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 week of Sept. 1-7. UCLA’s Karsta Lowe was named the Conference’s Offensive Player of the Week, while STANFORD’s Inky Ajanaku was voted Defensive Player of the Week for the second-straight week and OREGON’s Frankie Shebby was tabbed as the league’s Freshman of the Week.

Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) had 49 kills in only six sets last weekend at the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge, helping the Bruins to an upset-sweep over then-ninth-ranked Illinois on Friday before falling to then-No. 1 Penn State. Lowe combined to hit .344, while adding 13 digs, four aces and three blocks over the two matches en route to earning a spot on the All-Tournament Team. Lowe reached 20 kills in both matches, setting a career high with 29 versus the Fighting Illini. To go with her new career high in kills, Lowe also recorded 10 digs for her third-career double-double, had two aces and hit at a .426 clip. Against the Nittany Lions, Lowe had 20 kills, two aces and three digs.

Inky Ajanaku (Tulsa, Okla.) led Stanford to five-set wins over top-10 ranked Big Ten opponents, including then-No. 1 Penn State and then-No. 9 Illinois last week in the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge. The tournament’s Most Valuable Player, Ajanaku posted a.442 hitting percentage over the two matches while averaging 3.50 points, 3.00 kills and 1.00 blocks per set. Against the then-top ranked Nittany Lions, she hit a team-best .385, totaling 14 kills, including the 600th of her career, and four blocks for 16.0 points. Against the then-No. 9 Illini, the Tulsa, Okla., native notched 16 kills, one shy of her career high, on a .500 hitting percentage to go with six blocks as the Cardinal fought back from a 2-1 deficit to remain undefeated on the year. Ajanaku now leads the Pac-12 with a .474 hitting percentage on the season.

Frankie Shebby (La Mirada, Calif.) made her collegiate debut at the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic, helping the Ducks to a 3-0 weekend, including an upset of then-No. 20 Hawai’i. She averaged 2.62 kills on a .202 hitting percentage, posting double-digit kills in each of the three matches. In her first match as a Duck against St. John’s, Shebby led the team offensively, finishing with 14 kills, three blocks and a .310 hitting percentage. She then had 10 kills each in the five-set thriller against the host-Wahine and the 3-1 victory over New Mexico, and was named to the all-tournament team.

It is Lowe’s third-career Conference weekly nod, and second offensive weekly award. It is UCLA’s 71st all-time. Ajanaku’s honor marks the third-career weekly honor and second-straight defensive nod. She was also voted the offensive honoree last year. It is Stanford’s 90th all-time weekly recognition. Shebby earns Oregon’s third all-time freshman nod.

The top-ranked Cardinal hosts three teams this weekend for the Stanford Invitational, Sept. 12-13, while No. 18 Oregon hosts Big Ten opponents Michigan and Michigan State on Sept. 12 and 13, respectively, with the match against the Wolverines to be televised on the Pac-12 Networks. No. 25 UCLA heads to the Outrigger Resorts Volleyball Challenge in Honolulu for three matches, Sept. 11-13, including a clash with perennial powerhouse Hawai’i.

Also Nominated

Offensive: Madi Kingdon, ARIZ; Lillian Schonewise, CAL; Nicole Edelman, COLO; Liz Brenner, ORE; Katelyn Driscoll, OSU; Inky Ajanaku, STAN; Ebony Nwanebu, USC; Chelsey Schofield-Olsen, UTAH; Krista Vansant, WASH; Chelsey Bettinson, WSU.

Defensive: Rachel Rhoades, ARIZ; Lillian Schonewise, CAL; Cierra Simpson, COLO; Darby Reeder, OSU; Taylor Formico, UCLA; Alicia Ogoms, USC; Carly Trueman, UTAH; Lianna Sybeldon, WASH; Kate Sommer, WSU.

Freshman: Christine Alftin, CAL; Anna Pfefferle, COLO; Mary-Kate Marhsall, OSU; Merete Lutz, STAN; Olga Strantzali, UCLA; Brittany Abercrombie, USC; Jessie Jorgensen, UTAH; Crissy Jones, WASH.

2014 PAC-12 VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

  Offensive Defensive Freshman
Sept. 1 Madi Kingdon, ARIZ Inky Ajanaku, STAN Mary-Kate Marshall, OSU
Sept. 8 Karsta Lowe, UCLA Inky Ajanaku, STAN Frankie Shebby, ORE
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