Erin Fairs, Sheilla Castro

First-time captain Sheilla Castro starts Week 3 with a win

Erin Fairs, Sheilla Castro © Athletes Unlimited, LLC 2022 / Credit: Jade Hewitt Media
Eric Rhew
Mar 30, 2022

DALLAS — Opposite hitter Sheilla Castro made sure her first match as a captain was a joyous one as her 16 kills propelled Team Sheila to a 72-61 victory over Team De La Cruz to close out Wednesday’s Athletes Unlimited Volleyball doubleheader at Fair Park Coliseum.

Led by its captain, Team Sheilla claimed the win by set scores of 22-25, 25-18 and 25-18.

Sheilla, serving as a captain for the first time in her two-year Athletes Unlimited career, finished with 16 kills on 39 attack attempts in addition to contributing six digs. Outside hitter Kalei Mau added 10 kills and seven digs while setter Nootsara Tomkom fashioned a double-double of 35 assists and 13 digs.

Outside hitter Bethania De La Cruz paced Team De La Cruz in the loss with 14 kills and seven digs. Opposite hitter Falyn Fonoimoana added nine kills, while setter Carli Lloyd finished with a double-double of 25 assists and 12 digs.


Team De La Cruz used four kills apiece from Fonoimoana and De La Cruz to claim a 25-22 victory in the opening set. Team Sheilla responded by taking the second set by a 25-18 count on the strength of seven kills from Sheilla. Team Sheilla finished the victory by posting a 25-18 decision in the third set as Sheilla and outside hitter Erin Fairs combined for nine kills.


  • De La Cruz, serving as a captain for the seventh straight week, lost for just the second time in seven matches this season … She owns a 13-6 all-time record as a captain.

  • In addition, De La Cruz posted her fifth double-digit kill effort of the season, including her fourth in a row … She has averaged 18.8 kills per match in her last four outings.

  • De La Cruz was not named one of the three match MVP recipients for the first time this season, snapping a streak of six consecutive matches with an MVP honor.

  • Sheilla, meanwhile, has four double-digit kill performances this season after her 16-kill showing, including three in the last four matches.

  • Sheilla also earned MVP 1 honors for the second time this season … She has garnered MVP recognition three times this season.

  • Mau matched her season high with 10 kills in Wednesday’s victory … She also had 10 kills against De La Cruz on Mar. 19.

  • Tomkom, who earned her second MVP award of the season, also fashioned her fourth double-double of the season, which is tied for the league lead with opposite hitter Karsta Lowe and setter Natalia Valentin-Anderson.

  • Tomkom’s 13 digs also matched her season high, which she recorded against Team Stivrins last Friday.

  • Lloyd also matched the league lead with her fourth double-double of the season … It was her first double-double since a 25-assist, 13-dig performance to close Week One against Team McClendon.

  • Middle blocker Eri Xue garnered MVP 3 honors after notching a season-high seven kills in Wednesday’s victory … Xue becomes the 21st different player in the league to earn a match MVP award this season.


  • #1 – Sheilla Castro (Team Sheilla, +60)
  • #2 – Nootsara Tomkom (Team Sheilla, +40)
  • #3 – Eri Xue (Team Sheilla, +20)


Team Sheilla claimed 140 of the 180 possible win points after taking the final two sets in addition to the match victory. Sheilla led all athletes with 310 leaderboard points while Tomkom followed with 276 points. Outside hitter Taylor Morgan paced all athletes with 124 stat points in the loss for Team De La Cruz.

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