Oct. 14, 2013
WACO, Texas - Baylor freshman middle hitter Tola Itiola (Plano, Texas / Carrollton Christian) earned Big 12 Conference Rookie of the Week for volleyball, the league office announced Monday. Texas' Bailey Webster and Kristen Hahn of Iowa State rounded out the trio of players honored by the Big 12 Monday.
Itiola had seven kills with zero attacking errors to accompany a .583 hitting percentage Wednesday night in Baylor's three-set victory over West Virginia on the road. She also matched a team-high with four assisted blocks in the victory for the Bears.
"We're happy for Tola because she hadn't got to start in a couple of matches and she came in and played just like she's been practicing for the last couple of weeks," said Baylor head coach Jim Barnes. "She came in and provided some offense for us and that allowed us to be more balanced, and she's a huge block, so athletically she's a special kid that can really change a match."
Itiola's start Wednesday was her seventh of the season, and she's appeared in 15 matches tallying 39 kills and 32 blocks in her rookie campaign. Barnes said he can see major improvement in Itiola's game since she arrived on campus this summer.
"She's much more disciplined blocking, and the setters are trusting her more and more with the ball," Barnes said. "Every area of her game is improving, and she's one with a high, high ceiling. She's got a long way to go to reach her potential, so it's exciting to see her progress."
Webster had 34 kills over two matches for the Longhorns to earn Offensive Player of the Week honors while Hahn had 39 digs over two matches for Iowa State to earn Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Baylor takes on TCU Wednesday at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest.