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College: National Player and Team of the Week Honors Bestowed recognizes seven players and four teams this week for national honors at the midway point of the college season.

Player of the Week, Power 5

Madison Lilley, S, Kentucky – Lilley helped the Wildcats run their winning streak to 11 with two road wins last week. The sophomore and 2016 Andi Collins Award winner had 30 assists and a career-high 16 digs in a Friday sweep at LSU and followed that up with 51 assists, a career-high 19 digs and five blocks in a come-from-behind five-set win over Texas A&M. Lilley was named SEC Setter of the Week, the 14th time she’s been so honored in her short career.

Runner up: Jocelyn Urias, MB, Washington State
Last week’s winner: Hollann Hans, OH, Texas A&M

Player of the Week, Non-Power 5

Quinn Sutphin, MB, Kennesaw State – Sutphin was named ASUN Player of the Week and Defensive Player of the Week after leading the Owls to three wins last week, including a five-set thriller at Lipscomb for control of the conference race. Sutphin notched a blocks/kills double-double in the Lipscomb win, the first double-double of its kind in school history. Her 12 blocks were part of a school-record 21 blocks in a five-set match. Sutphin, who added 11 kills in that win, then recorded 14 kills and seven blocks in a Friday win over North Alabama and added six kills on 11 swings and four blocks in a Sunday sweep of NJIT. The sophomore has already eclipsed 100 blocks on the season, only the second player in school history to break the century mark.

Runners up: Courtney Pence, libero, Illinois State and Vanessa Buman, libero, Green Bay
Last week’s winner: Mikaela Nocetti, OH, Sacramento State

Co-Players of the Week, Non-Division I

Shayla Conner, S, Washburn and Taylor Reiss, OH, Southwest Minnesota State University

Conner set the Ichabods to an impressive 3-0 week, which included road wins over Emporia State, Fort Hays State and then-NCAA Division II No. 2 Nebraska-Kearney. The Kearney native had a double-double in all three matches, twice eclipsed 40 assists and had 52 assists, 13 digs and four kills in the UNK win, which ended the Lopers’ 66-match home winning streak. Conner, who was named MIAA Specialist of the Week, has now received weekly recognition four times this season, tied for the most in any season in school history.  

Reiss earned the AVCA Division II National Player of the Week nod for a record fifth time after averaging more than eight kills per set while hitting .474 in two sweeps, including a Saturday thumping of then-No. 1 Northern State.  Reiss started her week with 20 kills, 11 digs and seven aces in a Friday win over Minnesota State Moorhead, then upped her game against Northern State, delivering an astounding 29 kills over three sets, with seven digs, in the upset.

Runner up: Alyssa Porter, MB, University of Texas at Dallas
Last week’s winner: Shayna Webber, MB, College of Saint Rose

Freshman of the Week, Power 5

Brooke Heyne, OH, Kansas State – The redshirt freshman made the most of her first shot as a starter, sparking the Wildcats, who were 0-6 in the Big 12 entering the week, to two wins over nationally-ranked opponents. On Wednesday, Heyne, who was Nebraska Gatorade POY as a senior at 44-0 Skutt Catholic, delivered 12 kills and seven digs as K-State shocked Kansas. Three days later at Baylor, Heyne pounded a career-high 15 kills on .467 hitting and added six digs in a stunning sweep, 25-23, 27-25, 28-26.

Runner up: Gabby Easton, S, Clemson
Last week’s winner: Rachel Langs, MB, Kansas

Freshman of the Week, Non-Power 5

McKenna Melville, OH, UCF – How could it not be Melville? The freshman from Minnesota was named AAC Offensive POW for the second time this season after helping the No. 21 Knights to a 2-0 week, including a five-set win on Sunday at No. 27 Cincinnati in which she delivered 23 kills, 15 digs, three aces and two blocks. Melville averaged more than 4.5 kills and 3.5 digs per set on the week, produced her conference-best 13th and 14th double doubles and helped UCF not only extend its winning streak to 15 straight matches but also to earn its first-ever AVCA Top 25 ranking.

