PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Idaho outside hitter Haley Larsen has been named the Western Athletic Conference Volleyball Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 3-9. This is the second career WAC Player of the Week for the junior.
The Santa Clarita, Calif., (Canyon) native, had 35 kills to help Idaho rally to a 3-2 victory over UC Davis at the 2007 Hallmark Inn Aggie Tournament. Larsen’s performance was the second best in school history, as she garnered over half of Idaho’s 69 kills in the match. She set the Idaho single-match kill record in 2005 with 36 against San Jose State. The 35-kill performance was the second highest in the nation this season behind the 37-kill showing by Charlotte’s Cori Dayton against Eastern Michigan on Aug. 24.
Larsen led the Vandals to two wins last week, including the 3-2 win over host UC Davis and a 3-1 win against San Francisco. The senior ended the weekend with 63 kills and 32 digs, averaging 7.00 kpg and 3.56 dpg. For the season, Larsen now leads the WAC in kills per game, averaging 5.52.
Other nominees included: Lacey Gera of Fresno State led the Bulldogs with 30 kills and was named to the Kansas State Invitational all-tournament team ... Jamie Houston of Hawai‘i earned Waikiki Beach Marriott Volleyball Challenge Most Outstanding Player honors, averaging 5.25 kills, 2.83 digs and 0.83 blocks per game during the tournament ... Brittney Nakamura of Louisiana Tech anchored the Lady Techster defense, totaling over 50 digs last week ... Teal Ericson of Nevada had 64 kills and six digs in three matches last week ... Lindsey Yon of New Mexico State tied the school record for kills in a four-game match with 28. ... Keri Anglin of San Jose State was MVP of the UVU/La Quinta Inn and Suites Invitational averaging 1.38 blocks per game ... Amanda Nielson of Utah State was named to the Golden Bear Invitational all-tournament team with 37 kills in three matches.
WEEK FOUR IN THE WAC – Week four sees nonconference action come to a close while Western Athletic Conference play begins. Three matches kick off the 2007 WAC season on Thursday, as Boise State travels to Utah to face Utah State, Nevada hosts Louisiana Tech, and New Mexico State makes the trek to California to take on Fresno State. Hawai‘i hosts Idaho on Friday and Boise State on Saturday. Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State switch places on Saturday, as La Tech heads to Fresno State and the Aggies travel to Reno to square off with Nevada. The weekend rounds out with San Jose State at Utah State.
SAN JOSE STATE WINS SECOND-CONSECUTIVE TOURNAMENT - San Jose State hit .307 as a team to defeat Weber State, 25-30, 30-24, 30-25, 30-21, Saturday evening at the UVU/La Quinta Inn & Suites Invitational. San Jose State won the tournament title after three teams, Arizona State, Utah Valley and San Jose State, all finished with a 2-1 tournament record. The Spartans won the tie-breaker by going 8-5 in games, while Arizona State was 7-5, and Utah Valley was 8-7. Keri Anglin was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, while Jennifer Senftleben and Colleen Burke were named to the all-tournament team.
FAST STARTS – New Mexico State and Louisiana Tech are the first teams to get to five wins. The Lady Techsters are one win away from matching last season’s win total of six. Louisiana Tech, behind the strong play of Shannon Phillips, is 5-4 after a sweep of Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 4. The Aggies are 8-2 after a 3-0 win over rival UTEP on Sept. 11. New Mexico State’s only losses came against No. 7 Texas and No. 5 UCLA.
LARSEN HAS BREAKOUT PERFORMANCE – Haley Larsen had 35 kills to help the University of Idaho volleyball team rally to a 3-2 victory over UC Davis at the 2007 Hallmark Inn Aggie Tournament. Larsen’s performance was the second best in school history as she garnered over half of Idaho’s 69 kills in the match. The 35 kills was the highest in the WAC this season and third-highest in the country. Her strong performance led to her being third in the nation in kills per game, averaging 5.52 kpg.
RULERS OF THE WAC – Hawai‘i is entering their 12th season in the Western Athletic Conference, as they have won all 11 conference titles since joining the WAC in volleyball in 1996. The Rainbow Wahine have a record of 156-2 (.987) in conference play, while also winning seven of the nine WAC Tournament titles. UH had an amazing streak of 114 consecutive wins in conference play that ran from Oct. 17, 1998 to Oct. 13, 2006, when the Rainbow Wahine fell to New Mexico State in five games in Las Cruces, N.M. The streak spanned seven years and 361 days, beating 17 different teams. The loss occurred on the 58th road match during the streak, on the 29th different road trip that the Rainbow Wahine had taken.
