MAC Volleyball Players of the Week

Updated 9/2/2013


MAC East Offensive Player of the Week
Abby Gilleland, Ohio University, Setter
Sophomore, Bull Valley, Ill./Marian Central Catholic
Gilleland was named the Oregon Classic Most Valuable Player after leading the Bobcats to a 3-0 record, the tournament championship and an undefeated 9-0 set record. The sophomore setter averaged 10.22 assists/set while also contributing 1.3 kills/set, 1.8 points/set and 2.0 digs/set over the three-match event. In the opener against Bryant on Aug. 30, Gilleland notched a match-high 29 assists while adding four kills on five attempts (.800) and five digs. Against Eastern Washington on Aug. 31, the preseason All-MAC selection battled through a first-set injury to lead all participants with 27 assists while adding two service aces, three kills and five digs. In the tournament championship match against eighth-ranked Oregon, Gilleland played her best match of 2013, posting a season-best 36 assists (12.0/set) to go along with five kills on 14 attempts (.357), eight digs, two service aces and a block assist. 
MAC East Defensive Player of the Week
Kaitlyn Skinner, Bowling Green, Middle
Senior, Cambridge, Ont./ St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School
Skinner, a native of Cambridge, Ontario, averaged 1.55 blocks/set this weekend, as the Falcons took down 13th-ranked BYU in the Bowling Green Hampton Inn Invitational. In the BYU match, Skinner recorded 8 blocks, including three in the fifth set. She also recorded 8 block assists in a four set loss to Big East foe Creighton.
MAC West Offensive Player of the Week
Stephenee Yancy, Western Michigan, Middle Blocker
Sophomore, Aroma Park, Ill./Kankakee
Yancy was offensively dominant for the Broncos at the 2013 Holiday Inn West Bronco Classic, leading the field in kills (59), kills per set (4.54), and hitting percentage (.465) to earn a spot on the All-Tournament team.  The reigning MAC Freshman of the Year appeared unblockable at times, hitting .424 or better in each of the three matches, and finishing with no less than 18 kills in any of those matches.  Yancy had a match-high 19 kills on 33 swings with just five errors in the Broncos’ win over Northwestern, their first win over a B1G opponent since Sept. 18, 2009 against Indiana.  Yancy also served up seven blocks in the victory over the Wildcats.  Yancy was even better against Milwaukee, notching the match-high of 22 kills on 34 swings with just four errors for a .529 hitting percentage.  Defensively, Yancy contributed four blocks.  Yancy posted the match-high in kills against Oklahoma as well, recording 18 on 32 swings with just four errors for a .438 hitting percentage.
MAC West Defensive Player of the Week
Lena Oliver, Western Michigan, Libero
Senior, Battle Creek, Mich. / St. Philip Catholic Central
Oliver helped the Broncos to a 2-1 finish at the 2013 Holiday Inn West Bronco Classic, leading the tournament in digs and coming just short of claiming a major statistical milestone in the process.  Oliver averaged 5.31 digs per set over the weekend, nearly a full dig per set more than the second place finisher (Eden Williams, OU – 4.40) despite the fact the Broncos finished third out of four teams in digs.  Oliver opened with a match-high 24-dig performance against Northwestern in Friday’s season opener, helping the Broncos to their first win against a B1G opponent since defeating Indiana 3-1 on Sept. 18, 2009 in Bloomington, Ind.  Oliver was even better the next day against Milwaukee, contributing a match-high 29 digs against the Panthers in the Broncos’ 3-2 win.  Oliver had a match-high 16 digs in the loss to tournament champion Oklahoma, falling just three short of reaching her 2,000th career dig.  
Other Nominees:
Alex Cocklin, Akron, OH, Outside Hitter
Senior, Rochester, Mich./Marian HS
Alex Cocklin started her senior season on a high note over the weekend, helping Akron sweep a doubleheader against Indiana State and SIUE to win the Cougar Classic title. En route to earning tournament MVP accolades, Cocklin registered 23 kills, averaging 2.88 per set. In UA’s second shutout of SIUE in as many seasons, Cocklin posted a match-high 11 kills with just a single error in 18 attempts for a .556 clip.
