COLORADO SPRINGS -- After helping to lead the Cougars to three victories during the week, sophomore middle blocker Nina Puikkonen from Brigham Young University has been named the Mountain West Conference Volleyball Player of the Week. Ranked No. 10 in the nation, BYU improved to 12-2 overall and 4-0 in conference action with a 3-1 victory at Weber State and a pair of 3-0 home sweeps in league play over UNLV and San Diego State.
A dominating force at the net during the three matches, Puikkonen put away 17 blocks and 41 kills for averages of 1.70 blocks and 4.10 kills per game. She hit .447 (41-7-76) for the week, collected 21 digs and served two aces.
In the non-conference match at Weber State on Tuesday, Puikkonen drilled 15 kills, assisted on five blocks and collected eight digs. Against UNLV on Friday, she led the Cougars with nine kills and committed just one error in 20 attempts for a .400 attack percentage. She also registered eight blocks in the sweep. In the final action of the week against SDSU on Saturday, Puikkonen again led her team with 17 kills with just two errors in 22 attempts for a near-personal-best .682 attack percentage. She added four more blocks
A native of Murray, Utah, Puikkonen earned WAC Mountain Division Freshman of the Year and first-team all-conference honors this past season after leading the nation in blocking with a 2.17 per game average. She currently leads the team and Mountain West Conference in blocking with 79 total and a 1.65 average. She also leads the league and team in kills with 202 total and a 4.21 per game average and her .362 attack percentage ranks third in the conference.
This is the first conference player of the week honor for Puikkonen in her career and is the second selection for BYU this season.
Mountain West Conference Volleyball Players of the Week:
Sept. 7 -- Courtney Cox, CSU
Sept. 13 -- Shaylor Billings, AFA, and Anna-Lena Smith, BYU
Sept. 20 -- Angela Knopf, CSU
Sept. 27 -- Melody Friehauf, Wyo.
Oct. 4 -- McKelle Stilson, Utah
Oct. 11 -- Nina Puikkonen, BYU