Bison Athlete of the Week: Kristen Parks

With a 3-0 victory on the road over Lafayette on Nov. 7, the volleyball team earned its fourth conference win of the season, its most since 2010. Leading that consistent improvement over the past two seasons is Kristen Parks ’17, the defensive specialist and libero for this young Bison squad.

This past weekend, the Orange and Blue went 1-1 against Lafayette and second-place Lehigh. Over the two games, Parks put together a pair of excellent performances, and it all started with her defense. She led the team with 17 digs against the Lafayette Leopards, and also contributed four service aces and three assists. In the loss to Lehigh, Parks totaled 20 more digs and three assists.

“The success we had against Lafayette was a direct result of the strong focus we maintained throughout the match. We knew that our opponents were beatable and that we needed to take care of business, but our challenge was to keep up a strong level of play during the entirety of the game,” Parks said.

Parks has put together an excellent season overall in only her second year at the collegiate level. She’s registered a .156 attack percentage, 44 assists, and a team-leading 446 digs (5.13 digs per set). Her 446 digs are 30 percent of the team’s total. The team’s 17.17 digs per set are the most for a team in the Patriot League.

“This season I’ve really been focusing on getting to the right spot on the court by closely reading the opposing hitter–basically I try to get myself in a place where I can dig the ball. By mentally engaging in each point, I feel that I’m able to return more balls and thus have bettered my game,” Parks said.

She has also been a proven leader for this team, playing in all 87 sets and 23 games this season for the Orange and Blue. There has been plenty of improvement since the beginning of Patriot League play, and Parks has helped engineer that. At the top of the Patriot League, her 5.13 digs per set are third most in the conference.

“Kristen started her career as a walk-on, and today she plays a huge role in our team. She started the season a bit shy, and by our third weekend, she became one of the strongest players in our team. She has always led by example and is becoming a strong vocal leader as well,” head coach Anna Allison said.

With only two games remaining in the season, the volleyball team is looking to finish the season strong before heading into next year. With 11 of 16 players being either a first-year or sophomore, they will have plenty of time to build confidence and chemistry as they head into another season.

“I believe Kristen will be an even stronger player during her junior and senior year. I expect her to continue to grow as a player and as a young woman. She has proven to be an essential part of our team on and off the court; and I am just lucky to have her for two more years,” Allison said.

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