Women’s volleyball libero Taylor Whittingham was named Pac-12 Conference Defensive Player of the Week for her play during Oct. 12-18, as announced by the conference on Monday.
Her play on defense helped the No. 1 Women of Troy notch their 20th win of the season and stay undefeated, as Whittingham and the team defeated two ranked Pac-12 opponents over the weekend in Arizona and Arizona State.
The 5-foot-8-inch junior was everywhere on the court for the No. 1-ranked Women of Troy over the weekend, posting back-to-back season highs and collecting 53 digs in eight total sets to lead USC (20-0) to wins over No. 10 Arizona State and No. 14 Arizona.
This honor marks the second-career Pac-12 weekly honor for the Rancho Santa Margarita, California native and the second defensive accolade for USC this season. Whittingham joins seniors Samantha Bricio and Alicia Ogoms as USC’s weekly award winners this year.
An AVCA All-American honorable mention just a year ago, Whittingham currently leads the Pac-12 with 4.90 digs per set and has logged 338 digs on the season. Against the Sun Devils, Whittingham recorded a then-season high of 26 digs and seven assists from the libero spot. Two days later, she tallied a new season-high of 27 digs against the Wildcats. The two matches saw Whittingham produce her fourth and fifth matches this season over the 20-dig mark, accounting for an impressive 6.62 digs per set, while only recording one reception error all weekend. She also produced a 35 percent dig-to-kill ratio (9-of-26) against the Sun Devils and was 14-of-20 (70 percent) pass-to-kill in USC’s match against Arizona. For her career, Whittingham is now just 49 digs away from reaching 1,000 digs.
Thanks to the junior’s outstanding defense, USC nabbed all 64 first place votes in this week’s AVCA Division I Coaches Poll and remains at No. 1 for the third straight week. USC is a perfect 20-0 on the season (8-0 Pac-12) and joins Kansas as the two lone undefeated teams in the nation.
The Women of Troy will now gear up for a trip to the Pacific Northwest this weekend, facing off against Oregon State on Friday at 8 p.m. and then No. 25-ranked Oregon on Sunday at 1 p.m. Both matches will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 networks.