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NCAA Volleyball Tournament Central
Courtesy: WAC

HAWAI`I FALLS IN SECOND ROUND -  Hawai`i fell to Middle Tennessee State, 22-30, 18-30, 30-15 and 31-33, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in on Saturday. Jamie Houston led the Rainbow Wahine with 25 kills and eight digs, while Stephanie Brandt had 48 assists, four aces and four digs. With the loss, Hawai`i ends its season 27-6. 

HAWAI`I ADVANCES TO SECOND ROUND - The No. 9 Hawai`i Rainbow Wahine volleyball team (27-5) swept through the Tennessee State Tigers (20-14) 30-26, 30-14 and 30-17 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Friday.
Juliana Sanders came up big for Hawai`i, posting 11 kills and a .714 hitting percentage. Jamie Houston hit .333 with 18 kills, seven digs, five blocks and two aces while Aneli Cubi-Otineru had seven kills, eight digs and two aces. Amber Kaufman (five kills, three blocks, two aces, .500 hitting) and Kari Gregory (four kills, .800 hitting) made good contributions in the middle while Stephanie Brandt posted 44 assists, six digs and three aces.
    A quick three-point run by the Tigers put them ahead 6-5 early. A 5-0 UH run got the Rainbow Wahine a 14-11 lead, only to see TSU score four in row, taking a 15-14 edge into the media timeout. It went back-and-forth until a 5-1 Hawai`i run pushed UH to a 26-23 edge. The Rainbow Wahine rode that momentum the rest of the way, taking game one 30-26.
    Game two started tight with five ties, the last at 8-8. But Hawai`i then broke out, scoring 14 of the next 15 points to pull ahead 22-9. The Rainbow Wahine coasted the rest of the way, taking the second game 30-14.
    Brandt had three aces in a 6-0 run early in game three to put UH ahead 7-2. A 10-1 run later in the game got it to 20-7 before the Rainbow Wahine closed it out with a 30-17 game three win.
    Hawai`i will face Middle Tennessee State on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.

NEW MEXICO STATE EDGED BY LSU - New Mexico State lost a hard-fought match to LSU, 3-2 (25-30, 30-21, 30-21, 27-30, 13-15), in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Austin, Texas on Friday. The Aggies were paced by senior Kim Oguh with 15 kills and a .278 attack percentage. Freshman Whitney Phillips posted her first career double-double with a career-high 15 kills and 11 digs. Junior Amber Simpson tallied 13 kills and a .290 attack percentage. Junior Alyssa Gintant registered a double-double with 31 assists and 10 digs. With the loss, New Mexico State ends the season 26-6.

Complete NCAA Bracket
Louisville Sub-Regional
Texas Sub-Regional

THE OPPONENTS – Eleventh-seeded Hawai‘i has only played one of its possible first and second round opponents this season. The Rainbow Wahine defeated Louisville, 3-1, on Sept. 1 in Honolulu. UH is 4-0 all-time against the Cardinals. This is the first meeting between Tennessee State and Hawai‘i.  The Rainbow Wahine and Middle Tennessee State have not ever met before either.

Louisville makes its 18th appearance in the NCAA Championship as the Cardinals will face Middle Tennessee in a rematch of last year’s first round on Nov. 30 at the Kentucky International Convention Center. The No. 23-ranked Cardinals are 22-7 and were the regular season co-champions of the Big East Conference.

The Tennessee State Tigers come into the NCAA Tournament with a record of 20-13, going 14-6 in the Ohio Valley Conference. TSU got into the NCAAs by winning the OVC Tournament last week. Kelly Davis is Tennessee State’s top player, averaging 3.03 kills, 1.75 digs and 0.92 blocks per game. Christian Lowe averages 2.94 kills, 3.21 digs and 0.93 blocks per game while Collese Dornan is averaging 3.00 kills per game.

The Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders come into the NCAA Tournament with one of the best records in the country, going 33-2 with a record of 16-1 in the Sun Belt Conference. MTSU won the conference’s automatic birth in the NCAA Tournament by winning the Sun Belt Tournament. Ashley Adams leads a potent Blue Raider offense, hitting .363 with 4.33 kills, 2.44 digs and 1.11 blocks per game. Ashley Mead averages 3.10 kills per game while Ashley Asberry is hitting .413 with 2.91 kills and 1.57 blocks per game.
THE OPPONENTS – New Mexico State makes its second-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, and its fourth in five years. The Aggies played in the NCAA Tournament in 2003, 2004, and 2006.  They lost in the first round each time.

LSU, 24-7, 15-5 in the SEC, earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament after finishing atop the Southeastern Conference’s western division. NMSU is 2-2 against the Tigers.  The last time the two teams met, LSU won 3-0 in the UBNM/Jones Intercable Classic, in Albuquerque, N.M., Sept. 13, 1996.  NMSU won 2-0 in the first ever meeting with the Tigers in the Lamar Invitational in Beaumont, Texas, Oct. 2, 1982.

Fourth-seeded Texas will make its 24th NCAA Tournament appearance this coming weekend when it hosts the first and second rounds of the 2007 NCAA Tournament at Gregory Gym for the fourth consecutive season. The Longhorns won all 13 of their matches on their home floor this season and they have won 52 of their last 56 matches at Gregory dating back to 2003. The Aggies are 0-3 against the Longhorns, including a three-game loss in the Houston Tournament earlier this season.

Texas State, 21-11, 10-6 in the Southland Conference, earned an automatic bid to the tournament after winning the Southland Conference championship. New Mexico State is 3-2 all-time against Texas State. The last time the Aggies faced the Bobcats was in 1998.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Hawai‘i middle hitter Juliana Sanders was named Western Athletic Conference Volleyball Player of the Week for the week of Nov.19-25. This is the third career WAC Player of the Week for the senior and her first honor of the 2007 season. This is the final WAC Player of the Year this season.

The Kane’ohe, O’ahu, (Castle) native, had two big matches against Loyola Marymount, hitting .579 with 12 kills on Nov. 20, while posting 13 kills, five blocks and a .647 hitting percentage on Senior Night (Nov. 21). In the Nov. 21 match, Sanders started the match a perfect 10-for-10 through just over two games. Sanders closed out the regular season with a .348 hitting percentage, averaging 2.52 kills and 1.25 blocks per game.

The Rainbow Wahine clinched their 14th-straight 25-win season and head to the NCAA Tournament for the 15th-straight season. The Rainbow Wahine will travel to Louisville, Ky. to take on Tennessee State in the first round of the NCAA Tournment.

EYE OF THE TIGER –  Hawai‘i and New Mexico State have one thing in common as they begin the NCAA Tournament. Both the Rainbow Wahine and the Aggies will be taking on Tigers.

HAWAI‘I CAPTURES EIGHTH-STRAIGHT TOURNAMENT TITLE – In a rematch of the 2006 championship, the University of Hawai’i Rainbow Wahine captured their eighth-straight WAC Tournament championship after a thrilling five-game match against the host and second-seeded New Mexico State Aggies. This was just the third WAC Tournament title match that was decided in five games, dating back to 1998 when Hawai’i defeated BYU. The Rainbow Wahine were led by the outside hitting duo of Jamie Houston and Aneli Cubi-Otineru. Houston had 22 kills and three blocks and Cubi-Otineru had 17 kills and 20 kills. With the win, Hawai’i receives the WAC automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

All-Tournament Team

Keri Anglin, MB, Sr., San Jose State
Stephanie Brandt, So., Hawai`i
Karly Sipherd, MB, Sr., Nevada
Amber Simpson, MB, Jr., New Mexico State
Kim Oguh, MB, Sr., New Mexico State
*Jamie Houston, LS, Jr., Hawai’i
Aneli Cubi-Otineru, LS, So., Hawai’i
Krystal Torres, L, Sr., New Mexico State

*Tournament MVP

2007 WAC Tournament — Las Cruces, NM
Thursday, November 15 (First Round)

M1 - No. 8 BSU def. No. 9  La Tech, 23-30, 30-22, 30-25, 27-30, 15-11

Thursday, November 15 (Quarterfinals)
M2 - No. 4 Nevada def. No. 5  Idaho, 30-22, 31-33, 30-16, 30-28
M3 - No. 1  Hawai‘i def. No. 8 Boise State, 30-13, 30-15, 30-22
M4 - No. 6 SJSU def. No. 3 USU, 24-30, 30-28, 19-30, 30-28, 17-15
M5 - No. 2 NMSU def. No. 7 Fresno State, 30-23, 30-25, 30-23

