Oct. 14, 2013
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern setter Caleigh Ryan has been named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week, the conference announced today (Oct. 14). This already marks the second time that the Glen Ellyn, Ill., native has claimed the prestigious accolade in her short time Evanston.
Ryan helped pilot the Wildcats to an undefeated weekend with victories on the road at Indiana on Oct. 11 and at No. 20 Purdue on Oct. 12. It was the first that Northwestern had knocked off both of those foes away from home in the same weekend since October 2009.
"Caleigh has really embraced her role on the floor and met very challenge that has come her way thus far," said Northwestern head coach Keylor Chan. "It's not an easy thing for any freshman to come in and set so well in the Big Ten, but we feel like she's done a remarkable job for us and that her best days as a Wildcat are still ahead of her."
The setter handed out 11.40 assists per set in a pair of five-set victories for NU. In Friday's win over Indiana, Ryan spread the ball around effectively and tallied 47 assists as five different Wildcats achieved eight kills or more against the Hoosiers. NU hit .301 to defeat IU, marking the fourth time this season that the newcomer has helped the offense convert at a clip of better than 30 percent.
Ryan also scored a career-high two kills and added eight digs and a block to help her team snap a two-match skid Friday night.
Ryan's achievements were critical in helping Northwestern upend No. 20 Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind. the following day. She set a new career-high mark with 67 assists as the 'Cats buried a season-high 77 kills as a team. Ryan also dug nine Purdue attacks to fall just short of recording her fifth double-double of the season.
This is the second time that Ryan has garnered Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors. On Sept. 23, she was awarded both the Big Ten Setter and Big Ten Freshman of the Week distinction after helping her team capture the Wildcat Classic championship and earning All-Tournament plaudits.
Ryan currently leads the Big Ten and ranks 16th in the NCAA with 11.47 assists per set entering play this week; she is the national leader amongst freshmen. The setter is averaging 10.96 assists per set in six Big Ten matches thus far.
The Wildcats return home to Welsh-Ryan Arena on Wednesday, Oct. 16 to host the nationally-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes at 6:30 p.m. The contest will be shown live on the Big Ten Network with Mike Wolf handling play-by-play responsibilities and Liz Tortorello-Nelson providing analysis.
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