COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- BYU senior middle blocker Nina Puikkonen and Colorado State senior outside hitter Courtney Cox were named Mountain West Conference Volleyball Co-Players of the Week Monday.
Puikkonen is a six-time overall honoree and the third Cougar to earn the award this year, joining two-time winner Sunny Mahe. Cox was honored for the third time of her career. Both Puikkonen and Cox earned the award for the first time this season.
A native of Murray, Utah, (Murray HS), Puikkonen notched a pair of double-doubles last week while leading the Cougars to three road wins. She recorded her eighth double-double of the season with 21 kills and 18 digs at Sacramento State, finishing just one block shy of a triple-double. At Air Force, Puikkonen recorded a season-high .609 hitting percentage with 17 kills and just three errors in 23 attempts along with 10 blocks for her ninth double-double of the year. She added 12 kills at New Mexico, finishing the week with averages of 5.0 kills, 2.3 digs, 2.3 blocks, .20 assists, .10 aces per game and a .438 hitting percentage. A three-time All-American, Puikkonen has recorded double figure kills in every match this season.
Cox, a product of Longmont, Colo. (Skyline HS), entered last week's competition with a .266 hitting percentage and 4.37 kills per game, but raised her attack percentage to .518 and kill average to 5.67 in a pair of conference wins over UNLV and San Diego State. Cox posted a career-high three solo blocks Friday vs. the Rebels along with a team-high 23 kills and a .588 attack percentage. She topped her career best three solo blocks the following night with four vs. San Diego State and added 11 kills, seven digs and a .409 hitting percentage vs. the Aztecs. For the week, the two-time All-American averaged 5.67 kills, 2.0 digs, 1.17 blocks, .33 assists and .33 aces per game while hitting .518.
Puikkonen will lead the 16th-ranked Cougars against Cox and the sixth-ranked Rams Friday in Provo. BYU plays at Weber State Tuesday before hosting Colorado State.
Mountain West Conference Players of the Week:
Sept. 4 -- Sunny Mahe, Jr., OH, BYU
Sept. 10 -- Rachel Lau, Sr., MB, Wyoming
Sept. 17 -- None selected
Sept. 24 -- Angela Knopf, Sr., MB, Colorado State
Oct. 1 -- Sunny Mahe, Jr., OH, BYU
Oct. 8 -- Allison Peckham, Sr., Setter, Colorado State
Oct. 15 -- Sylva Strzinkova, Jr., OH, Utah
Oct. 22 -- Kim Turner, So., MB, Utah
Oct. 29 -- Nina Puikkonen, Sr., MB, BYU
Courtney Cox, Sr., OH, Colorado State