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. 27-Nov. 2. COLORADO’s Taylor Simpson was voted the Conference’s Offensive Player of the Week, while WASHINGTON’s Cassie Strickland was named the Defensive Player of the Week and OREGON STATE’s Mary-Kate Marshall was tabbed the Freshman of the Week.

Taylor Simpson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) posted two double-doubles as Colorado upset two ranked opponents for its first 2-0 weekend of Pac-12 play. The senior tallied 17 kills and 14 digs in the 3-1 win over No. 15 Arizona, adding an assist and a block. Simpson then put down 18 kills and had 10 digs in a five-set victory over No. 19 Arizona State, while also recording seven blocks, an assist and a service ace. Her 3.89 kills per set average on the weekend led the Buffs, while her season-to-date average of 4.56 kills per set is tied for third in the Pac-12. 

Cassie Strickland (Huntington Beach, Calif.) averaged 5.00 digs per set with 30 total digs as the Huskies swept No. 20 USC and No. 16 UCLA. The junior libero matched a career high against the Trojans with 25 digs, the most in the Pac-12 this season in a three-set match. It was also the highest dig total by a Husky in a three-setter since 2008. On Friday at UCLA, the Huskies only had 20 digs as a team, but hit an effective .455 clip thanks in large part to Strickland’s passing. With an overall record of 23-0, UW has matched the 2005 team for the best start in program history. 

Mary-Kate Marshall (Coppell, Texas) recorded two double-doubles as the Beavers split the weekend, losing in four to top-ranked Stanford before defeating California, 3-1. In the loss to Stanford, Marshall put down 16 kills and added 11 digs. The outside hitter then posted 22 kills and 14 digs against California, giving her a 4.75 kills per game average and a 3.12 digs per set average over the course of the weekend. Marshall is the only underclassman ranked in the top 10 in kills per set in the Pac-12, sitting at fifth with a season average of 4.28. During the match against Cal, Marshall improved her season total to 355 kills, which is the second most by a Beaver freshman in program history. 

Simpson’s honor is the first of her career and the second all-time for the Buffs since joining the Pac-12 in 2011. Strickland also takes home her first-career weekly honor, marking the 47th overall honor for the Huskies. Strickland is also the third Husky player to receive defensive player of the week accolades this season. Marshall has now earned freshman of the week three times this year, which is the most honors for a Beaver in a single season all-time and the fifth overall freshman of the week accolade for OSU. 

Colorado hosts UCLA and USC this week on Thursday, Nov. 6 and Sunday, Nov. 9, respectively. Washington and Oregon State will face each other on Sunday, but not before the Beavers travel to Pullman to play against Washington State on Thursday, and the Huskies host Oregon on Friday, Nov. 7. For more information, including a complete schedule, visit www.pac-12.com. 

Also Nominated
Offensive: Martenne Bettendorf, ORE; Arica Nassar, OSU; Morgan Boukather, STAN; Karsta Lowe, UCLA; Samantha Bricio, USC; Krista Vansant, WASH. 

Defensive: Cierra Simpson, COLO; Amanda Benson, ORE; Darby Reeder, OSU; Madi Bugg, STAN; Taylor Formico, UCLA; Taylor Whittingham, USC; Kate Sommer, WSU. 

Freshman: Anna Pfefferle, COLO; Frankie Shebby, ORE; 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
Nov. 3 Taylor Simpson, COLO Cassie Strickland, WASH Mary-Kate Marshall, OSU
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