Jessica Belter named Big Ten Player of the Week


CHAMPAIGN, IL - ­ Jessica Belter has been named Big Ten Volleyball Player of the Week, the conference office announced today. The senior from St. Peters, Mo., was dominating in leading Illinois to a pair of victories over Michigan and Michigan State over the weekend.

Belter had 25 kills and made just one attack error in 40 swings for a .600 hitting percentage vs. Michigan and followed that up with a .519 attack percentage (18 kills, four errors, 27 attacks) vs. Michigan State. For the week Belter had 43 kills and hit a combined .567.

This marks the second consecutive week Belter has had impressive numbers. She had 19 kills in a four-gane match vs. Wisconsin and 12 kills in a three-game sweep of Northwestern a week ago giving her 74 kills and a .454 clip in the past two weeks. That raised her attack percentage from .256 in .320 in just four matches.

Belter's success against Michigan and Michigan State is nothing new. Last season she was named not only Big Ten Player of the Week, but also AVCA National Player of the Week on Oct. 20, 2003, following wins at Michigan State and Michigan. Belter totaled impressive averages of 14.0 kills on combined .558 hitting along with 1.7 blocks and 2.0 digs per game in those matches last year.

"I give a lot of credit to the coaches for giving me some time out of practice so I don't have to hold anything back in games," said Belter, who has hyperflexible ligaments in her right hand and has to have some inventive tape jobs on that hand just to be able to play. "It's always exciting to be able to get Illinois' name out there. Hopefully it gives everyone notice that we're coming back."

Illinois stands 4-2 in the Big Ten and 12-3 overall. The Illini moved up a spot from 24th to 23rd in the USA Today/CSTV Coaches Poll. Illinois has a tough stretch coming up. After playing at Iowa on Friday night, the Illini meet three top-ten teams -- #2 Minnesota (in Minneapolis Saturday), #5 Penn State (at Huff Hall Oct. 22) and #8 Ohio State (at Huff Hall Oct. 23) -- in consecutive matches. The Illini defeated then #1 USC in its only other match against a ranked team this year.

Story Courtesy the University of Illinois

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