From Staiger to Flynn to Mape, the NCAA Division I POWs roundup

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Leah Edmond-Kentucky-UK-University of Kentucky-sophomore
Kentucky's Leah Edmond credits playing international volleyball for improving her passing

From Baylor’s Katie Staiger winning the Big 12 offensive POW award for the fourth time this year to Alabama’s Krystal Rivers averaging eight kills per set to three players from North Florida being honored by the Atlantic Sun to Julia Flynn of Bryant getting 34 kills in a match to Alexis Mape having 61 assists in a match for IUPUI, we’ve got the nation’s POWs right here.

You can look forward every Tuesday to the VolleyballMag.com roundup of the POWs around the country.

POWs, of course, are players of the week, and we will do our best to list the honorees from all 32 Division I conferences here.

ACC

Two NC State players got the honors, outside hitter Julia Brown and Wolfpack libero Grace Irvin.

Brown was the POW. Against Syracuse, Brown broke the rally-scoring-era program record with 31 kills, the most by any player in the ACC this season and most by an NC State player since 1999. She recorded a career-high 31 kills and 16 digs. Against Boston College, the junior recorded 11 kills, eight digs and a career-best six block assists. For the weekend, she averaged 5.11 points per set, 4.67 kills per set and 2.67 digs.

Irvin averaged 2.62 digs per set, 0.50 assists per set and 0.25 aces to be named freshman of the week.

Big 12

Baylor’s Katie Staiger, West Virginia’s Mia Swanegan and Texas’ Micaya White are the honorees and this Staiger’s fourth offensive award this year, which ties for the fourth-most in a single season and is the most by a Baylor student-athlete in conference history. And White won the freshman award for the fifth time.

Staiger, a junior outside, led the Big 12 in kills, points, kills per set (5.11) and points per set (5.39). With 27 kills at Iowa State and 19 against Oklahoma, she had two of the top three single-match kill performances of the week.

Swanegan, a junior middle, is the top defensive player after averaging 1.75 blocks and her 13 against Kansas State were the second-highest in a single match by a Big 12 player this season. She totaled 15 kills and 14 blocks on the week.

White ranked fourth in the league for the week in kills per set (3.62) and totaled 29 kills, 19 digs and eight blocks.

Amber Rolfzen and Kelly Hunter celebrate a point
Nebraska’s Amber Rolfzen and Kelly Hunter, Big Ten honorees, celebrate a point

Big Ten

Nebraska has two huge home victories so it’s no surprise the top-ranked Huskers are well represented here.

Start with the B1G POW in senior middle Amber Rolfzen, who averaged 4.0 kills and hit .560. She had 16 kills in each match, victories over Wisconsin and Minnesota. She was also named the AVCA national POW.

The top defensive player is Justine Wong-Orantes, the senior libero who averaged 6.3 digs.

The setter is junior Kelly Hunter, who averaged 13.3 assists and added six blocks and nine digs to win the award for the fifth time and first since the last week of September.

Michigan setter MacKenzi Welsh sneaked in to get the freshman award. She averaged 12.2 assists, had 27 digs in two victories and won the honor for the third time, including last week.

Pac-12

It was a good week for players with three names, as the offensive POW was Oregon’s Lindsey Vander Weide and the top freshman UCLA’s Torrey Van Winden.

Vander Weide averaged 3.56 kills, 3.56 digs and 1.44 blocks as the sophomore had 20 kills and hit .500 against Utah.

Van Winden averaged 3.88 kills, hit .455 and 1.5 digs, which included a career-high 19 kills against Stanford.

And the defensive POW was Oregon’s Lauren Page. The sophomore averaged 2.13 blocks while getting career highs of 12 each in blocks and kills against Colorado.

Southeastern

Krystal Rivers of Alabama hits as well as anyone in the country and last week she averaged a whopping 8.0 kills per set as the senior right side was named the league offensive POW. At Arkansas she had 25 kills and four aces and then had 31 kills and 11 digs at Ole Miss.

But Alyssa Munlyn was named the SEC POW and also the top defensive player as the sophomore middle had 17 total blocks in two victories. She averaged 2.12 blocks per set.

