PARK HILLS – Cindy Garcia Penaloza was such a formidable threat that numerous opponents triple blocked in a risky attempt to neutralize her undeniable power.
Shelby Meyer was again among the national digging leaders while anchoring arguably the most effective back row in the history of an established Mineral Area volleyball program.
Both were integral in helping the Lady Cardinals earn a third consecutive NJCAA Division I tournament appearance, and earned official all-America recognition on Tuesday.
Penaloza was selected to the Second Team, and Meyer received Honorable Mention while becoming the fourth and fifth Mineral Area players to achieve such status within the last three seasons.
Mineral Area finished 29-5 overall, including seven victories against ranked opponents, and ultimately placed 10th in the nation for the third time in four postseason runs.
Penaloza, a 6-foot-2 freshman middle from Medellin, Columbia, made an immediate impact upon her arrival by locking down one of several notable vacancies up front in the rotation.
She led the Lady Cardinals in total kills by a substantial margin with 381, and also recorded a team-high 52 solo blocks while introducing a dangerous jump serve into several contests.
Penaloza knocked down a season-high 19 kills in a five-set triumph over Region 16 rival MSU-West Plains, and notched 17 twice in NJCAA tourney matches. Her attacking percentage of .412 ranked fourth in the country.
Meyer joined the MAC program fresh off winning a Class 2 state title at St. Pius X High School, following the path of her sister and current assistant coach Sami Meyer to Park Hills.
Shelby finished her freshman campaign seventh nationally in digs per set, and was 12th in that category this year with a 5.31 average. She has compiled 1,266 digs over 71 collegiate matches.
Her versatility from the libero position was evident, often directing the second pass flawlessly should an opposing squad elect to attack the usual setter.
Meyer was second on the Lady Cardinals in assists with 83, and topped the roster with 50 service aces. She produced a career-best 33 digs in a five-set home victory over John A. Logan.
Cailey Bracken, who now plays for Delaware, became the first Mineral Area all-American in 2017. Pam Zuluaga (Arkansas-Little Rock) and Jane Kickham (Central Methodist) were selected last fall.