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This Week in WAC Volleyball - Sept. 22
Courtesy: Hawai‘i
HAWAI’I’S CUBI-OTINERU EARNS WAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS
Hawai‘i senior outside hitter Aneli Cubi-Otineru has been named Western Athletic Conference Volleyball Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 14-20. It is the first-ever WAC Player of the Week honor  for Cubi-Otineru.

The Hale’iwa, O‘ahu native tallied 18 kills, 20 digs, five blocks and three service aces in back-to-back sweeps of No. 25 Pepperdine last week. Cubi-Otineru averaged 3.00 kills, 3.33 digs, 0.83 blocks and 0.50 service aces to lead the Rainbow Wahine to their fourth and fifth straight victories. In the second match, she was one kill shy of a double-double, finishing with nine kills and 12 digs. Hawai’i is now 7-2 this season in matches against ranked teams.

Other nominees included: Sadie Maughan of Boise State led the WAC in hitting percentage (.412) last week, finishing with nine kills and five blocks in a loss to Utah Valley … Fresno State’s Baylee Platt averaged 3.22 kills and 2.00 blocks as the Bulldogs went 1-2 on the week … Lori Hunsucker of Louisiana Tech collected 45 digs in three matches last week … Nevada’s Lindsay Baldwin was named to the Stockton Hilton Invitational all-tournament team after averaging 2.45 kills on .328 hitting to go along with 1.00 blocks per set as the Pack went 1-2 … Katie Astle was named the all-tournament team of the Kent State/Mizuno Open after averaging 1.39 kills on .419 hitting and 1.09 blocks as the Aggies went 2-1 at the tournament.

FIVE WAC PLAYERS NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAMS IN WEEK FOUR
The WAC had five of its players named to all-tournament teams in the final weekend of non-conference tournament play. Utah State’s Katie Astle and Christine Morrill were named to the Kent State/Mizuno Open all-tournament team. Anna McKinney of Idaho was named to the Mission Inn of Pismo Beach Invitational all-tournament team after averaging 1.67 blocks and 1.25 kills per set. Louisiana Tech’s KC Clayton earned all-tournament team honors at the Louisiana Tech Tournament, while Lindsay Baldwin of Nevada was named to the all-tournament team at the Stockton Hilton Invitational.

HAWAI‘I REMAINS NO. 4 IN NATIONAL POLL
After sweeping No. 25 Pepperdine twice last week, Hawai’i remained at No. 4 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) national poll. It is the third time this season the Rainbow Wahine have been ranked fourth, the team’s highest ranking since the 2005 preseason poll.

WAC IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
Seven WAC players rank in the Top 50 nationally in blocks, led by Hawai’i’s Brittany Hewitt, who leads the nation with a 1.63 average. Idaho’s Anna McKinney and Debbie Pederson are sixth and 19th, respectively, with 1.57 and 1.35 averages. Fresno State’s Brianna Clarke is 20th (1.35) and Sadie Maughan of Boise State is 34th (1.29). Rounding out the group are Shantell Durrant of Utah State (41st, 1.27) and Kelsey Brennan of New Mexico State (49th, 1.24).

Hawai’i has several players in the Top 50 in other statistical categories. Amber Kaufman is 12th in hitting percentage (.429), Dani Mafua ranks 13th in assists (11.50), Aneli Cubi-Otineru ranks 13th in service aces (0.58) and Kanani Danielson is 48th in kills per set (3.97).

Five WAC teams rank in the Top 50 in blocks per set, led by Idaho in second place (3.18). Fresno State (19th, 2.68), Hawai’i (32nd, 2.55), Utah State (36th, 2.54) and Louisiana Tech (48th, 2.42) are also ranked.

SHOJI INCHING CLOSER TO 1,000 CAREER WINS
Hawai’i head coach Dave Shoji currently has 993 career victories and is primed to become just the fourth women’s volleyball coach ever and only the second Division I coach to reach 1,000 wins. At the Division I level, Shoji trails only UCLA’s Andy Banachowski (1,092) in victories. Shoji has led his team to 14 consecutive conference titles and appearances in 10 of the last 11 NCAA regionals.