The setter of the week is Auburn junior Alexa Filley, whose team won twice on the road as she had 89 assists and 37 digs.

And the top freshman is a familiar face, Kentucky outside Leah Edmond. She had 35 kills and 27 digs in two matches, averaging 4.38 kills. She also had four blocks. She is averaging 4.44 kills in SEC play.

America East

Lauren Kornmann of Binghamton was both the AE POW and freshman of the week. The outside hitter led the league with 5.67 kills per set.

The defensive specialist of the week is UMBC sophomore Kristin Watson, who averaged 7.60 digs and had seven assists against Stony Brook.

The setter of the week was Sarah Ngo, Binghamton junior who averaged 11.67 assists and also had 3.33 digs per set.

American Athletic

It was all SMU as the Mustangs’ Kendall Patterson and Morgan Heise took the honors.

Patterson, a freshman setter, averaged 12 assists and had 14 digs against USF as her team moved into first place in the league with two victories.

Heise, a senior libero, had 20 or more digs for the 11th time this season and averaged 5.71 digs per set.

Atlantic Sun

Katarina Raicevic of North Florida and Carlyle Nusbaum of Lipscomb shared the ASUN POW.

Nusbaum, a sophomore outside, had 33 kills, 26 digs and four blocks in two matches.

Three UNF players were honored.

Raicevic, a junior outside hitter, had a career-high 18 kills and tied a career-high with eight blocks against Jacksonville and hit .356 and had 10 digs.

The defensive POW was Ashley Laborde of North Florida. She had 30 digs against Jacksonville and three assists.

And the freshman of the week was teammate Gabby O’Connell, an outside who had 18 kills in the Jacksonville match.

Danielle Rygelski of Saint Louis is the Atlantic 10 POW
Danielle Rygelski of Saint Louis is the Atlantic 10 POW

Atlantic 10

Saint Louis senior Danielle Rygelski was named the A-10 POW, while Dayton sophomore Margo Wolf earned defensive honors. Dayton’s Jamie Peterson and VCU’s Gina Tuzzolo were selected co-rookies.

Rygelski averaged 5.29 kills per set, 1.14 aces per set and 3.14 digs, including 23 kills against Duquesne.

Wolf averaged 7.0 digs and had a perfect passing record.

Peterson also was perfect on reception and averaged 1.86 kills and 0.71 blocks, while Tuzzolo averaged 1.88 kills and half a block per set.

Big East

Seton Hall sophomore outside Abby Thelen had 41 kills in two matches, averaging 5.86 kills per set to named the league’s POW.

The freshman of the week is Emma Decker, a setter for Villanova who had 40 assists, eight kills and hit .700. She also had five blocks and six digs in her only match of the week.

Big South

Radford junior outside hitter Maddie Palmer is the POW, while Campbell libero Kayla Schanback is the defensive player of the week. Liberty outside hitter Leah Clayton is the Big South freshman honoree.

Palmer had 33 kills and averaged 5.50 per set with a .364 hitting percentage as Radford won tice.

In her two matches, Schanback had 47 digs and a .956 receive percentage.

And Clayton averaged 4.78 kills, 1.78 digs, 0.67 blocks, getting 43 kills in two matches.

Big Sky

Idaho State has won seven matches in a row and two of its players were honored by the Big Sky, Chloe Hirst as the offensive POW and Haylie Keck as the defensive POW.

Hirst, a junior outside hitter, averaged 4.4 kills and 3.8 digs per set

Keck, a freshman libero, averaged 5.4 digs and was perfect on serve receive.

Big West

UC Santa Barbara’s Lindsey Ruddins won her fourth Big West freshman of the week honor. She averaged 4.89 kills per set and hit .330.

UC Irvine sophomore Harlee Kekauoha hit a combined .583 to lead the Anteaters to sweeps of Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside and was named POW.

And UC Davis sophomore Malia Bolko was the defensive honoree after getting 47 digs in two matches.

Colonial Athletic Association

Janey Goodman and James Madison teammate Taylor Austin were honored along with Laura Masciullo of Hofstra.