Friday, November 16 (Semifinals)
M6 - No. 1 Hawai‘i def. No. 4 Nevada, 30-27, 30-28, 30-21
M7 - No. 2 NMSU def. No. 6 SJSU, 31-29, 31-29, 30-23

Saturday, November 17 (Championship)
M8 - No. 1 Hawai‘i def. No. 2 NMSU, 28-30, 30-20, 24-30, 30-23, 15-11

WAC TOURNAMENT RECORDS –  A couple of records were broken at the 2007 WAC Volleyball Tournament. Nevada’s Lauren Kelly tied the record for service aces in a match with five against Idaho in the quarterfinals. Hawai‘i set the record for fewest kills allowed when it allowed only 19 kills by Boise State in the quarterfinals.

UTAH STATE STOPS STREAK –  Utah State notched its biggest win of the 2007 season Nov. 11 with a shocking three-game sweep against No. 10 Hawai’i (30-28, 31-29, 30-27) at the Stan Sheriff Center. With the win, Utah State concluded its regular season with a 17-12 record, and finishes in third-place in the Western Athletic Conference with an 11-5 league record.

Hawai’i, who finished its regular season at 21-5, including a 15-1 league mark, had won 97 straight WAC matches at home and was 169-2 (.988) in WAC play since joining the league for volleyball in 1996. Utah State entered the match against Hawai’i having lost 20 straight contests to the Rainbow Wahine. 

The win for the Aggies was its first over a ranked opponent since it defeated then 24th-ranked UC Santa Barbara in five games on Sept. 15, 2005. The last time Utah State defeated a team ranked in the top 10 was on Sept. 12, 2000 when it beat then 10th-ranked BYU in three games in Logan.

HAWAI‘I CLINCHES WAC REGULAR SEASON TITLE – With Head Coach Dave Shoji missing the match with a stomach flu, the No. 11 University of Hawai`i Rainbow Wahine (20-4, 14-0 WAC) swept the Fresno State Bulldogs (5-21, 3-11) 30-26, 30-25 and 30-23, clinching their 12th-straight WAC title, at the Save Mart Center.

Many of UH’s players had contracted the same stomach flu that kept Shoji in Reno. The team was also delayed for two hours on the flight from Reno to San Francisco, before flying over to Fresno for the match. The team finally got into their hotel just three hours before match time.

Aneli Cubi-Otineru played through, hitting .385 with 14 kills and 13 digs. Jamie Houston added 17 kills and 15 digs while Elizabeth Ka`aihue led all players with 16 digs. Juliana Sanders put up nine kills and six blocks while Tara Hittle had six kills, 11 digs and three blocks.

ERICSON OVER 1,500 CAREER KILLS AND COUNTING – Nevada senior outside hitter Teal Ericson ends the regular season second in career kills at Nevada with 1540, passing Michelle More’s (1999-02) total of 1,512 career kills. Ericson had 31 kills in last week’s two matches in the WAC Tournament. The senior had 21 kills in the four-game win against Idaho and 10 in the three-game loss to Hawai‘i.

BOSTIC EARNS ANOTHER ACADEMIC HONOR  – Senior defensive specialist Jordan Bostic, of the No. 14 New Mexico State volleyball team, was named to the 2007 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Third Team selected by CoSIDA. This is the first year that Bostic has earned this prestigious honor.  As a junior, Bostic was a first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VI selection.  Bostic, who posts a 4.0 grade point average in journalism, is the only player from the WAC to receive the award.  This is the third consecutive year that the Aggie volleyball team has had a member of its squad named to an Academic All-American team.

FOURTH TIME IS A CHARM – Nevada middle blocker Karly Sipherd earned her fourth all-WAC honors after being named to the first team. She was the only member on this year’s team to have earned the honor four-straight years. Sipherd became the 11th player in WAC history to earn all-WAC honors all four years. She was also the first Nevada player to earn the honor after Michelle More and Tristin Johnson were both three-time honorees.

