PrepVolleyball.com recognizes seven players and four teams this week for national honors after an action-packed week of conference play.
Player of the Week, Power 5
Carly Skjodt, OH, Michigan – An Indiana native, Skjodt had 40 kills over eight sets in Michigan wins over College Top 64 ranked teams Purdue and Indiana. The Big Ten Offensive POW recorded 11 kills and seven digs in a sweep over the Boilers, then went off for a career-high 29 kills and added 10 digs in a five-set win over the Hoosiers. The senior, who as a high school senior was PrepVolleyball.com’s National Player of the Year back in 2014, did her work with great efficiency, as she recorded her 40 kills on just 99 swings with only four errors.
Runner up: Emily Stroup, OH, Ole Miss
Last week’s winner: Samantha Seliger-Swenson, S, Minnesota
Player of the Week, Non-Power 5
Madelyn Kaprelyan, S/RS, Central Connecticut – The junior from Huntington Beach led the Blue Devils to a pair of wins last week and garnered her third consecutive Northeast Conference POW honor in the process. In Friday’s win over Fairleigh Dickinson, Kaprelyan had a dozen kills swinging from the right side (while hitting .375) and added 11 assists for the double-double that has become routine the past seven matches. Kaprelyan stepped her game up one notch the next day versus Sacred Heart to help CCSU improve to 5-1 in conference play. Over four sets, she thundered home 23 kills while hitting .410, and added 19 assists, 11 digs, seven blocks and four aces. She currently leads the NEC in hitting percentage.
Runner up: Jordan Pingel, libero, UCF
Last week’s winner: Andrea Mitrovic, OH, Buffalo
Player of the Week, Non-Division I
Michayla Shanks, OH, Lyon College — Shanks was a big reason why the Lyon College Scots (Batesville, Arkansas) went 4-0 in non-conference action last week, and extended their winning streak to six matches overall. For the week, she totaled 33 kills and a .373 hitting percentage across nine total sets played, while also adding 29 digs on the defensive side. She was most impressive during the Scots’ sweep of Tougaloo College on Tuesday, compiling 10 kills on just 17 attempts. The junior captain did all of this after turning her ankle in a match the Saturday prior, but toughed it out to lead the team to a huge week.
Runner up: Chase Wassel, OH, Holy Family University
Last week’s winner: Kasie Gilfert, MB/RS, Colorado Mesa
Freshman of the Week, Power 5
Adanna Rollins, OH, Minnesota – Rollins helped Minnesota to a 2-0 week, including a four-set win at Nebraska in which she delivered a match-high 17 kills and added nine digs and four blocks. Rollins had seven kills and seven digs in a mid-week sweep of Northwestern.
Runner up: Brooke Nuneviller, libero, Oregon
Last week’s winner: Charley Niego, OH, Notre Dame
Freshman of the Week, Non-Power 5
Amelia Flynn, OH, Missouri State –Flynn tied a Missouri State freshman record with 26 kills while hitting .364 in Saturday’s five-set win at Evansville. She added 15 digs and two aces. One night before, in a four-set win over Indiana State, Flynn had 13 kills and set a career high with 17 digs.
Runner up: Marisabel Torres, libero, Stephen F. Austin
Last week’s winner: Maria Mallon, OH, Cincinnati
Freshman of the Week, Non-Division I
Katie Hobler, OH, RIT – The Liberty League Women’s Volleyball Performer of the Week, Hobler continued her incredible run of recent success, averaging 16 kills and 18.6 points per match in three contests, while hitting .400 as RIT extended its winning streak to 15 matches with three victories. On Tuesday, Hobler had 10 kills, three aces and two blocks in a three-set win over Medaille. Three days later, she hit .444 with 20 kills and eight digs in a win over Union. Hobler finished up her week on Saturday by hitting .429 with 18 kills in a three-set win over Skidmore. Hobler has a team-best 219 kills and is hitting .303 for the season. She has at least 10 kills in seven straight matches and is hitting .380 over that stretch.
Runner up: Maddie Bromley, OH, Colby-Sawyer
Last week’s winner: Laura Beier, libero, Berry College
Unsung Hero of the Week
Halee Brewer, MB, Texas State – A senior, Brewer has played in just eight of Texas State’s 75 sets this year. She still is invaluable to the team’s success as she is the Bobcats’ “Energizer Bunny,” the player whose job it is to getting everyone hyped up before matches and to keep the morale high. As a senior, she is constantly helping the younger players get through the tough times when they also aren’t seeing the floor as much as they would like. She explains to them how important their jobs are on the practice court as well as by providing positive energy during matches.
