OGDEN, Utah – The Northern Arizona volleyball team swept their Labor Day matches on Monday, and then swept the Big Sky Player of the Week awards with senior Lauren Jacobsen and freshman Abby Akin being honored by the conference office. Jacobsen was named the conference's Offensive Player of the Week, while Akin was named the Defensive Player of the Week for their performances at the Saluki Invitational over the weekend.
NAU became the first school to sweep the Big Sky's weekly awards. This is the first season in which the conference has awarded offensive and defensive Players of the Week. The weekly honor is the second of Jacobsen's career, while Akin picks up her first honor two weeks into her freshman season.
Jacobsen enjoyed the best weekend of her Lumberjack career, averaging 5.92 kills per set with a hitting percentage of .339 on her way to Saluki Invitational all-tournament honors. She also averaged 4.33 digs per set and recorded a total of 71 kills in addition to three aces over the three-match tourney.
The Chandler, Ariz. native opened last weekend with a career-high 26 kills on .455 hitting and a career-high tying 19 digs in a four-set win over Western Michigan. She then notched 16 kills, a career-high 20 digs and four blocks against Central Florida the following morning. Yet her most impressive performance came in the tournament finale against host Southern Illinois, in which she upped her career-high to 29 kills to help the 'Jacks hand the Salukis their first loss of the season. She hit .435 in the four-set win with 13 digs and three blocks in a battle between two NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago.
Akin was honored for leading a strong NAU defensive effort last weekend in which the Lumberjacks outblocked their opponents 29.0-17.0 while averaging 2.42 blocks per set. Akin herself recorded 21 blocks and averaged 1.75 per set in helping NAU hold its three opponents all under their season hitting average and to a combined .197 clip.
After recording three blocks in NAU's win over Western Michigan, the Phoenix, Ariz. native had her best match during her early career with 11 blocks against Central Florida. Ten of her 11 blocks were assisted as she became the just the fifth player in school history to record 10 block assists in a four-set match. Akin was the first Lumberjack to have a double-digit block performance sine Payton Bock last season, and her 11 blocks is tied for the most by a Big Sky player this season. She finished the weekend with seven blocks against Southern Illinois as the Salukis were outblocked for the first time this season.
After Monday's matches, Jacobsen is second in the league with 4.62 kills per set and is ninth in hitting percentage at .302. She also leads the conference with five double-doubles. Akin is second in block average at 1.32 per set and she leads the league with 33 total blocks.