BOCA RATON, Fla. - The Florida Atlantic University beach volleyball team had another year of accolades and honors, highlighted by having Mackenzie Morris and Erica Brok sharing CCSA Freshman of the Year honors and the program sending two teams to the National Collegiate Beach Pairs Championships.
FAU finished off another impressive season under fourth year head coach Capri Grotowski. The Sandy Owls went 18-15, posting back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in program history. FAU was ranked in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll every week of the season and finished 20th in the final poll.
Morris and Brok led the Owls in wins by a pair, going 25-7 on the season and sharing the CCSA Freshman of the Year award.
“I was surprised that they even made the (starting) lineup, but they did,” noted Grotowski. “They made the lineup and kept winning and we kept moving them up in the order. It was the best surprise a coach can have.”
In a measure of how much respect the program has earned, FAU sent two teams out to the National Pairs Championships this season after sending one pair last year. Morris and Jessalyn Kinlaw were one squad, with Carly Scarbrough and Brittany Pellitteri making up the other. Kinlaw made her second straight appearance at the event, after going with Megan Rice last season. Scarbrough also made the CCSA All-Academic Team.
“It gets FAU out there,” Grotowski said of the accomplishment. “Some people still didn’t know who we were, even after finishing the season ranked 14th in the country. It was a lot of fun, especially for Mac and Jess going undefeated the first day after not playing together all season.”
Looking forward to the 2019 season, the Sandy Owls will have to replace Kinlaw, Pellitteri and Gabrielle Dischler, all of whom were in the starting lineup.
“All three of them were huge for us. Gabby and Britt played for all four years and Jess went to Nationals both years she was here,” noted Grotowski. “Those shoes will be tough to fill, but we’re a bit more confident in our ability to replace them.”
The Sandy Owls are expected to return seven starters for the 2019 season.
“I’m excited about our team next year,” declared Grotowski. “We just have to keep growing, keep gaining confidence and keep getting better.”