Hitting .545 this past weekend, Bronco junior Dana Knudsen was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week in the first week of play. Knudsen, who was selected over seven other WCC players, led Santa Clara to a 2-1 record and was named to the All-Tournament team at the Seattle University Fall Volley. Tanya Schmidt was also named to the All-Tournament team. It is the second straight year Knudsen has received WCC Player of the Week honors during the year.
"I'm really thrilled for Dana and our team that Dana was recognized as Player of the Week in the WCC," said Bronco head coach Jon Wallace. "Our conference has great talent in it and for Dana to be one of the best during the week's events is awesome. It's a great reflection on our team, Dana's teammates and as well as Dana's hard work and dedication to become the best that she can be."
Knudsen hit .316 vs. Washington State, an impressive .769 vs. host Seattle and then .667 vs. Eastern Washington. She averaged 2.3 bpg and .9 dpg. In 44 attempts, she had 27 kills and just three errors. She was named to the All-WCC Preseason Coaches Team.
The .769 is tied for No. 7 on the Broncos all-time best single match list with 2 others. It is also the highest percentage a Bronco has hit in a match since All-American Anna Cmaylo hit .778 vs. Portland on Oct. 8, 2005.
"It's definitely really exciting and rewarding to be named the Player of the Week," said Knudsen. "I think that it's a mixture of preparation – because I did a lot of work in the off season, did a lot of work going into these double days – I've been working on my skills and when I got into the game and it was time to apply that hard work. But I also think it was hard work in double days in bonding as a team. We get to the game and the sets is where we want it to be and the timing is where we want it to be and the passes are on. I'm the third one to get the ball so I wouldn't be able to do it without the pass and the set being there. So I think that the setters did a really nice job this weekend and our passers really picked it up in the second and third games."
Knudsen also talked about the team play this past weekend and was especially excited the Broncos hit .720 in the third game of the Seattle win.
"Honestly I had no idea that we were hitting that well. I'm pretty sure after the game Will Yuen asked us what we hit and I was like, "Eh three-something" and Tanya said, "Yea, three-something something" and he told us and we were all like, "what, like really?" But I think it was because our system was working and how we want it to be," said Knudsen. "The block was separated because our outsides and opposites were doing their job. The passes were on. The setting was there. It was just there and it didn't feel like we hit that well because it felt easy. It was just like the ball was there and you put it down. It was just where it was supposed to be and didn't have to do anything extraordinary to get it. So I think it was just everything we worked on and it was just go time. I know for Tanya and I, we've been here awhile so once it's there you know you've got to do your job and you've got to put it down. "
While the honor is nice, Knudsen said there is a lot of work left for her to continue to improve. "There's some specific things I want to do better," added Knudsen. "We watched some film and I think I know a little better when I can do to help the back court on my block and it will definitely be a little more comfortable. And every game under our belt, just get a little more comfortable and a little more confident in each other and we will definitely have a lot of challenges this weekend, but I really think that we're ready to step up for this right now. We've been practicing … it's time to go."
Last season, when she was named the WCC Player of the Week on Sept. 14, 2010, Knudsen hit an impressive .600 (11-2-15) in the tournament-opening win against Portland State; and really shined in the final match against Cal State Bakersfield where she hit .688 with 11 kills on 16 swings with no errors. For the weekend, she had 35 kills and just six hitting errors to go along with 10 blocks.
Her freshman year she was named the WCC Player of the Week on Sept. 28, 2009. The previous weekend Knudsen was named to the Penn Invite All-Tournament team. She hit .431 during the weekend, averaging 3.3 kpg and 1.1 bpg, including 15 kills vs. Albany for a career best.