IN THE POLLS – For the first time this season, Hawai‘i got higher than No. 10. The Rainbow Wahine are No. 9 this week, while New Mexico Aggies are ranked No. 14 in both the AVCA/CSTV and polls. Hawai‘i has enjoyed a successful run of 233-consecutive weeks in the poll, dating back to 1992, appearing in 362 of the 366 (.989) polls all-time. UH is third in poll appearances, behind only Nebraska and Stanford, who have both appeared in all 366 polls.

WAC IN THE NCAA STATS – No. 14 New Mexico State ranks 13th in the nation in assists per game, averaging 15.61 and 12th in the nation in kills per game, averaging 16.95. Hawai‘i’s Jamie Houston ranks fourth in the nation in kills per game (5.47), followed by Idaho’s Haley Larsen at No. 7 averaging 5.39 kills per game.

PACKING THE STANDS – Hawai‘i is well on their way to leading the nation in attendance for the 13th-consecutive season, averaging 6,452 per match, 1,027 higher than the next closest team, Wisconsin. UH was a part of NCAA women’s volleyball history this season, when they played in front of a sold-out crowd of 13,396 at the Bob Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb., vs. Nebraska (Oct. 21), the largest regular season crowd of all time. The Rainbow Wahine have played in front of 20 of the 33 most highly attended matches of the collegiate volleyball season, counting their 19 home matches and their road match at Nebraska, while their two matches at New Mexico State also rank in the top 65. New Mexico State is 16th in the nation attendance with a total of 23,208 fans for an average of 1,785 per match.

NEVADA’S ERICSON APPEARS IN SPORTS ILLUSTRATED FACES IN THE CROWD – Nevada senior outside hitter Teal Ericson has added another honor after being named the Oct. 15 Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National and WAC Player of the Week as she appears in the lastest issue of Sports Illustrated in the Faces in the Crowd section. In the Wolf Pack’s match against Fresno State, Ericson hit .500 on 24 kills, while also tallying three digs and one block assist in the 3-0 win. Against Utah State, she garnered 14 kills, three digs and three block assists to lead her team to its second sweep in a row. She combined for 38 kills on the weekend, moving her into fourth on the Wolf Pack’s all-time kills list with 1,348. For the week, Ericson averaged a .433 hitting percentage, 6.33 kills and 6.67 points per game. Ericson is the second player from Nevada to earn the Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National Player of the Week honors, and the first since Michele More on September 3, 2002. The WAC honor was the third for Ericson with the other two coming last season.

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
Gainesville, Florida

Host: Pennsylvania State University
Rec Hall
University Park, Pennsylvania

Host: Stanford University
Maples Pavilion
Stanford, California

Host: University of Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin Field House
Madison, Wisconsin

Boise State Broncos (6-23, 2-14 WAC)
Boise State ended the 2007 season with a loss to top-seeded Hawai‘i in the WAC Tournament ... the Broncos had the tough task of playing two matches in a day ... to start the tournament, Boise State defeated Louisiana Tech in five games before being swept by the Rainbow Wahine ... freshman Lauren Hamm is fourth in the WAC in digs per game (4.37) and  seventh in service aces per game (0.30) ... after winning 13 matches in 2006, the Broncos took a slight step backwards winning only six matches in 2007.

Fresno State Bulldogs (5-26, 3-13 WAC)
The Bulldogs finished 5-26 after losses to Pacific and Saint Mary’s ... for the fourth-consecutive season, a Fresno State volleyball player has been named to the WAC all-Freshman team as outside hitter Tairyn Rasmussen was selected by the coaches and announced as one of six freshmen on the team at the WAC banquet Nov. 14 in Las Cruces, N.M. ... senior outside hitter Alisha McKee was named to the second team all-WAC, the first such honor for the Bulldogs in two years.

