Covington, Holy Family spike competition

Carly Covington led Holy Family to the CACC finals. PHOTO: FRISBY PHOTOGRAPHY

Carly Covington might be three hours away from her home, but she’s always in front of the home crowd.

Covington, a junior on the Holy Family University women’s volleyball team, grew up in Delmar, Maryland, but every time she takes the court, she can count on having the fans on her side, including two diehards who make the three-hour trip each way to cheer her on.

“They’re at almost every game,” Covington said. “They’ll come up and sometimes we’ll go out after. I don’t usually buy, they do, but it’s good to see them.

“Sometimes I’ll miss home, so I’ll go home every chance I get, but not too much during volleyball season, so I’m glad they come as much as they do.”

She’s making every trip well worth their time.

Covington is having a remarkable season this year, and for her efforts, she was named the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Women’s Volleyball Player of the Year. It’s the second straight year the Tigers had the top player in the conference. Last year it was Chase Wassel who earned the honors.

Other Holy Family volleyball players who were honored at the end of the regular season were sophomore Morgan Silks, an Archbishop Carroll grad who was named the CACC Setter of the Year for the second straight season.

Silks and Covington join Gianna Pesognelli, of Phoenix, Arizona, on the first team, and senior Jillian Boyle, of North Andover, Massachusetts, who made second team.

This year, the Tigers haven’t missed a beat without last year’s top player and Covington is one of the main reasons for that.

She’s averaging 3.87 kills per set, tops in the conference. She also averages just over three digs per set, so she’s proven to be an all-around player.

She now has more than 1,000 career kills and digs during her career.

Covington has earned all of the accolades she’s received this year, but she’s not one to hold them all to herself. As honored as she is to win player of the year, she was quick to set her teammates up with a lot of praise.

“I couldn’t do any of this without our team, we have a really good team with really good players,” said Covington, who also played basketball and softball in high school, but stuck with volleyball because it was her favorite sport. “It’s great to win the player of the year in this conference because there are so many great players in it. It really is an honor to win it because of all the great players.”

The talent has led the Tigers to a great season.

Holy Family finished 16-3, which put them in a tie for first place in the CACC South Division with Georgian Court. It was the second year in a row Holy Family won the division crown.

Last week, the Tigers moved up a spot in the East Region rankings, coming in at sixth. The ranking came after the Tigers put together a 15-game winning streak after knocking off Bloomfield College 3-1 in the CACC quarterfinals. They then bested Felician to advance to the finals, but fell to Georgian Court on Sunday in the finals, 3-2.

Holy Family will now await the final NCAA Division II East Region rankings to see if it receives one of the five at-large bids into the East Region Tournament.

A win in the semifinals would put them in the finals, which they will host this week.

Covington loves the holidays and hopes to spend time at home, but one of the few things she’d give up a trip to Maryland for a chance to continue the season.

“I love Thanksgiving, but I also love playing with this team,” Covington said. “I think that’s why we’re doing so well. We have great chemistry. We are all very good friends. We all play for each other. We’re a real team. We have a lot of good players, but I think the main reason is because we all like each other.”

Covington might share credit on the court, but her teammates aren’t around when she’s doing just as well in the classroom, where she majors in neuroscience and maintains a 3.6 grade point average.

“I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but I thought I wanted to do something in the medical field, so my adviser said a career in neuroscience would be a good decision,” Covington said. “It’s a lot of psychology and biology classes. It’s hard, but I like to help others.

“I usually study over the weekends, especially on Sundays, our off day. And I only have one class on Tuesday and Thursday, so I have time on those days. It’s busy with everything, but I have time.”

She also has time for another great year.

The Tigers have a young roster with only two seniors, so first-year head coach Collin Sibilia should have a lot of good players back next season.

And while Covington isn’t ready to turn the page on 2019, she is excited about what 2020 can bring.

“We knew this year could be good because of all the great players we have,” Covington said. “We have good freshmen, we have good players of every year. I think we could be very good next year, too.”