Volleyball's Hackbarth Named MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week

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Natalie Hackbarth (15).
Courtesy: Jon Eilts

ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- Jon Ekey of Illinois State University and Natalie Hackbarth of Creighton University have been selected the Prairie Farms/Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athletes of the Week for the 2011-12 academic year, Commissioner Doug Elgin announced today. Ekey and Hackbarth were honored for their performance during the period of November 14-20.

Now in its 13th year of existence, The Valley’s Scholar-Athlete program is sponsored by Prairie Farms, Roberts and Hiland Dairies. On a weekly basis, the Conference honors its student-athletes for their athletic performance for a one-week period and academic success in the classroom.

A forward for the Illinois State men’s basketball team, Ekey, a sophomore from Independence, Missouri, averaged 11.5 points, as the Redbirds downed Southern Illinois-Edwardsville (68-38 on November 17) and Lipscomb (78-70 on November 19).

Ekey, who has a 3.36 cumulative grade-point average in business administration, compiled 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals against SIUE. Versus Lipscomb, he was one of five Redbirds to score in double-digits, as he netted 11 points.

An outside hitter for the Creighton volleyball team, Hackbarth, a sophomore from Algona, Iowa, turned in the best effort of her career against Drake on Saturday, November 19, as she finished with 14 kills, 13 digs and four blocks in the Bulldogs’ five-set victory.

Hackbarth, who has a 3.709 cumulative grade-point average in journalism, posted a career-best for kills -- four in the final set. Three of those kills either tied the score or gave Creighton the lead, including a kill to give the Bluejays a 10-9 advantage they would not surrender.

To qualify for Prairie Farms/Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Week laurels, student-athletes must carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.20, completed at least one academic year at a Valley institution and must be at least a sophomore in academic standing. Redshirt freshmen and first-year junior college transfers are not eligible. In addition to the academic qualifications, student-athletes will be evaluated on their athletic performance for a one-week period.

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