OGDEN, Utah – After three spectacular performances on the court last week, junior Sydney Kemper was rewarded on Monday as she was named Big Sky Player of the Week by the conference office. The award is the second of her career and the first for the Northern Arizona volleyball team this season.
"Statistically she was great last week, when she's playing well we play well, but she's also one of our leaders," said head coach Ken Murphy. "The little things she does in the back row on defense and the things she does to get us through tough stretches in matches are the biggest impacts she has on our team."
Kemper was outstanding in multiple facets of the game last week as she led the NAU charge to a perfect 3-0 homestand with three clean sweeps of Southern Utah, Portland State and Eastern Washington. She averaged 3.44 kills, 3.00 digs and 1.11 blocks per set while hitting a sizzling .474 for the week.
The junior from Albuquerque, N.M. began the week with an eight kills, eight digs performance against Southern Utah. She recorded her eight kills on just 14 swings and she did not register an error en route to hitting a match-high .571. Kemper followed that up with a double-double performance against preseason Big Sky favorite Portland State as she notched her second double-double of the season with a match-best 14 kills and a career-high 11 digs. She had another highly efficient performance as she hit .393 in addition to tallying seven blocks on the night. She finished the week with nine kills, which led all players, and eight digs in NAU's win over Southern Utah. She hit .533, her second match of the week with a hitting percentage upwards of .500.
Overall, she recorded her top-two hitting percentages of the season this week and Kemper led the team with 37.5 points, 19.0 of which came in NAU's three-set win over Portland State last Thursday.
For the season, Kemper is second on the team in kills (2.78 per set), blocks (0.90 per set), service aces (12) and points (171.0) and third in total digs (111) during her first season on the outside after spending her first two years as a middle blocker.
"She's taken the challenge and getting better every week," Murphy said. "At first there was some big adjustments moving positions and playing in the back row, but the great thing about her is that she challenges herself. She's made so much progress but she has goals of being so much better as the season goes on."
The Lumberjacks (12-4 overall, 5-1 Big Sky) look to extend their three-match win streak this Friday and Saturday with matches at Montana State and Montana.