YUMA, Ariz. – The Arizona Western volleyball team wrapped up its season on Friday, and a pair of players were named to the all-conference and all-region teams earlier today. Mafe Sandoval has spent the last two seasons as a dominant, all-around force, and she was named to the All-Arizona Community College Athletic Conference First Team and the All-Region I, Division I First Team. Neyshlian Roman Concepcion, the team’s libero, was named to the All-ACCAC Third Team as well as the All-Region I, Division I First Team.
Sandoval, an NJCAA All-American as a freshman, led the team with 2.89 kills per set and was the focus of opposing defense all season. That focus allowed the Lady Mats to diversify their offense, and six players had more than 120 kills this year. Yet Sandoval wasn’t just an offensive threat. The sophomore from Colombia also was a rock on defense and averaged 3.15 digs per set (second best on the team).
Having an All-American return to your team for a second year is a great feeling,” said AWC head coach Lorayne Chandler. “Mafe’s intimidation factor had the biggest impact. I was pleased to see her become so comfortable in the back row this season. You don’t often see athletes who can play defense and pass as well as she does.”
Sandoval had at least 10 kills in nine of her 21 matches. She had a season-high 19 in back-to-back wins over South Mountain and Phoenix at the end of September.
Roman Concepcion was the lynchpin of the team’s defense and averaged a whopping seven digs per set. She was consistently in the right spot and able to anticipate where she needed to be. The freshman from Puerto Rico also piled up 62 assists and provided the team the ability to set the ball if the setter was forced out of system.
“I was pleased to see Neyshi grow throughout the season,” Chandler said. “She started out pretty quiet but learned to take an active role as the season went on.”
The Lady Mats went 15-10 overall this season, Chandler’s third as head coach of the team.
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 2,300 certificates and degrees in 2016-17.