WALTHAM, Mass. – It's been a standout season so far for the Bentley University women's volleyball team and on Wednesday, four players and coach Joey Pacis were rewarded for their regular season accomplishments when the Northeast-10 Conference announced its All-Conference teams.
Senior Xio Lopp (Kalispell, Mont,/Flathead HS) was honored by the conference coaches as the Northeast-10 Setter of the Year and freshman Ingrid Murphy (Cotuit/Barnstable HS) was recognized as the NE10 Rookie of the Year. Murphy was also named to the All-Rookie team
Lopp was one of three Falcons who were voted to the eight-player All-Northeast-10 first team, an accolade also bestowed upon seniors Rachel Bruno (San Diego, Calif,/Francis Parker School) and Dani Milner (Plano, Texas/The Greenhill School).
Joey Pacis, the Falcons' sixth-year head coach, was selected as the Sandy Hoffman Coach of the Year for the fourth time in his career. The award is named after the late and legendary Bentley coach whose resume included eight Coach of the Year awards and 758 wins in 32 years at the helm.
All have played key roles for a Bentley team that captured the Northeast-10 regular season title, is currently ranked second in the NCAA Division II East Region and is hosting the NE10 semifinals and finals this weekend.
Lopp has had a standout season directing the Falcon offense and is the only setter in the region averaging at least eight assists and 0.50 blocks per set. Entering the NE10 semis, she's has 13 double-doubles and is averaging 9.79 assists, 2.85 digs, 0.57 blocks and 0.78 kills with a .254 hitting percentage and 29 aces.
Lopp, who shared the setting role the last three years, is the first Bentley player since Alyssa Carter in 2001 to reach the Setter of the Year award. Her career totals, in 240 sets, include 1,757 assists, 551 digs and 145 blocks.
Murphy, the tenth Falcon to be chosen as the Rookie of the Year and the first since Alex Kearney in 2006, averages 2.28 kills and 2.92 digs this season. She's had 10 or more kills eight times, including six of the last seven matches, and double-digit digs 15 times, including eight of the last ten matches.
In Bentley's 3-1 win over Southern Connecticut in Tuesday's NE10 quarters, she sparked the team with a career-high 16 kills and 15 digs. The double-double was her sixth.
Pacis last received the Coach of the Year award in 2014, his first Bentley season after succeeding Hoffman. He also earned the honor twice during his time at Merrimack College.
His team more than doubled its win total from last fall and enters the NE10 semifinals with a 24-5 record, the program's most wins since 2007. The Falcons have won 19 of their last 20 matches and are 21-2 against East Region teams. Pacis is 102-72 during his time at Bentley and 219-188 overall as a head coach.
Bruno, a second-team All-Conference honoree in both 2017 and 2018, moved up to the first team this season after averaging 2.0 kills and 0.89 digs while hitting .293. She leads the team in hitting, blocks and aces, and is currently third in the NE10 in hitting after leading the conference the last two seasons.
A fixture in the Bentley lineup since her arrival on campus, Bruno has amassed 878 kills, 348 blocks, 99 aces and 1,184.5 points in 404 career sets.
Milner, a first-team All-Northeast-10 choice in 2017, came back strong this season after injuries ended her junior season six matches in. She's averaging 2.74 kills and 1.13 digs while hitting .277 from her outside position.
Milner, in 290 career sets, has 990 points. Her kill total stands at 855 and she also has 668 digs and 133 blocks.
Bentley will host Saint Anselm Friday at 5 pm with the winner advancing to Saturday's championship match.