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Volleyball - Fri, May 2, 2014

Hobbs, NM – University of the Southwest head volleyball coach Sonya Petroski announces the signing of four athletes for the 2014 Volleyball season. Alejandra Hernandez, Celeste Lopez, Leilani Finau, and Paulyae Dawkins will join the Mustangs in the fall.

A native of Arvada, Colo., Hernandez will graduate from Holy Family High School in Broomfield, Colo., and currently plays for the Denver Juniors Volleyball Club as a right side/defensive specialist. She earned first place in Metro League Championship, Colorado Crossroads second place finish, Big South eighth place finish.

"Alejandra is a great asset not only to our program but also the university as a whole," said Petroski. "She is a talented athlete and will be a great addition to our back row. We're very excited to see what she will do this coming season."

Hernandez has also garnered Ambassador Service Awards for three years as well as first and second place in the World Language Day Competition.

Lopez is a 2013 graduate from Riverside High School (El Paso, TX.) She will transfer to USW after spending one season with the Blue Devils at Kansas City Kansas Community College. The Blue Devils saw a 25-11 season making the Kansas Jayhawk Conference championship match against #3 Johnson County Community College.

"I am looking forward to the experience that Celeste will bring to our team," said Petroski. "She was a standout in high school and went to a very competitive junior college."

During Lopez's time at Riverside High School she gathered All-District second team and All-State Academic awards for volleyball. She also was a regional qualifier for three years in golf. Lopez will see time as a defensive specialist/setter.

Finau joins the Mustangs from Moreno Valley, Cal., and will graduate from Rancho Verde High School. Finau is also the cousin of current Mustang, Raevyn Tuitasi-Aiono.

"I'm so excited about Leilani joining our team," said Petroski. "Leilani has such great court awareness and is such a versatile athlete. She's a tremendous addition to our program."

Finau played for 951 Volleyball Club. She will add to the Mustang's back row as a libero/defensive specialist.

Dawkins is a first team all-district honoree, second team all-district for two years and named three years in a row to the academic all-district team while playing for Arlington Bowie High School (TX). While at Bowie, Dawkins helped them to a 12-5 record and going deep into district play.

"Paulyae is a versatile athlete and can be a top competitor at the outside or middle positions," said Petroski. "She is one of those players that you love to watch, she is athletic, competitive, strong, and such a team player. Paulyae has a high vertical that will bring some dynamic offense to our team."

Dawkins will see time at the outside hitter position for the Mustangs. She currently plays for Blocksport Volleyball Club. Dawkins also brings 3 time High School Offensive Player of the Year, All Tournament - Southhills Tourney 2012, All Tournament - MLK Tourney 2012 awards, led her club team in blocks 2012 with Ace Volleyball Club and Texas Image 2011, top scorer Ace Volleyball Club 2012, top scorer One10 Volleyball Club 2013.


The Mustangs will open their 2014 season September 5-6 at the Oklahoma Panhandle State University Tournament. They will open their home season September 11 against UT-Brownsville.

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