MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Phia Bellizzi and Kaira Muraoka-Robertson of the Wesleyan University volleyball team were honored once again by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) on Tuesday as Bellizzi earned Third Team All-America laurels and Muraoka-Robertson was named an All-America Honorable Mention.
Bellizzi becomes the third Cardinal ever to earn All-America honors, joining teammate Nicole Hilton and Lisa Drennan '09. Hilton was named a Second Team selection a year ago and Brennan received Second Team honors in 2008. Additionally, it's the second consecutive season and second time overall that Wesleyan has an All-American and All-American Honorable Mention in the same year. In 2017, Stasie Litinsky received Honorable Mention praise alongside Hilton's Second Team honors.
Bellizzi has excelled in her second season with the Cardinals. The defensive specialist from Ladera Ranch, Calif. currently leads the NESCAC and ranks 12th in Division III in digs, averaging 5.95 per set. Her stellar play defensively has helped guide Wesleyan to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division III Championships for the first time in program history. In addition to her All-America honors, Bellizzi was also named AVCA All-Northeast Region and First Team All-NESCAC. It was the second all-conference honor of her career as she also received Second Team praise as a freshman.
Muraoka-Robertson is enjoying a stellar junior season for the Cardinals. The setter from Los Angeles, Calif. is averaging 8.53 assists and 2.56 digs per set. She has 10 matches this season with double-digit assists and digs, and dished out a season-high 53 assists in Wesleyan's upset win over No. 2 Johnson & Wales in the NCAA Regional Final. Muraoka-Robertson ranks fifth in the NESCAC in total assists (725) and 21st in digs (218). She was also named to the AVCA All-Northeast Region Team.
Wesleyan will play No. 6 Juniata in the NCAA Quarterfinals on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m.