McNorton, Soucie Earn Big 12 Weekly Honors
LAWRENCE, Kan. – A six-match win streak and back-to-back tournament championships proved enough reason to award Kansas duo Erin McNorton and Tayler Soucie the Big 12 Offensive and Rookie of the Week awards, Monday afternoon.
In the last three weeks, Kansas (10-3) has seen four Jayhawks earn weekly conference awards. Senior libero Brianne Riley (Sept. 16) and redshirt senior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc (Sept. 9) both have Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week awards under their belt this season. Monday’s were particularly notable as McNorton and Soucie were each honored for the first time.
“Sometimes the setter position is undervalued by the casual fan, but as coaches and teammates, we know how significant Erin’s skills are,” head coach Ray Bechard said. “She has everything to do with the success of our offense. We’re proud of her and this is a very well-deserved honor.”
On Sunday, McNorton was awarded Tournament MVP for her consistency and ability to lead her team to the Kansas Invitational title. The senior dished out 130 assists, good for an even 13.00 assists per set average, which translated into an impressive .364 team attack percentage for the tournament.
McNorton started the weekend with 42 assists in a 3-0 win against North Dakota State. In the efficient sweep, the setter guided her offense to a .458 attack percentage (56K-12E-96TA), just .10 points shy of the Horejsi Family Athletics Center record. Facing Georgia, McNorton tallied a career-high five kills and fell just one dig short of a double-double with 38 assists and nine digs.
In the weekend finale, the Dallas native distributed 50 assists in a four-set win over Notre Dame. She currently sits at 2,200 for her career and continues to lead the Big 12 with 12.08 assists per set.
Soucie was also a primary contributor to the Jayhawks’ undefeated run through the Kansas Invitational. Starting two of this week’s three matches, Soucie posted a .541 attack percentage during that span – which included 22 kills to only two errors. She also led the team with a 1.44 blocks per set average for the weekend.
Against Notre Dame, the rookie middle rattled off 10 kills without an error and tied with teammate Caroline Jarmoc for the team-lead with five blocks. Her 1.33 blocks per set on the season is second only to Oklahoma’s Sallie McLaurin.
“Obviously, Soucie had a great weekend,” Bechard said. “She attacked at a high level and her blocking numbers were very good. As a freshman, she has certainly fit right in.”
Kansas will host a unique exhibition match on Wednesday, Sept. 25 when the Jayhawks welcome the Italian U-23 National Team to the Horejsi Family Athletics Center. First serve is set for 6:30 p.m.
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