Women’s volleyball granted conference honors for season success

The FIU women’s volleyball team meets a center court prior to their matchup against the Stetson Hatters on August 25, 2018 at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center. (Photo courtesy of FIU Athletics)

By Jenna Smith/Asst. Sports Director



Libero Lina Bernier, right side hitter Margherita Bianchin and setter Abbie Hughes received Conference USA honors on Wednesday, Nov. 14 for their talents on-and-off the court.

Recently, the Panthers beat the Conference USA top-ranked (12-2) Rice University 3-1 on Saturday, Nov. 10 at Ocean Bank Convocation Center.

“The best thing is our team’s chemistry. The chemistry really shows when we play and I think that it translates into our wins,” said outside hitter Nina Petranovic.

That chemistry and the team’s dedications has led them to victories and records being broken.

Head coach Rita Buck-Crockett started her career at FIU in 2012 and since her hiring she’s managed to have only one winning season.

This year, the head coach has accomplished a 17 win season to top her old record of 15 wins which she set in 2015.

The Panthers, who are currently ranked sixth in the C-USA, have had numerous individuals all season standout and display their skillsets.

Bernier, who in the 2017-18 year was out due to an ACL tear, has made a comeback and has been one the main contributors for the team’s defense.

She ranks third in the conference with 518 digs and has been named the Conference Defensive Player of the Week two times. The Puerto Rican native averages 4.84 digs per set and has 17 aces.

On Friday, Oct. 12, Bernier recorded her first double-double against UTSA with her recording 28 digs and 12 assists.

The impressive libero also works hard off the court as she was recognized as the C-USA Academic Player of the Week alongside senior right side Bianchin.  

Bernier maintained a 3.8 GPA and majors in biomedical engineering, while Bianchin is an international relations major with a 3.87 GPA.

Bianchin was recognized for her academics and All-Conference USA Second Team.

Bianchin, who is an All-Conference Second Team honoree, places tenth for the most kills in the conference with 367 kills and averages 3.43 kills per set.

Hughes made the C-USA Freshman team and has been a successful player from the minute she stepped on the court.

The freshman standout has 914 assists and averages 8.54 assists-per-set. The Ohio native ranks sixth for total assists and ninth for assists-per-set in C-USA.

The team will appear in the C-USA volleyball Tournament on November 16 in Huntington, West Virginia against the University of Texas at San Antonio.

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