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O’Brien named Defensive Player of the Week

By IlliniVBall, 10/30/18, 10:30AM CDT


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Following another strong week that saw the No. 4 Illinois volleyball team earn a pair of wins with a 3-0 sweep of Maryland and a 3-1 victory at No. 9 Nebraska, sophomore Morgan O'Brien was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week and senior Jordyn Poulter collected her second-straight Co-Setter of the Week accolade, the conference announced on Monday (October 29).

O'Brien nabs her first weekly conference honor of her career, while this is Poulter's fifth setter of the week accolade of the season and eighth of her career. As a team, the Illini have taken home eight Big Ten weekly honors in 2018.  

The sophomore libero totaled 44 digs in just seven sets for an impressive 6.29 digs per set average as opponents were held to a .083 hitting percentage, while also adding seven assists and two service aces in the two wins – including the first Illini victory over the Huskers since 2014. O'Brien started her week with 12 digs against the Terrapins on Wednesday as UMD was held to a .055 attack clip, before putting together an outstanding performance against the Huskers with a career-high 32 digs, tying for the seventh-most digs in a single match in program history as the Illini held Nebraska to a .099 team hitting percentage.

Poulter registered 88 assists for a 12.57 assists per set average as the Illini hit .240 on the week, while adding 25 digs for a 3.57 digs per set mark, eight blocks and seven kills on a .250 attack clip. The Aurora, Colorado native directed the Illini offense to a .333 hitting percentage against the Terrapins on Wednesday with 39 assists, while also posting seven digs, five blocks and four kills in the win. She then posted her 34th career double-double and 11th of the season with 49 assists and a season-high 18 digs to go along with three blocks and three kills in the four-set win over UNL on Saturday night.

O'Brien, Poulter and the Illini continue their three-match road swing this weekend with a Friday (November 2) night match against Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, before traveling to College Park, Maryland, to face Maryland on Sunday (November 4).