Watts tabbed USA South Defensive Player of the Week behind 7.71 digs per set

Watts tabbed USA South Defensive Player of the Week behind 7.71 digs per set

Maryville College's Natalie Watts was named the USA South Defensive Player of the Week, as the freshman tallied a 7.71 digs per set average.

Watts – an Alabaster, Ala. native – recorded 54 total digs to lead the Scots to a 3-0 record last week. MC went 2-0 against USA South competition.

"Natalie is like a sponge right now," Head Coach Kandis Schram said. "She's just taking in the game and getting better every week and every day in practice. It's just fun to see her elevate her game and her volleyball I.Q."

Her defensive abilities weren't Watts' only facet to the week. The freshman tallied 10 assists, four aces and a kill in her week.

Against the Royals of Johnson University, Watts posted 19 digs, six assists and one kill in just one set played.

She returned in a key match against Brevard College, as the libero posted 13 digs, two aces and one assists in the 3-0 sweep.

Watts posted four digs in the opening set and three in the second to lead MC to 25-10, 25-7 victories. She then added six digs and two aces in the third set for a 25-12 victory.

Finally in the Scots' final match of the week, Watts led the Scots to a 3-0 sweep of rival Piedmont College. Watts had a match high 22 digs with three assists and two service aces in the Scots' 13th sweep of the season.

The win moved Maryville to 4-0 in conference play as they lead the Western Division.

"It's huge," Schram said. "Piedmont is a good team. They produced a lot of long rallies, and we were able to do what we did, a lot because of Natalie. She was really playing short balls, long balls and taking up more and more court. That's the role you expect a DS/libero to do. She did it."

Watts had huge sets with seven digs in each the first and second. She added eight digs in the third set, while adding an ace in each of the first two.

Her performance led Maryville to a 25-19, 28-26, 25-15 victory. The victory extends MC's win streak to five matches.

"We have been preaching eyes forward and not taking anything for granted," Schram said. "We've talked about investing in the moment, and she's buying into that. From scouting the opponent pregame to just every part of the game – being a multi-dimensional player – she's embracing that. We'll be successful as long as we continue to do that."

On the year, Watts has 165 total digs. She's averaged 4.23 digs per set, while posting 36 assists. The freshman has one kill and 18 career aces.

She will look to lead Maryville on Wednesday night, as they return to USA South play. The Scots take on Berea College inside Boydson Baird Gymnasium at 7:00 p.m. on Oct. 9.