Belter named Big Ten Player of the Week

By Ian Gold

After leading the Illini to a sweep this past weekend, Jessica Belter was named the Big Ten Player of the Week.

Last year, she earned the same award after a weekend against the same teams. And although she denies having a vendetta against Michigan, she said she does look forward to proving herself against their great outside hitting.

Belter led the Illini in kills in both of their matches and ended the weekend with 43.

“If you want to win awards, play good offense; if you want to win matches play good defense,” said Illinois head coach Don Hardin. “Jessica does both. Of course she had the hitting percentage, but she also had great serving and blocking.”

In the match against Michigan, Belter was Illinois’ most reliable weapon, finishing with

25 kills and few mistakes.

The match against the Wolverines went five games and would have been more difficult to win without the Illini’s surging outside hitter.

Coach Hardin said her leadership and the win in the first match gave the Illini a confidence boost that would lead to the sweep of the Spartans – making her all the more deserving of the award.

“It is an honor to receive it and be recognized for such an accomplishment,” Belter said. “But it’s not just about me; it’s about the team and what we were able to accomplish this past weekend.”

After major injuries struck the Illini a major blow; they were looking for a leader, and if Belter continues at her quick pace, she could edge the team along with her.

“People say that I’ve been a leader and stepped up to that role this year, and I definitely would agree with that comment. I’m glad that everyone else has regained confidence.”