Team De La Cruz

De La Cruz, Fairs, Nootsara lead victory against Team Valentin-Anderson

© Athletes Unlimited, LLC 2022 / Credit: Kimberly Dovi
Eric Rhew
Mar 23, 2022

DALLAS — Team De La Cruz used three double-double performances to open the second week of the Athletes Unlimited Volleyball season with an 80-75 victory over Team Valentin-Anderson at Fair Park Coliseum on Wednesday evening.

Team De La Cruz, which won the match by set scores of 25-23, 25-20 and 30-32, was led by outside hitter and team captain Bethania De La Cruz. The Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, native set her Athletes Unlimited career high with 22 kills while adding a match-high 18 digs.

Outside hitter Erin Fairs added 14 kills and 12 digs while setter Nootsara Tomkom registered 45 assists and 10 digs for Team De La Cruz, which hit .260 as a team with a league season-high 59 kills.

Opposite hitter Karsta Lowe paced Team Valentin-Anderson in the loss with the sixth double-double of her Athletes Unlimited career, finishing with 15 kills and a season-high 11 digs. Outside hitter Madison Villines added a season-high 15 kills and 12 digs, while setter and team captain Natalia Valentin-Anderson finished with 42 assists and 17 digs.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Led by six kills from De La Cruz, Team De La Cruz hit .233 in the opening set and surged to the early lead in the match with a 25-23 victory. The squad also claimed the second set with a 25-20 verdict as Fairs, De La Cruz and opposite hitter Sheilla Castro combined for 17 of the team’s 19 kills in the set. Team Valentin-Anderson avoided the sweep in the final set by claiming a 32-30 decision.

MATCH NOTES

  • De La Cruz, in her second straight week as a captain, upped her career record as a captain to 12-4, including a 4-0 mark this season.

  • De La Cruz’s 22 kills match the Athletes Unlimited single-match season high after Lowe opened the season last Wednesday with 22 kills in a victory over Team Cruz … It is the second time De La Cruz has registered 20 or more kills in a match during her AU career.

  • De La Cruz also set a career high with her 18 digs in the victory.

  • Fairs set a career high with her 14 kills against Team Valentin-Anderson on Wednesday, eclipsing the 12 kills she tallied against Team Larson on Mar. 7, 2021 … It is the second time she has fashioned 10 or more kills in her AU career.

  • Fairs also reached double figures in digs for the third time in her AU career.

  • Sheilla set a season high with her 12 kills in the win on Wednesday, marking the seventh double-digit kill performance of her Athletes Unlimited career … She has tallied 31 kills in her last three matches.

  • Nootsara’s 45 assists are the most by a player this season … She also posted her first double-double of the season after matching a season high with her 10 digs.

  • Villines authored her first double-double in Athletes Unlimited play after her 14-kill, 11-dig effort … Her 14 kills were also a season high.

  • Lowe has tallied 10 or more kills in all 19 matches of her Athletes Unlimited career after pacing Team Valentin-Anderson with 15 kills in Wednesday’s loss … She also earned her sixth career double-double after notching a season-high 12 digs.

  • Valentin-Anderson, serving as a team captain for the first time this season, notched her second double-double in four matches this season … She has also notched 40 or more assists in each of the last two matches.

  • Valentin-Anderson also set a personal season high with her 17 digs.

  • Libero Hana Lishman set a personal season high with 16 digs in the loss on Wednesday … It is the third time in four matches she has recorded a double-digit dig performance.

  • Middle blocker Ali Bastianelli fashioned five blocks in the loss for Team Valentin-Anderson, which are the most by a player in Athletes Unlimited this season … It is the seventh time in league history an athlete has posted five or more blocks in a match.

MATCH MVPS

  • #1 – Bethania De La Cruz (Team De La Cruz, +60)
  • #2 – Erin Fairs (Team De La Cruz, +40)
  • #3 – Nootsara Tomkom (Team De La Cruz, +20)

POINT-EARNERS

In a battle to the finish, Team Valentin-Anderson defeated Team De La Cruz 32-30 in the third set to earn 40 win points. Team De La Cruz secured the remaining 140 win points by winning the first two sets and overall match, 80-75.

De La Cruz posted 22 kills and 18 digs, earning 359 points as the match leader. Teammate Fairs added 14 kills and 12 digs for 342 points, while Nootsara had 45 assists – the most by any athlete this season – for 283 points.

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