Maddie Mayers Named Big Ten Freshman of the Week
Sep 2, 2013
Park Ridge, Ill. – Illinois redshirt freshman Maddie Mayers earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors after her outstanding debut for the Orange and Blue at the Long Beach State Mizuno Invitational this past weekend. The middle blocker led the Fighting Illini to wins over No. 18 Florida State and No. 17 Kentucky en route to capturing the invite title by putting up efficient offense along with lights-out front row defense. Mayers was named to the Mizuno Invitational All-Tournament team after hitting .345 with 29 kills and 20 blocks in the three matches. She is the second Illinois freshman ever to win a weekly award for her first-ever appearance, following teammate Alexis Viliunas, who did so after her debut at Michigan State last season.
“In her debut, I thought she did a nice job,” said Head Coach Kevin Hambly. “I thought she carried a big load offensively and at times they couldn’t touch her. We needed that balance in the offense, it was nice to have.”
The Fort Wayne, Ind., native was unbelievably efficient in her first match in the starting lineup, hitting .625 with 11 kills and four blocks against FSU. Mayers had seven kills on eight swings in the first two sets against the nationally-ranked Seminoles, and committed just one error in the third set.
Mayers struggled a bit offensively against Long Beach State, tallying five kills but six errors. However, she made up for it on defense, registering a team-high seven blocks, including four in the final set alone.
The following evening, the Illini took on No. 17 Kentucky. Mayers bounced back on offense, tallying a personal-best 13 kills while hitting .458 and was just one block shy of her first career double-double, putting up nine block assists. Mayers was consistent throughout the match, recording three kills in each of the first four sets, and her four block assists in the second helped power the Illini to a 25-19 victory which tied the match at 1-1.
Student-athletes from four different programs each won weekly awards from the conference this week. In addition to Mayers. Minnesota middle blocker Tori Dixon was named Player of the Week, Iowa’s Bethany Yeager earned Defensive Player of the Week, and Ohio State junior Taylor Sherwin garnered Setter of the Week honors.
Gopher senior Tori Dixon had 49 kills, 11 blocks and a .472 hitting percentage with two double-doubles in 3-0 victories over Jacksonville State, UAB, Georgia State and Samford at the UAB/Samford Challenge.
Senior defensive specialist Bethany Yeager led the Hawkeyes to the Chanticleer Invitational title with victories over Wofford (3-2), Youngstown State (3-2) and Coastal Carolina (3-1). She powered the Iowa backline with 79 digs, averaging 5.6 digs per set, to earn MVP honors at the invitational. She is the first Iowa Hawkeye to win Defensive Player of the Week since Sept. 7, 2009.
Rounding out this week’s awards is Taylor Sherwin, who guided Ohio State to wins over Liberty (3-0), Green Bay (3-2) and Northern Illinois (3-2) en route to the NIU Invitational title. She averaged 12.15 assists per set, with a total of 158 on the weekend, including a career-best 68 assists against the Phoenix.
The Fighting Illini return to action on Saturday, Sept. 7, when they head to Ames for the Iowa State Challenge. Illinois will take on San Diego at Noon on Saturday, then the host Cyclones at 2 p.m. Sunday.