NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – If twice is a coincidence and three times is a trend, what is it when something happens five times?
Ask freshman Martina Samadan (Split, Croatia), who was honored by the Atlantic 10 Conference for the fourth and fifth times this season Monday afternoon. Samadan, a 6-foot-5 middle blocker, was named the league's Defensive Player and Rookie of the Week after she led Virginia Commonwealth University to a pair of conference victories.
Samadan averaged 3.29 blocks and 2.29 kills per set in victories over Saint Louis and Butler over the weekend. The freshman was credited with 14 blocks in the Rams' 3-1 win over Saint Louis Friday alone, the most by a VCU player in eight seasons under Coach James Finley. She pitched in six service aces and hit .310 for good measure over the weekend as the Rams improved to 19-3 overall and 5-2 in league play.
It's been an outstanding rookie year for Samadan, who leads the A-10 in blocks per set (1.64) and ranks third in hitting percentage (.351). Samadan is on pace to shatter school single-season records in both categories. She ranked 12th nationally in blocking last week, and is nearly certain to move into the top 10 once the NCAA releases its updated statistics later Monday evening. She's already won two other Rookie of the Week awards this season, as well as a Defensive Player of the Week honor on Aug. 27.
Samadan and the Rams return to the floor on Friday, Oct. 19 when they welcome George Washington to the Verizon Wireless Arena at 7 p.m.