October 6, 2008

VanDerMost Scoops Up Big Sky Weekly Honor

Volleyball Bears Vault Into Second Place in the Big Sky
Bears Inch Even Closer to Top of the Sky

OGDEN, Utah -- Northern Colorado's women's volleyball team took down the top two squads in the Big Sky Conference last week and propelled itself to within percentage points of the first-place spot. 

And the Bears couldn't have done it without the stellar defensive work of libero Breanna VanDerMost, who was honored today as the Big Sky Conference Player of the Week for matches played between Sept. 29 and Oct. 6.

This is the first such award for VanDerMost and the second honor this season for Northern Colorado (Allison Raguse, Sept. 1).The Bears are the first Big Sky team this season to have two POTW winners.

VanDerMost's award-winning run started with 11 digs and one assist in Northern Colorado's 3-1 victory against Eastern Washington on Thursday, Oct. 2.

But that proved merely a warmup for the junior from Colorado Springs.

VanDerMost came back on Saturday night, Oct. 4, and scooped up 25 digs -- the second-highest total of her career -- and had three assists and two kills in the Bears' 3-1 victory against conference-leader Portland State.

It was Northern Colorado's first victory against the Vikings since joining the Big Sky in 2006.

“One of our goals going into the (Portland State) match was we had to out-dig them," Northern Colorado coach Lyndsey Benson said. "We felt that if we had more digs in the match than they did, we felt like we were going to be successful. And that was the case. We out-dug them by nine digs, and that was probably the point separation. That was huge. Bre VanDerMost with 25 digs in a four-game match was getting it done. She did a great job.”

VanDerMost's play spearheaded a defense in the victories that held Eastern Washington's  Hayley Hills and Portland State's Lindsey Steele to eight kills apiece. And her 5.14 digs-per-set mark for the week was way above her career average (2.85 digs/set) and season average (4.50 -- third best in the conference).

VanDerMost and the rest of the Bears will now turn their attention away from the Big Sky -- but just for one match. Northern Colorado will host instate rival and No. 13-ranked Colorado State at 7 p.m. Tuesday night, Oct. 7, in Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion.

If the Bears are to pull off a shocker -- the Big Sky is 0-7 this year against ranked opponents -- they'll need VanDerMost to turn in another award-winning week.