Goodman, a senior right side, was the offensive POW after averaging 5.67 kills in three matches and had more than 20 kills all three times. And she added nine digs and 11 blocks.

Austin was the defensive POW after the junior libero averaged 7.08 digs and had more than 25 digs three times.

Masciullo, a right side, was the league’s freshman of the week for averaging 5.14 kills and 1.71 digs. It was the third time the Italian won the award this season.

Conference USA

WKU’s Rachel Anderson, a sophomore middle, is the Conference USA offensive POW after averaging 4.29 kills per set in two victories. She also hit .540 and added seven blocks. She was the 2015 league freshman of the year.

Teammate Georgia O’Connell was the defensive POW. The senior libero averaged 4.71 digs and had five aces. She was also good on 24 of 25 serve receptions.

The top setter was Genesis Viera of Florida Atlantic. The senior averaged 13.14 assists. And the freshman of the week was Southern Miss outside Catherine Repsher, who had 21 kills, four digs and six blocks.

Horizon League

Valparaiso University senior libero Morganne Longoria, who plays both setter and libero, repeated as the defensive POW. This is straight from the Valpo website:

Longoria continued to function as Valpo’s primary setter while playing libero for the second consecutive week, averaging 5.55 digs and 5.09 assists per set over last week’s three matches as the Crusaders went 2-1. The senior posted 16 assists and 12 digs in Valpo’s sweep of Chicago State on Tuesday, and finished with 13 digs and 14 assists against Northern Kentucky on Saturday.

Friday’s five-set victory over Wright State was the highlight of the week, however. Longoria picked up a new career high with 36 digs, easily out-pacing her previous career best of 30, and found the time to hand out 26 assists as well – just two shy of her career high set the previous week. Longoria registered 11 digs and five assists in the fifth set as the Crusaders completed the crucial league win. Her 36 digs mark the fifth-most in a five-set match in Valpo history.

The league’s other honoree was Kelsie Groot of UIC, a graduate student who had 39 kills and three aces in her two matches last week.

Ivy League

Cornell senior Alyssa Phelps was the Ivy POW after having 41 assists and adding nine digs, four blocks and four kills, while hitting .300 in a win over Columbia.

Columbia’s Chichi Ikwuazom was the rookie of the week after the freshman middle had 12 kills, five blocks and a dig. She leads the Ivy in hitting at .439.

Metro Atlantic

Not posted as we went to, well, not press but the website.

Mid-American

The MAC East had co-offensive POWs, Kelsey Bittinger, a junior outside hitter for Kent State, and Mallory Salis, a senior libero for Ohio.

Bittinger averaged 4.20 kills and 4.10 digs in a split of two five-set matches. She had a career-high 30 digs against Western Michigan and hit .351 against NIU.

Salis had 5.62 kills per set, four aces, four blocks and 25 digs.

The MAC West offensive POW was Jordan Bueter of Central Michigan. The junior outside had 47 kills in two matches.

The MAC East defensive player of the week was Erica Walker. The Ohio sophomore libero averaged 5.62 digs per set and had just two errors in 61 serve-receive attempts.

The MAC West defensive POW was Anna Brereton of NIU. The junior libero had 58 total digs in two matches, including 33 against Kent State.

Mid-Eastern

Plenty of familiar MEAC faces as Howard’s Khalia Donaldson and teammates Tamia Dockery and Morgan Marlbrough top the list this week. Also, Bethune-Cookman’s Alana Handy was honored.

Donaldson was the POW as the junior outside averaged 4.71 kills and became the school’s all-time leader with 1,146 kills.

Dockery was named top setter as the sophomore had 81 assists, 23 digs, seven kills and a block in two matches.

Marlbrough, a senior libero, was top defensive player after averaging 4.85 digs.

And Handy, a freshman outside, had 43 digs, 39 kills and two blocks to be named rookie of the week.

Missouri Valley

A Missouri State player other than Lily Johnson was the Valley POW as senior middle Simone House took the honor after having nine kills and hitting .444 against Wichita State. She also had five blocks.

The defensive POW was Illinois State libero Courtney Pence. The sophomore averaged 5.33 digs and has led her team in digs in every match.