Runners up: Hannah Thompson, OH, Bradley and Camila Vazquez, MB, Canisius
Last week’s winner: Hannah Lopez, OH, UTSA

Freshman of the Week, Non-Division I

Ellie Pedersen
, MB, University of the South, Sewanee – Pedersen had an amazing week for the Tigers, who went 3-0 to improve to 19-7 on the season. The freshman played just two sets on Thursday against Centre but had nine kills on 15 swings and no errors. On Saturday at Rhodes, Pedersen recorded 13 kills on 15 errorless attempts with three blocks. One day later, in a tough match versus a Hendrix team that beat the Tigers earlier in the year, Pedersen contributed 14 kills, six digs and two blocks as the team returned the favor on the road. For the week, Pedersen recorded 36 kills and hit .571 without committing an error! She was named SAA Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season.


Runner up: Morgan Silks, S, Holy Family
Last week’s winner: Allison Franke, RS, Franklin & Marshall

Unsung Hero of the Week

Aubrey Sowers
, S, Missouri Science and Technology – A sophomore setter for the Miners, Sowers is a sometimes starter in a 6-2 offense and averages 3.8 assists per set. She had 27 helpers total last week as S&T split two matches. Sowers is the Unsung Hero of the Week because of what she does off the court. She is president of the Love Your Melon organization on campus. Love Your Melon sells beanies and other items and donates 50% of net profits to causes involving pediatric cancer. This past week, Sowers and her teammates visited pediatric patients at a local hospital to encourage them on their journey to recovery.

Sowers (in green) with her teammates

Runner up: Anna Holmquist, MB, Wingate
Last week’s winner: Anna Grace Holdford, S, Campbell

Team of the Week, Division I

Washington State – Playing without its injured star, Taylor Mims, the Cougars nevertheless enjoyed an amazing week, registering home wins over nationally-ranked UCLA and USC just one week after dropping road contests to Stanford and Cal. Wazzu was paced by junior MB Jocelyn Urias, the Pac-12 Offensive POW, who had 27 kills in the wins; setter Ashley Brown, OH McKenna Woodford and libero Lexi Dirige. The two wins caused the Cougars (15-5) to vault 13 spots in the College Top 64 to No. 18 and four spots in the AVCA Coaches Poll to No. 19. Washington State improved to 7-0 at home with the two wins, the first winning weekend against the L.A. schools in more than 20 years.

Washington State. Photo courtesy of Washington State University Athletics

Team of the Week, Non-Division I

Wingate University
– There is only one undefeated team in the NCAA Division II ranks and that’s the Wingate Bulldogs. Shelton Collier’s squad improved to 21-0 on the year with home wins last week over Coker and Carson-Newman. Wingate, which already has two wins this week, has 14 sweeps on its resume and is working on an NCAA-best 29-match regular-season winning streak. The key to the team’s success is defense. Led by libero Kori Adams and a front row that averages two blocks per set, Wingate has held 12 opponents to a hitting percentage below .100 this fall.

Anna Holmquist of Wingate

Upset of the Week, Division I

SIU Edwardsville over Morehead State in four on Friday.

For the second straight week, our big upset comes from the Ohio Valley Conference. SIU Edwardsville was picked third in the OVC in the pre-season by our Insider by fortune has not smiled on the Cougars, who came into the match with 16-5 Morehead State sporting a 4-16 overall record and losers of four in a row. That didn’t matter on Friday. Behind 15 kills and 12 digs from Rachel McDonald, a dozen kills from Hope Everett and a career-high 26 digs from Jordyn Klein, SIUE won the first set and the final two to prevail in four at home. The loss dropped Morehead State from a tie for the top spot in the OVC. Key to SIUE’s win was defense. Morehead State entered the match as the No. 2 team in the league in hitting percentage at .228 but hit only .089 for the night.

Upset of the Week, non-Division I

Frank Phillips College over Odessa College in five on Saturday

FPC had twice been swept by Odessa College before Saturday’s match and it looked like Odessa (19-8 at the time) was about to make it three straight sweeps after taking the first two sets versus the Lady Plainsmen (9-15). Frank Phillips had other ideas and dominated the next three sets to pull off the upset in Texas JUCO action. Freshman Cloie Waldrop, in just her second match back from a five-week ankle injury, had 17 kills for the match while freshman Paxton Patterson had a double-double with 15 kills and 10 digs and freshman setter Jordan Kellogg contributed 55 assists and added 17 digs for her 8th double-double on the year.


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 by Tuesday evening. In the alternative, there is a form they can complete at this link:


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