LAWRENCE, Kan. – A nearly flawless week from freshman middle blocker Tayler Soucie powered the Jayhawks to two more wins and earned Soucie her second set of Big 12 Rookie of the Week honors, announced Monday afternoon.
Tied for second place in the Big 12 standings, Kansas (18-5, 8-2) has seen at least one player earn one of the league’s weekly accolades in all but two of the last eight weeks. Seven different Jayhawks have been recognized this season, a conference record, and this marks the third time for Soucie. Twice she has earned Big 12 Rookie of the Week honors and was tabbed once as the league’s Defensive Player of the Week.
“Soucie is a little ahead of the curve,” head coach Ray Bechard said. “She’s erring at 10 percent, which is very low for a freshman. She’s hitting for a good number and blocking for a good number, but the thing that is the most satisfying right now is that she wants to be out there competing. She wants the ball in a big moment. She’ll take the same swing at match point that she will early in the match – those are things that usually develop in time. We knew that she’d compete hard and help us, but hitting .350 and blocking almost 1.25 are solid numbers for anyone, let alone a freshman.”
The Osawatomie, Kan., native continues to impress during her debut season. In KU’s wins over Baylor and at TCU this past week, Soucie chalked up a .568 hitting percentage thanks to an accurate 22 kills compared to just one error. She added seven total blocks as well, good for a 1.00 blocks per set average.
Against Baylor, Soucie chalked up 10 kills and four blocks, completely unfazed by the spotlight of national TV as the match aired live on ESPNU. At TCU, Soucie was equally calm, cranking out 12 kills and no errors in the four-set victory.
Since the start of Big 12 play, Soucie has ranked in the Big 12’s top-10 in hitting efficiency and blocks per set. She currently ranks third in blocking (1.24 blocks per set) and fourth in hitting efficiency (.349).
Kansas returns to Lawrence to host West Virginia inside the Horejsi Family Athletics Center on Wednesday, Nov. 6. First serve is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
2013 Kansas Big 12 Players of the Week
Sept. 9 – Caroline Jarmoc (Defensive)
Sept. 16 – Brianne Riley (Defensive)
Sept. 23 – Erin McNorton (Offensive); Tayler Soucie (Rookie)
Sept. 30 – Tiana Dockery (Offensive); Caroline Jarmoc (Defensive)
Oct. 7 – Sara McClinton (Offensive); Tayler Soucie (Defensive)
Oct. 21 – Chelsea Albers (Defensive)
Nov. 4 – Tayler Soucie (Rookie)