Bjelica, Potts named Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Players of the Week

From the Sun Belt Conference

FIU's Jovana Bjelica and Western Kentucky's Ashley Potts were named the Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Player and Defensive Player of the Week, respectively, as announced by the league office on Monday.

Bjelica is the first player from FIU to receive the player of the week honor this season. Potts' accolade marks the second consecutive week that a WKU player received a weekly honor after Lady Topper Tiffany Elmore was named the conference's player of the week last week.

Junior Jovana Bjelica had a stellar weekend for FIU as the Panthers went 2-2 against tough competition at the Blue Raider Bash. Bjelica totaled 76 kills across 15 sets of action for a kills per set mark of 5.07, leading the Panther offense in all four contests. The outside hitter tallied a career-high 21 kills versus Austin Peay and later broke that career-best total with 24 kills versus Auburn. A native of Belgrade, Serbia, Bjelica also recorded 35 digs, posting a double-double on two occasions, while chipping in with nine blocks.

WKU sophomore defensive specialist Ashley Potts was again the defensive leader for the Lady Toppers as they picked up wins over Virginia Tech and Ohio at the Kentucky Classic, making all three starts at the libero position. Potts finished the weekend with 50 digs, an average of 5.0 per set. Against Kentucky, she tallied 16 and closed out the weekend with a 22-dig performance against Ohio. Potts was also named to the Kentucky Classic All-Tournament team as she improved her season average to 5.35 digs per set.


· ULM broke a 40-match losing streak with a five-set thriller over McNeese State on Tuesday, then backed up the initial victory with another five-set win over Stephen F. Austin the next day.

· WKU received votes (4) in the AVCA Top 25 poll for second consecutive week.

· Middle Tennessee topped Missouri 3-1 on Thursday at home. Missouri received 33 votes in the AVCA poll on Aug. 29.

· Fifteen Sun Belt players were named to all-tournament teams last weekend, including Arkansas State's Cayla Fielder, Louisiana-Lafayette's Mandi Gavin and Troy's Devin Von Pingel who were named the Most Valuable Player of their respective tournaments. So far in 2011, 20 different players have earned 21 total all-tournament honors. Denver's Faimie Kingsley was named to the all-tournament team for the second consecutive week.

· Troy's Natasha Kolunija received Special Mention from the American Volleyball Scouting Report (AVSR) this week after boosting Troy to four victories while hitting at .346 efficiency. The Novi Beograd, Serbia native was named to the Mercer Bear Brawl All-Tournament team, posting 2.60 kills per set on the weekend.

· Arkansas State went 3-0 over the weekend at the 2011 Lipscomb Invitational. This is the first time the Red Wolves have gone undefeated in a tournament since 2009 when they accomplished the feat at the ASU Invitational and the MSU Bulldog Invitational.

· Louisiana-Lafayette extended their current win streak at Earl K. Long Gym to four matches, a streak that dates back to last season. ULL has won 12 of the last 14 matches at home.

· Sarah Willey (North Texas) was named to the North Texas Invitational All-Tournament team after racking up 40 digs in just 10 sets, good for an average of 4.0 per set. A three-time Sun Belt Player of the Week honoree in 2010 has led the Mean Green defensive efforts in each of the last three years.

· Troy went 4-0 on the week, running their current winning streak to five games, the most since 2002. The 5-2 start is the best since 2003 when Troy started 6-1. That was the last season that the Trojans compiled a winning record.

· On the weekend, WKU averaged 14.0 kills per set and 15.60 digs per set while hitting .201 as a team and limiting their opponents to a .145 hitting mark. In the first six matches of the season, an opponent has not hit better than .200 against WKU.