Oct. 31, 2011
PARK RIDGE, Ill. -- For the third time in as many weeks Northwestern redshirt freshman Katie Dutchman has been named the Big Ten Defensive Player and Freshman of the Week, the league office announced Monday. She is the first Wildcat ever to receive either honor in three consecutive weeks.
Dutchman (Del Mar, Calif./Torrey Pines) continues to excel in her first season as she helped Northwestern to a pair of wins at Welsh-Ryan Arena over the weekend. In a three-set upset over No. 15 Minnesota, the Californian tallied four block assists and a dig against the Golden Gophers. Offensively, Dutchman chipped in with six kills and 12 swings without committing an error.
The next night, Dutchman was instrumental as the 'Cats stretched their winning streak to three matches with a five-set win against Wisconsin. The redshirt freshman led all players in the match with 10 block assists, including five in the opening set that was won by Northwestern, 25-12. Dutchman added eight kills, an attacking percentage of .333, three digs, a pair of assists and an ace in the victory over the Badgers.
Northwestern's newest standout in the middle leads the Big Ten with 120 blocks overall this season. Dutchman is percentage points behind Penn State's Katie Slay with 1.445 blocks per set, but leads in conference matches only with 1.57 per set. In her last six matches, Dutchman has accumulated an eye-popping 47 total blocks (2.04 per set). As a team, the Wildcats have totaled 78.5 blocks during that stretch.
Dutchman is the second player in Big Ten history to win both the Defensive Player of the Week award and the Freshman of the Week award in three straight weeks. In 2009, the inaugural year of the accolade, Purdue's Anna Drewry won the Freshman of the Week honor from Nov. 16 -30. The year before, Minnesota's Christine Tan was named the conference's Defensive Player of the Week award Sept. 22-Oct. 6, 2008. That award has been distributed since 2005. No player has ever been chosen in four straight weeks.
Dutchman is the first player ever to win three straight awards of any kind in program history. She joins Kate Nobilio (2009) and Christie Gardner (2005) as the only three Wildcats to win Defensive Player of the Week three times in one campaign.
Northwestern will hit the road this weekend for matches at Indiana and No. 11 Purdue. The 'Cats will take on the Hoosiers on Friday, Nov. 4 at 6 p.m. in Bloomington, Ind. before heading to West Lafayette, Ind. to face the Boilermakers on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 6 p.m. Both matches can be seen on the Big Ten Digital Network on Wildcats All-Access.
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