West Division Offensive Player of the Week
Kassie Kadera, Toledo, So., Setter, Aurora, IL/Waubonsie Valley
Kassie Kadera tallied a .421 attack percentage and averaged 11.50 assists per set in the Rockets' wins over Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan this weekend. She helped UT overcome 2-1 deficits against both opponents. Against the Chippewas, she dished out 55 assists to go along with five kills and a .250 hitting. She then topped that performance with 60 assists, five kills and a .714 ATK%. Kadera also registered double-digit dig totals in each match with 19 vs. CMU and 12 vs. EMU, for an average of 3.10 per set.
East Division Offensive Player of the Week
Megan Griffin, Miami, Sr., OH, Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton
Hit an incredible .659 for the weekend, as Miami defeated both Bowling Green and MAC West Division leading Western Michigan. Recorded 29 kills against only 2 errors. Against Bowling Green, she had 14 kills and hit .824 for the match. She followed that up with 15 more kills in big win against WMU and hit .542 for the match. She is now only 25 kills away from 1,000 for her career.
West Division Defensive Player of the Week
Alyssa Rio, Ball State, Jr., Libero, Wayne, Ill./St. Francis H.S.
BSU junior libero Alyssa Rio led the Cardinals with a 6.62 digs-per-set average last week, after posting a season-high 34 digs versus Eastern Michigan, while tallying 19 in the three-set sweep of Central Michigan. Rio's defense versus the Chippewas helped limit the CMU attack to a -.133 (21-36-113) hitting mark for the day, including a -.412 (2-16-34) rate of success in the final set. Rio, who entered the week ranked second on the team with a 2.94 digs-per-set average, is now the team-leader with a 3.47 digs-per-set average. In addition, Rio climbed to fourth in program history with 1,365 career digs.
East Division Defensive Player of the Week
Michele Metzler, Miami, Jr., MB, Lawrenceburg, Ind./Lawrenceburg
Held the defense to a low .196 hitting percentage for the week. Patrolled the middle, assisting on 12 blocks while adding two solo for 14 total. Averaged 1.56 blocks per set during the weekend. Also recorded five digs despite being a majority front court player.
Additional Nominees for Offensive Player of the Week
Courtney Jarvis, Akron, So., OH, Amherst, Ohio/Amherst Steele
Zips sophomore Courtney Jarvis led UA offensively posting 12 kills against Kent State and Ohio University this past weekend. A solid all-around player, Jarvis also added 13 digs, the second most on the squad, two assists, two block assists and one service ace.
Hannah Sullivan, Ball State, Jr., OH, New Albany, Ind./New Albany
BSU junior Hannah Sullivan paced the Ball State offense with 26 kills and a 3.25 kills-per-set average last weekend after racking up a season-high 20 kills versus Eastern Michigan and adding six in the sweep of Central Michigan. Sullivan entered the week with just 39 kills on the season and a 1.44 kills-per-set average.
Corey Domek, Bowling Green. Sr., LS, Naperville, Ill./Naperville North
Corey Domek posted 31 kills, 17 digs, and five aces in two matches this week, helping the Falcons to a split, including a dramatic five-set win over Northern Illinois. In the win over Northern Illinois, Bowling Green came back from two sets down, including a 25-5 loss in the second, to win the match. Domek had a team-high 14 kills and added seven digs and three aces. She sparked the team with five kills in the momentum-turning third set and then, with the match on the line, she had two aces, two kills, and three digs in the deciding fifth set. In Thursday's four-set loss to Miami, Domek had a double-double with 17 kills and 10 digs, adding two service aces.
Kaitlyn Schultz, Central Michigan, So., MB, Highland, Mich. (Milford HS)
Kaitlyn Schultz finished the week with 19 kills on 36 swings (.389) and added nine blocks (1 solo, 8 assists) for 24.0 points in eight sets. The sophomore had 13 kills and two blocks against Toledo and added six kills and seven blocks against Ball State.
Jennifer Swartz, Eastern Michigan, Jr., OH, Canton, Mich. / Westland John Glenn
Swartz helped propel to Eagles to a 1-1 weekend, including the program's second-ever victory at Ball State's Worthen Arena. The Canton, Mich. Native racked up a team-best 11 block assists to go along with 29 kills and a stellar .329 attack percentage. Versus the Cardinals, she racked up 17 kills, four block assist with the .382 hitting percentage. The next night at Toledo, Swartz powered home 12 kills and seven blocks in a five-set thriller at Savage Arena.
Arjola Prenga, Kent State, Sr., OH, Tirana, Albania
It was quite the senior weekend for Arjola Prenga, playing her final regular season home matches for her collegiate career against Akron and Buffalo. She registered a team-high 32 digs and was third on the team for the weekend with 20 digs. With 15 kills and 11 digs against Buffalo on Saturday night, Prenga tallied her 15th double-double of her career in only 22 matches. Even though she had only one service ace on the weekend, it came at a pivotal moment against Buffalo Saturday with the second set tied at 24-24. Besides her digs, Prenga also showed her defensive prowess with five total blocks this weekend (one solo, four assisted). As a whole, Kent State out-blocked its opponents this past weekend 24-4 (4.00-1.33 per set).
