SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Santa Clara volleyball earned dual recognition on Monday afternoon for its undefeated opening weekend. Kirsten Mead was named West Coast Conference Volleyball Player of the Week and the Broncos received votes in the AVCA Coaches Poll, following a slate that featured wins over UC Irvine, No. 7 USC and Marquette.
The Palo Alto, Calif. native Mead earned her second career conference player of the week award (Oct. 5, 2015). The Broncos received 123 points, second-most for a team not to make the Top 25 in this week's poll.
"The weekend went really well for us," head coach Jon Wallace said. "We got a really good effort from our girls both physically and mentally. They were ready for the weekend; they performed at a high level and battled through all the adversity that came their way. Overall, I'm really proud of them. They're on a good trajectory of learning every day, getting better and playing a good brand of volleyball."
Mead began her junior campaign with three strong performances, helping the team make history in the process. The setter totaled 124 assists (11.27 assists/set) alongside 35 digs, eight kills, six total blocks and four aces for the USC Baden Invitational champion Broncos. She was named Tournament MVP.
"Kirsten had an incredible weekend and is a big reason why we won all three matches," Wallace said. "She is a product of our entire system working really well together. Our passers did well to get her the ball and our attackers — from Nikki Hess to Sabrina Clayton to Jensen Cunningham — made her look good, but honestly she had a special weekend from a competitiveness and setting standpoint. She put our team in the best position to get a kill every time as well as serving, digging and blocking very well."
Mead set Santa Clara to a .302 hitting percentage in its season-opening 25-21, 25-22, 25-19 sweep of UC Irvine Friday night. On Saturday morning, she had a 43-assist, 11-dig double-double in a 22-25, 25-11, 25-20, 25-17 upset of No. 7 USC; the Trojans were the highest ranked team the Broncos defeated in SCU regular season history. Mead finished off the weekend Saturday night with another double-double as the Broncos took down Marquette 25-17, 25-22, 16-25, 25-14 in a battle of 2-0 teams.
Santa Clara heads to Louisville, Ky. for the Active Ankle Challenge this weekend. The Broncos face tournament host and 21st-ranked Louisville on Friday, followed by matchups with Auburn and Stony Brook on Saturday.
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