Jill Paluch, Akron, DS
Senior, Chicago, Ill./Nazareth Academy
Jill Paluch reached a career milestone in Akron’s season opener, surpassing 1,000 digs while spearheading the Zips’ defense in their hunt for the Cougar Classic crown. Paluch posted a perfect receiving percentage on the weekend, averaging 4.62 digs per set without recording a receiving error. In Akron’s win over Indiana State, Paluch was one of three Zips that notched double-digit digs with a team-high 20. She followed that up with a match-high 17 digs in just three sets against SIUE.
Hayley Benson, Ball State, Middle Blocker
RSo., Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Bradley
Hayley Benson turned in a dominating performance for the Cardinals in the middle of the court at the USF tournament, racking up 32 kills and a .517 attack percentage, with just one attack error in 60 attempts over BSU’s three matches. For her efforts, Benson was named to the USF All-Tournament Team … After seeing limited action last season, Benson proved to be a big offensive weapon for Ball State at the USF Tournament, racking up a career-best 16 kills in the championship match versus USF … In just two set of action versus The Citadel, Benson tagged six kills and posted a team-best three total blocks … In the season-opening win over Austin Peay, Benson started the season with a 10-kill, .667 (10-0-15) hitting effort, while once again leading the Cardinals at the net with three total blocks, including a pair of solo stuffs … For the week, Benson posted 32 kills, averaged 3.20 kills and 0.80 blocks per set, while hitting .517 over her 10 sets of action … In 21 matches and 54 sets last season, Benson tallied just 65 kills (1.20) and 22 blocks (0.41), while hitting .155.
Catie Fredrich, Ball State, Libero
Senior, Menomonee Falls, Wis./Menomonee Falls
Averaged 4.91 digs per set to help guide Ball State to a 2-1 record at the at the USF Tournament … Posted 20 digs in Ball State’s season-opening three-set sweep of Austin Peay, while posting a .933 (14-for-15) reception percentage … Added 15 digs in BSU’s sweep over The Citadel, as well as another .933 (14-for-15) reception percentage … In the Cardinals five-set loss to tournament host USF, Fredrich collected 19 digs and a perfect 1.000 (23-for-23) reception percentage… Overall, Fredrich tallied a .962 (53-for-55) reception percentage over the three matches, while also serving up a pair of aces and helping limit Ball State’s opponents to a combined .183 hitting mark. With her 54 digs over the weekend, Fredrich upped her career total to 1440.
Paige Penrod, Bowling Green, Left Side
Senior, Circleville, Ohio/ Circleville
Penrod, a native of Circleville, Ohio, was dominant during the Bowling Green Hampton Inn Invitational, earning a spot on the all-tournament team for her efforts. In the first match against Marquette, Penrod led the team with 13 kills. Penrod had a career match against 25th-ranked Creighton, as she recorded an astonishing 21 kills in the three-set match, hitting .459. Against #13 BYU, Penrod led the Falcons to victory with a team-high 16 kills against the Cougars.
Liz Scott, Buffalo, Outside Hitter
Junior, Canandaigua, NY/Canandaigua
Liz Scott was named to the all-tournament as the Bulls swept their way to the title at the UB Invite.  Scott led the way for the Bulls offensively as she hit .412 with 25 kills and just four errors over the three matches.  She had 13 kills and just one error in the tournament-clinching victory over Niagara on Saturday night.  Scott also helped out defensively with seven block assists.
Kelly Svoboda, Buffalo, Libero
Senior, Cleveland, Oh/Trinity
Kelly Svoboda was named the Most Valuable Player of the UB Invite as she led the team defensively with 47 digs, including 20 in the three-set match over Temple.  Svoboda also had 14 digs in the season open against Niagara and another 13 against the Purple Eagles on Saturday night.  As a server, Svoboda also led the Bulls with seven aces in the three matches, recording three a piece in the two matches against Niagara.
