Oct. 1, 2013
East Lansing, Mich. - - Michigan State senior Lauren Wicinski (Geneva, Ill.) has been named the Sports Imports/ American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Volleyball Player of the Week, as announced by the AVCA office on Tuesday afternoon (Oct.1). She is the sixth player in MSU history to claim this honor, and the first since the 2003 season.
"This is a wonderful recognition for Lauren," said Michigan State head coach Cathy George. "She is a fierce competitor and a catalyst for our team. Her success is a big part of our team success. We're excited that all of our goals and all of Lauren's goals are ahead of us this season, and I am thrilled that she is being recognized for her accomplishments."
MSU (13-1, 2-0 Big Ten) opened Conference play last weekend at No. 1 Penn State and No. 13 Ohio State, and came away from one of the most difficult road trips with a 2-0 record. As a result, the Spartans were the biggest movers in this week's AVCA poll, jumping up six spots to No. 9; MSU is also one of five teams to receive first-place votes (2) in this week's poll. MSU has achieved its highest national ranking since being placed sixth in the 1997 pre-season AVCA poll.
Wicinski is the first MSU player in a decade to earn AVCA National Player of the Week honors. The most recent Spartan to capture the accolade was Nikki Colson on Sept. 22, 2003; Dana Cooke (Oct. 23, 1995) was MSU's first, and teammate Val Sterk received the kudos a month later (Nov. 20, 1995) during MSU's Final Four season. Recent MSU Athletics Hall of Fame inductee is MSU's only two-time honoree, earning it as a sophomore (Oct. 14, 1996) and a senior (Oct. 26, 1998). Angela Moreley also won a weekly AVCA honor on Nov. 19, 2001.
MSU snapped an 18-match losing streak to the Nittany Lions with a 3-2 win in State College on Friday, the program's first victory over a top-ranked opponent and first win on the road in this series since 2001. Wicinski led all players with 21 kills, and added two service aces, two blocks, and nine digs in the win over the No. 1 team in the country, MSU's first victory in program history over a top-ranked team.
MSU swept the weekend by following Friday's performance with a sweep of previously-undefeated Ohio State, where Wicinski led the team with 12 kills, and added two digs and two more aces, including one on match point. MSU had not won at OSU since 2008.
The last team to sweep the PSU-OSU road trip was Illinois in 2011, the year in which the Illini advanced to the National Championship match.
MSU starts 2-0 in the Big Ten for just the fourth time in school history, and first time since 2008. It's just the second time that MSU opened 2-0 with its first Conference matches played on the road - MSU also accomplished that feat in 1996.
Wicinski recently surpassed the 2,000 career kills mark, and has a total of 2,075 headed into MSU's Big Ten home opener on Friday against Illinois. Wicinski needs 180 more kills to move into the NCAA's top-25 all-time. In addition, at Penn State, she surpassed 1,000 career digs, and is MSU's all-time leader and ranks fourth all-time n the Big Ten in service aces in her career (243). She has twice been named Big Ten Player of the Week, and was the MVP of the Spartan and Butler Invitational Tournaments.