BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) announced its Athlete of the Week award winners for football, volleyball, soccer, golf and cross country on Tuesday. Student-athletes from Bethel, Carleton, Concordia, Macalester, Saint Benedict, Saint Mary's and St. Thomas claimed the Conference's weekly honors for August 30-September 3, 2018.
The MIAC Athlete of the Week awards are nominated by the Conference's sports information directors and selected by MIAC staff. Throughout the fall season, team sports (football, soccer and volleyball) Athletes of the Week will be recognized on Monday afternoons, with individual sports (cross country and golf) announced on Tuesday afternoons. The winners of the latest Athlete of the Week awards are listed below, along with details on their outstanding performances.
To view each sport's 2018-19 Athlete of the Week home page, navigate to the MIAC's Awards page or visit the 2018-19 Athlete of the Week news archive for complete details on each week's selections and winners.
MIAC Football Offensive Player of the Week
Jr. | Wide Receiver
Oconomowoc, Wis. | Catholic Memorial
Fletcher Metz had a breakout game for the Knights, posting career bests of 15 receptions, 148 receiving yards, and three touchdowns in Carleton's 38-48 loss to Macalester College on Saturday. His reception total is the second-highest in recorded school history and second-most in all of college football this season, while his three touchdown grabs are tied for the fourth-highest single-game total in team history and second-most in Division III in 2018.
MIAC Football Defensive Player of the Week
Sr. | Linebacker
Dawson Brown led Bethel with 13 tackles and added two interceptions – one of which was returned for a touchdown – and a blocked kick in Bethel's 41-29 victory at Simpson on Saturday. Brown's 32-yard pick-six to begin the second half gave the Royals a 21-9 advantage early in the third quarter and proved critical in securing a BU win.
MIAC Football Special Teams Player of the Week
University of St. Thomas
Jr. | Wide Receiver
Green Bay, Wis. | Notre Dame Academy
Vinny Pallini was responsible for an interesting statistical anomaly on Saturday by scoring points on the first two plays of the season in St. Thomas' 76-7 victory over Trinity International (NAIA). Pallini returned the game's opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown and then made his 2018 kicking debut by drilling the extra point. A starting wide receiver for the Tommies, Pallini connected on 4-of-5 PAT tries in the game.
MIAC Volleyball Hitter of the Week
Sr. | Outside Hitter
Tina Hoppe helped Bethel go 3-1 at Northwestern's Kathryn Pals Invitational, which included a 3-2 win over No. 15-ranked Northwestern-St. Paul. The senior outside hitter recorded 20 kills, 10 digs, and a .308 hitting percentage against the Eagles and finished the weekend averaging 2.81 kills per set, 2.50 digs per set, and 3.0 points per set, earning All-Tournament Team honors for her efforts.
MIAC Volleyball Setter/Libero of the Week
Saint Mary's University
Jr. | Setter
Mantorville, Minn. | Kasson-Mantorville
Lillian Braun racked up a whopping 175 assists to go along with 32 digs, nine kills, four aces and a trio of blocks in the Cardinals' 4-0 run through the Ground Round Sugar Loaf Classic last weekend. Braun registered a career-high 63 assists in Saint Mary's 3-2 win over Luther, representing not just a personal best, but also the second-highest single-match showing in program history, just two shy of record-holder Brittany Cherwinka, who is, ironically, Luther's current head coach.
MIAC Men's Soccer Athlete of the Week
Sr. | Midfielder
Plymouth, Minn. | Wayzata
Clayton Smith scored both of Macalester's goals, including the game-winner with four seconds remaining in regulation, in the Scots' 2-1 victory over Wartburg on Sunday. With time winding down, Smith headed home a corner kick from Nick Moore to give Macalester the win. A key component of the Scots' defensive efforts as well, Smith also contributed to a shutout of Pacific (Ore.) in a scoreless tie on Friday.
MIAC Women's Soccer Athlete of the Week
Jr. | Midfielder
Fargo, N.D. | Fargo North
Kalli Baarstad scored three of Concordia's four goals in the team's first two games of the year, accounting for two of the Cobbers' three goals in a win over Buena Vista on Friday and scoring the team's lone goal in a 2-1 loss at Nebraska Wesleyan on Sunday. Her three goals on opening weekend are equal to her career total coming into the season.
MIAC Men's Cross Country Athlete of the Week
Sioux Falls, S.D. | Lincoln
Isaac Mendel finished No. 1 among all collegiate runners at the Twin Cities Twilight – a four-mile race at Victory Links Golf Course – last Friday. Not only did the first-year competitor finish first out of 90 runners in his collegiate debut, but Mendel also helped the Royals claim first-place among all seven teams in the competition.
MIAC Women's Cross Country Athlete of the Week
College of Saint Benedict
Mandan, N.D. | Saint Mary's Central
Morgan Pierce earned her third career first-place finish in the 2018 Twin Cities Twilight on Friday. Pierce crossed the finish line just over 10 seconds ahead of the next-closest competitor, helping CSB claim second-place as a team. Pierce was also one of just two runners to break 18 minutes in the three-mile race.
MIAC Men's Golf Athlete of the Week
University of St. Thomas
Medina, Minn. | Wayzata
Peder Larson shot one-under-par 71 on Sunday to close out an impressive weekend and lead No. 10-ranked St. Thomas to the team victory in the two-day, 36-hole Augsburg Invite at the Majestic Oaks course in Ham Lake, Minn. Larson's 140 total (69-71) finished second among the 103 in competition and first among 65 golfers from eight MIAC teams.
MIAC Women's Golf Athlete of the Week
Beijing City, China | Lighthouse Christian Academy
Ziyi Wang was the medalist at the season-opening CSB Invite, pacing the Knights' record-breaking performance with a one-over-par 73 in the first round before tying a career-best with 72 shots in the final round and finishing with a three-stroke margin of victory. Sunday marked Wang's fifth collegiate even-par round, while her winning score of 145 is tied for second-best in team history. Her performance helped the Knights fire rounds of 297 and 299, becoming the first MIAC women's golf team to break 600 at a tournament and eclipsing the program's previous 36-hole scoring mark by eight strokes.