Northern Illinois volleyball senior libero Maddie Hughes received the Mid-American Conference West Division Defensive Player of the Week honor for her remarkable performance during the week of Nov. 1-7, the league announced Monday.
“It’s nice for Maddie to be recognized like this by the league,” said NIU head coach Ray Gooden, who has seen his Huskies win six weekly MAC awards in 2010. “We are pleased to see her continue to grow, not just as libero, but as a team leader. She has done a nice job of stepping up in a leadership role for this team, being the lone senior. Maddie also continues to be one of the best liberos in the nation.”
The St. Charles High School (Ill.) product took home the award in its first week of existence last season and now adds her third since then and first this season.
The reigning MAC Defensive Player of the Year simply had an amazing weekend in the back row, totaling 48 digs in eight sets (6.00/set) and mishandling only one serve in 26 attempts.
In a heartbreaking five-set loss at Western Michigan (Nov. 4), Hughes tallied a career-high-tying 34 digs and had 13 perfect serve receptions, marking the third time this season that she has had 30 or more digs. The 2009 second team All-MAC selection then ended the week with 14 digs and one reception error in 13 tries in a 3-0 home win over Bowling Green (Nov. 6). The back-to-back double digit dig efforts marked the 22nd and 23rd times she has done so this season.
The program’s all-time second-best digs leader (2,116) ranks 93rd in the nation with an average of 4.55 digs per set (487). Hughes ranks fourth in the MAC in digs.
Riding a five-match home winning streak, Hughes and the MAC West second place Huskies (24-5, 10-4 MAC) put the finishing touches on the league’s regular season this weekend at the NIU Convocation Center’s Victor E. Court. The Huskies will take on MAC West second place Eastern Michigan (23-8, 10-4 MAC) at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12, and MAC West fifth place Central Michigan (13-13, 7-7 MAC) at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13.
For more information on NIU volleyball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.