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. 8-14. UCLA’s Karsta Lowe was named the Conference’s Offensive Player of the Week and OREGON’s Frankie Shebby was tabbed as the league’s Freshman of the Week, both earning the respective honors for the second-consecutive week. UTAH’s Bailey Bateman is the Conference’s Defensive Player of the Week for the first time this season.

Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) was named the Most Valuable Player of the Outrigger Resorts Volleyball Challenge after leading the 25th-ranked Bruins to a trio of wins last weekend, including a sweep of host #22 Hawai’i. Lowe averaged 5.50 kills and 5.95 points per set in the three matches, surpassing double figures in kills in each contest. She also averaged 1.90 digs and 0.70 blocks per set over the weekend. The senior opened the tournament with 16 kills, four digs and three blocks against San Francisco on Thursday, posting a .520 hitting percentage with only three errors in 25 attempts. On Friday, Lowe had 17 kills, six digs, two blocks and a .333 hitting percentage in the sweep of the 22nd-ranked and host Rainbow Wahine. Lowe finished the weekend with a 22-kill effort against Utah State, her fourth match this year with at least 20 kills. She was a dig shy of a double-double and added two blocks and an ace. Lowe leads the Pac-12 with an average of 6.42 kills and 7.19 points per set.

Bailey Bateman (Hopper, Utah) helped lead Utah to a 4-0 record this week with wins over Utah Valley, East Tennessee State, Georgia Tech and Lipscomb. Bateman, who was named to the Lipscomb All-Tournament team, posted a .373 hitting percentage with 1.92 kills, 1.23 digs and 2.58 points per set over the four matches, including a mid-week win over UVU. She tallied a team-high five total blocks in Utah’s win over ETSU in the opening match of the Lipscomb Tournament and six total blocks against the host team. She posted a .500 or better hitting percentage in half the matches she played in this week, and was .375 or better in three.

Frankie Shebby (La Mirada, Calif.) has been a key component in Oregon’s offense this season, which ranks third in hitting percentage in the Pac-12 (.307). Averaging 4.00 kills, 0.29 assists and 4.36 points per set over the weekend, she helped the Ducks defeat No. 23 Michigan State and Michigan. The outside hitter also added 1.86 digs and 0.71 blocks per set over the two contests. Shebby posted double-digit kills in both matches, tallying 13 in the win over the Spartans, then following up with a career-high 15 against the Spartans. She was efficient in her offense, hitting at a .440 clip against Michigan and .345 against MSU. She also added three total blocks and five digs against UM, and eight digs and a pair of blocks against the Spartans.

It is Lowe’s fourth-career Conference weekly nod, and third offensive weekly award. It is UCLA’s 72nd all-time. It is Bailey’s first-career weekly recognition and the Utes’ fourth all-time. All four weekly honors for Utah have been defensive nods. Shebby earns Oregon’s fourth all-time freshman nod.

The Bruins, who entered the AVCA’s national top 25 last week, are headed to the Fullerton Classic for three matches on Sept. 19-20 before opening the brutal Pac-12 schedule which begins next week. The Utes take on a pair of intrastate rivals this week before their final tuneup for Conference play. They travel to Utah State on Sept. 17, then close out the week against top-10 foe BYU on Friday, Sept. 19. The Ducks will also take on a local foe, heading to Portland State on Monday night.

Also Nominated

Offensive: Madi Kingdon, ARIZ; Taylor Simpson, COLO; Frankie Shebby, ORE; Merete Lutz, STAN; Chelsey Schofield-Olsen, UTAH; Krista Vansant, WASH; Chelsey Bettinson, WSU.

Defensive: Rachel Rhoades, ARIZ; Maddy Kerr, CAL; Cierra Simpson, COLO; Serena Werner, ORE; Arica Nassar, OSU; Kyle Gilbert, STAN; Zoe Nightingale, UCLA; Carly Trueman, UTAH; Lianna Sybeldon, WASH.

Freshman: Gabby Simpson, COLO; Mary-Kate Marhsall, OSU; Merete Lutz, STAN; Olga Strantzali, UCLA; Eliza Katoa, 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
Sept. 8 Karsta Lowe, UCLA Inky Ajanaku, STAN Frankie Shebby, ORE
Sept. 15 Karsta Lowe, UCLA Bailey Bateman, UTAH Frankie Shebby, ORE
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