HAWAI’I LEADS NATION IN ATTENDANCE
The Rainbow Wahine currently lead the nation in attendance with an average of 6,304 per match, slightly higher than Nebraska’s 6,041 average. In addition, all 11 of Hawai’i’s home matches this season rank in the Top 20 highest attended for the year, including No. 2-6.

New Mexico State ranks 24th nationally with a 2.576 average, while Fresno State is 32nd (1,048).

UH RECORDS PROGRAM’S 1,000TH WIN
Hawai’i’s victory over Stanford on Sept. 12 was the program’s 1,000th win since it began playing a Division I schedule in 1974. The Rainbow Wahine have won four national titles in that span and participated in 27 NCAA Tournaments.

BOISE STATE BRONCOS (0-10, 0-0 WAC)
The Broncos fell to Utah Valley in four sets (25-23, 25-27, 16-25, 18-25) last Thursday in their only match of the week ... Sadie Maughan tallied five blocks and had nine kills on .412 hitting, which was tops in the WAC last week ... Freshman Liz Harden led the team in kills with 10 ... Boise State has a 4-33 record in total sets this season ... Junior Sadie Maughan ranks fifth in the WAC and 34th nationally in blocks per set at 1.29 ... Jeanene Rose ranks fourth in the WAC with 0.35 service aces per set ... Maughan has hit .400 or better in each of the last three matches ... The Broncos open WAC play at No. 4 Hawai’i on Thursday before traveling to San Jose State on Saturday ... The Broncos are 0-19 vs. the Rainbow Wahine since joining the WAC.

FRESNO STATE BULLDOGS (7-5, 0-0 WAC)
The Bulldogs went 1-2 over the weekend, defeating Cal State Northridge (22-25, 25-23, 23-25, 26-24, 15-7) before falling in straight sets to Portland (24-26, 24-26, 19-25) and No. 15 USC (12-25, 20-25, 13-25) ... Baylee Platt averaged 3.22 kills and 2.00 digs over the three matches ... The win over CSUN gave Fresno State its seventh win of the season, equaling the most wins by a Bulldog team since 2004 ... As a team, Fresno State ranks 19th nationally in blocks per set (2.68) ... Brianna Clarke ranks fourth in the WAC and 20th in the nation in blocks per set with a 1.35 average ... Kelly Leonardo ranks fourth in the WAC with a .317 hitting percentage ... The Bulldogs travel to Reno, Nev., to open WAC play at Nevada on Saturday in their only match this week.

HAWAI‘I RAINBOW WAHINE (9-2, 0-0 WAC)
The Rainbow Wahine swept a pair of matches vs. No. 25 Pepperdine last weekend to move their winning streak to five matches and straight 15 sets ... Kanani Danielson (3.67), Aneli Cubi-Otineru (3.00) and Alexis Forsythe (3.00)  averaged 3.00 or more kills per set over the two matches ... As a team, the Rainbow Wahine rank 12th nationally in hitting percentage (.284), 18th in assists (13.05), 19th in kills (14.00), 32nd in blocks (2.55), 36th in winning percentage (.818) and 43rd in service aces (1.71) ... Brittany Hewitt leads the nation with 1.63 blocks per set, while Amber Kaufman ranks 12th in hitting percentage (.429), Cubi-Otineru is 13th in aces (0.58), Dani Mafua is 13th in assists (11.50) and Danielson is 48th in kills (3.97) ... The Rainbow Wahine host Boise State on Thursday and Idaho on Saturday to open conference play.

