Sept. 23, 2013
EVANSTON, Ill. -- After taking home the hardware at the 32nd Wildcat Classic Sunday, Northwestern's Stephanie Holthus was named the Big Ten Player of the Week, while teammate Caleigh Ryan was tabbed as the conference's Setter and Freshman of the Week, it was announced today.
Holthus averaged an eye-popping 6.2 kills and 4.1 digs per set as the Wildcats toppled South Florida, Miami (OH) and IUPUI at Welsh-Ryan Arena over the weekend. The team captain hit .358 and recorded a double-double in all three victories.
Northwestern dropped the first two sets to USF Friday afternoon, but Holthus helped her team climb out of that hole and rally to win the next three to knock off the Bulls. The Burlington, Ill., native tallied a career-high 24 digs and blasted 27 kills, one shy of a career high, in that match.
In the nightcap Friday, Holthus broke a Northwestern record as she amassed 24 kills in the team's three-set triumph over the RedHawks. It was the highest total since Iwona Lodzik tallied 22 against North Carolina on Sept. 19, 2003. It was also the second time that Holthus eclipsed the 20-kill mark in a three-set tilt, having also accomplished the feat with 21 kills against Utah on Aug. 27, 2011.
By her own lofty standard, Holthus had a relatively quiet performance in Sunday's tournament championship against IUPUI, yet she buried 17 kills and collected 11 digs vs. the Jaguars. The 2012 All-American was named MVP of the Wildcat Classic, marking the ninth time she has earned that nod in nonconference tournaments during her tenure in Evanston. It is also the third career Player of the Week award for the senior.
Ryan picked up the first pair of weekly awards in her young career Monday. The Glen Ellyn, Ill., native guided the Wildcats to their most prolific offensive weekend of the season. Ryan averaged 13.55 assists per set and helped Northwestern hit .309 as a team during the Wildcat Classic.
On Friday against South Florida, Ryan handed out a career-high 61 assists and matched a personal best with 13 digs as she notched her third double-double of the season. She followed that up with 41 helpers and six digs in the nightcap against Miami. The newcomer then averaged an astonishing 15.7 assists per set in the three-set win against IUPUI.
Ryan is the first Setter of the Week from NU since Madalyn Shalter claimed the honor on Sept. 17, 2012. She is the first Wildcat to earn Freshman of Week plaudits since Yewande Akanbi was the winner on Nov. 28, 2011.
Holthus, Ryan and the rest of the Wildcats open Big Ten play this weekend when they host a pair of matches at Welsh-Ryan Arena. The 'Cats welcome nationally ranked Nebraska on Friday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. The following night, the Iowa Hawkeyes will be in town for another 7 p.m. showdown. For tickets to see Wildcats in action, call 888-GO-PURPLE (847-467-8775) or click here now.