Although the overall streak has ended, UH still has a very impressive streak of 101 consecutive conference matches at home, dating back to the 1994 season. Of those 101, 90 of those wins have occurred in WAC play, as the Rainbow Wahine have yet to lose a conference match at home. More impressive than the dominant record that UH has in conference is the fashion they have dominated in. Of the 156 wins, 119 of them have come in threegame sweeps. The Rainbow Wahine have won 37 WAC matches in four games and just 10 in five games. UH’s two losses have come in four and five-game matches. In WAC Tournament play, Hawai‘i is 25-2 (.926) with 16 sweeps, seven fourgame wins and two five-game victories.
UTAH STATE’S RECRUITING CLASS AMONG BEST IN THE NATION – According to PrepVolleyball.com, Utah State had the second-best recruiting class in the WAC in 2007, behind only Hawai’i who had the 19th-best class in the nation. USU welcomed 10 newcomers to the program this fall, including six freshmen, and that class ranked as one of the top-95 in the nation.
HAWAI‘I RANKED IN PRESEASON POLL – Defending Western Athletic Conference volleyball champion Hawai‘i has been selected in a poll by the league’s coaches to defend its crown in 2007 and take home its 12th-straight regular-season title.
The Rainbow Wahine received eight of the nine first-place votes with San Jose State earning the other first-place vote. Hawai‘i earned 64 total points followed by New Mexico State with 55. San Jose State under the direction of new head coach Oscar Crespo finished tied for third with Idaho with 44 points. Nevada was picked fifth with 36, while Boise State was picked sixth with 30. Utah State finished in seventh place with 22 points with Fresno State earning 20 points, good for eighth. Louisiana Tech was picked ninth with nine points.
Hawai‘i is coming off a 29-6 season in 2006 that saw the Rainbow Wahine earn their 11th-consecutive WAC regular-season title with a 15-1 record. Hawai‘i also captured its seventh WAC Tournament title. The Rainbow Wahine advanced to the NCAA Regional Finals before losing to UCLA. New Mexico State also advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2006.
The 2007 WAC season begins August 24 with all nine teams in action. After five seasons in Reno, the WAC Volleyball Tournament moves to Las Cruces, N.M. on the campus of New Mexico State. The nine-team tournament will be held November 15-17.
SAN JOSE STATE CAPTURES TOURNAMENT TITLE – With a 2-1 tournament record, the San Jose State volleyball team won the ASU/Bancorp South Classic despite a 26-30, 30-23, 26-30, 24-30 loss to host Arkansas State.
Junior middle blocker Colleen Burke was selected as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. She had 10 kills against Arkansas State and hit .457 for the weekend with only two hitting errors in 11 games played. Keri Anglin had two blocks against Arkansas State and led the team over the weekend with nine blocks. Jennifer Senftleben recorded 10 kills Saturday night and averaged 3.55 kills per game over the weekend.
TWO UTAH STATE AGGIES HONORED – Utah State’s volleyball team had two players honored at the 2007 Golden Bear Invitational hosted by the University of California this past weekend as senior Amanda Nielson was named to the all-tournament team and freshman Christine Morrill was named the tournament’s Defensive Standout.
Utah State finished in third-place during the two-day event as it lost a pair of three-game matches to No. 15 California and No. 12 Minnesota before defeating Eastern Kentucky in three games.
Nielson, a senior opposite side hitter from West Valley City, Utah (Granger HS), was named to her third all-tournament team in as many weeks after hitting .217 (39-19-92) and averaging 5.88 points, 4.88 kills, 1.38 digs, 0.75 service aces and 0.50 blocks per game. Her best match of the tournament was against Eastern Kentucky as she hit a career-high .609 (15-1-23) to go along with four service aces and two digs.
Morrill, a freshman libero from Neola, Utah (Union HS), saw her first action of the season and responded by averaging 3.67 digs per game, including a match-high 14 digs against Eastern Kentucky. Morrill had missed the first six matches of the year with an injury.
VOLLEYBALL FORMAT – For the third-straight year the WAC will not compete in divisions. This season’s format will be a double-round robin. Each team will face the other eight at home and on the road. All nine teams will compete in the WAC Volleyball Tournament.
