August 31, 2009

Smith earns share of Big Sky's first POTW award

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OGDEN, Utah -- It would be tough to get off to a better start to a season than Northern Colorado senior Taylor Smith has early on in her senior year.

Smith last weekend, playing in her hometown of Denton, Texas, helped the Bears start 3-1 on the year at the North Texas Mean Green Volleyball Classic by hitting an incredible .514 over the four matches, with a 2.87 kills-per-set average. She also had 15 total blocks and five digs.

Those numbers were good enough to earn Smith recognition on the all-tournament team last weekend, and now she can add a first Big Sky Volleyball Player of the Week honor to her collegiate resume.

Smith, a 6-foot middle blocker for Northern Colorado, and Idaho State's Emily Waldron, a 5-11 outside hitter, will split the honors for the season's first week,  it was announced by the league office Monday afternoon.

The Bears, behind Smith's torrid stretch, defeated Southern Methodist, North Texas and Texas-San Antonio last weekend. The Bears’ lone loss, a 3-1 defeat, came to New Mexico State, which received 28 votes in this season’s AVCA Top 25 Preseason poll.

In the 3-2 win over Southern Methodist, Smith hit .571 after connecting on 14-of-21 kills. Against Texas-San Antonio, she notched a scorching .643 hitting percentage (10-of-14) to lead the Bears to a 3-0 victory.

Smith joins fellow seniors Allison Raguse and Breanna VanDerMost as current Northern Colorado players who have earned the conference's weekly award.

Waldron and the Bengals won the 2009 University of Wyoming Cowgirl Classic in Laramie, Wyo. last week. Idaho State defeated South Dakota State, Rutgers and Wyoming to earn the title and start the season with a 3-0 record.

Waldron received her first-ever tournament honors when she was named the MVP. The senior averaged 3.00 kills and 3.36 digs per set, and posted two double-doubles in three matches. She had 10 kills and 14 digs in a 3-1 win over South Dakota State on Friday. Waldron followed that up with 13 kills and 12 digs as Idaho State beat Wyoming 3-1 on Saturday.

Others Nominated: Chenoa Coviare, Eastern Washington; Stephanie Turner, Montana; Lauren Campbell, Northern Arizona; Whitney Phillips Portland State; Janelle Currey, Sacramento State; Chelsea Bair,Weber State