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23 September 2008

Whitten doubles up on OVC honors



(Copied here in its entirety from The Anniston Star)



By Al Muskewitz
Sports Writer


JACKSONVILLE — Brittney Whitten made Ohio Valley Conference history Monday, and it caught her completely by surprise.

The Jacksonville State junior had an extraordinary weekend, and Monday was rewarded for it by becoming only the second player in OVC history to win the league's volleyball offensive and defensive player of the week awards in the same week.

"I was very, very surprised when Coach (Rick Nold) told me," Whitten said. "I haven't been able to get the Internet to work, so I haven't seen it in black-and-white. It's very humbling."

Whitten, an outside hitter who was the 2006 OVC Freshman of the Year, joined Eastern Illinois' Erica Gerth (Sept. 27, 2004) as the only players in league history to earn both honors the same week. She averaged 4.67 kills per game and 5.44 digs per game as the Gamecocks split their OVC-opening weekend with Tennessee State and Austin Peay.

"I've never gotten one before ever, so it's kind of shocking," she said. "I'm not really sure how to react. I've never gotten an offensive or defensive (award) before; now, to have both it really is a blessing. I don't think I cherish one more than the other. I'm just glad I got them both."

Whitten had 18 kills, two blocks and a career-high 28 digs in the Gamecocks' come-from-behind win over Tennessee State, a match in which the Gamecocks staved off five match points in the fourth game.

The next day against Peay, she had 21 digs and a career-high 24 kills. It was the second time in her career she had 20 or more kills and 20 or more digs in a match. She hit .364 in the match, taking over the team lead and moving into third in the OVC in kills in the process.

"Right now we are relying a lot on Brittney," Nold said. "We were able to give her a lot of opportunities, and she was able to step up and turn them into a great weekend."

The Gamecocks complete a five-game homestand this week with a match against Tennessee Tech today and SEMO and EIU on the weekend.

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