By MIKE MONTFORT —
Carolina Barbosa was selected as Region XIV North Zone Volleyball Player of the Year and two other sophomores vital to the success of the 27-12 semifinalists joined her on the first team when post-season honors were announced by head coach Ronda Shirley.
Libero Alice Bermudez and setter Biatriz Berti joined Barbosa, a middle-blocker and outside hitter from Rio de Janeiro, on the league coaches’ honor roll that celebrated the accomplishments of players most instrumental in Navarro volleyball’s dramatic turnaround and rise in power.
Among NJCAA statistics, Barbosa finished third in matches played, fourth in sets played and fifth in kills (459) and points (541).
The six-footer had 26 matches with double-figure kill totals — including a stretch of 13-of-14, plus six straight to end the season. Her most spectacular, season-best efforts came during the Region XIV Tournament, when she made 79 kills during four matches in the double-elimination meet. Singularly, she made 30 kills and 22 digs in the five-game, first-round loss to San Jacinto.
On the team, Barbosa was second in kills-per-set (3.14) and fifth in hitting percentage (.302).
Berti, a 5-foot-8 sophomore from Sao Paulo, Brazil, who transferred here from Western Nebraska Community College, ranked fourth in nationally in assists (1163) and fifth in sets played (145). She compiled double figures in assists in 38 consecutive matches. In 20 of those matches she totaled 20 or more assists, piling up numbers at a dizzying rate — 72 against Hutchinson, 58 and 57 in two matches against San Jacinto, 52 against Blinn, 47 against NMMI and 46 against Iowa Western.
She totaled 19 matches with double-figure digs, including seven in succession and 9-of-10 during one stretch of the season. She seemed to rise with personal-season high matches against NJCAA Tournament qualifiers Iowa Western (18), Hutchinson (16), and New Mexico Military Institute (15).
Still with those numbers, she ranked second in digs and service aces behind 5-foot-5 Bermudez.
Bermudez’s 539-dig season topped Navarro’s charts and ranked her 13th nationally. She had 31 matches of double-figure digs — including 32 against Iowa Western, 29 against Hill and 22 against Monroe. The Bayamon, Puerto Rico, native led the Bulldogs with 28 service aces during the season.