Oct. 20, 2008
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - After going undefeated in three matches last week, two members of the University of Tennessee volleyball team have picked up a pair of weekly awards from the Southeastern Conference as sophomore outside hitter Nikki Fowler was tabbed the SEC Offensive Player of the Week and freshman setter Kelsey Mahoney earned SEC Freshman of the Week accolades.
A native of Dallas, Texas, Fowler continued to carry the load for the Big Orange offensively, collecting 44 kills in wins over East Tennessee State, Ole Miss and Arkansas. For the week, she averaged 4.40 kills per set and took a total of 91 swings, while hitting at a stellar .352 clip. She also had 21 digs, four blocks and three aces and served as the team's top passer, recording just one reception error in a team-high 52 attempts (.981).
Fowler opened the week with a solid, 10-kill, six-dig performance in UT's 3-0 sweep over ETSU. She hit .350 in that contest with just three errors in 20 total attacks. The 6-2 sophomore followed up that showing with one of her most impressive matches of the season, as she notched a career high against Ole Miss with a .480 hitting percentage, pounding out 14 kills on 25 attacks with just a pair of errors. Fowler added four digs, three blocks and an ace in that contest as well.
The 2007 SEC Freshman of the Year then closed out the week in style, collecting her team-high sixth double-double of the season and 17th of her young career with 20 kills and 11 digs against the Razorbacks. Fowler hit at a .283 clip (20-7-43), in addition to tallying a block and an ace.
Mahoney was able to string together three consecutive strong performances as well. For the week, the 5-10 setter paced the Lady Vol offense to a terrific .344 hitting percentage and led the team with 68 assists, good for a 6.80 assists per set average. The Fort Worth, Texas, native also recorded 18 digs (1.80 per set), an ace and a block in the three matches.
After starting the week with 13 assists to help UT hit at a .420 clip against the Bucs, Mahoney registered 21 versus the Rebels to pace the Orange and White attack to a .374 hitting percentage. She also had 11 digs against Ole Miss to record her fourth double-double of the season. Mahoney then finished the weekend with her best effort of the 2008 campaign, notching a career-high 34 assists in Tennessee's 3-1 victory over Arkansas. That total also stands as the highest mark achieved by any Lady Vol this year.
UT will take its three-match winning streak on the road next weekend when it travels to Alabama and Mississippi State. The Lady Vols will take on the Crimson Tide at 7 p.m. CT in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Fri., Oct. 24 before squaring off with the Bulldogs at 1:30 p.m. CT in Starkville, Miss., two days later.