OGDEN, Utah – There were a number of standout players during the Northern Arizona volleyball team's undefeated Homecoming weekend, and the conference office recognized one of them on Monday with freshman Abby Akin taking home Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week honors. Akin earns her second such accolade this season and is the first player in the conference to be selected as the top defensive player twice in 2016.
The middle blocker from Phoenix, Ariz. was an absolute wall at the net in wins over South Division rivals Portland State and Sacramento State last weekend, tallying 13 blocks at 1.86 per set. Akin was just one of many reasons that the Vikings and Hornets combined to hit just .106 with a whopping 57 combined attack errors. As a team, NAU averaged 3.57 blocks per set while forcing Portland State into its second-lowest hitting output of the season (.119) and Sacramento State to its third-worst performance (.087).
Akin had a direct hand in eight of NAU's season-best 16.0 blocks in the four-set win over Portland State last Thursday. She then put down five blocks – two of the solo variety – in a sweep of Sacramento State on Saturday while helping shut down the Big Sky's team leader in kills to their third-fewest kills this season. In seven sets, NAU managed to keep Portland State and Sacramento State to a sub-.100 hitting percentage in five of those seven games.
As good as Akin was defensively, she also was a force to be reckoned with offensively as she added 15 kills at 2.14 per set on a team-high .440 hitting percentage. She hit .385 against the Vikings with seven kills and followed that performance up with eight kills on .500 hitting against the Hornets. Her offensive play boosted her hitting percentage in conference only matches to a Big Sky high .407.
Akin ranks fourth in the conference with 1.20 blocks per set and is third with 95 total blocks overall this season.
NAU is the only team with players who have earned multiple Big Sky Player of the Week awards this season. Akin – who was previously named Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 5 – joins senior Lauren Jacobsen, who has received two Offensive Player of the Week nods on Sept. 5 and Sept. 19. Senior Jensen Barton was also named the conference's top offensive player two weeks ago.