Often, a volleyball player who does well statistically and stands out amongst other athletes in the conference will receive the Atlantic 10 Player of the Week award.
That makes sense, right?
Even if the team does poorly, a player can manage to catch the eye of people in the A10 office if their individual efforts deserve recognition.
“I’d like to think that the reason a player gets it is not because of their individual component but because of the performance of the whole group,” Temple coach Bob Bertucci said.
Xu Yun, a junior on the Temple volleyball team, not only had the honor of being named A-10 player of the week, but she’s been chosen twice in the past two weeks for the award.
Yun has flat out dominated in the past two weeks, with a .403 hitting percentage, 42 kills in 91 swings, 31 digs, two aces and two blocks.
She even had back-to-back double-doubles with 16 kills and 13 digs against Duquesne and game highs of 26 kills, 18 digs and a .468 hitting percentage against George Washington.
“Her hitting efficiency has been moving up,” Bertucci said.
“She has the highest kill percentage in the conference, which would be similar to the highest scorer in basketball. I think that’s why she got it.”
Yun is a native of China who came to Philadelphia three years ago with life experience and obvious talent in the game of volleyball.
Though there was a slight language barrier, Yun felt right at home.
“Philadelphia is a big city,” Yun said. “I came from Shanghai, which is a big city, so sometimes I feel like I’m at home. And Philadelphia has a big Chinatown, which is my favorite thing. I go there almost once a week.”
When she’s not in Chinatown or practicing, Yun can surely be found hanging out with the rest of her teammates, with whom she has became close close friends.
“I know the girls love her to death and they appreciate the effort that she puts out so when she works hard,” Bertucci said.
“I know that the coaching staff as well as the players appreciate when she works hard. ”
Like most of the international athletes that play for the Lady Owl’s volleyball squad, Yun was expected to make an impact somewhere down the line – if not immediately.
“I think Xu Yun was a very good volleyball player even before she came here. I think the difference was, she was out of playing for a couple of years, and she was working full time,” Bertucci said.
“We felt fairly confident that she was gonna be able to do that for us.”
This year, the rest of the team seems to be responding well to her solid play, a dynamic that has helped the Owls win their last two games on the road.
“The coach says that my swing is fast, so I think that’s helping me a lot,” Yun said.
“I think I do my best. I think I did really good when we went against George Washington. They’re better then last year. They control the ball very well but they’re not that tall.”
“The team responds very well to her play, especially this year more so than last year. She’s really stepping up at critical points,” Bertucci said.
“She’s starting to show the same kind of will to win we used to enjoy with Alma Kavachi.
Now that I see that in her, I am very excited as a coach because that is not something that is easily taught.
This year she’s become a full member of the team.
Hopefully she doesn’t feel like she’s a guest anymore.”
Saudia Mitchell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.