Hat trick: Volleyball’s Lauren Wicinski garners third MAC West Offensive Player of the Week

Lauren Wicinski
Lauren Wicinski

Northern Illinois volleyball outside hitter Lauren Wicinski was named Mid-American Conference West Division Offensive Player of the Week, the league announced Monday.

The sophomore’s NIU-record ninth career selection marks the third consecutive week that she’s earned the honor.

Last season, the 2010 MAC Player and Freshman of the Year was chosen as the league’s weekly winner five times and did it in back-to-back weeks once. With five weekends of conference play left, she has already garnered the honor four times and one-upped her 2010 campaign by grabbing the award in three straight weeks, yet another Wicinski achievement that had not been accomplished before in Huskie history.

“It’s nice for Lauren and NIU volleyball to get this recognition three weeks in a row,” said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. “Lauren continues to develop her game and play well and these honors are a by-product of that. The most important by-product, though, was that the team got two wins over the weekend.”

Wicinski was the prime factor for NIU’s two wins last week as she had 38 kills (6.33/set), hit .414, and served up six aces. She also racked up 17 digs (2.83/set) and three blocks while scoring 46.5 points (7.75/set).

In leading NIU to its first 3-0 win over Western Michigan since 2001 last Thursday, she had 25 kills on only 36 swings with just one error for a career-high .667 hitting percentage, and added eight digs and an ace to boot. In the process, she became the 17th member of NIU’s 1,000 Kill Club and is the fastest (54 matches) in school history to reach the milestone.

In a sweep of Miami (Ohio) last Saturday, she led the team with 13 kills and five aces. Helping NIU win its third straight match and fourth straight against the RedHawks, she also had nine digs and three blocks.

The 2010 CVU.com Freshman of the Year currently leads the conference in points (6.67/set), kills (5.71/set), and aces (0.66). Wicinski ranks fifth in hitting percentage (.333) as well. As of Oct. 3, the 2010 AVCA All-American Honorable Mention also leads the NCAA in points and kills, and ranks fourth in aces.

Wicinski and the Huskies return to action this weekend with a pair of MAC East Division road matchups. NIU will face Akron at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14, and Buffalo at 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15.

For more information on NIU volleyball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.

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