Jennifer Bonilla earns Illinois' first Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor since Erin Johnson last year.
Sept. 6, 2010
Park Ridge, Ill. -
Illinois junior right side hitter Michelle Bartsch, the MVP of the Time Warner Cable Invitational over the weekend in Austin, Tex., has been named the Big Ten Player of the Week. Illinois libero Jennifer Bonilla earned the conference's co-Freshman of the Week after helping lead Illinois to a perfect 2-0 weekend, which included a 3-0 sweep at No. 2 Texas.
Illinois moved up two spots to No. 3 in the latest AVCA Coaches poll following the victories, marking the highest ranking for Illinois since Sept. 6, 1988, when the Illini began the year at No. 2. Penn State remains atop the rankings followed by Stanford, Illinois, Florida and Texas. Two of this weekend's opponents are also in poll - Nebraska at No. 7 and Dayton at No. 20.
Bartsch wins her first Big Ten Player of the Week honor after hitting .514 to help the Illini to the team title. The junior was 10-for-19 hitting and chipped in three blocks on Friday against second-ranked Texas, guiding Illinois to a three-set win over the Longhorns, ending Texas' 25-match home court winning streak. The following day against Florida A&M, Bartsch finished with nine kills and two blocks in a sweep. On the weekend, she averaged 3.8 kills and 1.0 blocks per set for the third-ranked Illini.
Bonilla anchored the Illinois serve-pass game over the weekend. The freshman libero averaged 5.2 digs per set in Illinois' three-set wins over No. 2 Texas and Florida A&M in the tournament. On Friday against the Longhorns, Bonilla finished with 18 digs and added 13 digs against Florida A&M and was 23-for-23 in service receiving attempts last weekend.