Krufka NEC Rookie of the Year; Mercado and Robinson All-NEC

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (November 22, 2013)—Three members of the Sacred Heart women's volleyball team were honored at the annual Northeast Conference awards banquet on the eve of the NEC Championship. Sarah Krufka (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) was named the 2013 NEC Rookie of the Year, as well as a member of the All-NEC second team. Senior Dianis Mercado (Vega Baja, Puerto Rico) was tabbed to the All-NEC first team, and freshmen Kiki Robinson (Bakersfield, Calif.) to the All-NEC second team.

Krufka was a consistent weapon on the Sacred Heart offense earning two Molten/NEC Rookie of the Week nods this season. The Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. native was second on the team and seventh in the NEC with 2.90 kills per set. Her 3.37 points per set also ranked her second among her teammates, and seventh in the league. The freshman had her best match on September 20 against Villanova when she posted her career-high 18 kills, and was one dig away from a double-double. This season, Krufka tallied 109 digs, 21 service aces and 54 blocks.

For the second time in her career, Mercado has been named to the All-NEC first team. The 2010 NEC Rookie of the Year has served as a leader this year as the Pioneers' only senior. Mercado led the team with 3.57 kills, 4.1 points and 0.39 aces per set. The Vega Baja, Puerto Rico native was ranked second in the league in all three categories. In a five-set win over Fairleigh Dickinson on October 19, she set a new career-high smashing 32 kills against the Knights. Proving she is a top player anywhere on the court, she collected 13 double-doubles this season and was second on the team with 2.98 digs per set.

Krufka and Mercado would not have had the seasons they did without setter Robinson. The  5-10 rookie finished the regular season atop the conference with 10.48 assists per set. After averaging 11.8 assists per set in the Beanpot Classic in the opening weekend, Robinson earned the nod as Molten/NEC Rookie of the Week. The Bakersfield, Calif. native recorded three 50-plus assist performances, including her career-high of 56 against Central Connecticut State on November 9.

Tomorrow, the No. 3 Pioneers face off with No. 2 Central Connecticut State Blue Devils as 5:30 p.m. in the semifinal of the 2013 NEC Championship Tournament.