Kristin Hoffman, Northern Illinois, So., Setter, Batavia, Ill./Batavia
Kristin Hoffman tallied 96 assists (10.67/set), 27 digs (3.00/set), nine kills (1.00/set) with a .400 attack percentage, an ace, a block and a pair of double-doubles in nine sets over the week for NIU ... Against Western Michigan, she had 52 assists, 15 digs, a career-high six kills with a .462 hitting percentage and an ace ... Versus Bowling Green, she had 44 assists, 12 digs, three kills and a block for her fourth double-double of the season.
Ellen Herman, Ohio, Sr., OH, Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic
Herman was on fire for the Bobcats last week, tallying a team-high 30 kills (5.0 per set), while hitting .483 with a pair of assists and one ace. She also posted 16 digs (2.67 per set), three total blocks and a team-high 33.5 points (5.58 per set). The Toledo, Ohio native now has 1,844 career kills, just 131 shy of the league's all-time record.
Jessica Brown, Western Michigan, Fr., MB, Kentwood, Mich./East Kentwood
Freshman Jessica Brown set a career high in kills in back-to-back matches with 20 kills hitting .395 in a MAC West championship clinching victory over Northern Illinois on Thursday and another 20 kills hitting .375 in a thrilling five-set match at Miami on Saturday. For the week, Brown averaged 4.44 kills per set on .385 hitting along with 0.67 blocks per set.
Additional Nominees for Defensive Player of the Week
Chelsea Harvey, Akron, Fr., Libero, Stow, Ohio/Stow
Zips freshman Chelsea Harvey led UA with 20 digs in five sets this past weekend against Kent State and Ohio University.
Alex Zlabis, Bowling Green, Jr., Libero, Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South
Alex Zlabis had 39 digs in two matches on the week, averaging 4.33 digs per set. In a dramatic five-set win over Northern Illinois, Zlabis had a match-high 24 digs, outdigging NIU's Maddie Hughes, the conference's leader in that stat, by seven. Bowling Green dropped the first two sets against Northern Illinois, including 25-5 in the second, before rallying to win the match. Zlabis' consistent effort defensively helped Bowling Green hold NIU to just .058 hitting over the final three sets. In Thursday's four-set loss to Miami, Zlabis had 15 digs and an ace in the match.
Kaitlyn Schultz, Central Michigan, So., MB, Highland, Mich. (Milford HS)
Kaitlyn Schultz helped the Chippewas hold opposing offenses to a .161 hitting percentage. She finished the weekend averaging 1.12 blocks and finished with 24 points on the week.
Haley Stein, Eastern Michigan, So., Libero, Carleton, Mich. / Monore St. Mary's Catholic Central
Stein was clutch in both matches this weekend versus Ball State and Toledo, racking up a team-best 51 digs. Against BSU, she dug 23 balls including a pivotal play late in the fifth set to keep EMU alive en route to the victory.
Liva Brivule, Kent State, So., MB, Riga, Latvia/Latvijas Universitate
Sophomore Liva Brivule was a big part of the Kent State defense that out-blocked its opponents 24-4 this past weekend in straight-set victories over Akron and Buffalo. Brivule led the team with 11 blocks. With 1.11 blocks per set for the season, she is one of only five players in the MAC to average more than one block a set. Her offense was also came up big on the weekend as she recorded 19 kills (.256 hitting percentage). In two matches (seven sets) against the Zips this season, Brivule has contributed to Kent State out-blocking Akron 31-8 (4.43-1.14 blocks per set).
Maddie Hughes, Northern Illinois, Jr., Libero, St. Charles, Ill./North
Maddie Hughes led the NIU defense over the week with 43 digs (4.78/set) and only one error in 53 reception attempts ... Against Western Michigan, she had 29 digs and no errors in 36 reception attempts ... Versus Bowling Green, she had 14 digs and just one error in 17 reception attempts ... She has now had double-digit digs in all but two matches, and has done so in 20 straight contests.
Faith Robins, Ohio, Fr., OH, Winston-Salem, N.C./Robert B. Glenn
Robins tallied a team-best 1.50 blocks per set in the sweeps over Buffalo and Akron. On the offensive end, the freshman from North Carolina had seven kills (1.17 per set) and hit .545 with 11.5 points scored on the weekend.
Katie Westerfeld, Toledo, Jr., Libero, Cincinnati, OH/Roger Bacon
Junior Katie Westerfeld averaged 5.80 digs per set in the Rockets' two five-set wins over Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan. Westerfeld helped UT rally from 2-1 deficits in both contests and leaves the Rockets in a second-place tie in the West Division. She tallied 20 digs against the Chippewas and then finished one short of tying UT's school record with 38 against the Eagles. In the match against EMU, she tallied 10 digs in the fourth set and nine more in the fifth set. Six of those digs in the fifth set helped UT rally from 14-12 deficit and fight off four match points before the Rockets were able to win by an 18-16 margin.
Caitlin Strimel, Western Michigan, Sr., Libero, Chicago, Ill./Mother McAuley
Senior Caitlin Strimel continued her strong play in the back row by averaging 6.00 digs per set for the Brown & Gold in a pair of matches. Strimel started the week with 28 digs in the Broncos' MAC West championship clinching victory over Northern Illinois on Thursday. Strimel was also a perfect 22-for-22 on serve receive vs. the Huskies. Strimel turned around on the road and finished with a match-high 26 digs against Miami, while also handling 26-of-28 serves. Strimel finished with a .960 serve reception percentage (48-of-50) for the weekend. With 54 total digs, Strimel increased her MAC-leading career total to 2,433, which is among the top-10 best marks in NCAA history.