IDAHO VANDALS (4-7, 0-0 WAC)
The Vandals went 0-3 at the Mission Inn of Pismo Beach Invitational last weekend, falling to No. 29 Santa Clara (21-25, 23-25, 25-19, 23-25), UC Santa Barbara (22-25, 25-21, 16-25, 21-25) and host Cal Poly (21-25, 21-25, 25-13, 28-30) ... Anna McKinney was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 1.67 blocks and 1.25 kills per set ... In the loss to UCSB, Alicia Milo tallied 10 kills and a career-high 14 digs for her first career double-double ... McKinney ranks sixth nationally with 1.57 blocks per set, while Debbie Pederson is 19th (1.35) ... As a team, Idaho ranks second in the nation with 3.18 blocks per set ... Pederson has 299 career block assists, 10 shy of the all-time top 10 ... The Vandals play at San Jose State on Thursday and at Hawai’i on Saturday to start WAC play.

LOUISIANA TECH LADY TECHSTERS (9-6, 0-0 WAC)
The Lady Techsters went 1-2 at their own tournament over the weekend, falling to Southeastern Louisiana (25-13, 13-25, 20-25, 14-25), defeating Grambling State (25-18, 23-25, 25-17, 25-13) and falling to Chattanooga (25-19, 19-25, 23-25, 25-17, 13-15) ... KC Clayton was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 2.38 kills and 1.15 blocks per set ... Libero Lori Hunsucker posted double-digit digs in all three matches, averaging 3.46 on the week ... As a team, Louisiana Tech ranks 48th nationally with 2.42 blocks per set ... The Techsters play at McNeese State on Tuesday before opening WAC play by hosting Utah State on Saturday and New Mexico State on Sunday.

NEVADA WOLF PACK (4-8, 0-0 WAC)
The Wolf Pack went 1-2 at the Stockton Hilton Invitational, falling to Loyola Marymount (13-25, 22-25, 23-25) and host Pacific (17-25, 16-25, 15-25) before defeating Cal State Bakersfield (22-25, 22-25, 25-19, 25-23, 15-5) ... Lindsey Baldwin was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 2.45 kills on .328 hitting and 1.00 blocks per set over the three matches ... Kylie Harrington has led the Pack in kills in 10 of 12 matches this season and posted double-figure kills in 11 matches ... All four of Nevada’s wins have come in five sets and the Wolf Pack are 4-0 in five-set matches ... Nevada has gone 1-2 in each of its four tournaments to start the season ... The Wolf Pack play at Sacramento State on Tuesday before hosting Fresno State on Saturday for their first WAC match of the season.

NEW MEXICIO STATE AGGIES (4-4, 0-0 WAC)
The Aggies were idle last week ... As a team, New Mexico State ranks second in the WAC in kills (12.66) ... Kayleigh Giddens ranks fifth in the WAC in kills (3.29) and points (3.55) ... Setter Jennah DeVries ranks third in the conference in assists per set at 9.07 ... Krista Altermatt is sixth in the WAC with 2.97 kills per set ... Kelsey Brennan ranks fifth in the WAC in hitting percentage (.313) and seventh in blocks (1.24) ... The Aggies have posted 24 aces on the season, led by Altermatt with eight ... Kelsi Phillips has posted double-digit digs in seven of eight matches and ranks second in the WAC with a 3.90 average ... Head coach Mike Jordan has 250 career wins ... The Aggies play at UTEP on Tuesday before opening WAC play at home vs. Utah State on Thursday and traveling to Louisiana Tech on Sunday.

SAN JOSE STATE SPARTANS (0-10, 0-0 WAC)
The Spartans fell to No. 18 UC Irvine (14-25, 21-25, 17-25) and No. 23 San Diego (13-25, 12-25, 19-25) at the USD Invitational over the weekend ... Taylor Japhet led the team with 2.67 kills per set ... San Jose State has played six of its 10 matches this season against ranked teams ... Kristal Tsukano currently ranks third on the San Jose State career digs list with 1,144. She needs 268 more digs to tie Dawnis Wilson for second place all-time ... Freshman setter Caitlin Andrade posted a triple-double at Saint Mary’s on Sept. 9, finishing the three-set match with 32 assists, 12 digs and 10 kills and becoming just the second Spartan setter ever to do so ... The Spartans begin WAC play by hosting Idaho on Thursday and Boise State on Saturday in their first home matches of the season.

