Branagh earns her second player of the week honor

Although the Minnesota volleyball team is still striving for respect with a ranking in the top 25, Gophers outside hitter Nicole Branagh has already received recognition.
Earlier in the season, Branagh was named Big Ten player of the week for her efforts against Wisconsin and Purdue.
Monday, Branagh was recognized again — she was named player of the week for leading her team to wins at Michigan and Michigan State. It’s Branagh’s third such award.
In Michigan, Branagh averaged 6.67 kills and 3.67 digs in six games against the Wolverines and Spartans. She also led the Gophers with a .367 hitting percentage.
But personal stats aren’t something Branagh looks at. When asked about her impressive weekend, Branagh stressed she is only one-sixth of the what the Gophers put out on the floor.
“It takes everyone to win,” she said. “I’m just doing my part as best I can.”
Branagh became only the third Gophers player to be given the honor twice in the same season. Katrien DeDecker was named player of the week twice in 1996, while Andrea Gonzalez was picked twice in 1985.
Coincidentally, Branagh joined the two in another elite group of Minnesota volleyball players Friday night in Michigan.
With her seventh kill against the Wolverines, Branagh jumped ahead of Jill Halsted into fifth place on the Gophers all-time kill list with 1,351. She finished her impressive weekend with 1,384 kills.
DeDecker is the all-time leader in Gophers kills with 2,300 and Gonzalez is second with 2,140.

John R. Carter covers volleyball and welcomes comments at [email protected]