Sept. 24, 2012
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The SEC is beginning to take notice of the performance of Mizzou volleyball's Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) as she has been named SEC Player of the Week on Monday (Sept. 24) after a monster performance in a pair of SEC road matches last weekend. Little led the Tigers with 5.57 points per set in road matches at No. 13 Florida and SEC West favorite LSU. She is a key reason why Mizzou is just one of three SEC teams with three wins this season.
"To be honest, it was a little unexpected since it is usually an offensive award, but I think it goes to show how important blocking is in this game," Little, who averaged 2.43 blocks per set last weekend, said. "I am very happy to get the award, but I am even happier that we played well in two matches on the road against two perennial SEC powerhouses. My coaches gave me a great scouting report for the weekend and I have to give them a lot of credit because I was prepared against some of the best middle hitters in the conference."
Little was outstanding offensively and defensively last weekend. She averaged 3.57 kills per set on .411 hitting while finishing the weekend with a 2.43 blocks per set average and posted a team-best 39 points over the two matches (5.57 per set). Little opened her weekend by posting 10 kills on .364 hitting with 10 total blocks (five solo, five assists) in the Tigers' loss at No. 13 Florida on Friday. Her five solo blocks in that match are a Mizzou rally-scoring record and the third-best mark in program history. The block-kill double-double was her second in five matches at the time (Mizzou had not had a block-kill double-double since 2007 before that stretch). The 10 blocks in the match also marked the third time this season (and third time in five matches) that Little had posted at least 10 blocks. Keep in mind, the school record for 10-block performances in a career is four by former All-American Christi Myers and Little has three in a span of five matches, showing how explosive her block has been as of late.
Following her effort at Florida, Little was equally as impressive at LSU on Sunday as she posted career-bests in kills (15), points (21.5) and attacks (34) while guiding Mizzou to a 3-1 win over LSU, which was predicted to win the SEC West. She also tallied seven blocks in that match (four solo, three assists) as she finished the weekend with nine solo blocks. In all, she committed just two attack errors on the weekend and hit a whopping .411 despite the team hitting just .205 in the two matches.
Little currently leads the SEC in blocking in all matches (1.39 per set) and is second in hitting at .433 in all matches. In SEC play, she has been equally as impressive if not better as she is averaging an unbelievable 1.93 blocks per set and second in hitting at .414. What is even more impressive is the fact that she ranks fifth in the league in points per set (4.47) despite ranking just 19th in kills per set (3.00) during league play, showing how important her blocking and serving has been.
On another note, Tiger sophomore libero Sarah Meister (San Diego, Calif.) was named to the SEC Other Top Performers list after averaging 5.29 digs per set last weekend, including a career-best 27 at LSU on Sunday.
Little, Mesiter and the Tigers return home this weekend, beginning with a huge match against SEC West foe Texas A&M at the Hearnes Center at 6:30 p.m. The Tigers then play Georgia at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. For all the latest on Mizzou volleyball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MU_Volleyball.