MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Junior setter Kaira Muraoka-Robertson and sophomore libero Phia Bellizzi of the Wesleyan University volleyball team were named to the 2018 Division III All-Northeast Region Team, as announced by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). Additionally, Nicole Hilton and Stasie Litinsky earned Honorable Mention.
Muraoka-Robertson and Bellizzi were two of 14 athletes named to the Northeast All-Region Team. It's the first time in their careers that they have been named All-Region. Both Hilton and Litinsky received All-Region honors a year ago.
Muraoka-Robertson has been a focal point in Wesleyan's offense throughout her career. This season, the Los Angeles, Calif. native has dished out 725 assists in 24 matches with an average of 8.53 per set. She is also averaging a career-high 2.56 digs per set and has 13 matches with double-digit assists and digs.
Bellizzi, who has also been named a First Team All-NESCAC selection this year, has established herself as one of the top defensive specialists in the country. The Ladera Ranch, Calif. native is averaging an incredible 5.95 digs per set which ranks 12th-best in Division III. She has played a pivotal role in Wesleyan's success the past two seasons, in which the Cardinals won a NESCAC Championship (2017) and advanced to the NCAA Tournament twice. Wesleyan also recently defeated No. 2 Johnson & Wales in the NCAA Providence Regional Final to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history. Bellizzi is averaging 5.90 digs per set the past two seasons and recently surpassed the 1,000-career dig mark. She currently sits at 1,098 in 53 matches played.
Hilton, the 2017 NESCAC Player of the Year, was recently named the Tournament MVP at the NCAA Providence Regional. She is averaging 2.31 kills per set this season with a .304 hitting percentage. The junior from Wantagh, N.Y. has hit over .300 in each of her first three seasons with the Cardinals. Hilton is a force at the net, both offensively and defensively, and currently averages 0.74 blocks per set as well. For her career, she has 661 kills and 218 blocks.
Litinsky excels offensively for Wesleyan and leads the team in kills, averaging 2.78 per set with a .269 hitting percentage. In three years with the program, she has amassed 597 kills and is averaging 2.50 per set for her career.
The Cardinals earned the No. 7 seed at the NCAA Quarterfinals and have been matched up against the No. 2 seed and nationally-ranked No. 6 Juniata. The two teams will compete on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. for a chance to reach the Final Four.