Pepperdine Waves women’s volleyball player Meg Brown was in the zone earlier this month.
The Waves took on Cal Poly, Washington, and Northwestern during the Sept. 8-9 Husky Invitational in Seattle, and Brown, a junior middle blocker, felt like no defender could deter her on the court.
“The first two games, definitely, it felt really easy to play,” she said. “You feel a little bit unstoppable and what you are doing is the right thing. I was able to see their blockers pretty well, which helps to not only hit balls all the time but to be smart with my shots. The first two games challenged me to not only be smart where I hit it but when I was hitting it. I was able to have a lot of success with that.”
Brown averaged 3.0 kills a set on a .389 hitting percentage throughout the three matches. She rang up 36 kills with only eight errors on 72 swings of her arm and also tallied three assists, nine, digs, and 11 blocks.
Led by Brown, the Pepperdine went 2-1 in the tournament. The 20-year-old was named the West Coast Conference Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 12. Brown said it was awesome to win the weekly award.
“Coming into the season I wanted to continue to elevate my game and what I do on the court,” she said. “It’s really incredible to have such an amazing team. Being an offensive middle I need good passes and good sets to be successful. It’s really fun.”
Brown won the honor for the first time in February 2021. She was named the conference’s defensive player of the week last season also.
Brown’s teammates Grace Chillingworth and Riley Patterson won WCC honors at the beginning of the month. Chillingworth was the offensive player of the week and Patterson was the defensive player of the week.
Brown had 15 kills, five digs, and seven blocks with two solo rejections in Pepperdine’s five-set win over Cal Poly on Sept. 8. She had 14 kills, four blocks, three digs, and two assists in the Waves four-set win over Washington on Sept. 9. Brown then had seven kills and one dig in Pepperdine’s loss to Northwestern later that day.
Brown, the WCC Freshman of the Year in 2020, believes she can still play better than she did in Seattle.
“I know I can continue to rise to the occasion,” she said. “I want to step up for my teammates and continue to be a leader on the court. I want to continue to be an option all the time, especially in moments when we are scrambling a little bit. Being available whenever possible is always super helpful. I want to give myself and other hitters the opportunity to have less blocks against them and make it difficult for the other team to play against us.”
The Waves defeated six-ranked Minnesota 3-1 and Washington State 3-2 in the Sept. 15-16 Diet Coke Classic in Minnesota. Brown had 11 kills, five blocks, and three aces against Minnesota. She registered 17 kills, five blocks, and two aces against Washington State.
Brown said playing Minnesota on their home floor in front of thousands of fans was tough.
“Our team does a really good job of rising to the occasion in those moments and really playing our game,” she said.
Brown’s game has changed since her freshman season. She has learned to be more patient on the court and to not go for the kill with every swing of her arm.
“I just wanted to slam every ball if I could,” she said. “I still do sometimes and have a lot of fun in those moments, but I’m still continuing to grow. I want to put my team in the best position to get the point or extend the rally.”
Brown described her volleyball growth as “vision over heat.”
“I don’t have to hit every ball as hard as I can,” she said. “If there is a defender scrambling a bit, I can put the ball in better place rather than going for a straight down kill. I’ve worked on mixing up my range. It makes it harder for blockers to block me.”
Pepperdine has a 9-2 record heading into its matchup at San Diego on Thursday, the first game of their WCC schedule. The Waves play at BYU on Saturday and host Gonzaga on Sept. 27.
Pepperdine finished last season with a 22-6 record. Their 2021 campaign closed with a loss to Central Florida in the first round of the NCAA Championships.
Brown and her teammates hope to do better this year.
“We have a really special group of girls this season,” she said. “We have big goals this season and it’s really showing how we are performing.”