AMES, Iowa – The tradition continues. After her first weekend as Iowa State’s starting libero, Branen Berta collected Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors, the Big 12 announced Monday afternoon. The honor is the first of Berta’s career and ISU’s 44th Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week award, the next closest Big 12 school has 17.
Berta becomes the eighth Cyclone to win a Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week award since its inception in 2007. ISU also continues its run as the only conference program to win a Defensive Player of the Week award each year since ’07.
At the Iowa State Challenge over the weekend, Berta was tasked of filling the opposite color jersey vacated by the graduated Caitlin Nolan, a two-time All-American and Big 12 Libero of the Year and seven-time Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week. She did not let the prestige and notoriety get to her, as she led the Cyclones’ to a 1-1 mark en route to earning All-Tournament Team honors.
In the curtain-raiser against Wichita State on Friday, Berta led ISU with 17 digs while also posting a service ace. In the Cyclones’ four-set loss to Creighton on Sunday, Berta was an impact player from the back with a career-high 26 digs and two assists. Across both matches, Berta did not record a receiving error.
For the weekend, the junior posted a Big 12-leading 43 digs at 6.14 digs per set.
Berta and the Cyclones are back in action on Thursday when the Cyclones travel West to take on the Omaha Mavericks. First serve between ISU and UNO at Baxter Arena will be at 7 p.m.