Bazzetta named Player of Week

By Lucas Deal

Illinois sophomore setter Lizzie Bazzetta was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, making her the first Illini player this season to win a conference regular season award.

“It’s a great award, but I didn’t even know about it until (Tuesday) when I came to practice,” Bazzetta said. “It’s definitely a nice honor though.”

Bazzetta has never won a Big Ten Player of the Week award, but her Illini teammate, senior defensive specialist Beth Vrdsky, did win the conference’s Defensive Player of the Week award once last season.

Bazzetta recorded 59 assists and a career-high 23 digs in Saturday’s four-game victory over Iowa at Huff Hall, only days after a 41 assist performance in a 3-0 win at Northwestern.

For the season, the Naperville, Ill., native has 690 total assists and is second on the team with 135 digs.

She is also second in the nation at 13.8 assists per game. If she continues at her current pace, Bazzetta will break Illinois’ single-season assist record.

Bazzetta is also on pace to be the first Illini player in more than ten seasons to record 1,500 assists and 300 digs.

Gaudy numbers, but something Bazzetta attributes more to her team and her teammates than her individual play.

“I think the award just shows everything we’ve been doing as a team,” she said. “Everyone else is doing their part on the defensive end and our block has really picked up, which has really helped the rest of us defensively.”

Bazzetta and her Illini teammates are 11-3 so far this season and are 2-2 in the very competitive Big Ten.

The Illini play at Michigan and Michigan State this weekend.