Keenan Sanders Earns Big West Player of the Week Honors

Keenan Sanders (photo by Eric Isaacs)
Keenan Sanders (photo by Eric Isaacs)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UC Santa Barbara sophomore opposite/middle blocker Keenan Sanders was named the Big West Player of the Week on Monday, becoming the second Gaucho over the last three weeks to earn conference honors.

Sanders paced UCSB's offense in both matches last week, helping the Gauchos to a split with sixth-ranked Brigham Young University. 

The San Diego native posted a team-high 11 kills on solid .391 hitting in Friday's matchup with the Cougars, adding four digs in a 3-0 win for UCSB. Not just the most prolific offensive producer that night, he also came up big when it mattered most, slamming home the set-clinching kill in game number one before sending up a tough serve on match point that led to a contest-ending block from Connor Drake and Randy DeWeese.

Thanks in part to Sanders' exploits, UCSB was able to secure their first sweep at BYU's Smith Fieldhouse since the 1996 season. 

Sanders, who was a Freshman All-American last year as a middle blocker, followed that up with a 10-kill, five-dig outing against BYU on Saturday night. 

He joins teammate Corey Chavers, a junior outside hitter who was honored by the league office on Jan. 22, as the first two recipients of weekly awards in the Big West era. 

The Gauchos are in the midst of a two-week hiatus, and will next return to action on Wednesday, Feb. 21 with a home contest against Pepperdine at Rob Gym.