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. 15-21. WASHINGTON’s Krista Vansant was named the Conference’s Offensive Player of the Week, while OREGON STATE’s Arica Nassar was tabbed the Defensive Player of the Week and fellow Husky Tia Scambray was voted the Conference’s Freshman of the Week.

Krista Vansant (Redlands, Calif.) earned Most Valuable Player honors at the Pac-12/Big Ten Showcase, leading the top-five ranked Huskies to wins over Maryland and then-No. 4 Wisconsin. She posted double-doubles in both matches, recording a team high in kills both nights. Against the Badgers, Vansant had a season-best six blocks, including a career-high three solo blocks, to go with 17 kills and 11 digs, helping UW come back from a 2-1 deficit to hand Wisconsin its first defeat since last season’s NCAA title match. Against the Terps, Vansant added a season-high three services aces, and her 11 digs were a team-best. The reigning AVCA National Player of the Year and Pac-12 Player of the Year averaged 4.62 points, 3.62 kills, 2.75 digs and 0.88 blocks per set over the two matches.

Arica Nassar (Menifee, Calif.) was tied for the statistical lead in the NCAA in blocks last week and showed her ability at the net over the weekend. She averaged 1.75 blocks per set in helping the Beavers post a 3-0 week, also earning her first double-double of the season in a five-match thriller against Long Beach State to close out the Roadrunner Invite. Nassar also had seven stuffs in the 3-1 victory over CSU Bakersfield, after warming up with a three-block outing in the straight-set sweep of Fresno State to open the weekend. Nassar also averaged 2.33 kills and 3.42 points per set, while hitting .442.

Tia Scambray (Dana Point, Calif.) had a significant role in the Huskies’ sweep of the Pac-12/Big Ten Showcase, which included victories over Maryland and then-No. 4 Wisconsin. She averaged 3.25 points per set over the two matches and also handled the most serve-receptions on the team. In a sweep of the Terrapins, Scambray hit a .476 clip with 10 kills, adding an ace, six digs, and five block assists. The next night, the Huskies gave the Badgers their first loss of the season, coming back from a set down on two occasions to win in five and move to 11-0 on the year. Scambray had nine kills, 10 digs and a season-high six total blocks in the match.

It is Washington’s 43rd all-time player of the week honor, and Vansant’s seventh-career nod, tying for third-most all-time in Conference history with former STANFORD Cardinal Alix Klineman (2007-10) and former Husky Christal Morrison (2004-07). It is also UW’s fourth freshman of the week honor, but Scambray’s first this season. Nassar earns player of the week recognition for the third time in her career (second defensive honor) and it is OSU’s 18th all-time.

The always-tough Pac-12 volleyball slate opens this week with seven teams ranked in the top 25 of the AVCA Coaches Poll. The No. 4 Huskies host WASHINGTON STATE on Wednesday, Sept. 24 on the Pac-12 Networks, then close the week with a road match at CALIFORNIA on Friday, Sept. 26. The Beavers open their portion of the league competition by taking the short trip to Eugene to face No. 13 OREGON on Wednesday, Sept. 24 for a match televised on the Pac-12 Networks, then hosting UTAH on Saturday, Sept. 27.

Also Nominated

Offensive: Madi Kingdon, ARIZ; Mercedes Binns, ASU; Taylor Simpson, COLO; Inky Ajanaku, STAN; Karsta Lowe, UCLA; Ebony Nwanebu, USC; Chelsey Schofield-Olsen, UTAH; Chelsey Bettinson, WSU.

Defensive: Mercedes Binns, ASU; Cierra Simpson, COLO; Inky Ajanaku, STAN; Jennie Frager, UCLA; Samantha Bricio, USC; Melanie Wade, WASH; Kate Sommer, WSU.

Freshman: Gabby Simpson, COLO; Mary-Kate Marshall, OSU; Merete Lutz, STAN; Olga Strantzali, UCLA; Lauryn Gillis, USC; Casey Schoenlein, WSU.

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
Sept. 22 Krista Vansant, WASH Arica Nassar, OSU Tia Scambray, WASH
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