Brooklyn Boro

Terriers add defensive talent Jeysamar Velez to women’s volleyball

Transfer also brings academic honors to program

July 24, 2020 John Torenli
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The St. Francis Brooklyn women’s volleyball program last week enhanced not only its roster, but its strong academic standing as well with the addition of junior college transfer Jeysamar Velez.

Velez, a 5-foot-1, libero/defensive specialist from Orlando, Florida, previously attended South Florida State College, where she ranked second in all of NJCAA Division I in digs per set with 6.30 last season.

“Jeysamar brings quality experience at the libero/defensive specialist position, which can help us in our serve-receive game, defense, and overall energy,” said SFC Brooklyn head women’s volleyball coach Amable Martinez.

“We are excited to be able to add her this late in the process.”

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A four-year varsity star at Lake Nona High School in Orlando, Velez set the program record in digs per set and was a decorated student-athlete as she earned the Most Improved Award (2013), Coaches Award (2017) and All-Conference honors (2015-17).

She also garnered the school’s “Pawsitive Pride” Biology honors, ESOL Awards (2015) for achieving a 3.5 grade-point average or higher, Academic Excellence (2014-17) and SNHS Ceremony Award in AP Human Geography and Spanish honors.

Velez, who was a member of the National Honor Society, Key Club and the Spanish National Honor Society, indicated that she chose St. Francis because she was presented with the opportunity to play volleyball and further her education in the Remsen Street school’s biology program.

She also noted the chance to attend college outside of her home state of Florida, and SFC brought her that life-changing opportunity, according to a school-issued release.

Velez’s addition to the roster was announced just before both the men’s and women’s volleyball programs at SFC were presented with the USMC American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Awards on Monday.

Initiated in advance of the 1992-93 academic year, the AVCA annually honors volleyball teams that maintain a year-long grade-point average of 3.30 on a 4.0 scale or 4.10 on a 5.0 scale.

The Terrier women had eight student-athletes named to the NEC Fall Academic Honor Roll, four of which received Commissioner’s Honor Roll recognition for achieving a 3.75 GPA or higher.

In the Spring semester, the women’s team posted a stellar 3.53 cumulative GPA.

On the men’s side, the Terriers concluded their inaugural season with five wins in 15 matches.

The men’s volleyball team picked up its first-ever win on Jan. 18 at home against Baruch, but it was in the classroom that the inaugural version of the Terriers really shined.

The SFC men’s volleyballers also had eight student-athletes selected to the NEC Academic Honor Roll, with three earning Commissioner’s Honor Roll status for registering a 3.75 GPA or higher.

The men’s team, coached by Niko Lambert, closed the year with a 3.59 GPA during the Spring semester.

“Coaches have the most influence during difficult times,” said AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer.

“Keeping student-athletes focused on their academic success when their volleyball identity was suddenly gone is leadership worth celebrating!”

The SFC Brooklyn men’s and women’s volleyball squads were both honored for their academic achievements this week by the USMC American Volleyball Coaches Association. Photo courtesy of SFC Brooklyn Athletics

Both programs may have to wait a bit to begin their respective campaigns following this month’s announcement that the NEC’s Return to Play plan for fall sports has been delayed amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“With the health and safety of our campus and athletic communities at the forefront, the NEC Presidents are utilizing a set of guiding principles to assist in their decision-making around the resumption of sports this fall,” said NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris.

“With so many unknown factors at this point in time, the NEC has elected to delay the start of competition and take advantage of the extra time to continue to evaluate the local, regional and national landscape relative to COVID-19. The Presidents will reconvene in a few weeks to chart the course moving forward.”

Over at Brooklyn College, the news was even worse for student-athletes hoping to get back into action in the fall.

“Amidst the unprecedented challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the City University of New York Athletic Conference and member Athletic Directors have made the difficult decision to cancel all intercollegiate competition, both traditional and non-traditional, scheduled for the 2020 fall semester,” it was announced in a CUNYAC-issued release.

“With the safety and well-being of students, staff and faculty as their highest priority, the University has put in place physical distancing and safety protocols including limiting the size of on-campus gatherings. CUNYAC will adhere to these critical CUNY safety guidelines as part of our efforts to safeguard the health and well-being of our athletic community.

“A decision on the remaining winter and spring sports competition calendar, and on whether fall sport competition would be feasible in the spring, will be determined at a later date. In addition, the University has not yet made a final determination on whether training and team practices will be allowed during the Fall or Winter season. However, athletics remains an important part of the experience for our students and our conference members will work together to make every effort possible to engage our student-athletes and accommodate all of our sports for the 2020-21 academic year.

“CUNYAC and its members will continue to monitor federal, state, and local guidelines, and will consult with each other as well as with the NCAA and NJCAA. We will provide updates as information becomes available.”

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