Michelle Valliere, Eastern Connecticut State University
Senior libero Michelle Valliere (Lebanon) sparked Eastern to a 3-0 week by averaging 4.73 digs with a .981 reception percentage – both team-bests -- in 11 sets and earned her first LEC weekly honor since the final report of last year. . She also topped the team with 52 total digs and 54 reception attempts, commiting only one reception error. In a comeback LEC five-set win over visiting Rhode Island College in a mid-week contest, Valliere handled a season-high 28 reception attempts (commiting only one error) and added 24 digs. In a pair of home non-conference sweeps Saturday, Valliere was perfect on 26 reception attempts and totaled 28 digs in six sets (4.67 per set). Valliere ranks fourth in the LEC in digs (256) and digs per set (4.13) and leads Eastern in reception attempts (243) and reception percentage (.905).
The weekly honor was the fourth this year for an Eastern player, with freshman outside hitter Abby Stern (Manchester) being named Rookie-of-the-Week three times in the first five weeks.
Eastern (12-6, 2-1 LEC) hosts UMass Dartmouth Tuesday in an LEC match at 7 p.m. The Warriors share second place with Plymouth State in the eight-team conference.
Offensive Player -of-the-Week
Khiara Valentine, Eastern Connecticut State University
A defender as a freshman, sophomore Khiara Valentine (Morristown, NJ) scored six goals in a 2-0 week which included match-record our goals and nine points in a 5-0 home victory over Salem State Saturday that evened the Warriors’ Little East Conference record at 4-4. Valentine, second in the LEC with 11 goals this year (one
behind the leader), contributed to all five Eastern goals against Salem by scoring four and assisting on a fifth. In two games, she generated the bulk of Eastern’s offense by taking 13 of the Warriors’ 21 shots – putting all of her attempts on net. In a 3-2 midweek win at Johnson & Wales, Valentine scored twice. In the last five matches – four of them wins – Valentine has ten goals and an assist.
Valentine’s 11 goals this year equal the fourth-most in a season in program history, two behind all-time leader Hannah Keiser (2013).
The weekly LEC honor is the first by an Eastern player this season, first since Shannon Connors was named Defensive Player-of-the-Week in the fourth report of 2016 (Sept. 26) and first Offensive Player-of-the-Week honor since Brianna Passero in the ninth and final report of 2015 (Nov. 2).
Eastern (5-6, 4-4 LEC) hosts Fitchburg State Tuesday at 5 p.m. in a Little East Conference match. The Warriors share fifth place in the 12-team conference, 3 ½ games behind leader Worcester State with three regular-season conference games remaining.