roundtable

Sophomore wideout Justin Watson has broken out in 2015.

Photo: Ilana Wurman

So here we are.

With fall break in the rearview mirror, we have passed the unofficial midpoint of the fall season for Penn Athletics. And as expected, some Red and Blue performers have clearly stood out amongst the rest.

Of course, the most coveted individual honors are bestowed at the end of the season, but that’s not stopping us from asking the question: “Who is the midseason MVP for Penn Athletics?”.

Sports Editor Colin Henderson: Forget the Houston Texans’ star defensive lineman — there’s a new J-Wat taking the game of football by storm. And on game day, he too wears Red and Blue.

I’m talking, of course, about Penn’s breakout wide receiver, Justin Watson.

As a freshman last year, the dynamic wideout showed signs of his explosive ability but was hampered by injury. Apart from a small injury scare in his game against Villanova, he has had no such problems this season.

Watson is currently averaging 107 yards receiving per game in 2015. That’s over 80 yards more per game than anyone else on the Quakers’ roster. With his five receiving touchdowns to date, he also has four more than anyone else on the team. Furthermore, his mind-blowing catch and run for a touchdown against the Wildcats was the most electrifying play I’ve seen from anyone in a Penn uniform all year.

All of this is to say that Watson has been far and above the best and most important player on Penn football this season. I have to give him the nod for midseason MVP honors.

Sports Editor Holden McGinnis: After a disappointing 2014 campaign, Penn volleyball has gotten off to a strong start this fall in large part due to senior captain Alexis Genske. Just one game out of first place in the Ivy League, the Quakers are clearly one of the teams in the title hunt in this young season.

Genske has 196 kills on the season, good for first on the team and third-best in the conference, while also providing stellar defense. The senior has 180 digs, second on the team behind libero Michelle Pereira and 11th in the Ivy League.

As the team moves forward through the rest of the conference schedule, the senior will be looked on game in and game out to provide consistent offense. When Genske turns it on, Penn is nearly unstoppable.

In addition to her play on the court, though, as a two-year captain, she will also be looked upon to provide leadership for a group of athletes that has exceeded expectations thus far. And midway through the fall season, Genske has clearly succeeded on both accounts.

Contributing Reporter Nick Buchta: I hate to be the one to do this, but I’ve got to go with the obvious choice here: field hockey’s star attacker, Alexa Hoover.

Penn field hockey has been straight fire emoji this season, winning nine straight and opening its Ivy slate with three overtime wins. The Quakers have undoubtedly done more to exceed expectations than any other Penn squad this season.

And the four-time Ivy League Player of the Week has been instrumental in making that happen. It took her only nine games to break the program’s single-season points record, and a game later the goals record fell too. Hoover is second in the nation in goals per game and points per game, at 2.1 and 4.7, respectively.

The sophomore from Collegeville, Pa., is already the reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Year, and she’ll be adding more hardware to her name before season’s end. To me, the most valuable player is just that — the person whose absence would do the most damage to a team’s chances.

And if I’m field hockey coach Colleen Fink, I want Hoover on that field; I need her on that field.

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