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This Week in WAC Volleyball
Courtesy: Idaho



San Jose State sophomore setter Emily Burke has been named Western Athletic Conference Volleyball Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 1-7. This is the first WAC Player of the Week honor for Burke.


The San Jose, Calif., (Archbishop Mitty HS) native tallied 146 assists, 33 digs and 21 kills over four matches, averaging 10.43 assists and 2.36 digs per set as she led the Spartans a 1-3 record on the week. She was named to the Sacramento State Invitational all-tournament team after becoming the first setter in school history to record a triple-double. Burke accomplished the feat against Saint Mary’s with 40 assists, 15 digs and a career-high 10 kills. She also hit .571 on the match. She added a double-double vs. Sacramento State, finishing with 48 assists and 11 digs. The sophomore also entered San Jose State career assist list over the weekend, ranking ninth with 1,487 in just 36 matches played.


Other nominees included: Mandy Klein of Boise State tallied 64 assists in three matches ... Baylee Platt of Fresno State tallied 58 kills and 19 digs in her first three collegiate matches en route to all-tournament team honors ... Hawai‘i’s Kanani Herring averaged 4.10 kills on .429 hitting and was named Most Outstanding Player of The Honolulu Advertiser Volleyball Challenge, which UH won ... Lindsay Baldwon of Nevada was named to the Nevada Invitational all-tournament team after averaging 3.00 kills, 1.29 blocks and 4.14 points as the Pack went 1-1 ... New Mexico State’s Lindsey Yon tallied 71 kills and 47 digs in five matches.



The WAC had 11 of its players named to all-tournament teams last week. Fresno State’s Baylee Platt earned all-tournament honors at the Green Bay Classic, while Hawai‘i’s Kanani Herring, Aneli Cubi-Otineru and Tara Hittle were named to The Honolulu Advertiser Volleyball Challenge all-tournament team. Herring was also the Most Outstanding Player. Idaho’s Sarah Loney, Haley Larsen and Sarah Conwell were named to the Idaho Volleyball Classic all-tournament team, with Loney taking home MVP recognition. Nevada’s Lindsay Baldwin and Allison Hernandez received Nevada Invitational honors, while San Jose State’s Emily Burke was named to the all-tournament team at the Sacramento State Invitational. Utah State’s Katie Astle received all-tournament honors at the Asics/Powerade Challenge.



Colleen Burke became the 12th Spartan in San Jose State team history to record 1,000 or more career kills. She reached the milestone against Cal State Northridge on Sept. 6. She now has 1,005 career kills and joins teammate Niki Clement in the 1,000-kill club. Clement is just 26 kills away from tying for ninth place on the all-time SJSU list at 1,101.



In a poll of the league’s coaches, defending Western Athletic Conference champion Hawai‘i was the unanimous favorite to defend its crown in 2008 and take home its 13th-straight regular-season title. The Rainbow Wahine received eight of the nine first-place votes (coaches can’t vote for their own team) and 64 points, with New Mexico State earning the other first-place vote and 57 points.


San Jose State and Idaho finished tied for third with 42 points, while Utah State was picked fifth with 40. Nevada was sixth with 34 points, followed by Boise State (20) and Fresno State (16). Louisiana Tech rounded out the poll with nine points.


Hawai‘i is coming off a 27-6 season in which it earned its 12th-consecutive WAC regular-season title with a 15-1 record. The Rainbow Wahine also captured their eighth WAC Tournament title. Both Hawai‘i and New Mexico State advanced to the NCAA Tournament.



The WAC Preseason all-WAC volleyball team, as voted on by the nine coaches, was announced Aug. 8. Hawai‘i All-American Jamie Houston was named WAC Preseason Player of the Year. The reigning WAC Player of the Year, this is Houston’s second-straight honor and the fourth-straight season that a Rainbow Wahine player earned the preseason honor.


New Mexico State placed the most athletes on the 12-player team with four. Seniors Krystal Torres and Amber Simpson, and juniors Krista Altermatt and Lindsey Yon earned preseason honors. Simpson, Yon and Torres were all first-team all-WAC selections in 2007.


Two other Hawai‘i players, juniors Aneli Cubi-Otineru and Amber Kaufman, joined Houston on the preseason team. Both Houston and Cubi-Otineru were first team all-WAC selections last season. San Jose State also had two players make the team with seniors Niki Clement and Colleen Burke earning nods.