Jenna Coates, Central Michigan, Libero
Senior, Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston
Preseason All-MAC senior Jenna Coates put her defensive skills on display Saturday in the Chippewas’ dramatic come-from-behind five-set victory over Villanova. Coates finished the contest with 25 digs as the Chippewas erased a 2-0 deficit. After the Wildcats hit over .260 in each of the first two sets, Coates and the CMU defense stiffened, holding them to a hitting percentage of .140 in set three, .185 in set four and .049 in the fifth and decisive set. Coates finished the weekend with 58 digs (4.83/set) and a serve receive percentage of .942 (49-for-52). 
Angie White, Central Michigan, Middle Blocker
Sophomore, Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Academy of the Sacred Heart
Central Michigan sophomore middle blocker picked up right where she left off last season after being named a All-MAC Freshman Team selection, earning All-Tournament accolades at the Golden Grizzlies Invitational. White hit a blistering .412 over the weekend, sending home 36 kills on 68 attempts with just eight errors. The sophomore added 10 blocks in the three matches to lead the Maroon and Gold with 42.5 points. Her 15 kills and six blocks were crucial in CMU erasing a two-set deficit and rallying for a five-set victory over Villanova to close the tournament. 
Paige Roback, Eastern Michigan, Outside Hitter
Senior, Maumee, Ohio/Notre Dame Academy
Senior outside hitter Paige Roback led the Eagles to a 2-1 start on opening weekend of the 2013 volleyball season. The Maumee, Ohio native posted double-doubles in each of the three matches, including her best which was a 21-kill and 18-dig performance in a five set win against Hartford, Aug. 30. Roback notched a .340 attack percentage in the win against the Hawks. On the weekend, she totaled 47 kills and 52 digs, while holding a .260 attack percentage. Roback averaged 3.62 kills and four digs per set to help EMU to its 2-1 mark. Defensively, she is second on the team in digs following the opening weekend and is averaging 0.46 blocks per set. For her exceptional weekend, Roback was named to the 2013 Golden Griffin Invitational’s All-Tournament Team.
Corynne Smith, Eastern Michigan, Libero
Sophomore, Norwalk, Mich./St. Paul
Sophomore libero Corynee Smith helped EMU to a 2-1 start at the 2013 Golden Griffin Invitational this weekend. The Norwalk, Ohio native posted 62 digs in 13 sets to average 4.77 per game. Overall on the weekend, Smith had a .913 reception percentage, while making just seven errors in 80 attempts. Her best match came against the host Canisius, Aug. 30, when she picked up 31 digs and had just two receiving errors. The libero also posted six assists and two service aces on the offensive side of the ball.
Liz Reikow, Kent State, MB
Jr., Holland, Mich./Holland
Liz Reikow was named to the all-tournament team at the Indiana Invitational for her strong play at the net in helping Kent State go 1-2 over the weekend. The 6-6 middle blocker totaled eight blocks and six digs, but her impact goes beyond her individual numbers. Her presence at the net altered the opposing attack throughout the weekend, helping the Golden Flash defense limit teams to a .202 hitting percentage. Reikow had her best individual effort in the opener against Rutgers, totaling six blocks (1 solo, 5 assists). While not recording a block in the match, she helped hold Robert Morris to a .011 hitting percentage in the team’s lone victory.
Tori Clifford, Miami, Libero
Junior, Glen Ellyn, Ill./Glenbard West
Coming off an injury that caused her to miss over half of last season, Clifford earned the libero jacket for the first match, and was able to hold onto it for the entire weekend as she helped the RedHawks win the Belmont Invitational. She led Miami with 42 digs, an average of 4.20 digs per set. She set a career-high with 15 digs in the opener against Gardner-Webb, and matched it against Memphis the next day. Clifford was also perfect in receptions, handling 57 attempts without making a single error.
