Brereton off to strong start

By Rhema Rhea

Volleyball freshman Anna Brereton has made an immediate impact for the Huskies despite her limited time on the court as a libero.

The Sun Prairie, Wis., native first took the court Aug. 29 at home against the Presbyterian Blue Hose. As a libero, Brereton can only be on the floor for defensive situations or when it’s her turn in the service rotation, but she still registered a team-high 17 digs in helping the Huskies to a 3-1, season-opening win.

Brereton’s defensive playmaking ability has not stopped there, and she has since notched 199 digs, which is first among all Huskies.

“It’s been good. I’m getting a lot of experience that not a lot of freshmen get the opportunity to,” Brereton said. “It’s also a lot of trial and error and figuring things out as we go along. Obviously, there will be bumps in the road, but overall I think it’s the best way to learn.”

Brereton has not only stood out among her fellow Huskie teammates, but also among the MAC heading into the start of conference play this weekend against Toledo and Ball State.

One of Brereton’s high points this season was when she was honored with MAC West Defensive Player of the Week honors Sept. 15 for her play the prior week, Sept. 8 to 14.

In the four games that week the libero posted 78 digs and 4.88 digs per set. The first game of that week on Sept. 9 against the Northern Iowa Panthers, Brereton notched 27 digs and nine digs per set in the 3-0 sweep of the Panthers, helping NIU beat Northern Iowa for the first time in 16 years.

“She’s doing some solid things for us,” said head coach Ray Gooden. “I think she will continue to get better and improve as she moves forward.”

The Sun Prairie High School standout was the first recruit brought in by third-year associate head coach Lynnette Moster.

“She’s been a freshman that is consistently playing, and she’s been doing a wonderful job of being in that role,” Moster said. “It’s a tough position to play being a freshman, but she plays like she has a lot of experience and she’s been a huge reason why our team has had the success that we’ve had so far this season.

“So, we look forward to all those improvements that she can make. There is always stuff to work on, and we look forward to working on those this week so we can go into a strong weekend.”

NIU is first in the MAC in service aces with 105 through 52 sets this season. Brereton is a big reason behind that, recording 21 aces in 14 games, making her second-best in the conference and tied for 35th in the nation.

Aces are not the only statistic the freshman has excelled in so far this season. Her 216 digs ranks first in the conference. Brereton understands these are great accomplishments in the early part of her first season, but she said her teammates deserve credit for her success, as well.

“It’s cool, but a lot of that is based off of the team,” Brereton said. “I mean, I wouldn’t be getting my digs if the block wasn’t set up as well… . It’s not just my effort; it’s the whole team effort. We all work together to make each other better.”