Rachel Widener, a member of the Mount Vernon Nazarene College women's volleyball team, became only the fifth player in the program's tradition-rich history to be named the NAIA National Player of the Week when she was honored Tuesay for her performances during the week of September 20-26.
Widener, a 5-foot-9 senior outside hitter from Elyria, Ohio, led the Lady Cougars to a 5-0 week that included winning the 1999 Wazie Invitational. The former Open Door Christian Academy standout began the week with a career-high 22 kills in a conference victory over the University of Rio Grande.
Widener, who was also selected as the American Mideast Conference and NAIA Region IX Player of the Week, followed that performance up with record-setting match against Tiffin University in which she recorded 16 kills on 21 attempts with no errors for a school-best .762 attack percentage. She broke the previous mark of .714 that was set by former MVNC standout Trista McNeal against the University of Findlay in 1991.
Widener closed out the week by being named the Most Valuable Player at the Wazie Invitational as she led the Lady Cougars to the tournament title with great all-around play. She posted a season-high 32 digs in a win over Marian (IN) College that helped her to become only the third player in school history to compile 2,000 career digs.
For the week, Widener averaged 3.47 kills and 5.21 digs per game while recording a .354 attack percentage. She also contributed two aces and eight blocks.
MVNC is now 21-1 overall on the season and the Lady Cougars are also in first place in the AMC with a 6-0 mark. The team will return to action on Thursday when MVNC begins a three-match swing through Pennsylvania with a non-conference contest at California (PA) University, an NCAA Division II team. The match is slated to begin at 7:00 p.m.