This Week in WAC Volleyball - Oct. 14
Idaho senior outside hitter Sarah Conwell has been named Western Athletic Conference Volleyball Player of the Week for the week of Oct. 5-11. This is the second WAC Player of the Week honor of the season for Conwell and the second of her career.
The Kent, Wash. (Kentwood HS), native tallied 39 kills, 37 digs and six blocks over two matches as Idaho went 1-1 last week. Conwell averaged league-bests of 4.88 kills and 5.31 points per set and tallied her sixth and seventh career double-doubles to move her current streak to four. She opened the week with 18 kills, 11 digs and five blocks in a sweep of Louisiana Tech. She followed that up with 21 kills and a career-high 26 digs in a five-set loss at Fresno State. Her averages on the week were well above her season averages of 3.53 kills and 1.98 digs per set entering the week.
Other nominees included: Brianna Clarke of Fresno State averaged 1.67 kills and 1.67 blocks in a pair of wins … Hawai’i’s Kanani Danielson averaged 3.83 kills, 1.67 digs and 1.17 blocks per set as the Rainbow Wahine won their 10th- and 11th–straight matches … Nataliya Panova of Louisiana Tech averaged 2.33 kills and 2.17 digs … Nicole Link of Nevada averaged 5.00 digs per set, good for second in the WAC … New Mexico State’s Kayleigh Giddens averaged 3.83 kills, 1.50 digs and 0.50 blocks in a pair of wins.
ESPNU TO TELEVISE THREE WAC REGULAR-SEASON MATCHES
In addition to the championship match of the WAC Tournament, ESPNU will televise three WAC regular-season matches this year. The following WAC match-ups will be nationally televised on ESPNU:
Monday, Oct. 19 Idaho at Utah State 9 p.m. (MT)
Thursday, Oct. 22 Fresno State at New Mexico State 9 p.m. (MT)
Thursday, Oct. 29 Hawai’i at Fresno State 8:30 p.m. (PT)
HAWAI‘I MOVES UP TO NO. 3 IN NATIONAL POLL
After being ranked No. 4 for four straight weeks, Hawai’i moved up a spot to No. 3 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) national poll. It is the highest ranking for the Rainbow Wahine since Dec. 6, 2004, when Hawai’i was No. 2.
WAC IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
As a team, Idaho currently ranks second in the nation with 3.04 blocks per set. The Vandals are one of five WAC teams ranked in the Top 50 as Hawai’i (28th, 2.58), Fresno State (37th, 2.50), New Mexico State (37th, 2.50) and Utah State (41st, 2.48) are also ranked.
In other statistics, the Rainbow Wahine are second in hitting percentage (.311), ninth in winning percentage (.882), 18th in kills (14.09) and assists (13.11) and 29th in service aces (1.72). New Mexico State is 40th in kills per set with a 13.68 average.
Five WAC players rank in the Top 50 nationally in blocks per set, led by Hawai’i’s Brittany Hewitt in sixth place with a 1.52 average. Idaho’s Anna McKinney is 11th with a 1.44 average, followed by Fresno State’s Brianna Clarke in 15th place with a 1.39 average. Debbie Pederson of Idaho is 28th (1.34), while Shantell Durrant of Utah State rounds out the group in 46th place (1.21).
Hawai’i has several players in the Top 50 in other statistical categories. Amber Kaufman is fifth in hitting percentage (.445), Aneli Cubi-Otineru ranks 10th in service aces per set (0.56) and Dani Mafua is 13th in assists per set (11.63).
SHOJI ONE WIN AWAY FROM 1,000 CAREER WINS
Hawai’i head coach Dave Shoji currently has 999 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 (1,095) 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 6,168 fans per match, ahead of Nebraska’s 5,308 average. In addition, all 15 of Hawai’i’s home matches this season rank in the Top 25 highest attended for the year, including seven of the Top 10.
New Mexico State ranks 17th nationally with a 1,848 average, while Idaho is 35th (1,160).
