MEDFORD - For the first time since the 2011 season, a Tufts University volleyball player has won the NESCAC's Player of the Week honor as junior Hayley Hopper (Carlsbad, CA) was announced as the recipient today.
In Tufts' conference wins at home against Hamilton and Middlebury on Friday and Saturday, Hopper totaled 29 kills for a 3.62 average per set. She also added 11 digs (1.38 per set) to help head coach Cora Thompson's Jumbos secure a top-four spot in the NESCAC standings.
Hopper had her's and the team's best offensive game of the season in Saturday's five-set win against Middlebury. She finished with a match-high 20 kills and a .300 hitting percentage. The 20 kills are a season-high for the Jumbos and the most by a Tufts player since September of last season. Nine of those kills came in the fourth set, which Tufts won 27-25 to force a fifth set. Hopper also had seven digs, a service ace and a block assist in the match. She also led the offense in Friday's three-set win over Hamilton with nine kills.
For the season, Hopper is sixth in NESCAC with 213 kills. She is also sixth in the league with 33 service aces. Combining both of those stats with her blocks (2 solo, 22 assists), she is NESCAC's sixth-leading scorer with 259 points. More of a defensive presence this season as well, Hopper is averaging 2.37 digs per set and has been one of the team's top service receivers.
The conference honor is the first of Hopper's career. It's the first time a Tufts player has received it since teammate Isabel Kuhel (Brisbane, CA) was selected on October 31, 2011.