Freshman libero Taylor Root (Jenison, Mich./Jenison) was named the Horizon League Defensive Player of the Week on Monday by the league office after helping Valparaiso to a 4-0 week on the court, including a record-breaking performance against Green Bay.
Root kicked off the week with a stellar match against the Phoenix, picking up 31 digs in the sweep of Green Bay Tuesday night, a new Crusader program record for a three-set match. The 31 digs also marked a new career-best for the freshman. Root continued her week with a 24-dig effort, tying for team-high honors in a five-set win over Milwaukee on Wednesday evening.
Root continued to rack up the digs in Valpo’s weekend matches, picking up a match-high 28 digs in the Crusaders’ four-set win at Loyola on Saturday afternoon. The freshman’s 28 digs accounted for more than half of the Crusaders’ 50 total team digs against the Ramblers. She closed out the week with seven digs in the sweep of UIC on Sunday.
For the week, Root posted a total of 90 digs, averaging an even 6.00 digs/set. The freshman is now averaging 4.91 digs/set overall on the season, tops in the Horizon League and among the top-40 nationally. She has stepped up her game in league play as well, posting 5.52 digs/set, second-most in the league, as Valpo has closed out the first half of Horizon League action at 7-1.
Root is the second Crusader to earn weekly honors from the Horizon League this year, joining Angie Porché (Lynwood, Ill./Thornton Fractional South), who was honored on the offensive side of the ball on Sept. 21. Porché went on to be named the first recipient of ‘The People’s Choice’ honor on the Horizon League Network, an honor which Root is now eligible for. Fans can vote for Root by visiting www.horizonleaguenetwork.tv and voting in ‘The People’s Choice’ poll on the right-hand side of the page thru Tuesday afternoon.