From the Sun Belt Conference
North Texas's Melanie Boykins and Western Kentucky's Jordyn Skinner were named the Sun Belt Conference Volleyball Player and Defensive Player of the Week, as announced by the conference office on Monday.
On Senior Weekend, Boykins gave North Texas a career performance when it needed it most – crunch time in the race for the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. Boykins posted a pair of 10 kill matches with just one error all weekend in racking up a .500 attack percentage. The senior from Fort Worth, Texas, helped the Mean Green knock off West Division leader Arkansas State with 10 kills, four blocks, three digs and an ace. She followed that outing with 10 kills with no errors, two digs and two blocks. For the weekend, Boykins tallied 3.33 kills, 1.0 blocks and .83 digs per set.
Junior outside hitter Skinner continued her strong play on both sides of the net this weekend, helping the Lady Toppers to a pair of road wins against South Alabama and Troy. Skinner tallied a double-double in both matches and finished the weekend with a team-best 26 digs (4.33 per set) as a non-libero. She also led the squad in kills with 22 (3.67 per set). Skinner has recorded 17 double-doubles on the season and is the only player in the league to rank among the top 10 in kills and digs. On Friday against South Alabama, Skinner tallied 11 kills and 12 digs with a .357 hitting percentage. Against the Trojans, she again led the team with 11 kills along with 14 digs. The Grand Rapids, Mich., native committed only one receiving error and added three block assists on the weekend while leading the team with five service aces.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
· Middle Tennessee hosts WKU this Friday for the Sun Belt Regular Season Championship, the East Division Championship, and the No. 1 seed in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. The Blue Raiders and Lady Toppers will battle for the SBC title in both teams' last match of the season for the second consecutive year. MT swept WKU on Nov. 12, 2010 to claim the league's East Division and Regular Season Champion titles a season ago.
· WKU improved to 6-0 on the road in league play this year and extend their conference winning streak to 10 matches. All 10 wins in the streak have come via a sweep and WKU's 27 wins are the most by a Division I program in the nation.
· Middle Tennessee has now won a school record 16 consecutive matches since a 2-9 start. The streak is tied for the third-longest winning streak in the country, behind Hawaii and Jackson State, who have each won 19 in a row, and even with Northern Iowa.
· ASU has clinched a share of the West Division title for third straight under head coach Justin Ingram. The Red Wolves need just one more victory to clinch the title outright.
· With 12 kills versus ULM and 28 kills versus Louisiana-Lafayette, junior Jovana Bjelica has now reached the double-digit kill plateau in 22 of 25 matches played this season.
· North Texas' .351 hitting percentage against Arkansas State on Friday was NT's highest attack percentage in a Sun Belt match since Oct. 2, 2008 (.364 vs ULM).
· WKU's Jordyn Skinner recorded her 16th double-double of the year as she led WKU defensively with 12 digs. Sophomore libero Ashley Potts posted nine digs and junior Sarah Rogers had eight digs.
· Middle Tennessee has held six straight conference opponents under a .100 attack percentage. The last opponent to break the mark was FIU on October 16.
· Denver's Faimie Kingsley leads the Sun Belt in total blocks this season with 162. She needs 18 more to enter the SBC's top 5 for total blocks in a season in the rally-scoring era.
· The Warhawks split with Florida Atlantic and FIU this weekend to accomplish their first 10-win season since 2005. This also marks just the second season in 21 years that the Warhawks have hit double-figures in the wins column.
· Louisiana-Lafayette's Lesley Mirarchi became the Cajuns' rally-scoring era career kills leader over the weekend. The senior has 935 career kills.