Texas State’s block has been in the bottom three in the Sun Belt all season, so coach Karen Chisum decided to give her veteran middle a chance. Brewer started the fourth set against Georgia Southern this past weekend after not having played in nearly a month, and it took her just seven points to set a new career high with four blocks. Her energy lit up Texas State and propelled the team to its 10th win in a row. The Bobcats also ended the match with a season-high 14 blocks. The next day, Coach Chisum awarded Brewer with her first start since the season opener. She responded by again registering four blocks and added her first kill of the year as the Bobcats swept Georgia State and won their 11th match in a row.
Runner up: Kendyl Sorge, libero, Northern Iowa
Last week’s winner: Kristen Fritsche, S, UTEP
Team of the Week, Division I
UNC Wilmington – The effects of Hurricane Florence are still being felt in many areas of southeastern North Carolina, including the UNCW campus, which resumed classes on October 8. The Seahawks were the first program to compete in Wilmington after the hurricane but had to play last week’s “home” matches at a local high school, Cape Fear Academy, 29 days after their last home appearance. Through all of the chaos, UNCW team rallied to finish 2-1 on the week, upsetting Hofstra in 5-sets and solidifying second place in the CAA standings. Senior middle blocker Anna Moss set a career high with 15 kills in a 4-set win against Northeastern, and junior middle blocker Kendall Bender secured her third CAA Defensive Player of the Week award after averaging 1.62 blocks per set.
Head Coach Amy Bambenek said this about the week: “We had a lot to play for in our first week back in Wilmington. Because of the time off we had due to the hurricane, we are still trying to find our rhythm again. We’ve really emphasized to our players to not stress and not worry about things they cannot control, and instead to focus on what we can control: school, volleyball, and giving back to the community. Every single opponent in our conference is a tough battle, so for us to come out with the composure and focus through this chaotic time is a great start to conference play.”
Team of the Week, Non-Division I
Nebraska Kearney – The Lopers picked up three wins last week to run their winning streak to nine straight and capped their effort with a sweep of nationally-ranked Central Missouri on the Jennies’ home court on Saturday. Senior OH Kendall Schroer had a season-high 17 kills and senior libero Ellie McDonnell added a match-high 20 digs in the win for Nebraska Kearney, which had one just once in five previous trips to Central Missouri since it joined the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
Upset of the Week, Division I
San Diego State over USD in three on Tuesday.
San Diego State was just 2-14 when it hosted USD, a team that may have only been .500 on the season at the time but been nationally ranked for much of the season, owned wins over Baylor and Tennessee and had won four matches in a row in the WCC heading into the contest. Winning would have been a surprise but to sweep? What a shock! The Aztecs snapped a five-match losing streak to the Toreros by hitting .410, their best in six years. And the sweep was the first for an SDSU team over USD since 1999. Ashlynn Dunbar, Hannah Turnlund and Delaney Taylor led the offense while Deja Harris was a blocking force at the net and Sam McGrath was strong in the back row.
Upset of the Week, non-Division I
Dickinson College over Johns Hopkins in four on Wednesday.
Johns Hopkins was undefeated on the season and nationally ranked when it traveled to Carlisle, Pennsylvania for a clash last Wednesday with Dickinson, a team that at the time was 7-11 overall and yet to win a match in the Centennial Conference. Dickinson, a team that starts all freshmen and sophomores, was up to the challenge and won in four sets, the first time since 1990 that the Red Devils had beaten Hopkins and the first time ever they’d taken down a nationally-ranked team! Sophomore Jamie Singer led Dickinson for the match with 13 kills and 19 digs.
The goal every week is to confer national recognition as follows:
*Three National Players of the Week, one from a Power 5 Conference (ACC, SEC, Pac-12, B1G Ten, Big 12), one from a Non-Power 5 Conference in Division I and one from a Non-Division I Conference.
*Three National Freshmen of the Week, one from a Power 5 Conference, one from a Non-Power 5 Conference in Division I and one from a Non-Division I Conference.
*One Unsung Hero of the Week.
*Two Teams of the Week, one from Division I and one from a Non-Division I Conference.
*Two Upsets of the Week, one in Division I and one in Non-Division I.
Any coaches or SIDs wishing to nominate in any of the categories in the ensuing weeks may email firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday evening. In the alternative, there is a form they can complete at this link: https://prepvolleyball.wufoo.com/forms/wbci9hb0ptv5td/