Nielsen Earns MWC Player of the Week Honors

Junior middle blocker Laura Nielsen came back from a broken foot to earn MWC Player of the Week honors. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

COLORADO SPRINGS -- BYU middle blocker Laura Nielsen and Wyoming outside hitter Sara Maytorena shared Mountain West Conference Volleyball Player of the Week honors. Nielsen is a first-time award winner, while Maytorena earned her second honor this season.

A 6-1 junior from Fremont, Calif. (Irvington HS), Nielsen posted career highs for hitting percentage and kills as she helped the Cougars to a pair of critical conference road wins at Colorado State and Wyoming. Playing in her first match since suffering a broken foot earlier this season, Nielsen tallied a career-high 11 kills and a career-best .643 hitting percentage in a five-game win over the Rams. The BYU win snapped CSU's 38-match home conference win streak at Moby Arena. Nielsen came back with 11 more kills and a .444 hitting percentage in a five-game win at Wyoming. For the week, Nielsen totaled 22 kills (2.44 per game) and eight blocks (.89 per game), while hitting .531.

A 6-1 sophomore from Parker, Colo. (Ponderosa HS), Maytorena helped the Cowgirls to a 1-1 record last week, including a sweep over then-No. 16 Utah, marking the first win over the Utes since 1997. Maytorena totaled 11 kills and eight block assists vs. Utah, and posted a career-high 10 block assists along with 20 kills vs. BYU, marking her fourth double-double of the season. For the week, Maytorena totaled 31 kills (3.88per game), 13 digs (1.62 per game) and 18 blocks (2.25 per game), while hitting .339.

2002 Mountain West Conference Players of the Week:

Sept. 2 Kim Turner, Jr., MB, Utah

Sept. 9 Andreya Downs, Fr., OH, Colorado State

Sept. 16 Sara Maytorena, So., OH, Wyoming

Sept. 23 Aspen McPartland, Jr., MB, San Diego State

Sept. 30 Aspen McPartland, Jr., MB, San Diego State

Oct. 7 Kim Turner, Jr., MB, Utah

Oct. 14 Sabine Schulz, So., OH, Utah

Oct. 21 Laura Nielsen, Jr., MB, BYU

Sara Maytorena, So., OH, Wyoming