Two Illini earn weekly award from Big Ten

Two Illinois female athletes were honored Monday for their performances last week by the Big Ten.

Ella Masar, a senior on the soccer team, and Laura DeBruler, a freshman volleyball player, both received awards in their respective sports from the conference.

Masar, a forward, was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week for the second week in a row and third time this season for her outstanding effort in two games this season. The Illini beat Michigan 2-0 Friday and Michigan State 1-0 Sunday with Masar scoring all three goals. It’s the first time since 2003 that an Illini soccer player has won the award in two consecutive weeks.

In 17 games, Masar has scored a conference-leading 11 goals and is tied for first in the Big Ten with 25 points. The reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year is also tops in the Big Ten with six game-winning goals, including two this past weekend.

DeBruler received Big Ten Player of the Week honors after helping lead the Illini volleyball team to two road wins this weekend. It’s the second time this season she has won the award.

This is the first time since 1992 that an Illinois player has repeated the honor in the same season.

DeBruler has been making her mark on both the Big Ten and across the nation. With 4.91 kills per game, DeBruler leads the Big Ten and is also on top with 5.06 kills per game in conference play. Already with 432 kills for the year, DeBruler is projected to reach 589 kills by season’s end, which would be third in Illinois history.

Nationally, DeBruler is hanging with the best. Going into the weekend, she was 28th in the country with 4.75 kills per game which was third best by a freshman in the nation. DeBruler will look to move up in the rankings after improving to 4.91 kills per game this past weekend.

And another Illinois record is in DeBruler’s sights. She is currently tied for the third most 20-kill matches in a season with 12. The record is 19, held by Erin Borske who set the mark in 1995.

Debruler will play this weekend as the Illini welcome Northwestern and Michigan State to Huff Hall, while Masar will have a week off as the soccer team prepares for the Big Ten tournament.