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Athlete of the Week: Derrough’s ’14 killer instinct carries volleyball versus Cornell

The outside hitter spiked the game-winning point to propel the squad to its fourth Ivy win this season

Thea Derrough ’14 has played in all 67 sets of the 18 matches the volleyball team has competed in this season. She has accumulated 159 kills over this span, averaging nearly 2.5 kills per set, the second highest total on the team behind fellow outside hitter Maddie Lord ’15.

Derrough has established herself as a strong presence at the net and has helped lead her team to a 4-3 conference record. In last Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Cornell, Derrough contributed 11 kills and accounted for 13 of Bruno’s 73 points, including the game-winning kill with an assist from setter Sarah Lucenti ’17.

For her skill in finishing off plays, Derrough has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.


Herald: How did you feel going into the Cornell game last week? Could you tell you were going to have a good game?

Derrough: I was pretty confident. We played Columbia the night before and we struggled a little bit because they shut down some of our attack, and we were playing with pretty low energy. So before the Cornell game, our coach talked to us about our energy, and we had a really good warm up, so I felt really good right from the start and just carried that momentum throughout the match.


You also had a huge game against Harvard a few weeks ago with 20 kills. How does it feel to play so well against Ivy rivals like Harvard and Cornell?

The Harvard game felt especially good — I’ve always wanted to beat Harvard. I know some of the players on that team. I think everyone at Brown can agree that Harvard is one of our biggest rivals, so playing well against them felt amazing. Our whole team had a strong performances, so I really just fed off of my teammates and was able to make some good plays.


How has the team looked so far and how do you think the season will ultimately go?

Our team looks great. We’re a lot more balanced than we have been in the past. There are four or five people that we can always count on to have very strong games, and that has allowed us to win games that we haven’t won in the past. We’ve already played everyone in the Ivy League, and we’ve been competitive in every match. I think we have a really good chance to beat them all when we play them a second time.


What kind of chemistry do you have with the setters on the team?

The majority of the time, I play with Sarah Lucenti as my setter. It’s been huge that she could come in and run an offense in the way that she’s doing. I connect really well with her, and I’ve been playing with her the entire season, so we’re really in sync. It’s really helpful to have a consistent player setting me up for kills every game.


When did you start playing volleyball?

I started playing volleyball before seventh grade. I went to a volleyball camp because I was switching schools, so I guess the point was to meet some new people, and I ended up just falling in love with the sport and continued to play from then on.


Have you always played at the net or did you have to grow into the position?

I’ve always been pretty tall so they always put me at the net. I’ve switched from position to position on the front row, but that’s mainly where I’ve always been.


What’s a typical pre-game meal for you?

Whatever the Ratty is serving. I try to stick with just carbs — nothing too fancy. I’ve never been too picky.


What sport would you play if you didn’t play volleyball?

Initially, the reason I chose volleyball was because I’m not really a huge fan of running. I’ve always enjoyed playing football, and I’d ideally play quarterback. Something with as little running as possible.


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