Branagh named player of the week for second time this season

Millions of Americans will head to the polls Tuesday to elect a new president, but one voting result is already in.
Thanks to her stunning weekend at outside hitter, Minnesota senior Nicole Branagh has been named Big Ten volleyball player of the week.
It is the second time this season she has received the award. She shared the honor with Illinois’ Betsy Spicer on September 4. It is the sixth time she has won the award in her three-plus years at Minnesota.
Branagh amassed 61 kills and received 42 digs in last weekend’s wins over Indiana and No. 11 Penn State. Her 40 kills Saturday against the Nittany Lions were a career high and one short of the school record held by Katrein DeDecker and Andrea Gonzalez. Branagh did set a school record with 106 attempts.
During the second game of the Penn State win, Branagh notched kill number 2,141 in her career, surpassing Gonzalez for third all-time in the Big Ten and second in school history. DeDecker holds the conference and school record for kills with 2,300.
Despite the weekend sweep, the Gophers dropped a spot in Monday’s AVCA volleyball poll. Though UCLA — ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll — has five losses to Minnesota’s two, the Bruins are ranked ahead of the Gophers by 22 points.
Wisconsin leads all Big Ten teams in the rankings, holding the No. 4 spot.

Brian Stensaas covers volleyball and welcomes comments at [email protected]