NIU's Walker receives defensive honor

Northern Illinois University's Amber Walker, a former JDHS volleyball player, is shown during a match this year. Walker, a defensive specialist or libero, has been selected the Mid American Conference's defensive player of the week four times this season.

Northern Illinois University volleyball’s Amber Walker, a former Juneau-Douglas High School player, was named Mid-American Conference West Division Defensive Player of the Week. Teammate Lauren Wicinski was named Offensive Player of the Week. This is the first time in the program’s history NIU has swept the honor. The two helped NIU post a 2-0 record on the road last week with wins at Western Michigan and Bowling Green to secure the MAC West Division title for the first time since 2006 and the MAC regular season title for the first time since 2001.

Walker won the award for the fifth time this season, including three straight weeks from Sept. 26-Oct. 10, a first for the Huskies. Her coaches say Walker outplayed one of the best liberos in the conference this past week. Walker led the defense with 37 digs and just one reception error in 46 attempts. In the clinching 3-1 win at Western Michigan, Walker totaled 25 digs, one more than reigning two-time MAC West Defensive Player of the Week Lena Oliver, and was flawless in 22 serve receptions. In the 3-2 comeback win at Bowling Green, she tallied 12 digs and only one reception error in 24 attempts. She has now had 12 or more digs in seven straight matches and has had double figure digs in 23 of 30 matches.

Coaches credited both players as being large factors to helping NIU lock up the MAC regular season title and No. 1 seed going into the MAC tournament on Friday.

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