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Kearney earns first-team All-Northeast-10 honors for fourth time

LOWELL, Mass. — Bentley University senior outside hitter Alex Kearney (La Jolla, Calif./La Jolla HS), who became the program’s all-time leader in kills on Saturday, has been named to the All-Northeast-10 Conference women’s volleyball first team, becoming the first Falcon to ever achieve that feat four times.

Three other Bentley players were also honored when the conference handed out its awards on Saturday morning during a pre-tournament brunch at UMass-Lowell. Senior libero Cassie Kraft (New Braunfels, Texas/St. Mary’s Hall) was named to the All-NE-10 second team for the third straight year, senior middle blocker Kristine Mickelson (San Diego, Calif./Scripps Ranch HS) was chosen to the third team for the second time, and outside hitter Amy Waitkus (Phoenix, Ariz./Arcadia HS) was named to the All-Freshman team.

Kearney leads the 2009 Falcons in kills (2.60 per set) and points (326), and is second in digs, averaging 2.59, and aces (31). She has 1,434 kills for her career, bettering the school record that had stood since Maria Vicens finished her career in 1989 by four, and 1,293 digs, sixth on Bentley’s all-time list.

Kraft, currently 25 shy of a fourth straight 500-dig season, has averaged 4.4 digs per set this season, a number that has been climbing steadily throughout the course of the year. Since the team’s return from Florida a month ago, she’s made 5.79 a set over the team’s last nine matches. Kraft’s 2,072 career digs is second in school history.

Mickelson has played in every match of her collegiate career (as has Kraft), and is averaging 1.71 kills, 1.07 blocks and 0.53 digs this fall. Her 394 career blocks ranks seventh in the program’s history, and she’s just outside of the top ten in kills with 967.

Waitkus, a starter in 22 of 29 matches and owner of five double-doubles, is second on the team in kills (2.37 per set) and third in digs (2.14). In addition, she has served a team-high 34 aces.

Bentley, 17-12 after falling to Adelphi in the Northeast-10 semifinals, hopes to receive an NCAA Division II tournament berth when the field is announced Sunday. The Falcons were fifth in last week’s regional rankings.