Penn State setter Micha Hancock came into this season with a very good perspective: She knew she'd have a lot of leading to do with the large group of freshmen the Nittany Lions had coming in. But the senior also fully wanted to relish her last go-round in college.
"I expect to really enjoy my last season," Hancock said back in August. "But knowing what I'm capable of, I also need to really push the younger players to see what they're capable of. They're top recruits, and they have the confidence. They just need to get experience."
Now heading into the NCAA tournament as the No. 5 seed overall, Penn State certainly got the best out of Hancock, who had 1,229 assists this season. Sixty-nine of those came in the past two matches, in which Penn State beat Northwestern and Nebraska. For that, Hancock earns our final espnW player of the week honor of 2014.
Hancock definitely did her job in helping develop the youngsters. Freshmen Ali Frantti (346 kills, 139 digs) and Haleigh Washington (159 kills, 73 blocks) have been among the big-impact players for the Nittany Lions this season.
Hancock, who was the most outstanding player of the NCAA tournament last year for national champion Penn State, has 122 kills, 199 digs and 77 blocks this season. Known for her serve, Hancock also has 109 aces.
The Nittany Lions are 30-3 overall and went 18-2 in the Big Ten, finishing second in the league to Wisconsin. Penn State has won 14 matches in a row; the past 13 have been sweeps.
Hancock and the Nittany Lions open NCAA tournament play Friday at home against Siena.