SAN BRUNO, Calif. –For the fourth time in her Bronco career, Santa Clara junior Dana Knudsen was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week on Monday after hitting .548 last week in the team's 3-0 win vs. LMU and its 3-1 win over rival USF. She was chosen over five other WCC nominees and was named to the All-WCC Preseason Coaches Team.
Shoring up the middle with senior captain Tanya Schmidt out with a high ankle sprain for 4 weeks, Knudsen stepped up her play and leadership last week. Knudsen hit .548 last week in a 3-0 win versus Loyola Marymount and a 3-1 win vs. Bay Area rival San Francisco. She had just three errors on 42 attempts during the weekend with 26 kills and led the team with 3.71 kpg and also collected 0.57 bpg.
Against Loyola Marymount, Knudsen hit .667 in the Broncos' 3-0 win and then hit .481 in the 3-1 win over San Francisco. Her 16 kills versus the Dons served as a season-best for the junior.
"It's an honor to be named Player of the Week. It's an honor shared by my whole team and hopefully it will give us some confidence going into the BYU match this weekend," said Knudsen. "The new rotation, the new line-up, put me in a better position to hit more slides and I really like to hit slides. Knowing I had to step up and play hard with Tanya out helped. I will keep practicing hard and working on the little things to get it done. We came out with really good energy vs. LMU. We pushed solidly through all three games and didn't lose focus. Against USF we mixed up the sets a lot – running the A, the split and the slide - and it was hard for the defense to read and having the setter in the front row helped a lot. That has been really great for our team."
It is the third straight year Knudsen has received WCC Player of the Week honors during the season. She was named the WCC Player of the Week earlier this season on Aug. 29. 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. 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.
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.