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 Oct. 20-26. STANFORD’s Inky Ajanaku was voted the Conference’s Offensive Player of the Week, while OREGON STATE’s Darby Reeder was named the Defensive Player of the Week and the Cardinal’s Merete Lutz was tabbed the Freshman of the Week.

Inky Ajanaku (Tulsa, Okla.) averaged a team-best 3.88 kills, 4.63 points and 1.50 blocks per set as she led top-ranked Stanford to wins over No. 17 UCLA and No. 19 USC last week. Against the Bruins, the middle blocker posted 15 kills on 24 swings with just one error to hit at a .583 clip, while racking up three assists and a season-high nine blocks, just one shy of a career high. The junior followed up with 16 kills against the Trojans, adding three blocks and two digs. The Cardinal improved to 20-0, tying its best start to a season since 1994, and is 10-0 in Pac-12 play. 

Darby Reeder (Zephyr Cove, Nev.) posted back-to-back 20-plus-dig performances as the Beavers split the weekend, dropping a four-set match to No. 15 Arizona before upsetting No. 18 Arizona State, 3-0. The junior posted 30 digs against the Wildcats and 22 versus the Sun Devils, marking the fifth and sixth times this season she has passed the 20-dig mark in a match and giving her a digging average of 7.43 digs per set. Her 4.37 digs per set this season ranks third in the Pac-12, with her total of 345 digs leading the league. The Beavers, who were winless in Conference play last year, have equaled its league-win total from two years ago (four wins) with just under half the Pac-12 slate still left to be contested.

Merete Lutz (Houston, Texas) averaged 1.88 blocks per set to go with 3.00 kills and 4.06 points per set on a .489 attack percentage in Stanford’s wins over UCLA and USC. The middle blocker accounted for 10 of Stanford’s season-high 20 total blocks against the Bruins, while adding 12 kills on 18 attempts with just one error for a .611 hitting percentage. Lutz added another 12 kills against the Trojans, while recording five blocks and three assists. She was a key part of a Cardinal defense that held USC to a .171 team hitting percentage.

Ajanaku’s weekly honor is the fourth of her career and her second-career offensive player of the week honor. She was also voted the Conference’s defensive honoree on Sept. 1 and 8. Ajanaku’s recognition this week marks the 92nd all-time for the Cardinal. Reeder takes home her first-career weekly accolade and the 19th all-time for the Beavers. Lutz’s honor is the second of her career and the ninth freshman of the week award for Stanford. 

Stanford and Oregon State face off this Friday, Oct. 31 at 6 p.m. PT on the Beavers’ home court. The Cardinal will then travel to Eugene to play Oregon while OSU stays home to host California on Sunday, Nov. 2. For more information, including a complete schedule, visit www.pac-12.com

Also Nominated

Offensive: Madi Kingdon, ARIZ; Taylor Simpson, COLO; Liz Brenner, ORE; Karsta Lowe, UCLA; Samantha Bricio, USC; Shelby Dalton, UTAH; Tia Scambray, WASH. 

Defensive: Penina Snuka, ARIZ; Cierra Simpson, COLO; Amanda Benson, ORE; Merete Lutz, STAN; Taylor Formico, UCLA; Taylor Whittingham, USC; Cassie Strickland, WASH; Kate Sommer, WSU. 

Freshman: Gabby Simpson, COLO; Mary-Kate Marshall, OSU; Reily Buechler, UCLA; 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
Sept. 22 Krista Vansant, WASH Arica Nassar, OSU Tia Scambray, WASH
Sept. 29 Karsta Lowe, UCLA McKenzie Jacobson, ARIZ Tia Scambray, WASH
Oct. 6 Krista Vansant, WASH Lianna Sybeldon, WASH Merete Lutz, STAN
Oct. 13 Samantha Bricio, USC Krista Vansant, WASH Mary-Kate Marshall, OSU
Oct. 20 Karsta Lowe, UCLA Madi Bugg, STAN Reily Buechler, UCLA
Oct. 27 Inky Ajanaku, STAN Darby Reeder, OSU Merete Lutz, STAN
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