BOISE STATE BRONCOS (2-16, 2-4 WAC)
The Broncos were swept by Utah Valley (20-25, 23-25, 23-25), New Mexico State (19-25, 17-25, 20-25) and Idaho State (21-25, 24-26, 23-25) last week ... In the team’s final non-conference match of the season vs. Idaho State, Alisha Young and Sadie Maughan each totaled 11 kills ... Elizabeth Griffin led the team with nine kills vs. the Aggies ... The Broncos defeated Idaho in four sets (26-24, 28-26, 24-26, 25-20) on Monday ... With the win, the Broncos broke a 13-match losing streak ... Alisha Young and Cailin Fellows paced the Broncos with 13 and 12 kills, respectively ... Amanda Remy had a near double-double with nine kills and a match-leading 20 digs ... The Broncos play at Nevada on Thursday and at Fresno State on Saturday.
FRESNO STATE BULLDOGS (10-7, 3-2 WAC)
The Bulldogs defeated Utah State 3-1 (25-19, 15-25, 25-20, 25-13) and came from down 2-0 to beat Idaho in five sets (15-25, 23-25, 28-26, 25-22, 15-11) on Saturday ... Brianna Clarke had 15 blocks over the two matches, including a career-high three solo blocks vs. Idaho ... The win over Utah State was its second victory over the Aggies in two years ... The win over Idaho was Fresno State’s 10th of the season, for its first double-digit win total since 2004 ... It was also the first victory for the ‘Dogs over the Vandals since 1987 and only their second win ever against Idaho ... Fresno State’s 3-2 WAC record is the best start by a Bulldog team in the WAC since 2003 and equals their win total from last season ... The Bulldogs play at Utah State on Thursday and host Boise State on Saturday.
HAWAI‘I RAINBOW WAHINE (15-2, 6-0 WAC)
The Rainbow Wahine swept Nevada (25-12, 25-17, 25-16) and San Jose State (25-12, 25-11, 25-17) last week to pick up their 10th and 11th straight wins ... Amber Kaufman had a career-high 15 kills on .700 hitting .vs. Nevada ... Kanani Danielson hit .455 and tied a career-high with five blocks vs. the Spartans ... Hawai’i has now posted sweeps in 10 of its last 11 matches ... The Rainbow Wahine have won 15 straight WAC matches, dating back to October of last year ... Hawai’i’s match against Louisiana Tech, originally scheduled for Wednesday, has been postponed until next Monday, Oct. 19, because the Lady Techsters’ flight was cancelled due to weather issues ... The Rainbow Wahine host New Mexico State on Saturday ... Head coach Dave Shoji is seeking his 1,000th career win vs. the Aggies and would be just the second Division I coach ever to surpass the 1,000-win mark.
IDAHO VANDALS (7-11, 3-3 WAC)
The Vandals swept Louisiana Tech (25-22, 25-15, 25-17) last Thursday and fell in five sets (25-15, 25-23, 26-28, 22-25, 11-15) at Fresno State on Saturday ... Sarah Conwell recorded double-doubles in both matches, finishing with 18 kills and 11 digs vs. the Techsters and 21 kills and a career-high 26 digs vs. the Bulldogs ... The Vandals fell in four sets (24-26, 26-28, 26-24, 20-25) at Boise State on Monday ... Debbie Pederson paced the team with 13 kills and 11 blocks ... The 11 blocks ranks fourth-best all-time in a single match at Idaho ... The Vandals are currently looking for program win No. 650 ... Anna McKinney currently ranks 11th in the nation in blocks per set (1.44), while Pederson is 28th (1.34) ... As a team, Idaho is second in blocks (3.04) ... McKinney ranks eighth (366) and Pederson is ninth (329) in career block assists ... The Vandals play at Nevada on Saturday in their only other match this week.
LOUISIANA TECH LADY TECHSTERS (12-10, 2-4 WAC)
The Lady Techsters fell in three sets at Idaho (22-25, 15-25, 17-25) last Thursday and at New Mexico State (18-25, 16-25, 15-25) on Saturday ... Nataliya Panova led Tech in kills in both matches, finishing with eight vs. Idaho and six against New Mexico State ... As a team, Louisiana Tech hit a season-low .064 at Idaho and posted season lows of 23 kills and 28 points at New Mexico State ... Tech’s two WAC wins so far this season tie the program’s most since 2005, when they finished 2-14, and the 12 overall wins are the most since the 2005 squad went 15-18 .... The Techsters’ match at Hawai’i, originally scheduled for Wednesday, has been postponed until next Monday, Oct. 19, because the Lady Techsters’ flight was cancelled due to weather issues ... Louisiana Tech plays at San Jose State on Saturday.
