Okinaka earns 2nd National Player of Week honor

Okinaka earns 2nd National Player of Week honor

By:  Dana Becker, The Messenger Sports Report


Kryssie Okinaka has her name in the Iowa Central volleyball record books, as the sophomore earned her second National Player of the Week honors this year.

Okinaka tied the school-record for digs in a match with 44 last week, securing the NJCAA Div. II Volleyball Defensive Player of the Week award for Sept. 24-30. She was also tabbed for the top honor for games played during Sept. 10-16.

"I was pretty surprised that I received the award again," Okinaka said. "Getting the award honestly gives me more motivation to do better and work harder. I know I can get to the top and that is where I push and strive to be.

"I would not have gotten this award without my awesome coaches and outstanding teammates. They also push me and give me motivation to better myself on and off the court."

She is the third player among all fall NJCAA sports to earn multiple weekly awards, joining Div. I volleyball player Kylie Baumert of Southern Idaho and Genesee's Rodrigo Albuquerque in Div. III men's soccer.

Okinaka tied current student-assistant coach Michele O'Haver for the single-match record. She picked up 163 digs during the past week and is the ICCAC leader in the category with 574 on the year.

On the season, the Hawaii native has 586 digs, 56 assists and 25 serving aces. Okinaka ranks second in the nation in total digs and is 15th in digs per set.

"I made the best decision coming to Iowa Central and joining the program,"Okinaka said. "Last year, I didn't really show out like the way I am this year. I depended on my teammates a lot to do the job. In the beginning of this current season, I still had depended on my teammates, but I had to switch things up if I wanted to get where I want to be.

"I started to have a better mindset and the confidence to be that libero that digs anything and to go after every ball that I can."

No. 10 Iowa Central leads the ICCAC at 6-0 and is 20-7 overall, including a perfect 3-0 record inside Hodges Fieldhouse. They are in Boone at the DMACC Tournament Friday to face No. 1 Johnson County and third-ranked Coffeyville before returning home to host league rival and No. 12 Kirkwood on Wednesday.