Leading Santa Clara to the school's 14th NCAA tournament, junior middle blocker Megan Anders was named to the West Coast Conference First Team on Monday. It is the 15th straight season the Santa Clara volleyball team has placed at least one player on the West Coast Conference First Team. In addition, sophomore Taylor Milton was named to the All-WCC Honorable Mention team.
Last week Kayla Lommori was named to the 12-member All-Academic Team with two others being named Honorable Mention: junior Katherine Douglas and sophomore Katy Schatzman.
"Academically I am proud of our three women that were named to the All-WCC Academic Team," said Bronco head coach Jon Wallace. "Our team and our program takes a lot of pride in our success in the classroom, as well as being good citizens by doing community service, including host the Walk 4 Pancreatic Cancer. Santa Clara University does a great job of motivating our students to do well in the classroom to maximize their potential."
Anders hit .362 this season, collecting a team-high 375 kills and 3.02 kpg. She was second on the team with 0.82 bpg and collected 102 total blocks. She had 19 double-digit games in kills. She scored a then-career best 25 kills, hitting .432 in the Broncos 3-2 win vs. No. 16 BYU. She had a career-high 28 kills at USF in Santa Clara's 3-2 win. Anders hit .404 or better in 11 matches this season, including .500 or better in eight matches.
Anders was named the WCC Player of the Week on Oct. 22 when she hit for a .500 clip with 39 kills, averaging 4.88 kpg and 0.50 bpg, leading the Broncos to a 2-0 record with a 3-2 victory over then-No. 16 BYU and a 3-0 win over Sac State.
Anders collected a then-career-best 25 kills in Santa Clara's 3-2 win over No. 16 BYU on Oct. 20, hitting .432 on 44 attempts with one block assist. In the 3-0 non-conference win vs. Sacramento State on Oct. 16, which entered the match as the No. 3 blocking team in the country, Anders registered an impressive .636 hitting percentage, collecting 14 kills and zero errors with four block assists.
"It's great, but it really reflects more on the team's success," said Anders. "I couldn't do it without my setter Alyssa Anderson. When we go on the court, I call her my better half. She sets me up to do what I can do and same with the passers. I worked really hard in the spring because we were short in the middle. I gained new confidence and tried new things and that confidence helped me a lot. I worked hard all summer - I stayed up on the weights and the conditioning. It was my goal all season to make the NCAA tournament and when you achieve that goal, it makes all the hard work worth it."
"I am very happy for Megan. She has worked extremely hard not only to be one the of the best players in our conference, but also nationally," said Broncos head coach Jon Wallace. "Megan dedicated herself in the off-season in terms of her strength and her ability to train harder and longer. The best thing that she came to the table with back in August is allowing her competitive spirit to come out. Megan took a lot of pride in winning every drill and every game that we played. The greatest thing about her work ethic is that it came out in every conference match we played."
Milton was second on the team with 358 kills, including 2.89 kpg. She was third with 2.32 dpg and collected 288 digs on the season. She had 18 aces and 46 blocks on the year. Milton hit .786 in the Broncos 3-0 win at Gonzaga, collecting 11 kills on 14 attempts with zero errors. She had 20 kills in the 3-2 win over Utah and scored 19 kills in the 3-2 win at USF. Milton collected 12 double-doubles this year (kills/digs). She had 22 double-digit games with kills and 14 double-digit games with digs.
"I am very proud of Taylor. She has made great strides in a year's time. It is fantastic to see that she is being recognized for her improvement and ability, especially in conference play," said Wallace. "Taylor carried a big load for our team this year, passing and playing all six rotations in addition to being one of our go-to attackers. Her future her at Santa Clara as well as the WCC is very bright. She is one of the most athletic players in our conference."
"It's rewarding. It's nice to put in a lot of hard work and be recognized like this - it gives it back. Both individually and with the team – it feels really good," said Milton. "It was a commitment to the work I was putting in and taking on a bigger role this season. To be able to grow as a player and as a person and help me mature and become more consistent. I have to credit Aaron Mansfield, our new assistant, for helping me with a lot of technique work. I owe thanks to all my teammates and all my coaches."