Ronika Stone

Recap: De La Cruz leads team to sweep of Team Sheilla

Ronika Stone © Athletes Unlimited, LLC 2022 / Credit: Jade Hewitt Media
Eric Rhew
Apr 06, 2022

DALLAS — After being swept in all three of her team’s matches during Week Three of the 2022 Athletes Unlimited Volleyball season, outside hitter Bethania De La Cruz was not about to let it happen again.

Instead, she opened Week Four with a three-set sweep of her own as Team De La Cruz authored a 75-60 victory over Team Sheilla to begin Wednesday’s proceedings at Fair Park Coliseum.

Team De La Cruz, which claimed the match by set scores of 25-22, 25-16 and 25-22, became the third team to claim a three-set sweep this season, joining Team McClendon on Mar. 19 and Team Drews on Apr. 1.

Led by De La Cruz, the victorious Team De La Cruz used a stellar .330 hitting percentage and nine blocks to secure the decision. De La Cruz posted a double-double with 15 kills and 12 digs in addition to matching her league single-match record with four service aces.

Middle blocker Ronika Stone added a season-high eight kills with three blocks and a .467 hitting percentage, while opposite hitter Taylor Fricano registered a season-high seven kills and nine digs.

Team Sheilla was led by outside hitter Lindsay Stalzer’s 14 kills and nine digs, while outside hitter Aury Cruz contributed 10 kills in the loss.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Team De La Cruz claimed the first two sets by scores of 25-22 and 25-16 as De La Cruz tallied 13 kills to go with six kills apiece from McCage and Fricano. The squad held off a late rally by Team Sheilla in the final set to secure the sweep with a 25-22 verdict.

MATCH NOTES

  • Team De La Cruz’s .330 hitting percentage was the third-highest mark this season … Team McClendon hit .362 against Team Lowe in its three-set sweep on Mar. 19, while Team De La Cruz fashioned a .337 mark against Team Drews on Mar. 26.

  • Team De La Cruz became the 13th team in league history to win a match by 15 or more points, including the third squad this year.

  • De La Cruz reached double figures in kills for the seventh time this season and the 20th time in her AU career … She also authored her sixth career double-double while recording 10 or more digs for the eighth time in her career.

  • De La Cruz also matched her league single-match record with four aces … She also had four service aces in last Saturday’s finale against Team Lowe … She is the Athletes Unlimited career leader with 25 service aces, including a league-high 11 aces this season.

  • Fricano, who finished with a .500 hitting percentage without an attack error, set season highs with her seven kills and nine digs … Entering Wednesday’s action, she has posted just one kill in three sets this season.

  • Libero Nomaris Vélez Agosto authored her eighth double-digit dig performance of the season with 16 digs in the victory … Velez Agosto, who has 21 career matches with 10 or more digs, also reached the 15-dig plateau for the sixth time in her career.

  • Stalzer posted her fourth career double-digit kill effort with her 13 kills in Wednesday’s loss … Over the last three matches, she has tallied 38 kills, including a career-high 17 kills against Team Sheilla last Friday.

  • Middle blocker Ali Bastianelli finished with a career-high nine kills on 16 attempts … In addition, she became the first athlete in league history with 50 or more career blocks after tallying a pair of rejections against Team De La Cruz.

MATCH MVPS

  • #1 – Bethania De La Cruz (Team De La Cruz, +60)
  • #2 – Cassidy Lichtman (Team De La Cruz, +40)
  • #3 – Ronika Stone (Team De La Cruz, +20)

POINT-EARNERS

Team De La Cruz secured all 180 win points in the victory. De La Cruz set an Athletes Unlimited Volleyball single-match record with her 445 leaderboard points after earning MVP 1 distinction for the league-high fourth time this season. Outside hitter Cassidy Lichtman, who was the MVP 2 selection, followed with a season-high 316 points while Stone was the MVP 3 selection and claimed 285 points. Stalzer’s 161 points led Team Sheilla in the loss.

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