Oct. 27, 2009
By Cameron Harris, Assistant Media Relations Director
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Following a monster week in which she tallied a pair of double-double performances and led the University of Tennessee volleyball team to its most impressive victory of the season, junior Nikki Fowler has been unanimously selected as the Lady Vol Athlete of the Week. The award is the second of the season for the 6-2 outside hitter who also picked up the honors on Sept. 1.
A native of Dallas, Texas, Fowler was nearly unstoppable last Wednesday as she paced the Big Orange to a four-set victory over No. 7 Kentucky live on ESPNU from Memorial Coliseum in Lexington. She finished with a team-high 20 kills in the win, and was particularly impressive in crunch time, delivering 10 of those putaways in the fourth and final frame, including the final four scores of the match for UT.
In addition to her offensive output, Fowler recorded her fourth consecutive double-double and 25th of her career with 17 digs. She also added four blocks, two assists and an ace, while hitting at a solid .286 clip with just four errors in 56 swings, and was one of the team's primary passers, tallying just one reception error in 18 attempts in the victory.
The win over the seventh-ranked Wildcats marked the highest-rated opponent Tennessee has defeated since it took out No. 2 Penn State in State College, Pa., on Dec. 9, 2005, to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history. The loss was just Kentucky's second of the season and first in eight home matches.
Just five days later, Fowler added 19 more kills to her weekly résumé in a 3-1 loss to No. 20 LSU. She also had 22 digs to move her streak of double-doubles to five matches and was perfect in the passing game, flawlessly handling all 31 serves that came her way.
For the season, Fowler leads all Lady Vols with 266 kills (3.45/set) and 319.0 points (4.14/set), ranks second with 254 digs (3.30/set) and third with 68 blocks (0.88/set).
Tennessee will hit the road once again this weekend, traveling to Ole Miss and Arkansas. UT will take on the Rebels at 7 p.m. CT in Oxford, Miss., on Friday, Oct. 30 before venturing to Fayetteville, Ark., for a 1:30 p.m. CT matchup with the Razorbacks two days later. The showdown with the Ole Miss will be televised live on SportSouth.