With an impressive performance during a critical weekend, Northern Illinois outside hitter Lauren Wicinski collected the Mid-American Conference West Division Player of the Week award for the week of November 8-14, the league announced Monday.
The honor is the freshman’s fifth this season, which easily surpasses the NIU career record (two) for the award. Three of the selections came during the eight weeks of MAC competition. Wicinski bookended her regular season, as she was honored in the first (Aug. 23-29) and last weeks.
“It’s nice for [Lauren] to win the award in her last weekend,” said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. “We are proud of her accomplishments for the regular season. Her success is a byproduct of the entire team’s success. We hope that our team can use the lessons learned and great experiences from the regular season in a positive way this weekend at the MAC Tournament.”
The Geneva High School product (Ill.) produced one of her best weekends all year in an important final pair of MAC regular season matches as she led the Huskies to a MAC first round bye with 40 kills (5.00/set) and a .403 attack percentage along with six aces (0.75/set).
Leading the nation’s rookies and the MAC in points, kills and aces, Wicinski delivered 19 kills with a .455 attack percentage and an ace in a three-set win at home over Eastern Michigan (Nov. 12). The victory clinched a first round bye for the Huskies as she hit above .400 for the sixth time this season and added 16 digs for her 13th double-double.
With 21 kills and a .359 hitting percentage against Central Michigan (Nov. 13), Wicinski hit over .350 in back-to-back contests for the third time this season. She also added five aces against CMU, marking the fifth team she has served up five or more aces in a match. Wicinski’s proficient outputs marked her 30th straight game with 10-plus kills and 31st in a row with double figure points.
Among the country’s leaders this season, NIU volleyball’s first high school All-American currently ranks fifth in nation in points (5.66/set), seventh in kills (4.79/set) and eighth in aces (0.58/set).
Next up for Wicinski and the Huskies is a second round MAC Tournament match on Friday, Nov. 19, at 10 a.m. (CT) in Toledo, Ohio at the SeaGate Center. After locking up a first round bye for the second season in a row, No. 4 seed NIU awaits the winner of tomorrow’s contest in Ypsilanti, Mich. between No. 5 Eastern Michigan and No. 12 Bowling Green.