DALLAS — Middle blocker Jenna Rosenthal had a season-high 16 kills and team captain Natalia Valentin-Anderson authored another double-double as Team Valentin-Anderson overcame a first set loss to hand Team De La Cruz a 72-69 setback in the opening match of Friday night’s Athletes Unlimited Volleyball doubleheader at Fair Park Coliseum.
Team Valentin-Anderson, which won the match by set scores of 22-25, 25-23 and 25-21, ran its record to 2-0 in Week Four while Team De La Cruz dropped to 1-1.
Rosenthal, who registered her first double-digit kill performance of the season, tallied a match-high 16 kills on 42 attack attempts while hitting .591 in the victory. She also added two of Team Valentin-Anderson’s four blocks in the win along with two digs.
Valentin-Anderson, meanwhile, posted a league season-high 48 assists and matched her season high with 17 digs to lead her team to the victory. She also contributed a block with two kills and three service aces.
Outside hitter Leah Edmond chipped in 15 kills with 10 digs for Team Valentin-Anderson, which overcame 21 attack errors to seal its second straight triumph.
Team De La Cruz, which authored a wire-to-wire victory in its Week Four opener on Wednesday night, was paced by outside hitter and team captain Bethania De La Cruz, who matched Rosenthal with 16 kills while adding 15 digs for her fifth double-double of the season.
Outside hitter Cassidy Lichtman poured in 10 kills with eight digs in the loss, while setter Alisha Childress notched 36 assists with seven digs.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Led by seven kills from its captain, Team De La Cruz hit a blistering .406 in a back-and-forth opening set to claim a 25-22 victory. Team Valentin-Anderson trimmed the deficit to 48-47 by winning the second set as Rosenthal and opposite hitter Falyn Fonoimoana combined to record 11 kills in the middle frame. Team Valentin-Anderson completed the comeback in the final set with a 25-21 verdict.
De La Cruz notched her eighth match with 10 or more kills this season in addition to her sixth double-digit dig effort … De La Cruz also earned the seventh double-double of her Athletes Unlimited career.
With her 16 kills against Team Valentin-Anderson on Friday night, De La Cruz also became the league’s career kills leader … She now owns 353 career kills in 26 matches, passing Karsta Lowe (340) on the career ledger.
De La Cruz also became the first player this season to surpass 3,000 leaderboard points … She has 3,013 leaderboard points through 11 matches.
Valentin-Anderson reached the 40-assist mark for the fourth time this season … Her 48 assists are tied for the second-highest mark in a match in league history … Only Brie King has notched more assists in a match, tallying 50 assists against Team Larson on Mar. 28, 2021, and 48 assists against Team Edmond on Mar. 13, 2021.
Valentin-Anderson also fashioned her league-leading seventh double-double while improving to 4-1 as a team captain this season.
Libero Amanda Benson, who entered the match second in the league in digs, notched her 10th match with 10 or more digs this season after closing Friday’s contest with 12 digs … Benson also posted three assists.
Childress posted 30 or more assists for the sixth time in the last seven matches.
Outside hitter Erin Fairs tallied 16 digs in the victory while adding nine kills … Fairs owns three consecutive double-digit dig efforts, averaging 14.7 digs per contest during that span.
Edmond notched her seventh double-digit kill match in the last eight appearances with her 15 kills against Team De La Cruz on Friday evening … Edmond also garnered her third double-double of the season.
Fonoimoana reached double-digits in kills for the sixth time this season, including the first time since an 11-kill performance on Mar. 26 against Team Valentin-Anderson.
Lichtman had her second double-digit kill effort of the season … It is also the fourth of her career.
- #1 – Natalia Valentin-Anderson (Team Valentin-Anderson, +60)
- #2 – Jenna Rosenthal (Team Valentin-Anderson, +40)
- #3 – Bethania De La Cruz (Team De La Cruz, +20)
After conceding the opening 40 points with a first set loss, Team Valentin-Anderson took the remaining 140 win points as a result of its two set wins and match victory. Valentin-Anderson led all players with a season-high 377 points, giving her six straight matches with 200 or more leaderboard points. Rosenthal followed with a season-high 306 points, while De La Cruz led her squad in the loss with 279 points.
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