Western Kentucky senior Sophia Cerino has been recognized by Conference USA as the Defensive Player of the Week, the league office announced Monday afternoon. The Brentwood, Tenn., native helped the Lady Topper volleyball team to a 2-1 weekend against a tough Fleur de Lis Tournament field hosted by No. 24 Louisville over the weekend.
Across the tournament, Cerino tallied 23 kills, 11 blocks, 10 aces, six digs and five assists.
Eight of Cerino’s 10 weekend aces came against a tough Arizona State squad. The lefty’s jump serve dismantled the Sun Devils offense, holding the Pac-12 program to just a .167 offensive clip. During Cerino’s dominant showing against ASU, the senior took WKU on numerous scoring runs, including one of nine-straight serves, keeping the Sun Devils out of their offensive system. She tossed up 29 serves across her eight trips back to the service line in the Power Five win. In addition to her impressive serving against ASU, Cerino would add three blocks and 11 kills as well, leading WKU with 21 points in the contest.
With eight aces against Arizona State, Cerino tied for third on WKU’s single-match aces list. She finished one shy of the record, which is shared by Cindy Hudson (1991) and Beaven Hill (2000). Cerino ties Teresa Harrison and Michelle Mingus for third-most after the pair each recorded eight aces at EKU on Sept. 4, 1990.
In WKU’s second match of the day Saturday, Cerino matched her career-high blocking output with six against No. 24 Louisville.
As a junior, Cerino claimed her first and only previous C-USA weekly recognition with an Offensive Player of the Week nod Sept. 17. The senior is the third different Lady Topper to earn a weekly award from Conference USA in two weeks of awards in 2019.
WKU is in action Tuesday evening for its E. A. Diddle Arena opener as Eastern Kentucky comes to town.