Wittman making an early mark with the Gophers

by Lindsay Guentzel

 It was a big weekend for freshman Ashley Wittman.  The Gatorade National Player of the Year had 12 kills, 11 digs, and two blocks in the Gophers’ sweep of Duke, helping the Gophers to a 3-0 first place finish in the Duke Invitational.  The outside hitter was named to the All-Tournament Team, along with teammates Tabitha Love and Jessica Granquist.

Things got even better for the Shakopee, Minn. native—on Monday, Wittman was awarded the Big Ten Player of the Week and Big Ten Freshman of the Week.  She was previously awarded the Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Aug. 30.

Head coach Mike Hebert said he was surprised Wittman’s collected so many accolades this early in the season but was quick to praise her initial performance with the Gophers.

“She’s certainly earned it with her level of play,” he said.

In just three weeks of play, Gopher volleyball players have claimed five Big Ten weekly awards—besides Wittman’s three, Love was also named Player of the Week while Granquist roped in Defensive Player of the Week.

No. 12 Minnesota heads to San Diego on Friday for the last non-conference tournament before opening up the Big Ten season against Michigan State on Sept. 24.  They’re set to play UC-Santa Barbara, San Diego State, and No. 23 San Diego this weekend.