With the first weekend of Big East volleyball in the books, it’s time for the first set of Big East weekly volleyball awards. Marquette sophomore outside hitter Allie Barber was named Offensive Player of the Week in what is a slight change in perspective for the league. In the past two seasons, the league only announced a Player of the Week, so separating into offensive and defensive specialties is something new. They suddenly changed to the specialty awards mid-season in 2014, but switched back in 2015.
Here’s what the league office had to say about Barber:
Golden Eagle outside hitter Allie Barber started her sophomore campaign on a high note as she marked 22 kills with eight digs in a 3-2 match win against then-No. 20 Hawai’i. Barber helped Marquette during a grueling three days in the Aloha State, playing against all ranked opponents. Despite a 1-2 weekend, Barber posted 4.83 kills per set. She followed up her 22 kill performance against Hawai’i with 18 against No. 13 UCLA and 13 against No. 22 San Diego. Barber added 1.33 digs per set and .304 hitting with two aces and 6.0 blocks. After the first weekend of play, Barber is second in the league in kills per set (4.42).
You know what the wildest part about Barber’s weekend in Hawaii is? She didn’t start any of Marquette’s three matches. 2016 Co-Freshman of the Year, 2016 All-Big East First Team, 2017 Preseason All-Big East Team..... coming off the bench. Weird, huh? She has 40 more attacks than anyone else on the team right now and accounts for nearly 30% of the attacks by the Golden Eagles this season, so I’m not saying that Barber didn’t deserve the award from the Big East. It’s just weird that head coach Ryan Theis is keeping his designated primary attacker on the bench to start matches.
Elsewhere in the league, Creighton’s Marysa Wilkinson was named Defensive Player of the Week and Providence’s McKenzie Lydon was named Freshman of the Week. Wilkinson was named MVP of the Washington Husky Invitational, which included a CU win over the #3 ranked host team. In the Washington match, Wilkinson had 11 kills and a team high four blocks as the Bluejays became the first team to hand the Huskies a regular season non-conference home loss since 2001. That is a lot of matches, guys. Lydon averaged 4.67 digs while helping PC get off to a 3-0 start at a tournament hosted by Boston College. She made the All-Tournament team and currently leads the Big East in digs per set.
The inaugural 2017 edition of the Weekly Honor Roll saw five women from five different schools identified as big winners of the weekend. Butler’s Makayla Ferguson, Providence’s Allison Impellizeri, St. John’s Erica Di Maulo, Villanova’s Amanda Pederson-Henry, and Xavier’s Kristen Massa are the first honorees of the new season.
Marquette returns to action on Friday when they make the trip southeasterly to Indianapolis to tangle with Wichita State, Miami (OH), and IUPUI, which is the host for the weekend.