Salukis! And all those POWs

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POWs follow, but first about a note about the Southern Illinois Salukis, who shook up things in the Missouri Valley on Monday night by beating visiting Wichita State in five and check out these scores: 28-26, 26-28, 25-20, 22-25, 15-10.

It might have been the biggest regular-season victory in SIU history for a program that has never been to the NCAA Tournament.

Wichita State still leads the league at 19-6 overall and 10-2 in the Valley, while the Salukis improved to 18-7, 9-3, and are tied with Northern Iowa. For the purpose of at-large NCAA bids based on RPI, Wichita State was No. 34 in Monday’s latest rankings, Missouri State was 44th, SIU No. 54, UNI 55 and Illinois State 61st.

One more note: Middle Tennessee fired coach Matt Peck on Monday. Read this article from the Daily News Journal and you can see that this is going to be a sticky situation for all concerned.

And with that, each week we compile the nation’s players-of-the-week list. Click on the name of the conference to go to the stories.

Missouri Valley

We might as well start with the Valley, where two players from that match took top honors.

The conference POW was Wichita State senior middle Katie Reilly, who had a big match in a victory over Missouri State with 13 kills and eight digs. The defensive POW was SIU junior setter Meg Viggars, who had a whopping 14 blocks in a five-set victory over Loyola and then reached 100 block assists for the season with three against Bradley. And the freshman of the week was Piper Thomas of UNI, who had 23 kills and seven blocks in two matches.

ACC

Pitt outside hitter Mariah Bell and North Carolina setter Abigail Curry were named Atlantic Coast Conference co-POWs, while NC State setter Becky Porter was top freshman.

Bell led a couple of sweeps with 27 kills. Curry was playing in a 5-1 for only the second and third times when she had a pair of double-doubles, averaging 13.88 assists and 3.50 digs in those matches. And Porter was big on both ends, coming up with 2.14 digs per set in two matches.

Big Ten

The Rolfzen twins (pictured above)  came up big in the Big Ten, as Kadie was the POW and Amber shared defensive honors.

Kadie, a junior outside, hit .500 with 22 kills, 10 blocks and 15 digs in two matches.

Amber, a junior middle, had 12 blocks, while the person she shared the award with, Ali Bastianelli, a freshman middle for Illinois, had 14 blocks.

And the setter of the week was Bryanna Weiskircher, the Penn State freshman, who had 10 digs in one match against Ohio State and five kills in the second.

Big 12

Kansas’ Kelsie Payne and Iowa State’s Caitlin Nolan are the offensive and defensive POWs.

Payne, a sophomore right side, had 37 kills in two matches, including a league-best  for this season with 26 against Iowa State. She ranks second in the Big 12 in kills per set, 4.1, and hitting percentage, .400.

Nolan, a senior libero, had 56 digs.

There were co-rookies, Macy Flowers of Kansas State and Ashleigh Martin of TCU. Flowers, a freshman middle, led the first-year players in the league last week with 3.43 kills per set. Martin, a freshman outside, had 21 kills, seven in TCU’s big upset of Texas.

Pac-12

Utah’s Adora Anae was the offensive POW, while Cassie Strickland of Washington took defensive honors.

Anae, a sophomore outside, averaged 6.0 kills per set as she had 48 kills in two sweeps. Strickland, a senior libero, not only dug the ball, averaging 5.71 digs in two matches, but averaged 1.43 assists.

The top freshman was Halland McKenna of Stanford. The libero averaged 5.43 digs in two sweeps, including a career high 27 against Arizona.

Southeastern Conference

The SEC POW was Stephanie Aiple of Texas A&M.

The offensive POW was Pilar Victoria. The Arkansas junior outside had 56 kills and two double-doubles, Texas A&M senior middle Shelby Sullivan took defensive honors with a big blocking week. She had 10 blocks in two matches and seven digs in one.

Aiple, a sophomore setter for A&M, averaged 11.29 assists per set in a week that included her team’s upset of Kentucky. And the freshman of the week was Alyssa Munlyn of Missouri, who had 20 kills, hit .55 and had 14 blocks for two matches.

West Coast Conference

Sophomore outside hitter Sarah Sponcil guided Loyola Marymount to a 2-0 week and she had  34 kills (4.25 per set) while hitting .400 on 70 attacks with just six errors.

Mountain West

Sierra Nobley, a sophomore outside for Boise State, took offensive POW honors. Teammate Maddie Osburn, a sophomore libero, took defensive honors.

