Tolefree Named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week

Sept. 19, 2011

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Junior middle blocker Tayler Tolefree was named the Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Week following her career-best performance during the week of Sept. 12-18.

Tolefree paced the Jayhawks to thier third tournament championship of the non-conference season at the DePaul Invitational last weekend, powering Kansas to an 11-1 start.

The junior was a vital part of a middle blocking crew asked to step up over the weekend, and she responded in a big way. The Lawrence, Kan., native knocked down a team-best 22 blocks over the weekend, good for 1.83 blocks per set. She and fellow middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc helped the Jayhawks block more than three blocks (3.17) per set in the three-match span to propel KU to the tournament title.

She and Jarmoc now have the Jayhawks blocking 2.84 balls per set, which ranks third in the Big 12. Tolefree’s 1.25 blocks per set on the season is tied for fifth in the conference.

She highlighted her weekend in a five-set battle against second-place Valparaiso on Saturday. Tolefree broke her old personal best in kills (13) by the end of the third set en route to collecting 17 total against the Crusaders. Adding to her brilliant effort, the junior blocked a career-best 11 balls for the first double-double of her career.

This marks the first Big 12 Player of the Week award for Tolefree and the Jayhawks’ first weekly honoree since Melissa Manda earned the Defensive Player of the Week nod on Oct. 11, 2010.

Kansas (11-1) kicks off the Big 12 Conference season, Sat., Sept. 24, at No. 8 Texas. As of Monday, the Jayhawks start the week at second place in the league standings, while the Longhorns (6-3) will open league play in ninth.