Solid weekend gives Wicinski Big Ten volleyball honors

With a tournament-winning performance, Big Ten honors and a major milestone approaching, it’s safe to say that senior outside hitter Lauren Wicinski is enjoying her week.

Fresh off of an MVP performance at the Butler Invitational, Wicinski has been named Big Ten Player of the Week for the second time in her career.

Wicinski helped the No. 14 Spartans (8-1 overall) sweep IPFW, Illinois State and Butler last weekend. It was another strong weekend in what has been a good start to her senior year thus far.

“It’s exciting,” Wicinski said of the honor. “Obviously we just had a really good weekend as a team, and I think I wouldn’t have been able to get that, or get those numbers, or get that recognition without them and without them opening me up for kills.”

She credits MSU’s offensive system as the source of her production. The Spartans didn’t lose a set during the weekend, a sign that the offense was adept at setting up plays.

“We were just doing a really good job dispersing the ball and I think our passing was really well,” Wicinski said. “That really, really helps us and that contributes a lot to our win. And everyone else did really well this weekend, so it was great.”

Wicinski totaled 45 kills during the tournament, and was a big factor in the game-three win against Butler on Saturday when she totaled 17 kills and four digs.

“She was on fire,” head coach Cathy George said. “Especially in the Butler match where she took over and really made an impact.”

Wicinski’s 45 kills placed her 10 kills away from reaching 2,000 career kills, an enormous accomplishment for a volleyball player. Once she reaches this milestone, she will be one of only three athletes in MSU history and nine in the Big Ten that have reached the milestone.

“It’s early in the season so it’ll be interesting to see where she ends,” George said. “But she’s a great player and is very aggressive and has hit the ground running as a freshman, and she just never stopped.”

The Spartans return home this weekend, and with Wicinski only being 10 kills away, it’s a good bet that she’ll reach the 2,000 kill marker at Jenison Field House.

“It’s just even more special because this is my family, my people,” Wicinski said. “It’s really exciting that they’re able to be here and witness this … as a team, (that) I’m able to do this at Jenison. So I think that’s really awesome.”

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