AMES, Iowa – Iowa State libero Caitlin Nolan earned her fourth Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week of the season, and middle blocker Alexis Conaway was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week, the conference announced Monday. The duo earned the awards after helping lead the Cyclones to a pair of five-set wins over No. 24 Oklahoma and TCU during the past week.
Nolan’s Defensive Player of the Week award is the Cyclones’ fifth of 2014 and the 40th earned by ISU since the awards inception in 2008. Iowa State has accounted for over 35 percent of the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week awards presented by the league (35-of-113). Conaway’s Rookie of the Week award is her second Big 12 honor of the season, having won a Defensive Player of the Week in September. It is ISU’s eighth RoW honor since the award’s inception in 2008, and the fourth-consecutive year the Cyclones have earned at least one Rookie of the Week Award.
Nolan led the Cyclone backline with another pair of outstanding matches. In ISU’s win over No. 24 Oklahoma, Nolan finished with 34 digs in the five-setter. It was Nolan’s fourth 30-plus dig match of the season, tying with Steph McCannon (1995) and Kristen Hahn (2012) for the most matches in a season with at least 30 digs. She followed that up with 27 digs in ISU’s five-set victory over TCU. For the week, Nolan led the Big 12 with 61 digs at 6.10 digs per set. She continues to lead the conference with her 5.63 digs per set.
Conaway’s match at Oklahoma was one of her best performances of her young ISU career. The Orange City native recorded a career-high 15 kills at a career-high (min. 15 attempts) .560 hitting percentage and eight block assists in the win over the Sooners. She followed that up with nine kills at a .571 hitting percentage against TCU while adding on an additional seven block assists in the win. For the week, Conaway earned her 24 kills at a .564 hitting percentage while averaging 1.50 blocks per set. Conaway is putting together an incredible debut season, her .330 hitting percentage currently ranks as the second-highest among all players in school history (.343 – Jen Malcom, 2008). On Saturday, Conaway became the third freshman in program history to reach 100 total blocks as a freshman, joining Linda Evans in 1984 and Jodi DeVries in 1996.
Nolan, Conaway and the rest of the Cyclones are back in action on Wednesday when Iowa State travels to Lawrence to take on Kansas in a 6:30 p.m. match.