The votes have been counted and it is time to announce True To The Cru’s Players of the Week presented by Montgomery Chiropractic.
Football Offensive Player of the Week: Kyle King
King was terrific through three quarters in his season debut, throwing for 379 yards, which would have ranked as his second-highest single-game passing performance a year ago. He completed 19 of 28 passses, tossing a total of six touchdowns to five different receivers. The fifth-year senior executed UMHB’s new offensive attack with ease, completing his first pass of the game to Jamaal Hamilton, as Hamilton raced 54 yards for the score. In fact, two of King’s first four completed passes went for touchdowns, as UMHB led 20-7 at the end of the first quarter.
King picked up 58 percent of the vote, while receiver Brandon Jordan earned 32 percent. Running back Aphonso Thomas was also a nominee for Offensive Player of the Week and earned nine percent of the vote.
Football Defensive Player of the Week: Johnny Smith-Rider
Named to D3football.com’s Team of the Week on Tuesday morning, Smith-Rider played exceptionally well in the first start of his collegiate career. The sophomore linebacker tallied five tackles, four of which were solo, and 2.5 tackles for loss, which was a team-high. Those 2.5 TFL set Muhlenberg back nine yards, and he also recorded a sack, as well as a forced fumble. The sack was the first of his college career.
The Fort Worth native earned 66 percent of the vote. Defensive back Tommy Bowden, named the ASC’s Co-Defensive Player of the Week, had 24 percent, and cornerback Trashawn Adams picked up 10 percent.
Football Special Teams Player of the Week: Anthony Avila
In a narrow race, kicker Anthony Avila was selected for the honor, as his seven kickoffs averaged 57.7 yards, and he converted on six-of-seven extra-point attempts. The fifth-year senior also caught the attention of the large crowd at Crusader Stadium when he brought Muhlenberg returner Christopher Ardito to the ground on the second kickoff of the game, after Ardito had sprinted 26 yards upfield. Avila currently holds the program record for PATs made in a career, with 213.
He tallied 40 percent of the vote, while Jack Bruner, a kicker and punter, who saw action later in the game, picked up 32 percent. Returner Kenneth Miller Jr. had 26 percent.
Volleyball Players of the Week: Katie Warden and Maddie Gillispie
The duo earned ASC Volleyball Player of the Week honors, and it is only fair that both are recognized for their exceptional performances in UMHB’s first four matches, all wins, this past weekend.
In her collegiate debut, Warden was at the center of UMHB’s offensive attack, playing all 14 sets, with a team-high 49 kills. She tallied 52.0 total points, and also leads the Cru in that stat category. She hit for a percentage of .293, which ranks second on the team (min. five sets played). Perhaps her most notable performances came on Friday and Saturday when she posted double-digit marks in kills in consecutive matches. Against Centenary, Warden had 15, and followed that up with 19 kills in Saturday’s four-set win over Hendrix.
Gillispie led the Cru defensively, recording a team-high 99 digs in 13 sets played. She had a receiving percentage of .976, with just one receiving error in 41 total attacks. At the libero position, Gillispie recorded a season-best 34 digs on Thursday night against Centenary and added five assists and a service ace through four matches played.
Women’s Soccer Player of the Week: Kristen Burdick
Named a Co-ASC Defensive Player of the Week, Burdick opened her 2022 season with two superb performances in Abilene. The defender helped UMHB limit Wisconsin-Whitewater to just five shots in a 3-0 shutout victory on Thursday. She then came back on Saturday evening to score the game-winning goal against St. Scholastica, in a 3-2 victory. Burdick added an assist against UW-Whitewater, and played a full 90 minutes in each of the two victories.
Men’s Soccer Player of the Week: Jack Bryan
In his collegiate debut, Bryan helped power UMHB to a season-opening 2-0 shutout of Houston-Victoria, as the freshman forward from Frisco, Texas, scored a goal, and also added UMHB’s first assist of the season. He currently leads the team in points, with three, and is one of just three Crusaders to have scored a goal this season, with two matches having been played. Bryan did not start in either match, but did play a total of 100 minutes.