Chelsea Fowles of Utah State, the 2007 WAC Freshman of the Year, and Idaho’s Haley Larsen were also named to the team, while Nevada’s Lindsay Baldwin rounded out the preseason squad. Six teams placed at least one player on the preseason all-WAC. Eight players are returning first-team all-WAC honorees.



For the fourth-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. This is the first time that the WAC Tournament will be held in Honolulu, Hawaii.




November 20 (Quarterfinals)

Match 1 - No. 8 vs. No. 9, 9:30 a.m.

Match 2 - No. 4 vs. No. 5, 12:00 p.m.

Match 3 - No. 3 vs. No. 6, 2:30 p.m.

Match 4 - No. 2 vs. No. 7, 5:00 p.m.

Match 5 - Winner Match 1 vs. No. 1, 7:30 p.m.


November 21 (Semifinals)

Match 6 - Winner Match 3 vs. Winner Match 4, 5:00 p.m.

Match 7 - Winner Match 2 vs. Winner Match 5, 7:30 p.m.


November 23 (Championship)

Match 8 - Winner Match 6 vs. Winner Match 7, 3:00 p.m.



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 & 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.



The following are the returning statistical leaders in the WAC from 2007. In hitting efficiency, six of the top 10 hitters are back, led for the second year by New Mexico State’s Amber Simpson (.345) and San Jose State’s Colleen Burke (.373), who finished No. 2 and No. 3 in the WAC, respectively. The remaining leaders are Utah State’s Danielle Taylor (.272- seventh), Hawai‘i’s Jamie Houston (.260 - eighth), Hawai‘i’s Amber Kaufman (.259 - ninth) and Boise State’s Sadie Maughan (.256 - 10th).


Five of the top 10 kill leaders are back for 2008. The top returner is Hawai‘i’s Jamie Houston who has been first the last two seasons, averaging 5.51 kpg. Idaho’s Haley Larsen was second, averaging 5.39 kpg. Lindsey Yon of New Mexico State was seventh, averaging 3.95 kpg, while Hawai‘i’s Aneli Cubi-Otineru was ninth (3.69 kpg). The other returning leader was New Mexico State’s Krista Altermatt (3.42 - 10th).


Seven of the top assist leaders from last season return for the 2008 campaign. Hawai‘i’s Stephanie Brandt is the top setter to return, finishing last season first in the WAC (12.75 apg). WAC Freshman of the Year, Chelsea Fowles, of Utah State was second in assists after averaging 12.45 apg, followed by Idaho’s Kelsey James (11.71 apg - fourth) and San Jose State’s Emily Burke (11.44 apg - fifth). The remaining leaders are Boise State’s Mandy Klein (9.94 apg - seventh), New Mexico State’s Alyssa Gintant (8.40 apg - eighth) and Kasey Van Grouw (6.38 apg - 10th).


Only six of the top 10 blockers return, including Nevada’s Lindsay Baldwin who was first in the league, averaging 1.47 blocks per game. Idaho’s Anna McKinney finished second (1.36 bpg), followed by Utah State’s Rebecca Anderson (1.22 bpg - fifth). The remaining block returners are Idaho’s Sarah Loney (1.16 - seventh), New Mexico State’s Amber Simpson (1.14 - ninth) and Utah State’s Danielle Taylor (1.12 - 10th).


Eight of the top 10 servers also return, including four of the top five. Nevada’s Lauren Kelly finished first in the WAC in service aces per game, averaging 0.41 sapg, followed by Hawai‘i’s Stephanie Brandt (0.35 - third). New Mexico State’s Krystal Torres was tied for fourth, averaging 0.32 sapg along with Louisiana Tech’s Brittney Nakamura, followed by Boise State’s Lauren Hamm (0.30 - seventh), Fresno State’s Lisa Gera (0.30 - t-eighth) and New Mexico State’s Krista Altermatt (0.30 - t-eighth). The remaining top server is Utah State’s Jessalyn Payne (0.29 - 10th).

