Watts' 6.57 digs per set earns USA South Defensive Player of the Week honors

Watts' 6.57 digs per set earns USA South Defensive Player of the Week honors

Maryville College's Natalie Watts was named the USA South Defensive Player of the Week, as the rookie tallied 6.57 digs per set.

Watts – a freshman from Alabaster, Ala. – helped the Scots to three-straight sweeps on the week, as she added five aces and five assists to her defensive efforts.

"Natalie really came on," Head Coach Kandis Schram said. "She was really a difference maker for this weekend. It's very exciting to see a freshman come in and be able to handle two really strong teams like that. It was a good weekend for Nat."

Against Johnson University, Watts played just one set of the three, but the 5-foot-10 Libero made per presence known. She totaled six digs and three aces in the three-set victory, ranking third on the squad in digs for the entire match.

Watts helped the Scots on a 9-0 rally late in the third set over the Royals. She aced Jensen Davis on her second serve of the match, before following suit against Kelley Wilder for back-to-back aces. Finally, she aced Davis for her trio of aces.

That rally gave the Scots a 17-7 lead, before they earned their sixth sweep of the 2019 season.

Against Averett University, Watts earned the starting role at Libero for the Orange and Garnet. She led the squad defensively in the 3-0 route with a match-high 22 digs. The Kingwood Christian product added two aces to her credit, as well.

Watts totaled 7.33 digs per set over the Cougars, as her first ace gave Maryville an early 7-2 lead in the first set.

She posted another ace in the second set to put the Scots up 9-2, as they earned their seventh sweep of the year and their second in as many matches.

Maryville would make it three-consecutive sweeps on Saturday afternoon, as the Scots upended previously unbeaten Bridgewater College, 3-0.

"You know, we really didn't focus on their record going in," Schram said. "We focused on players, and we intentionally didn't let them know they were undefeated. Afterwards, it was fun seeing their reaction when they found that out. It was a great match, and it was a good time for us to figure some things out."

Watts added 18 digs – six per set – in MC's final match of the week to snap a 13-match win streak for the Eagles. The freshman added five assists in the 25-17, 25-20, 25-16 victory.

In all, Watts had 46 digs across seven sets played, as she scored on her five aces.

"Natalie has a very unorthodox serve that is going to be feast or famine," Schram said. "Coming up with five service aces was very nice."

On the season, Watts has 80 digs in 22 sets played, as more than half of her season digs came across the last three matches.

Watts has 19 assists and 10 service aces in her Maryville career.

The freshman will look to lead the Scots this week, as they return home on Wednesday night, Sept. 25. First serve against Transylvania University inside Boydson Baird Gymnasium is slated for 7:00 p.m.