YUMA, Ariz. – Outside hitter Mafe Sandoval dominated on the court for the Arizona Western College volleyball team throughout the season. The freshman routinely thundered the ball to the floor on her way to averaging 3.55 kills per set, and she was named the Arizona Community Conference Athletic Conference Player of the Year at the conclusion of the regular season.
She was also selected to the All-ACCAC and All-Region I, Division I First Team. Setter Stephany Orjuela earned a spot on the ACCAC Second Team and the Region I, Division I First Team, and Sofia Lopez and Karen Asprilla both were named All-ACCAC Honorable Mentions. Head coach Lorayne Chandler was named the Co-Coach of the Year with Glendale’s Lisa Stuck after the two teams tied atop the conference standings.
Sandoval powered the Lady Matador offense throughout the season. She set a season high with 23 kills with a .600 hitting percentage in a five set win at Yavapai on September 16. She finished with at least 10 kills 18 times this season. The 6’0 freshman also averaged 2.91 digs per set.
Orjuela is fifth in the nation with 11.32 assists per set. Under her direction, the team averages 13.00 kills per set (ninth in the nation), with four players averaging at least two kills per set (and a fifth averaging 1.94). Orjuela was named the NJCAA Region I Tournament MVP after leading the team to a five-set win over Eastern Arizona College to advance to the national tournament.
As a libero, Lopez covered an incredible amount of ground as an integral part of the Lady Matador defense. She led the team with 5.51 digs per set. The sophomore added 15 aces as well.
Middle blocker Karen Asprilla has been a potent force in the middle to help take pressure off of the team’s outside hitters. The sophomore from Cali, Colombia averaged 2.06 kills per set, and she hit double figures in kills seven times this year.
Coach Chandler earned her first ACCAC Coach of the Year award in her second season at AWC. She will also be making her first trip to the NJCAA National Tournament as a head coach, although she went with the team as an assistant two seasons ago. Under her direction, the team got off to a 23-0 start for the first time in school history.
The Lady Mats head to Casper Wyoming next week and will play their first match on Thursday, November 17. The time, team and seeding information are still TBA.
Arizona Western College is one of the top community colleges in Arizona. The college boasts partnerships with all three state universities that include face-to-face classes in Yuma. AWC leads the state in enrollment growth over the past 10 years and handed out more than 2,400 certificates and degrees in 2015-16.