The top freshman was Daniele Messa, a setter for Missouri State who had 37 assists and 16 digs against Wichita State.

Bosie State's Sierra Nobley/Kaden Severn photo
Bosie State’s Sierra Nobley/Kaden Severn photo

Mountain West

Boise State junior outside hitter Sierra Nobley is the MW offensive POW while teammate Maddi Osburn, a junior libero, is the defensive POW.

Nobley averaged 5.67 kills and hit .315 in wins over New Mexico and UNLV. She also had two aces, 11 digs and four blocks in the two matches.

Osburn averaged 6.67 digs and a perfect reception record.

Northeast

Julia Flynn of Bryant is the player of the week after the sophomore outside had 34 kills against Robert Morris, breaking the program record that stood for 22 years. She also averaged 2.85 digs per set.

Arden Fisher of Robert Morris is the defensive POW. The senior outside averaged 6.22 digs and also had six blocks in her two matches.

The rookie of the week is LIU Brooklyn freshman setter Amanda Hubbard for the second straight week and third time this season. She averaged 11.99 assists per set and leads the league at 8.99.

Ohio Valley

Eastern Kentucky junior outside hitter Nikki Drost is the offensive POW after hitting .351 and getting 35 kills in two matches. She also was named the newcomer of the week.

The defensive POW is teammate Mallory Maxwell, a junior libero who averaged 4.67 digs and getting five aces.

Kristen Stucker, a sophomore setter for Austin Peay, was the setter of the week after coming up with 131 assists in three matches.

Patriot

Colgate senior outside Kathleen Harris was the POW after averaging 4.0 kills per set, hitting .381 and coming up with 20 digs and four blocks.

The rookie of the week is Shannon Webb of American. The freshman outside had 22 kills for the week and hit .385.

Southern

Samford outside hitter Erin Bognar is the POW, while UNCG’s Ashley Muench got the defensive honor.

Bognar averaged 5.10 kills per set and 0.80 blocks while hitting .331. She also averaged 3.2 digs per set.

Muench averaged five digs, 0.67 blocks and 3.67 kills.

Southland

Lamar senior outside hitter Chelsea Grant and senior middle blocker Justice Walker of Stephen F. Austin got the honors.

Grant was the offensive POW after getting a career-high 28 kills against McNeese State while hitting .368. She hit .457 against Nicholls State and had 15 more kills against Abilene Christian.

Walker was the defensive POW for averaging 2.17 blocks and leads the SLC with 1.28 per set.

Southwestern

Not this week.

Summit

Two for two for IUPUI as setter Alexis Mapes was named the league’s offensive POW and middle Abby Boatman was the defensive honoree.

Mapes, a senior, had career highs of 61 assists and 20 digs against Fort Wayne and averaged 11.45 assists per set in three matches.

Boatman had a total of 13 blocks for the week, averaging 1.18 per set.

Sun Belt

Nia Antone, a sophomore middle for Louisiana-Lafayette, took the offensive player honors as she had a big week for the Ragin’ Cajuns. Antone had hit .414 in two matches. She had 30 kills, including a career-high 18 at Appalachian State.

Little Rock senior middle Edina Selimovic was the defensive POW as the had 16 blocks in two matches. It was the second time she got the honor in three weeks.

Texas State got the other two awards. Junior Erin Hoppe was the top setter after averaging 10.50 assists and also had 11 digs and three kills in her two matches. And teammate Micah Dinwiddle was the top freshman as the libero after averaging 7.67 digs.

West Coast

San Diego senior opposite Lisa Kramer once again lifted No. 5 San Diego with another big week. The All-American averaged 3.88 kills on .270 attacking.

Kramer had a 20-kill performance in a four-set win against SoCal rival Loyola Marymount, hitting .516, and then followed with an 11-kill effort in a four-set victory against Pepperdine.

Western Athletic

NM State junior libero Ariadnne Sierra is the WAC POW after averaging 6.12 digs, 1.12 service aces and 1.12 assists per set, including a career-high 31 digs in a five-set win over Utah Valley. She also added five assists and three service aces. In a sweep of Seattle U on Saturday, she finished with 18 digs, a career-high six service aces and four assists.

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