The Florida Atlantic University women's volleyball team continued its success under Head Coach Fernanda Nelson, making its fifth consecutive Conference USA Tournament in 2017 following an 18-8 regular season.
FAU opened the year in triumphant fashion, winning all three of its matches at the Stetson Invitational. Abbi Reid and Sigourney Kame were named to the all-tournament team and Ivone Martinez was named tournament MVP. The Owls lost two of three matches at the FGCU Homewood Suites Classic, then traveled to the UNCG Spartan Spiketacular, where they picked up one of their biggest wins in program history, a sweep of Coastal Carolina, who was ranked no. 34 in the RPI at the time.
"The trip to UNCG was big for us," said Nelson. "It gave us a lot of time to bond as a team and a family on and off the court."
The Owls wrapped up their tournament schedule by hosting the FAU Invitational, where they defeated Stetson and Savannah State, but fell to North Dakota State in the finale.
FAU took eventual C-USA champion WKU to five sets in its conference opener, but came up just short. The Owls closed the regular season by winning seven of its last eight to capture the no. 5 seed for the C-USA tournament.
Although a four-set loss to UTSA ended the Owls' season, there were still plenty of reasons to celebrate. FAU finished with 18 wins for the third time in four seasons. Sophomore Sigourney Kame was named to both the C-USA All-Academic Team and First Team All-Conference. Juniors Ivone Martinez and Abbi Reid both made the All C-USA Second Team and Sydney Nemtuda made the All-Freshman team.
"Siggy playing for her national team really helped her develop as a player and she was able to show that this season," said Nelson. "Abbi had another solid year for us in the middle and Sydney came in was able to help us right away as a freshman."
Martinez led the nation in assists per set at 12.81 and her total of 1,153 was the third best single season total in school history.
"Ivone was the key to our offense," said Nelson. "She did a good job of finding our hitters and putting them in position to be successful."
The future is bright for the Owls, as they are expected to return all six starters for the 2018 season.
"We have a lot of experience coming back next year and I'm looking forward to getting back on the court for our spring season," said Nelson.