All 10 of the dig leaders return for the 2008 season. For the second-straight season New Mexico State’s Krystal Torres is the top returner (5.32 dpg - first), followed by Fresno State’s Lisa Gera (5.10 dpg - second) and Nevada’s Allison Hernandez (4.41 dpg - third), followed by Boise State’s Lauren Hamm (4.37 - fourth). The other top dig returners are Louisiana Tech’s Brittany Nakamura (3.97 - fifth), Hawai‘i’s Elizabeth Ka’aihue (3.96 - sixth), San Jose State’s Kristal Tsukano (3.95 - seventh), Utah State’s Christine Morrill (3.92 - eighth) and Idaho’s Kelsey Yonker (3.67 - ninth). The final top dig returner is Idaho’s Haley Larsen (3.44 - 10th).



Louisiana Tech and Fresno State both added new head coaches this off season. Former Tulsa head coach Matt Sonnichsen become the Lady Techsters’ new head coach, while former Hofstra head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell takes the reins for the Bulldogs.


Sonnichsen was the head coach at Newberry College in 2007. Prior to his stay at Newberry, Sonnichsen was an assistant at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, where he coached the 2006 season under his father, Tom. Sonnichsen’s longest tenure as head coach came during his eight seasons at the helm of the University of Tulsa Hurricanes. Under his guidance, Tulsa had its first winning season in over 20 years in 2000 while finishing with 20 wins or better three separate seasons. His team finished second in the Eastern Division WAC in 2004 and earned a third place finish in C-USA in 2005.


In her two years at Hofstra, Netherby-Sewell led the Pride to their first-ever Colonial Athletic Association Championship in 2006 with a 17-1 conference record. That team was ranked No. 32 in the country, the highest ever ranking in school history. They also won their schools’ first NCAA Tournament game and advanced to the second round. Her overall record as a head coach is 43-19. Before being named head coach at Hofstra, Netherby-Sewell was an assistant for the Pride for two seasons, following two years as an assistant at Columbia, where she also earned her master’s in Physical Education.



Of the 12 first-team all-WAC players in 2007, six should return for the 2008 season, including two from Hawai‘i, Jamie Houston and Aneli Cubi-Otineru. There are three returning from New Mexico State, Amber Simpson, Krystal Torres and Lindsey Yon. Idaho’s Haley Larsen and San Jose State’s Colleen Burke also return from the first team. Six of the second-team all-WAC performers will also return this season, including San Jose State’s Niki Clement. Idaho’s Haley Larsen and Utah State’s Danielle Taylor and Melissa Osterloh also return from the second team. The other remaining second-team honorees from last season are Hawai‘i’s Stephanie Brandt and Tara Hittle.



The NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Committee has announced the following sites for regional competition of the 2008 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championships.


Regionals (4) December 12-13, 2008


Host: Colorado State University

Moby Arena

Fort Collins, Colorado


Host: Pennsylvania State University

Rec Hall

University Park, Pennsylvania


Host: University of Texas

Gregory Gymnasium

Austin, Texas


Host: University of Washington

Bank of America Arena


Boise State Broncos (0-6, 0-0 WAC)

Boise State dropped three matches at the Northwest Challenge last week ... The Broncos fell to Portland State (0-3), No. 9 Washington (0-3) and Gonzaga (1-3) ... Mandy Klein dished out 64 assists over the three matches ... Freshman Lydia Blaha had 15 blocks (three solo) to lead the Broncos ... Lauren Hamm added 35 digs to lead the team ... The Broncos have played two of their three tournaments of the season and close out with the Inntowner Invite hosted by Wisconsin this weekend.


Fresno State Bulldogs (2-4, 0-0 WAC)

Fresno State went 1-2 at the Green Bay Classic last weekend ... The Bulldogs defeated Northern Arizona (3-1) in their opening match before falling to host Green Bay (2-3) and Drake (2-3) ... In her first collegiate matches, freshman Baylee Platt led the Bulldogs in kills in all three matches with 21, 19 and 18, respectively, en route to being named to the all-tournament team ... Allanah Munson averaged 11.21 assists per set over the three matches ... Lisa Gera led the team with 53 digs (3.79 ps) ... The Bulldogs out-hit their opponents .201 to .200.


