FRISCO – Senior middle blocker Taylor Cunningham has been named the Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Week for the opening week of the season according to a release from league officials on Monday.

Cunningham, a preseason all-SLC first team choice, did it all over the weekend in earning all-tournament honors at the Bearkat Invitational. The senior played all the way around for all three matches and in addition to scoring a team-best 2.67 kills per set on offense, was even better on defense.

For the three-match weekend she not only averaged 1.33 blocks per set on the front row, but put up 4.78 digs per set on the back row. Those numbers ranked her sixth in digs and third in blocks among all players in the SLC in the season’s opening week.

She had at least two blocks in each match and reached double-digits in digs each time as well, helping the Kats hold their three opponents to .069 hitting for the weekend.

Cunningham opened the weekend against Drake, a team that won 23 matches in the Missouri Valley a year ago. She finished with six blocks and 16 digs against the Bulldogs, then turned around and delivered another 10 digs and two blocks against Texas Southern. She closed out the tournament with her first double-double of the year, finishing with 11 kills, four blocks and a career-best 17 digs in just three sets.

Cunningham and the Bearkats will be back in action this weekend when they travel to Lafayette, La., for the Sawyer Camillo Memorial Classic. Sam Houston will face off with Mississippi State on Friday to open up the event before playing Houston later in the day. The Kats will close out the weekend against the host Ragin’ Cajuns on Saturday at noon.