Yesterday afternoon, the Big 12 conference announced that Kaitlynn Pelger, senior middle blocker for K-State, had been named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 16. This was the first time Pelger has won the award in her career, although she has won Offensive Player of the Week multiple times. She is the first Wildcat to win the defensive player of the week award since Alex Muff in 2010.
This is the second week in a row that K-State has had a player honored by the Big 12. Last week, redshirt freshman setter Katie Brand was named the freshman of the week. Through 13 games this season, Pelger is averaging 1.04 blocks per game and 2.7 digs per game. While her defense is getting the attention this week, it is Pelger’s all-around game that is the most impressive. Pelger plays all six rotations for the Wildcats. That is noteworthy for any position but, as a middle blocker, Pelger is one of only a handful of players in the NCAA that plays all the way around. There is good reason that head coach Suzie Fritz keeps Pelger on the court the entire time. She has all the skills needed, and can contribute offensively and defensively in both the front and back rows. Pelger is the current active Big 12 kills leader with 1,326 for her career, which is good for 6th all time in K-State history. If the Wildcats want to continue winning matches and fight for a conference title, it will start with Pelger. She is a great barometer for how the team is playing. If she is attacking and defending like she is capable of, the Wildcats are tough to beat.
K-State is back in action tonight in an exhibition against the Italian U-23 National team. After that, the Wildcats will gear up for Big 12 play beginning in Morgantown, W.Va. on Sept. 27.