With a long two-game road trip to Utah and Colorado looming, No. 2 UCLA women’s volleyball took a second to relax and celebrate its upset wins over Pac-12 foes Stanford and Cal.
Morale is high on the team, and the Bruins have cause to celebrate.
They jumped to second in the AVCA national poll, and standout performances were recognized early in the week.
Sophomore Kelly Reeves was named the AVCA National Player of the Week Tuesday.
Reeves was on fire during the weekend, recording 33 digs and 31 kills in the two games.
“I had no idea; that’s a huge honor,” Reeves said, immediately after hearing she had won.
“I have to thank my teammates; without them, I wouldn’t have gotten the award. I’m honored; that’s an awesome award.”
Reeves became only the sixth Bruin in team history to earn the honors.
“I’m blown away that it’s only happened six times in school history,” coach Mike Sealy said.
“I’m happy for her and I’m happy for her family, it’s a great honor. We’ll let her enjoy it for a couple days and then we’ll get refocused and move on.”
Freshman middle blocker Zoe Nightingale was happy for Reeves. “I’m so proud of her,” Nightingale said. “It was really cool. She deserves it.”
The AVCA Award was not the only one Reeves earned, either. She was also named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the week on Monday.
Reeves is averaging 2.77 digs a set and 2.43 kills a set this season, and has collected double-figure digs in seven matches and four matches with double-figure kills.
“She’s been a great ball control player for us, and she’s always well-rounded. She was a big offensive threat all weekend,” Sealy said.
Teammates junior Rachael Kidder and Zoe Nightingale were also recognized by the conference, as Kidder was named the Offensive Player of the Week earlier this month, and Nightingale was awarded Freshman Player of the Week.
Sealy lauded the freshman for her performance, commenting on the pressure of the situation and her ability to stay focused against two elite opponents.
“Zoe keeps gaining experience,” said Sealy. “We’ve always seen moments of brilliance, and there’s always going to be a big learning curve for a true freshman coming in trying to middle-block in the Pac-12. She’s really figuring the game out and doesn’t get lost in situations. She knows the game plan and it’s hard to attack her.”
“I thought she stepped in and did a great job. She did a great job blocking and had some nice kills. She’s playing unbelievable right now. Hopefully, she can keep it up throughout the Pac-12, and good things will come our way,” Reeves said.
“I’m trying to learn so much, and last week it all was starting to hit. The day before Stanford, I finally started to understand what I was supposed to be doing. So that helped,” Nightingale said.