COLUMBIA, Mo. - For the second consecutive week, a Mizzou volleyball player has been honored by the SEC as this week sophomore Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) was named SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week on Monday (Sept. 10). The honor for Little is the first weekly honor in her career and it is the second for the Tigers this season after Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) was named Offensive Player of the Week last Tuesday.
"Obviously I'm excited and it was a little bit unexpected because so many back-row players usually win these awards," Little said. "I think the award shows how much of a better blocking team we have become this season; I need good blockers to my left and right in order to get the blocks that I get. It's always nice to get these awards, but the more important thing to do is to continue to win and we have a huge match against Tennessee coming up on Wednesday on ESPNU."
Little was sensational at the middle blocker position last weekend as she averaged 1.78 blocks per set while hitting .465 with 2.44 kills per set. She also etched her name into the Mizzou record books on Friday night against Morehead State as she posted 12 blocks, just one shy of the Mizzou rally scoring record (13 by Weiwen Wang at Colorado in 2007). She also tallied 12 kills in that match on .393 hitting, marking the Tigers' first block-kill double-double since 2007 (also Wang at Colorado). She did all of that despite fighting a case of the stomach flu.
Little's blocking in that match at Morehead State was one of the key reasons why she was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week, but she was also great in the Tigers' other two matches. She opened the tournament with four blocks (two solo, two assists) and had six kills on 10 errorless swings in a sweep of Valparaiso and then closed her tournament by posting four kills on just five attacks while playing in just one set in a sweep of Savannah State on Saturday.
Little and the Tigers will be back at home for the first time since Aug. 25 as they host No. 16 and league-favorite Tennessee in their SEC opener at the Hearnes Center at 7 p.m. The match will air live on ESPNU. The first 500 fans to attend the match will receive free t-shirts and Mizzou volleyball is holding a sign contest where fans are encouraged to make signs that would appear on ESPNU. The top signs will receive prizes.
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