Paige Hill, Miami, Middle Hitter
Freshman, Massillon, Ohio/Jackson
Paige Hill had an amazing debut for the RedHawks in earning MVP honors at the Belmont Invitational. She had 28 kills for a team leading 2.80 kills per set average. She also had an amazing 23 blocks (2 solo and 21 assisted) for an average of 2.30 blocks per set. Her 12 block assists against Memphis were only two short of the school record for a match. Her .407 hitting percentage for the week led Miami, and she also scored on six service aces.
Jenna Radtke, Northern Illinois University, Middle Blocker
Freshman, Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson HS
Making her debut with the Huskies, freshman Jenna Radtke (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Stevenson) was a force in the middle for NIU en route to a 2-1 opening weekend record. As one of three Huskie freshmen in the starting lineup, Radtke led the team with a .429 hitting percentage and 16 blocks in the three matches, along with five assists and 26 kills. Friday night against Green Bay, she registered nine kills and seven blocks in a 3-2 win over the Phoenix. The next afternoon against 2012 NCAA Tournament qualifier Liberty, Radtke added six kills and a block assist. However, she and the rest of the Huskies limited the Flames to a paltry .030 team hitting percentage en route to a 3-0 sweep. In the tournament championship against #23 Ohio State, she had her best performance yet with 11 kills and eight blocks to total 19 points in the heartbreaking 3-2 loss to the Buckeyes.
Justine Schepler, Northern Illinois University, Libero
Senior, Sycamore, Ill./Sycamore HS
NIU senior libero Justine Schepler (Sycamore, Ill./Sycamore HS) was a model of consistency for the Huskie defense, as they opened the season with a 2-1 record at the NIU Invitational. In the three matches, the Sycamore, Ill., native led the team with 47 digs and a 97% receiving percentage. In the tournament finale against #23 Ohio State, Schepler set a career record with 22 kills against the Buckeyes, along with a perfect return percentage and one service ace as the Huskies pushed OSU to five sets. Schepler had 11 digs, a 100% receiving percentage and two aces in a win against two-time defending Big South Conference champion Liberty. In the season opener against Green Bay, she tallied 14 digs, an ace, two assists and even a kill in the 3-2 victory.
Meredith Ashy, Ohio University, Libero
Sophomore, Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy
Ashy averaged a team-best 4.3 digs/set and added 1.2 assists/set while leading Ohio to a 3-0 record and an undefeated 9-0 set mark at the Oregon Classic. Ashy paced Ohio with  a match-high seven digs and added four assists vs. Bryant on Aug. 30 before posting a match-high 10 digs to go along with two service aces and an assist in the 3-0 win over Eastern Washington. Ashy closed out the tournament with her best performance in the championship match against No. 8 Oregon, keeping a number of difficult balls in play. The Louisville, Ky., native averaged an impressive 7.3 digs/set in the contest en route to a match-best 22 digs. The 5-foot-8-inch libero also added six assists in the 3-0 win over the Ducks.
Dakota Harkins, Toledo, Middle Blocker
Senior, Canal Fulton,OH/Northwest
Senior MB Dakota Harkins earned all-tournament team honors at Toledo’s Blue/Gold Invitational this weekend after averaging a team-best1.07 blocks per set and ranking second with a .344 attack percentage. Harkins’ top performance came in a 3-2 win over Eastern Illinois when she tallied 13 kills, six blocks and a .458 ATK%. She also tallied a weekend-high seven blocks as well as eight kills and a .333 ATK% vs. Loyola.
Lauren  Rafdal, Toledo, Outside Hitter
Senior, Carmel, IN/Brebeuf Jesuit
Senior OH Lauren Rafdal averaged 3.94 kills per set and led Toledo in kills in all four matches this weekend as Toledo posted a second-place finish at the Blue/Gold Invitational. Rafdal was selected to the all-tournament team after tallying a weekend-best 21 kills and .340 ATK% vs. Loyola (IL) and 18 kills and a .279 hitting mark vs. Eastern Illinois. She also tallied 14 kills and a .300 ATK% vs. West Virginia and posted a .279 hitting mark for the weekend.