Nov. 4, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- After breaking into the SEC's top-10 list for career digs over the weekend, Tennessee volleyball senior Ellen Mullins has been named the league's Defensive Player of the Week, as announced by the conference office on Monday afternoon.
"I'm so proud of the recognition Ellen is receiving for her consistent play, not just this year but continuing from last year," head coach Rob Patrick said. "She has played at a very high level, not just defensively with her digs, but also in her serve receive. She has been a rock for us in that area and allowed us to run our offense."
Mullins, a 2012 All-American who has started every match this year at the libero position, picks up the award for the third time this season, and seventh in her career. She averaged a team-best 6.43 digs per set this weekend.
Friday night against Auburn, Mullins scooped up 14 digs, cracking into the league's record books as she moved into 10th on the SEC's all-time career digs chart with then-1,663 career digs. The Nashville native capped off the weekend with her sixth 30-plus digs performance on Sunday against the Georgia Bulldogs as she tallied 31 digs. She recorded no reception errors on the weekend, further proving herself as the rock of Tennessee's defense.
The 5-foot-6 libero, who competed on the USA A2 team this past summer, has 533 digs on the season, which ranks her third on UT's all-time single season digs chart. She already owns the second and fifth spots on that chart with her 541 digs last season as a junior in 2012 (second) and 471 digs as a sophomore in 2011 (fifth). She is 35 digs shy of reaching the top spot on the list which Chloe Goldman owns with 568 digs set in 2009.
With seven regular-season matches remaining in the season, Mullins has 1,694 career digs, which is 61 away from Goldman's record of 1,755 at the top of Tennessee's career-digs chart.
"She earned the libero position late her freshman year and for her to go on to break records and move into the SEC's top-10 for digs really shows you the type of work ethic she has," Patrick said. "Ellen is very coachable. Those two things have allowed her to be consistent over time. She has perfected her craft by the hours she has spent in the gym passing, digging and getting better technically."
Her three SEC recognitions this year ties her with LSU's Briana Holman for the most weekly accolades for an SEC player this season.