NEW ROCHELLE, NY — For the second consecutive year, the Association of Division III Independents (AD3I) have recognized five The College of New Rochelle volleyball players with All-Independent status. In addition, senior Meghan King was named Player of the Year and Head Coach Georgia Efthalitsides was named Coach of the Year for the second straight year.
King (New City, NY/Clarkstown North) added First Team Outside Hitter to her Player of the Year accolade, and was joined by outside hitter Fabiola Padilla Rios (San Juan, PR/University Gardens) and setter Melanie Lopez Soto (Gurabo, PR/Notre Dame) as First Team All-Independent honorees. Tiany Perez Diaz (Junco, PR/Notre Dame) was named Second Team All-Independent Libero, while Kylie Thesz (Ahwatuckee, AZ/Salem) earned All-Independent Honorable Mention Middle Hitter recognition.
King achieves All-Independent status for the third straight season, her second as First Team Outside Hitter, and wraps up an outstanding career and the all-time offensive leader for the Blue Angels. This season she was twice named AD3I Player of the Week and ranked in the top-15 in AD3I in kills, hitting percentage, aces, block solos and points. The senior broke the school record, one of six that she holds, for hitting percentage in a match with a .593 (16-0-27) effort in the Senior Night win over Albertus Magnus College and tallied 10 or more kills 12 times. She was named HVIAC Championship Tournament Most Valuable Player after leading the Blue Angels to back-to-back tournament titles.
Padilla Rios had a tremendous all-around rookie campaign, leading the team in kills and digs, while ranking second in hitting percentage and third in aces. Recognized by several organizations for her outstanding play, including being named the AD3I Student-Athlete of the Month for September, she set the school record for digs in a season and kills in a three-set match while ranking in the top 10 in AD3I in kills, hitting percentage, aces, digs, and points. The outside hitter tallied eight double-doubles, slammed home 10 or more kills 11 times and 10 or more digs 17 times, and hit .350 or better nine-times.
Lopez Soto also had a productive rookie season playing in the Blue Angels’ 6-2 system, leading the team in assists and ranking in the top-15 in AD3I in kills, hitting percentage, assists, aces, digs, and points. She also ranks in the top-10 for all of NCAA Division II in aces and aces per set. The setter tallied seven double-doubles and was opportunistic in attack, ranking fourth on the team in kills and first in hitting percentage.
Perez Diaz moves up from Honorable Mention to Second Team All-Independent this season after leading AD3I in aces and aces per set, and ranking in the top-10 in NCAA DIII in both categories. She set a school record with 13 aces in win over Sarah Lawrence and matched her own school record for digs in a match (35) against Ursinus College. The libero was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Greyhound Premiere and the Kean Invitational.
Thesz earns All-Independent Honorable Mention accolades for the second season after a strong season as the most consistent presence in the middle for the Blue Angels, ranking fifth on the team in points. She set a new program record for blocks in a match with seven total blocks in HVIAC Championship match win over Pratt Institute, and also moved into first place on the career blocks list. The middle hitter ranked among the AD3I leaders in all block categories.
Efthalitsides has continually raised the bar for the Blue Angels program during her six seasons at the helm, earning Coach of the Year honors after leading CNR to the HVIAC regular season and tournament championship titles. She guided the Blue Angels to a perfect 5-0 record in conference play, with all five wins coming in straight sets, and broke the program record set last year for wins in a season, compiling a 25-7 overall record, with 20 of the 25 wins coming in straight sets. She also mentored the team to program records for consecutive wins (11) and home wins, as the Blue Angels posted an unblemished 15-0 record at the Wellness Center. In her six seasons, CNR has won two regular season championships, four tournament championships and have advanced to the conference semifinals every season. This year, the program’s first in the ECAC, she led the team to the first postseason appearance in program history and the first for any Blue Angel program since 1984-85 (basketball).