UTAH STATE AGGIES (8-4, 0-0 WAC)
The Aggies went 2-1 to finish in second place at the Kent State/Mizuno Open, defeating Butler (21-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-20), falling to host Kent State (25-21, 25-16, 22-25, 16-25, 11-15) and sweeping Robert Morris (25-19, 25-15, 25-15) ... Katie Astle and junior libero Christine Morrill were named to the all-tournament team. Astle hit .419 and averaged 1.36 kills and 1.09 blocks per set, while Morrill averaged 3.67 digs per set ... As a team, the Aggies rank 36th nationally in blocks (2.54), while Shantell Durrant is 41st with a 1.27 average ... Morrill leads the WAC with 4.14 digs per set this season ... Utah State’s 8-4 record to start the season is its best since the 2003 team began the year with a 9-4 record ... The Aggies open WAC play on the road at New Mexico State on Thursday and at Louisiana Tech on Saturday.

2009 WAC TOURNAMENT TO BE HELD IN LAS VEGAS
The 2009 WAC Volleyball Tournament will be held Nov. 23-25, at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas and will include the top six teams in the regular-season standings. The championship match will be televised live on ESPNU.

All-session tickets are $45 and can be purchased over the phone (888-234-2334) or online (www.orleansarena.com/event-calendar/wac-volleyball-tournament).

Hawai‘i and Brigham Young are the only teams to have claimed the WAC Tournament title in the event’s 11 years. The Rainbow Wahine own the most titles with nine, including the last eight in a row.

The WAC Volleyball Tournament is a single-elimination event with the top two seeds receiving first-round byes and the champion earning the conference’s automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.

2009 WAC TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

Monday, Nov. 23 (Quarterfinals)
No. 3 Seed vs. No. 6 Seed    5 p.m.   
No. 4 Seed vs. No. 5 Seed    7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 24 (Semifinals)
Winner Match 1 vs. No. 2 seed    5 p.m.   
Winner Match 2 vs. No. 1 Seed    7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 25 (Championship)
Winner Match 3 vs. Winner Match 4    6:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

*times local and subject to change

RETURNING ALL-WAC PLAYERS
Of the 12 first-team all-WAC players in 2008, five should return for the 2009 season, including three from Hawai‘i, Aneli Cubi-Otineru, Kanani Danielson and Amber Kaufman. Krista Altermatt  of New Mexico State and Lindsay Baldwin of Nevada also return from the first team. Eight of the second-team all-WAC performers return this season, including Katie Astle, Chelsea Fowles and Christine Morrill of Utah State. The other returning second-team honorees are Brianna Amian of San Jose State, Kylie Harrington of Nevada, Dani Mafua of Hawai‘i, Sadie Maughan of Boise State and Anna McKinney of Idaho.

TOP STAT LEADERS
The following are the returning statistical leaders in the WAC from the 2008 season.

In hitting efficiency, seven of the top 10 hitters are back, led by Hawai‘i’s Amber Kaufman (.380), who led the league a year ago. Teammate Stephanie Ferrell (.292), who ranked fifth last year, also returns. The remaining leaders are Idaho’s Anna McKinney (.287- sixth), Hawai‘i’s Kanani Danielson (.286 - seventh), Boise State’s Sadie Maughan (.275 - eighth), Utah State’s Katie Astle (.275 - ninth) and Hawai‘i’s Aneli Cubi-Otineru (.268 - 10th).

Four of the top 10 kill leaders are back for the 2009 season. The top returner is Fresno State’s Baylee Platt, who ranked sixth last year with 3.46 kills per set. Danielson was seventh, averaging 3.02 kps. Kylie Harrington of Nevada was eighth, averaging 2.90 kps, while Fresno State’s Brianna Clarke rounds out the returning leaders in ninth place with 2.87 kps.

