Valparaiso sophomore libero Taylor Root (Jenison, Mich./Jenison) has been named the Horizon League’s Defensive Player of the Week for the first weekend of competition after helping to lead the Crusaders to the La Salle Invitational title. The honor is Root’s third career weekly accolade from the league office.
Root, the 2009 Horizon League Newcomer of the Year, started her sophomore campaign with the same type of standout performances she became known for during her rookie season. She kicked off the season with a 23-dig performance against Virginia, and followed that evening with 27 digs and six assists against the host Explorers. Root helped the Crusaders earn the tournament championship the next day with 15 digs and seven assists against Hartford, and closed the weekend with a 25-dig effort against 2009 NCAA Tournament participant Niagara.
Root averaged an even 6.00 digs/set on the weekend, above her rookie year pace of 5.05 digs/set, while also chipping in 1.07 assists/set as the Crusaders went 3-1 last week. She led Valpo on the back line as it held opponents to just .137 hitting on the weekend. Root and the rest of the Crusaders return to the court this coming weekend at the Appalachian Invitational, starting play this Friday, Sept. 3 against USC Upstate at 3:30 p.m. CDT.