Sept. 19, 2011
University of Minnesota sophomore outside hitter Ashley Wittman (Shakopee, Minn.) was named the Big Ten Conference's Player of the Week, announced today by the conference office. The award marks Minnesota's second weekly honor this year as well as Wittman's second player of the week honor of her career. The last Minnesota player of the week was Lauren Gibbemeyer on Nov. 1, 2010, while Jessica Granquist was named the Big Ten's defensive player of the week Sept. 5 following the Texas series.
Wittman earned her second Most Valuable Player award as she led the No. 9 Golden Gophers to a tournament win last weekend at Marquette University. Wittman and the Gophers recorded a 3-0 win over Middle Tennessee and a 3-2 win over host Marquette, sweeping the competition. Averaging 5.62 kills per set, Wittman held a weekend hitting percentage of .422. Against the Blue Raiders on Saturday, Wittman had a hitting percentage of .576 when she had 20 kills (20-1-33) and two solo and three block assists. In Sunday's match against Marquette, Wittman added a double double when she held a match-best 25 kills along with 13 digs. The Marquette Challenge marked the second-straight week Wittman earned MVP honors and the third tournament that she was named to the all-tournament team (AVCA Showcase, UNI Tournament-MVP and Marquette Challenge-MVP).
Wittman and the rest of the Golden Gophers start Big Ten Conference play this weekend at home. Minnesota hosts No. 3 Illinois on Friday, at 7 p.m., while hosting Northwestern, Sunday at 1 p.m. Both matches will be played at the Sports Pavilion.