2007 WAC TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
November 15 (Quarterfinals)
Match 1 - No. 8 vs. No. 9
Match 2 - No. 4 vs. No. 5
Match 3 - No. 3 vs. No. 6
Match 4 - No. 2 vs. No. 7
Match 5 - Winner Match 1 vs. No. 1
November 16 (Semifinals)
Match 6 - Winner Match 3 vs. Winner Match 4
Match 7 - Winner Match 2 vs. Winner Match 5
November 17 (Championship)
Match 8 - Winner Match 6 vs. Winner Match 7
NEW MEXICO STATE TO HOST WAC VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT - The Western Athletic Conference announced, that pending board approval, New Mexico State University will host the 2007 WAC Volleyball Tournament, Nov. 15-17 at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces.
The 2007 Volleyball Tournament marks the third time New Mexico State has hosted a WAC Championship in the past nine months. In March, the Aggies hosted the 2007 WAC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships and this April, the University Golf Course hosted the 2007 WAC Women’s Golf Championships.
Throughout the week, WAC teams and fans were treated to a variety of cultural events that showcased what the state of New Mexico and the city of Las Cruces are all about, including Native American and Hispanic Culture Days. Fans also had the chance to experience the newly-renovated Pan American Center first hand, including new concourses, concession stands, restrooms and a brand new center-hung scoreboard, which hangs above Lou Henson Court.
SAN JOSE STATE NAMES CRESPO HEAD COACH - San Jose State University has named Oscar Crespo as its new women’s volleyball head coach. Crespo, a 1990 graduate of San Jose State, becomes the sixth head coach in the program’s history.
Crespo spent the past seven years as a member of the University of Nevada volleyball coaching staff. From 2000-01, he was the Wolf Pack’s assistant head coach before being promoted to associate head coach prior to the start of the 2002 season.
His primary areas of focus at Nevada were athlete training and development; opponent scouting and evaluation; recruiting; setter development; drill development and individual and team skill evaluation; development of defensive and offensive systems, and statistical analysis of individual and team play.
His recruiting expertise helped the Wolf Pack sign the 23rd-ranked volleyball recruiting class for 2006 according to PrepVolleyball.com. Crespo was instrumental in Nevada’s recent success of participating in four of the last six NCAA Tournaments.
REGIONAL SITES SELECTED - The NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Committee has announced the following sites for regional competition of the 2007 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championships.
Regionals (4) December 7-8, 2007
Host: University of Florida
Stephen C. O’Connell Center
Host: Pennsylvania State University
University Park, Pennsylvania
Host: Stanford University
Host: University of Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin Field House
Boise State Broncos (3-5, 0-0 WAC)
Boise State begins Western Athletic Conference play on the road, as they travel to Utah to take on Utah State, Thursday, before heading to Hawaii to face the Rainbow Wahine, Saturday ... The Broncos look to stop a four-match losing streak, coming off a 0-2 finish at the UC Davis Aggie Hallmark Inn Invitational last weekend ... junior Jamie Claussen is second in the WAC in service aces, averaging 0.43 per game ... freshman Lauren Hamm is third in the WAC in digs (4.68 dpg), while teammate Mandy Klein is fifth in the WAC in assists per game with 11.08 ... as a team Boise State is second in the WAC in service aces, averaging 1.60 per game.
Fresno State Bulldogs (2-8, 0-0 WAC)
Fresno State went 1-2 at the Kansas State Invitational last weekend, before falling to a hot Oregon State team Tuesday, Sept. 11 ... sophomore Lacey Gera was named to the Kansas State Invitational all-tournament team ... Gera hit a team-best .182 and tallied 14 kills to help the Bulldogs defeat Arkansas in the Kansas State Invitational ... sophomore Lexi Watson had a season-high .211 hitting percentage against Oregon State ... as a team Fresno State is first in the WAC in digs, averaging 18.09 per game ... the Bulldogs are led by sophomore Lisa Gera, who is second in the WAC in digs (4.89 dpg).
Hawai‘i Rainbow Wahine (6-3, 0-0 WAC)
No. 15 Hawai‘i finished a tough pre-conference schedule with a 6-3 record, and will now open Western Athletic Conference play with Idaho and Boise State on Sept. 14 and 15 ... the Rainbow Wahine are 11-0 in WAC openers, sweeping 10 of those matches ... junior Jamie Houston earned Waikiki Beach Marriott Volleyball Challenge Most Outstanding Player honors after averaging 5.25 kills and 2.83 digs on the weekend ... freshman Elizabeth Ka‘aihue posted her second 30-dig match of the season vs. Wichita State (Sept. 8) ... sophomore Stephanie Brandt leads the WAC in assists (12.40 apg) ... the Rainbow Wahine lead the WAC in blocks, averaging 2.96 per game.