NEVADA WOLF PACK (6-12, 2-3 WAC)
The Wolf Pack fell at No. 4 Hawai’i (12-25, 17-25, 16-25) and defeated Utah State in five sets (25-22, 23-25, 18-25, 25-22, 15-7) ... Nicole Link had 29 digs vs. Utah State, tied for the fifth-best single match total in school history ... Of Nevada’s six wins this season, five have come in five-set matches as the Pack are 5-0 in five-set outings this season ... Kylie Harrington leads the Pack with five double-doubles on the season ... Harrington has led or tied for the team lead in kills in 15 of 18 matches this season ... Nevada is 0-7 in three-set matches ... Lindsay Baldwin (891) and Harrington (755) rank sixth and seventh, respectively, in career points ... Baldwin also ranks fourth in block assists (298) and fifth in total blocks (330) ... The Wolf Pack host Boise State on Thursday and Idaho on Saturday.
NEW MEXICO STATE AGGIES (10-6, 5-1 WAC)
The Aggies swept Boise State (25-19, 25-17, 25-20) and Louisiana Tech (25-18, 25-16, 25-15) last week ... Jennah DeVries posted her fifth double-double of the season vs. the Broncos, finishing with 28 assists and 13 digs ... Kayleigh Giddens posted a match-high 13 kills vs. LA Tech ... The Aggies are holding their opponents to a .170 hitting percentage this season ... NM State is 5-1 in matches that go more than three sets ... The Aggies rank second in the league with 13.61 kills per set ...The Aggies were swept (18-25, 21-25, 23-25) by instate rival New Mexico on Tuesday ... As a team, NM State hit .073 on the match, just the fourth time all season it hit under .100 ... The Aggies travel to San Jose State on Thursday and No. 3 Hawai’i on Saturday ... Last year, NM State defeated the Rainbow Wahine in Honolulu for just their fourth WAC loss ever.
SAN JOSE STATE SPARTANS (0-15, 0-4 WAC)
The Spartans fell in three sets at No. 4 Hawai’i (12-25, 11-25, 17-25) last Friday in their only match of the week ... Caitlin Andrade had her third consecutive double-double on the year, finishing with 12 assists and 10 digs ... The Spartans fell in five sets (27-25, 25-18, 21-25, 18-25, 10-15) to Sacramento State on Tuesday ... Kristal Tsukano led the team with 15 kills, while Alex Akana and Taylor Japhet added 14 and 10 kills, respectively ... Andrade was just short of a triple-double, finishing with 46 assists, 18 digs and eight kills ... Tsukano and Japhet also posted double-doubles as they added 17 and 14 digs, respectively ... Thao Pham led all players with 26 digs and Courtney Zellmer added 24 as San Jose State recorded a season-high 106 digs ... The Spartans host New Mexico State on Thursday and Louisiana Tech on Saturday.
UTAH STATE AGGIES (11-8, 2-4 WAC)
The Aggies fell in four sets (19-25, 25-15, 20-25, 13-25) at Fresno State and in five sets (22-25, 25-23, 25-18, 22-25, 7-15) at Nevada ... Katie Astle hit .778 vs. the Bulldogs ... Emily Kortsen recorded a double-double with 11 kills and 15 digs at Nevada ... USU hit .108 as compared to a .133 hitting percentage for the Wolf Pack ... The Aggies defeated Utah Valley in five sets (25-19, 19-25, 25-19, 16-25, 15-10) on Tuesday ... Three Aggies posted double-doubles, as Liz McArthur had 19 kills and 10 digs, Chelsea Fowles tallied 51 assists and 12 digs, and Emily Kortsen finished with 12 kills and 10 digs ... It was the first double-double of the season for Fowles, the second for McArthur and the third in the last four matches for Kortsen ... The Aggies host Fresno State on Thursday in their only remaining match this week.
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).
Fans traveling to Las Vegas are encouraged to stay at the Orleans Hotel and Casino. Rates are $90 per night Friday and Saturday, Nov. 20-21, and $35 per night Sunday-Wednesday, Nov. 22-25, single or double occupancy, plus room tax and Resort Fee. For reservations, please call (800) 657-3267 and request WAC Volleyball Championship Fan Block or Group Code 9WACC11.
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