Valpo volleyball senior libero Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) was named the Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Week today, her second award of the season, after another trio of stellar performances in the back row last week.
Cookerly opened the week with a 40-dig effort in Valpo’s upset bid at #13 Notre Dame, tied for the most in a five-set match and second-most in any length match in program history, and added eight assists as well. The 40 digs tied for second-most in the nation in a single match this year and marked her second career effort of 40+ digs. While it didn’t go down as one of her 40 digs, Cookerly’s one-handed dive backwards to keep a rally alive that Valpo eventually won was featured on ESPN’s SportsCenter at number eight on its nightly Top Ten countdown.
Cookerly followed with 23 digs, five assists and two aces Sunday at Illinois State before closing the week with 32 digs and six assists in Valpo's Monday win over the Redbirds — the first for the program since joining the Valley. She averaged 6.79 digs and 1.36 assists per set for the week, has led all players in digs in each of Valpo's last nine matches and has now tallied 30+ digs in four of the last five matches after doing so just five times combined in her first three seasons.
Cookerly continued her march up the career charts in the digs category as well last week. The senior now owns 2,361 career digs, moving her into second in Valpo program history and fifth in MVC history. She now sits just 69 digs shy of cracking the NCAA career top-25 chart in the category.