Idaho Vandals (3-6, 0-0 WAC)
Idaho went 2-0 at the Hallmark Inn Aggie Tournament in Davis, Calif., last weekend ... the Vandals set or tied 12 individual career highs during the weekend ... junior Haley Larsen added her second career WAC Player of the Week honor after posting a 35-kill perfomance against UC Davis at the tournament ... Haley’s kill tally ranks third in the nation and her 5.52 kpg leads the WAC ... Idaho takes its two-game winning streak to No. 15 Hawai`i for the start of the Western Athletic Conference season on Friday.
Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters (5-7, 0-0 WAC)
Louisiana Tech is in the middle of a five-match road trip as they take on Nevada in Reno, Nev., on Thursday, and travel to California to face Fresno State on Saturday ... the Lady Techsters came away from the UTSA Tournament 0-2 last weekend, as they lost to Texas A&M and dropped a tough five-game match to tournament host UT-San Antonio ... seniors Shannon Phillips (18 kills, 20 digs) and Kristen Fairbanks (11 kills, 10 digs) posted double-doubles against UTSA with ... Phillips is second in the WAC in kills (5.14 kpg) ... the Lady Techsters are second in the WAC in digs (17.05 dpg).
Nevada Wolf Pack (3-4, 0-0 WAC)
Nevada went 1-2 at the AT&T Invitational last weekend ... senior outside hitter Teal Ericson had 31 kills versus Hofstra on Saturday, which is just one short of the school record ... Ericson was selected to the all-tournament squad ... senior setter Ashley Miller needs just one assist to reach 1,000 for her Pack career ... Miller is second in the WAC in assists with 11.85 apg ... senior Karly Sipherd is first in the WAC in blocks, averaging 1.48 per game ... the Wolf Pack are second in the WAC in blocks (2.70 per game) and third in the WAC in service aces (1.56 per game) ... Nevada is looking to extend its WAC season openers win streak to eight on Thursday versus Louisiana Tech.
New Mexico State Aggies (8-2, 0-0 WAC)
New Mexico State swept the University of Texas-El Paso on Tuesday, Sept. 11, to stay atop the WAC at 8-2 ... the Aggies continue to dominate the WAC in hitting percentage (.267), kills (16.91 kpg), and assists (15.75 apg) ... junior Krystal Torres leads the WAC in digs (5.18 dpg) ... teammates Amber Simpson and Kim Oguh are second and third in the WAC in hitting percentage, with .426 and .358, respectively ... New Mexico State starts Western Athletic Conference play on the road, facing Fresno State on Thursday, and taking on Nevada on Saturday.
San Jose State Spartans (6-3, 0-0 WAC)
San Jose State took home the UVU/La Quinta Inn & Suites Invitational tournament title after finishing 2-1 on the weekend and going 8-5 in games to win the tiebreaker over Arizona State and Utah Valley ... Keri Anglin nabbed tournament MVP honors with 26 kills and 18 blocks ... fellow Spartans Jennifer Senftleben and Colleen Burke were named to the all-tournament team, tallying 51 and 23 kills, respectively ... Burke leads the WAC in hitting percentage (.444) ... San Jose State hosts San Francisco in their home opener on Wednesday, before travelling to Utah to begin WAC play against Utah State on Saturday.
Utah State Aggies (3-6, 0-0 WAC)
Utah State is 3-6 on the season after finishing in third-place at the 2007 Golden Bear Invitational hosted by the University of California last weekend ... USU began the tournament with a pair of three-game losses to 15th-ranked California and 12th-ranked Minnesota before sweeping Eastern Kentucky in its final match ... the Aggies are led by senior opposite side hitter Amanda Nielson who is averaging 5.39 points, 4.41 kills, 1.85 digs, 0.67 service aces and 0.59 blocks per game, while junior Melissa Osterloh is averaging 4.22 points, 3.67 kills, 2.96 digs and 0.41 blocks per game ... as a team, Utah State is hitting .125 on the season as compared to a .216 hitting percentage for its opponents.