ELMHURST, Ill. – The final #SummitVB Players of the Week go to Fort Wayne's Nicole Rightnowar and North Dakota State's Mikaela Purnell. This is the first-career offensive player of the week title for Rightnowar, while Purnell tied the Summit League all-time single-season record with her fifth defensive honor of the year.
Rightnowar guided the Mastodons (12-18, 4-10) during last week's action, leading the team in kills, digs and hitting percentage. In seven sets played, Rightnowar blasted 4.86 kills/set and hit .367—both well above her season average in those categories. In tallying back-to-back double-double performances against Western Illinois and South Dakota State, Rightnowar helped her team secure the sixth and final seed at the league tournament this weekend.
Rightnowar and Fort Wayne play No. 3 South Dakota at 6 p.m. MT this Friday, Nov. 17.
This is the ninth time in her career Purnell has been named the defensive player of the week, earning that honor with 66 total digs and a 8.25 digs/set average against Western Illinois and Omaha. The Bison (18-8, 9-5) went onto win both matches last week as Purnell recorded back-to-back 30-plus dig performances, including a career-high 36-dig showing versus the Mavericks. With those two game logs, the senior libero now has 10 career 30-plus dig performances to her name.
Purnell and NDSU will head into this week's championship tournament as the No. 4 seed, facing off against No. 5 Omaha Friday at 3 p.m. MT.
Nicole Rightnowar, Fort Wayne
Jr. // Outside Hitter // Temperance, Mich.
- Last Week: 34 kills, 4.86 kills/set, 37.0 points, 5.3 points/set, 0.43 aces/set
- Led team in kills, digs and hitting percentage on the week
- Posted a .367 hitting percentage in seven sets, which is .193 points better than her season average
- Hit a season-high .452 in a win over the Jackrabbits
- Kills/set average last week was 1.56 kills better than her season average (3.30)
- Recorded two double-doubles versus WIU (18 K, 19 D) and SDSU (16 K, 14 D)
Also nominated: Cassie Baird (Denver), Abby Bergsten (Neb.-Omaha), Laura Milos (Oral Roberts), Erika Gelzinyte (North Dakota State), Hayley Dotseth (South Dakota)
Previous Winners: Aug. 28 – Kayla Principato (Denver) | Sept. 5 – Brianna Rasmusson (NDSU) | Sept. 11 – Laura Milos (Oral Roberts) | Sept. 18 – Kelly Law (USD) | Sept. 25 – Laura Milos (ORU) | Oct. 2 – Laura Milos (ORU) | Oct. 9 – Hayley Dotseth (USD) | Oct. 16 – Becca Latham (Denver) | Oct. 23 – Laura Milos (Oral Roberts) | Oct. 30 – Becca Latham (Denver) | Nov. 6 – Mackenzie Steckler (WIU)
Mikaela Purnell, North Dakota State
Sr. // Libero // Excelsior, Minn.
- Last Week: 66 digs, 8.25 digs/set
- Turned in back-to-back 30-plus dig performances in wins over WIU and Omaha
- Recorded career-high 36 digs in season finale against Omaha
- 10 career 30-plus dig performances
- Ninth-career Defensive Player of the Week award (second most all-time)
- Ranks seventh in the NCAA this season in digs/set (5.89—as of 11/09/17)
Also nominated: Tina Boe (Denver), Natalie Seiler (Fort Wayne), Bella Sade (Omaha), Tori Roe (Oral Roberts), Anne Rasmussen (South Dakota)
Previous Winners: Aug. 28 – Mikaela Purnell (NDSU) | Sept. 5 – Bella Lien (NDSU) | Sept. 11 – Mikaela Purnell (NDSU) | Sept. 18 – Mikaela Purnell (NDSU) | Sept. 25 – Anne Rasmussen (USD) | Oct. 2 – Anne Rasmussen (USD) | Oct. 9 – Anne Rasmussen (USD) | Oct. 16 - Mikaela Purnell (NDSU) | Oct. 23 – Anne Rasmussen (USD) | Oct. 30 – Megan Doran (Oral Roberts) | Nov. 6 – Abbi Klos (NDSU)
ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
Through 35 years of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of nearly 100,000 at eight institutions, including three located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Fort Wayne (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne), North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University with the University of North Dakota becoming an official member on July 1, 2018. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced nine NCAA Champions along with over 90 Academic All-Americans, nearly 100 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit www.thesummitleague.org website, follow The Summit League on Twitter @thesummitleague.