Hawai‘i Rainbow Wahine (24-5, 15-1 WAC)
The Rainbow Wahine won their eighth-straight WAC Tournament in a thrilling five-game match against host and second seed New Mexico State ... Hawai‘i earns the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament ... this is the Rainbow Wahine’s 26th appearance in the NCAA Tournament ... Hawai‘i is currently averaging 17.70 digs per game ... that average is UH’s highest since posting 18.79 dpg in 2002 ... UH had a great WAC Tournament in the back row, averaging 19.55 digs per game ... four players (Aneli Cubi-Otineru - 3.91, Tara Hittle - 3.82, Elizabeth Ka‘aihue - 3.55 and Jamie Houston - 3.18) averaged over three digs per game in the tournament.

Idaho Vandals  (13-15, 9-7 WAC)
Idaho’s season concluded last week when the Vandals lost two matches at the CSUN Fremont I & L Tournament at Northridge, Calif. ... junior outside hitter Haley Larsen earned first team all-WAC honors and junior middle blocker Sarah Loney was selected to the all-WAC second team  ... Larsen earned her third-consecutive all-WAC honor but this is her first selection to the first team ... Larsen is second in the WAC in kills per game, averaging 5.39 kpg ... she has 593 kills this season ... Larsen ended the season with 22 double-doubles which was first in the WAC.
Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters (6-24, 1-15 WAC)
The Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters closed the 2007 season out with a five-game loss to the Boise State Broncos on Nov. 15 at the 2007 WAC Tournament ... the Lady Techsters won the same number of overall matches (6) but won one more conference match (1) than last season ... Louisiana Tech finished ninth in the WAC for the third-straight season ... in 2004, the Lady Techsters finished fifth in the Eastern Division ... the Lady Techsters had their best season in the WAC in 2003 when they finished third in the Eastern Division with four conference wins.

Nevada Wolf Pack (16-11, 10-6 WAC)
Senior middle blocker Karly Sipherd was selected to the WAC all-Tournamen team for the third time in her four seasons ... Sipherd also earned her fourth all-WAC honors after being named to the first team ... she was the only member on this year’s team to have earned the honor four-straight years .. Sipherd became the 11th player in WAC history to earn all-WAC honors all four years .. she was also the first Nevada player to earn the honor after Michelle More and Tristin Johnson were both three-time honorees ... Fourth-seeded Nevada defeated fifth-seeded Idaho, 3-1, in the quarterfinals of the WAC Tournament before falling to No. seed Hawai‘i, 0-3, in the semifinal round.

New Mexico State Aggies (26-5, 14-2 WAC)
NMSU is making its second-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, and its fourth in five years.  The Aggies played in the NCAA Tournament in 2003, 2004, and 2006 ...  they lost in the first round each time ... the 2007 WAC all-tournament team was announced at the conclusion of the championship match with Kim Oguh, Amber Simpson and Krystal Torres earning the honor ... Simpson leads the WAC in hitting percentage following the tournament, hitting .348 ... Oguh is fourth, hitting .330 ... as a team, the Aggies are first in the WAC in hitting percentage (.250), kills (16.95) and assists (15.61). 

San Jose State Spartans  (14-15, 7-9 WAC)
Keri Anglin recorded one of the best hitting matches of her San Jose State career as the Spartan volleyball team played tough with No. 13 New Mexico State in a semifinal match at the WAC Tournament ... however, the Aggies prevailed in the end with a 31-29, 31-29, 30-23, win on Nov. 16 at the Pan American Center ... Anglin hit .583 in her final match in a Spartan uniform ...  she led the team with 16 kills on 24 attempts and only two hitting errors ... Anglin was the only Spartan named to the all-tournament team.

Utah State Aggies (17-12, 11-5 WAC)
Utah State volleyball’s recent success streak came to a halt Thursday, as the third-seeded Aggies were upset by sixth-seeded San Jose State in five games in the quarterfinals of the WAC Tournament ... USU had won 15 of its last 21 matches to end the regular season, including upsetting No. 10 Hawai‘i in three games Nov. 11, dealing the Rainbow Wahine their first home WAC loss ... head coach Grayson DuBose earned his first WAC Coach of the Year honor, while rookie Chelsea Fowles was named WAC Freshman of the Year  ...  Amanda Nielson was named to the all-WAC first team, while Danielle Taylor earned second-team honors.

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