Six of the top assist leaders from last season return for the 2009 campaign. Hawai‘i’s Dani Mafua is the top setter to return, finishing last season first in the WAC (11.20 aps). Chelsea Fowles of Utah State was third in assists, averaging 9.49 aps, followed by Fresno State’s Allanah Munson (9.43 - fourth). The remaining leaders are Nevada’s Sonnie Sei (8.90 - sixth) and Louisiana Tech’s Bianca Bin (7.24 - eighth).

Six of the top blockers return, led by Idaho’s McKinney, who was first with 1.42 blocks per set. Nevada’s Lindsay Baldwin was fourth, averaging 1.14 blocks per set, followed by New Mexico State’s Erin Birmingham (1.06 bps - fifth). The remaining block returners are Idaho’s Debbie Pederson (1.05 - sixth), Louisiana Tech’s KC Clayton (1.05 - seventh) and Boise State’s Maughan (1.04 - eighth).

Six of the top 10 servers return, including the top two. Hawai‘i’s Kaufman led the WAC in service aces per set, averaging 0.47, followed by teammate Cubi-Otineru (0.32 - second). Fresno State’s Kasey Van Grouw was sixth, averaging 0.27 saps, followed by Nevada’s Nicole Link (0.26 - seventh) and Lauren Kelly (0.26 - eighth). The remaining top server is Utah State’s Lori Wilson (0.26 - 10th).

Five of the dig leaders return in 2009. Utah State’s Christine Morrill is the top returner (3.79 dps - fourth), followed by Nevada’s Link (3.57 - fifth) and Boise State’s Lauren Hamm (3.49 - sixth). Rounding out the group are San Jose State’s Kristal Tsukano (3.28 - seventh) and Hawai‘i’s Danielson (2.91 - 10th).

GARUS JOINS THE WAC FAMILY
Shawn Garus was named head coach at Boise State on June 30, becoming the ninth head coach in program history. He came from UNC-Greensboro, where he was head coach for the previous four seasons. There he recorded three straight winning seasons with 20 or more victories while also leading his team to the Southern Conference finals twice. Garus also produced five all-SoCon players and 13 SoCon All-Academic honorees in his four-year tenure.

Prior to UNCG, Garus served as the top assistant at San Francisco, and also spent time as an assistant at Texas Tech in 2002, helping the Red Raiders to a 14-14 record.

His first collegiate head coaching experience came from 1998-2002 at UC-Colorado Springs. During his time there, he led his team to its best school record of 22-9 in 2001 and first ever postseason appearance, as well as a regional ranking of No. 6.

REGIONAL, SEMIFINAL/CHAMPIONSHIP SITES SELECTED
The NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Committee announced the following sites for regional and semifinal/championship competition of the 2009 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championships.

Regionals (4): Dec. 11-12, 2009

Host: University of Florida
Stephen C. O’Connell Center
Gainesville, Fla.

Host: University of Minnesota
Sports Pavilion
Minneapolis, Minn.

Host: University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Qwest Center
Omaha, Neb.

Host: Stanford University
Maples Pavilion
Stanford, Calif.

Semifinals and Championship: Dec. 17 and 19, 2009
Co-Hosts: University of South Florida/Tampa Bay Sports Commission
St. Pete Times Forum
Tampa Bay, Fla.
Volleyball
WAC
Overall
UMKC
12-2
24-6
New Mexico State
10-4
16-11
Bakersfield
9-5
16-14
Seattle U
8-6
14-16
Utah Valley
8-6
14-18
Grand Canyon
6-8
21-11
Texas-Pan American
3-11
7-23
Chicago State
0-14
6-24
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CSU Bakersfield -
Chicago State -
Grand Canyon -
UMKC -
New Mexico State -
Seattle U -
UTPA -
Utah Valley -