Loyola-Chicago's Berzins and Endicott's Witkofsky Tabbed Sports Imports/AVCA National Players of the Week
Kris Berzins, a 6-1senior outside hitter for Loyola University Chicago, has been named the Sports Imports/AVCA Division I-II Men's National Player of the Week. The Brinklow, Md. native earns the award for helping his team to three wins last week, including two victories over teams ranked in the AVCA Men's Division I-II Coaches Top 15 Poll. In the Ramblers' first match, a 3-2 triumph over Milwaukee School of Engineering, an NCAA Division III program, Berzins totaled two kills, two assists, an ace and a block in limited action. He followed by hiting .500 with 11 kills, seven digs, an ace and a block in the Ramblers' sweep of then-No. 15 Saint Francis. Berzins saved his best match for last, racking up 21 kills, seven digs, four aces, three blocks and two assists in Loyola-Chicago's thrilling 3-2 upset of then-No. 5 Penn State. The win allowed the Ramblers to become the lone remaining undefeated team in NCAA Divison I-II men's volleyball. For the week, Berzins hit at a .316 clip and averaged 4.25 kills, 1.40 digs and 4.25 points per game. This is the second time Berzins has been the recipient of the Sports Imports/AVCA Men's Division I-II Player of the Week award, his previous honor coming April 20, 2009. It is also the ninth time an athlete from Loyola-Chicago has earned the distinction. The Ramblers coached by Shane Davis.
A.J. Witkofsky, a 6-4 senior middle blocker for Endicott College has been named the Sports Imports/AVCA Men's Division III National Player of the Week for his efforts in leading his squad to two victories last week over non-Division III opponents. Witkofsky kicked things off with an 11-kill, four-block, three-dig performance in the Gulls' sweep of New Haven, an NCAA Division II program. He was on fire in Endicott's second match of the week, turning in a double-double with 31 kills and 19 digs in a five-set win over Division I institution Harvard. He also recorded eight blocks, two assists and an ace in the outing. For the week, Witkofsky averaged 5.25 kills, 2.75 digs and 6.56 points per game, while hitting .326. This marks only the second time an athlete from Endicott has been awarded Sports Imports/AVCA Men's Division III National Player of the Week accolades, both of those honors being claimed by Witkofsky. He last earned the distinction March 31, 2008. The Gulls are coached by Tim Byram.