Big West

The honors went to Long Beach State junior Nele Barber, UC Irvine freshman Harlee Kekauoha and Cal Poly senior Nicole Kessler.

Barber won her third weekly award as she averaged 4.63 kills and 4.38 digs. Kekauoha hit .360 for the week, while Kessler had 22 digs in her only match of the week.

Atlantic 10

The honors went to Dayton sophomore Amber Erhahon, who was POW, while George Washington senior Maddy Doyle and VCU freshman Tori Baldwin were defensive POWs, and Sahbria McLetchie, also a VCU freshman, was rookie of the week. Erhahon had 37 kills and 21 blocks in three matches.

Atlantic Sun

Lipscomb’s Carlyle Nusbaum earned both POW and freshman of the week, while Jacksonville’s Mayara Prestes took home the defensive award. Nusbaum, a freshman outside, averaged 6.50 kills per set. She had 23 kills, a career high, and then topped it with 29. Presses, a senior libero, had 65 digs in two matches.

American Athletic Conference

SMU is having a break-out season and junior libero Morgan Heise, whose name appears in this report almost weekly, is a big reason why. Heise averaged 7.0 digs per set last week and earned defensive POW.

The offensive POW is Abbie Fleener, a senior opposite at Central Florida. She averaged 4.0 kills per set and his .432.

MAC

There’s MAC West and MAC East.

The West offensive POW is Amanda Raker, a senior middle for Ball State, who was raking indeed. She hit .850 in two matches. The West defensive POW was Hailey Knecht, a freshman libero for Western Michigan who averaged 7.11 digs per set.

The East offensive POW was Paige Hill, a junior middle for Miami who had 21 kills and hit. 409. The defensive POW for the East was Kallie Seimet. She’s a freshman DS for Bowling Green who had 58 digs in two matches.

MAAC

It was all Siena as players from the school in upstate New York took all the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference honors. Junior setter Hayley Howell was the POW, freshman outside Darby Taylor was rookie of the week and junior Kalehua Katagiri was libero of the week. 

Southland Conference

Central Arkansas senior outside hitter Heather Schnars was named SLC offensive POW while Texas A&M-Corpus Christi sophomore libero Kate Klepetka was defensive POW.

Sun Belt Conference

Start with the freshman, because it’s Texas State middle Madison Daigle, the Volleyball Baton Rouge product who had a heck of week. She had 21 kills in two victories and hit .500.

A familiar face was top setter in Appalachian State senior Paige Brown, who owns this weekly award. She’s the first setter in the Sun Belt to reach 1,000 assists this season.

The offensive POW is Kristina Stinson of Georgia State. The junior outside had 34 kill and .406, while defensive honors went to Markie Schaedig of Arkansas State. The junior libero had 52 digs in two matches.

America East

The POW was Laini Leindecker, a junior outside for Albany. The setter was Mikala McCauley, also an Albany junior. Stony Brook’s Taylor Wilson, a freshman middle, was rookie of the week, while the defensive specialist of the week was Albany freshman libero Nicole Otero.

Big Sky

Two players who are no strangers to Big Sky POW honors got the awards again: Northern

Arizona’s Janae Vander Ploeg claimed her third straight award and fourth of the season,

while Sacramento State’s Lauren Kissell grabbed her third honor of the year.

Conference USA

After helping lead UTSA to its 600th all-time program victory, Dajana Boskovic is this week’s offensive POW. Roadrunners teammate Amanda Gonzales, proving to be quite a freshman phenom within the league, won her third freshman of the week award in the last four weeks. Jacqueline Lux’s stellar backrow performance during Middle Tennesse’s three-match winning streak earns her defensive POW. Rice’s Madison McDaniel, a threat to make an awards appearance week and week out, made it back-to back setter of the week honors, her fifth of the season.

Ohio Valley

The awards went to Scottie Ingram, a junior outside for Murray State, Mallory Maxwell, Eastern Kentucky sophomore DS, UT Martin sophomore setter Ellie Cain and UTM teammate Kiah Cheatham, a junior middle.

Colonial Athletic Association

Three players from Towson and one from Hofstra took the honors.

The offensive POW was Jessica Lewis, a junior outside for Towson, had 29 kills and hit .417. The defensive POW was freshman teammate Anna Holehouse, a libero who won the award for the third time by having 41 digs. And another teammate, freshman right side Jocelyn Kuilan, was the top rookie for the fourth time this season. She shared the honor with Hofstra middle Michela Rucli.

Big East

The POW was Villanova senior setter Emma Pettit. The freshman honor went to Taylor Louis of Marquette.

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