Valparaiso sophomore libero Taylor Root (Jenison, Mich./Jenison) has been named the Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year as the league announced its postseason awards today. Root was joined on the All-League Team by junior setter Jenny Pokorny (Geneva, Ill./Geneva), while freshman outside hitter Sarah Dooms (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove) earned a spot on the All-Newcomer Team.
Root earned the Defensive Player of the Year honor after a regular season in which she averaged a league-best 5.82 digs/set, which ranks second nationally entering this week. The sophomore has at least tied for team-high honors in the category in all 30 matches in which she has played and has led all players in 22 matches. The three-time league Defensive Player of the Week and Bradley Invitational MVP has picked up at least 10 digs in every appearance and has registered 20 or more on 21 occasions.
Root’s 663 total digs on the year rank third in a single-season in program history and are second-most in a single year in league history. She receives All-League accolades for the second time as well, as Root also earned year-end honors from the league during her freshman campaign. Valpo has now boasted the Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year in three of its first four seasons as a league member, following Brittany Malicoat’s back-to-back honors in 2007 and 2008.
Pokorny earns the first year-end honor of her career after a regular season in which she was twice named the league’s Offensive Player of the Week. The Crusaders’ setter enters this week third in the league with 10.36 assists/set and dished out a league-best 10.78 assists/set in league-only action. A jack of all trades for Valpo, Pokorny also ranks sixth in the league in hitting percentage (.286) while tallying 1.42 kills/set. On the defensive side of the ball, she is third on the team with 2.75 digs/set and also has chipped in 0.50 blocks/set.
Dooms earns a spot on the All-Newcomer Team after playing as a six-rotation regular for the Crusaders all season long as a rookie. The freshman enters tournament play second on the team with 2.82 digs/set and has been stellar on serve receive, posting a team-best .972 reception percentage on the year. Offensively, Dooms averages 2.35 kills/set and registered double figures in kills in eight matches this season, four of which were part of double-doubles.