Pac-12 announces volleyball players of the week

SAN FRANCISCO - The Pac-12 Conference office announced today the Pac-12 Volleyball Players of the Week for the opening week of the season. ARIZONA’s Madi Kingdon was named the Conference’s Offensive Player of the Week, while STANFORD’s Inky Ajanaku was voted Defensive Player of the Week and OREGON STATE’s Mary-Kate Marshall was tabbed as the league’s Freshman of the Week.

Madi Kingdon (Phoenix, Ariz.) was named Tournament Most Valuable Player after leading Arizona to an undefeated weekend at the Green Bay Tournament. The senior led the Wildcats with 64 kills while hitting .361, adding 33 digs and eight total blocks, five of which were solo. Her two 20-plus-kill efforts – 23 versus South Dakota and 23 against Kansas State – were her 16th and 17th such accomplishments of her career, moving her into fourth at Arizona for 20-plus-kill matches. The outside hitter also recorded two double-doubles on the weekend with more than 10 digs in the matches against SDSU and KSU. She also had four service aces, helping her to an average of 7.45 points per game. It marks Kingdon’s second weekly honor and Arizona’s 33rd overall, as well as UA’s third all-time offensive player of the week nod.

Inky Ajanaku (Tulsa, Okla.) helped Stanford post a pair of victories at the AVCA Showcase in Lincoln, Neb., sweeping 2013 NCAA tournament participant Iowa State and No. 7 Nebraska. The junior averaged 1.67 blocks and 0.67 digs per set, while also notching 4.00 kills per set and 4.92 points per set on a .512 hitting percentage. In the match against Iowa State, Ajanaku registered a match-best seven blocks to go with 14 kills as Stanford won its sixth-consecutive season opener. Then, in the weekend’s only top-10 match in the country, the middle blocker collected three digs and three blocks, hitting .500 while committing zero errors in front of a hostile crowd against the seventh-ranked Huskers. It is Ajanaku’s third-career weekly honor and first defensive player of the week award, having received offensive nod once each prior in her career. It marks Stanford’s 89th overall weekly award. 

Mary-Kate Marshall (Coppell, Texas) led the Beavers offense over the course of the weekend at the Utah State Invitational, picking up Tournament MVP honors as Oregon State finished the weekend 3-0 to claim the Utah State Tournament title. The freshman posted 51 kills for an average of 4.64 per game, with a hitting percentage of .322 and a 4.82 points per game average. She also recorded 21 digs and four blocks in her collegiate debut. In the match against tournament-host Utah State, Marshall came just shy of a double-double with 21 kills and nine digs. Marshall’s first-career weekly honor is also Oregon State’s 18th all-time weekly recognition. 

The Wildcats and the Cardinal remain at home this next week, as Arizona hosts the Arizona Invitational on Sept. 5 and 6. Stanford faces off at home in the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge against reigning NCAA Champion Penn State and 2013 NCAA participant Illinois, with both matches televised on the Pac-12 Networks. The Beavers stay on the road as they travel to Seattle to play in the Seattle University Invitational on Sept. 5 and 6. For more information, including a composite schedule, visit www.pac-12.com

Also Nominated
Offensive: Macey Gardner, ASU; Alyssa Jensen, CAL; Taylor Simpson, COLO; Martenne Bettendorf, ORE; Tayla Woods, OSU; Inky Ajanaku, STAN; Karsta Lowe, UCLA; Samantha Bricio, USC; Bailey Bateman, UTAH; Kaleigh Nelson, WASH. 
Defensive: BreElle Bailey, ASU; Cierra Simpson, COLO; Kacey Nady, ORE; Darby Reeder, OSU; Taylor Formico, UCLA; Alicia Ogoms, USC; Shelby Dalton, UTAH. 
Freshman: Halle Harker, ASU; Ashten Smith-Gooden, CAL; Gabby Simpson, COLO; Taylor Agost, ORE; Olga Strantzali, UCLA; Lauren Gillis, USC; Carly Trueman, UTAH; Tia Scambray, WASH. 

2014 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

  Offensive Defensive Freshman
Sept. 1 Madi Kingdon, ARIZ Inky Ajanaku, STAN Mary-Kate Marshall, OSU
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