Hawai‘i Rainbow Wahine (4-2, 0-0 WAC)

UH went undefeated last week at home to claim The Honolulu Advertiser Challenge ... The Rainbow Wahine defeated No. 12 Minnesota in five sets before sweeping Wyoming and Cincinnati ... Kanani Herring was named Most Outstanding Player after hitting .429 with 4.10 kills and 3.10 digs per set ... The freshman had a career-high 22 kills and 16 digs vs. Minnesota ... She then hit .400 with seven kills and six digs in two sets vs. Wyoming and had 13 kills and nine digs on .571 hitting vs. the Bearcats ... Aneli Cubi-Otineru and Tara Hittle were also named to the all-tournament team ... UH won the Challenge for the sixth time in the last seven years and the 12th time overall in 14 tournaments.


Idaho Vandals (5-1, 0-0 WAC)

Idaho continues to hold the top spot in the WAC standings after capturing the Idaho Volleyball Classic with sweeps of Washington State, Eastern Washington and Notre Dame ... Sarah Loney, Haley Larsen and Sarah Conwell were named to the all-tournament team, with Loney collecting MVP honors ... Loney averaged 3.67 digs, 1.67 kills and 1.44 blocks per set while hitting .151 ... Larsen led all players with a 5.11 kills-per-set average, had double-digit kills in all three matches and tallied a double-double with 14 kills and 10 digs vs. Notre Dame ... Conwell averaged 2.44 kills and 1.11 blocks per set ... Idaho has now won four consecutive matches for the first time since 2004.


Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters (0-3, 0-0 WAC)

All four of Tech’s matches last week were due to were canceled due to conditions brought about by Hurricane Gustav in the Gulf Region ... Samantha Crowder leads the team with 19 kills and seven blocks in just three matches ... Debora Bolonhini is tops on the team with 32 digs (3.20 ps), while Bianca Bin leads the team with 66 assists (6.60 ps) ... As a team, Louisiana Tech is averaging 8.8 kills per set and a .121 attack percentage.


Nevada Wolf Pack (2-3, 0-0 WAC)

The Pack went 1-1 at the Nevada Invitational at home last week, falling in three sets to No. 6 UCLA before defeating Seattle (3-1) ... Lindsay Baldwin was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 3.00 kills, 1.29 blocks and 0.43 service aces per set ... Allison Hernandez was also named to the team after averaging 3.00 kills, 3.29 digs and 0.71 blocks over the two matches ... As a team, Nevada averaged 11.86 kills and 12.43 digs per set.


New Mexico State Aggies (4-4, 0-0 WAC)

The Aggies went 3-2 last week, sweeping UTEP early in the week before going 2-2 at the Hotel Encanto Classic, where they defeated Florida Gulf Coast (3-0) and Houston (3-2) and lost to No. 4 Texas (0-3) and Utah (1-3) ... Lindsey Yon tallied double-digit kills in four of the five matches on the week and averaged 3.94 per set ... Whitney Woods and Amber Simpson averaged 1.44 and 1.39 blocks per set, respectively ... Senior libero Krystal Torres led the team with a 3.56 digs-per-set average and needs 70 more digs to break the career record at NMSU ... The 17-year record of 1,594 is currently held by Vanessa White, who played from 1988-91.


San Jose State Spartans (2-5, 0-0 WAC)

San Jose State went 1-3 last week, dropping a match at home to St. John’s (1-3), before going 1-2 at the Sacramento State Invitational vs. Saint Mary’s (1-3), Sacramento State (3-1) and Cal State Northridge (2-3) ... Emily Burke was named WAC Player of the Week after becoming the first setter in school history to record a triple double when she had 40 assists, 15 digs and a career-high 10 kills on .571 hitting vs. Saint Mary’s ... She also had a double-double vs. Sac State with 48 assists and 11 digs ... Against Sac State Saturday night, Colleen Burke became the 12th Spartan in school history to record 1,000 or more career kills ... She ended the week with 1,005 career kills.


Utah State Aggies (0-7, 0-0 WAC)

Utah State went 0-4 last week, falling to Weber State (1-3) last Tuesday, before going 0-3 at the USF Asics/Powerade Challenge last weekend with losses to Texas-Arlington (1-3), UC Santa Barbara (0-3) and San Francisco (0-3) ... Katie Astle was named to the all-tournament team after hitting .300 during the weekend and averaging 1.80 kills and 0.80 blocks per set ... Rebecca Anderson set a school record for hitting percentage with 14 or fewer attempts when she hit .786 and notched a career-high 11 kills against Texas-Arlington ... The previous record was .769, set by Chelsi Neves against UC Irvine on Oct. 19, 2000.

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