By Nate Perry, TTU Sports Information
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Kirsten Brugere and Erica Grant were selected by the Ohio Valley Conference as the league's Defensive Player of the Week and Newcomer of the Week, respectively, for their efforts at the Golden Eagle Invitational this past weekend.
A senior leader for the Golden Eagles, Brugere was a steady backcourt presence again this week, tallying 70 digs in 14 sets over the course of the tournament. The libero from St. Charles, Mo. did not have a very strenuous workload in the first two matches, thanks in large part to two shutout wins over Hampton and USC Upstate.
However, she would be called upon in a big way Friday night against New Orleans, keeping her team in the match with 28 digs, which equaled a previous career high. She followed that up with 18 digs in the tournament finale against East Carolina.
When all was said and done, Brugere collected 5.00 digs per set on the weekend, the highest of any of this week's defensive POTW nominees.
Brugere was again selected as an all-tournament player for TTU, giving her that distinction for both weekends of the season so far.
Brugere's season-long 4.52 digs/set (122 digs in 27 sets) is currently fourth-best in the league. UT-Martin senior Brooke Gyori is the only libero in the conference to have played more sets (31).
This is the second Defensive Player of the Week award of Brugere's career. The first came on October 16 of last year when she accumulated 49 digs in two matches, and originally set her career high with 28 against Murray State.
Grant was the headliner in the Golden Eagle offense during the tournament, recording 3.93 kills/set (55 kills in 14 sets) and 3.14 digs/set (44 total digs). She turned in three double-doubles – her third, fourth and fifth in seven matches at TTU – and set career highs in several categories.
Grant's kills and kills/set numbers for the week obliterated those turned in by any other entrant for Newcomer of the Week, and her digs/set was the highest of any non-libero.
The freshman outside hitter posted a .300-plus attack percentage in two of the four matches – .316 against USC Upstate and a career-best .480 vs. Hampton. Other high-water marks included 18 kills and 19.5 points against Upstate, and 54 attacks and 20 digs vs. New Orleans.
Grant finally had her streak of six consecutive matches with double-digit kills snapped when she was held to eight against East Carolina on Saturday.
The Lindenhurst, Ill. native currently leads the Golden Eagles in kills (93), kills/set (3.44) and services aces (9), and ranks second on the team with 74 digs and 13 blocks.
She currently sits fourth in the OVC in kills/set and fifth in points/set (4.04).
Along with Rachel Thomas' Co-Offensive Player of the Week honor last week, Tech volleyball now has three OVC award winners in two weeks. It had only two for the entire 2017 season.