Franciscan values of respect, social justice, and compassion form an inclusive foundation for transforming the lives of tomorrow's leaders. Felician University was ranked 3rd-best return on investment for private colleges in New Jersey in 2018 by the PayScale.com College ROI Report and is ranked the No. 1 safest college campus in the state by niche.com. Felician University also sponsors 14 varsity intercollegiate sports that compete at the NCAA Division II level. To learn more about Felician University please visit www.felician.edu.