This Week in WAC Volleyball - Nov. 10
The Broncos fell in three sets (16-25, 23-25, 12-25) at New Mexico State last Thursday and defeated Louisiana Tech in five sets (25-19, 20-25, 27-25, 23-25, 15-13) on Saturday ... Elizabeth Griffin had a career-high 18 kills vs. LA Tech ... Liz Harden posted her first-ever double-double vs. the Techsters, finishing with 16 digs and 13 kills ... The Broncos‘ win at LA Tech was its second road win of the season ... The six WAC wins ties Boise State’s most ever as the 2006 team went 6-10 ... Sadie Maughan ranks fourth all-time at Boise State with 765 career points, while Young is fifth with 714 ... Lauren Hamm ranks 10th in career digs with 1,000 ... The Broncos host No. 3 Hawai’i on Thursday and San Jose State on Saturday for their final two home matches of the season.
FRESNO STATE BULLDOGS (12-13, 5-8 WAC)
The Bulldogs fell in straight sets (19-25, 11-25, 13-25) at No. 3 Hawai’i Friday in their only match last week ... Kelly Leonardo led the team with four blocks ... The Bulldogs fell in four sets (25-14, 20-25, 21-25, 24-26) to Nevada on Monday ... Allanah Munson posted her seventh double-double of the season with 33 assists and 13 digs ... Kelli Parker recorded her first career double-double with 16 kills and 11 digs ... Kelly Mason finished with a match-high 22 digs in the loss ... Marissa Brand posted career highs in kills (10), attempts (28), assists (1), digs (8), block assists (3), total blocks (3) and points (11.5) ... Leonardo ranks fourth on the Bulldog career blocks list with 330 ... The Bulldogs host Louisiana Tech on Thursday and New Mexico State on Saturday.
HAWAI‘I RAINBOW WAHINE (23-2, 13-0 WAC)
The Rainbow Wahine swept San Jose State (25-12, 25-15, 25-15) last Monday, Fresno State (25-19, 25-11, 25-13) last Friday and Utah State (25-11, 25-12, 25-21) on Sunday to secure the top seed in the WAC Tournament ... Against SJSU, Kanani Danielson hit .519 with 15 kills, while Amber Kaufman hit .846 with 11 kills ... In the win over the Bulldogs, Danielson had a match-high 15 kills, while Brittany Hewitt hit .714 ... Danielson recorded her fifth double-double of the year with 13 kills and 14 digs against USU ... Aneli Cubi-Otineru also had 13 kills in the match ... The Rainbow Wahine have now won 19 straight matches and have swept 18 of 25 matches on the year ... Hawai’i has also won 22 straight WAC matches since falling to NM State on Oct. 12, 2008 ... The Rainbow Wahine play at Boise State on Thursday and at Idaho on Saturday.
IDAHO VANDALS (13-13, 9-4 WAC)
The Vandals defeated Louisiana Tech (25-19, 22-25, 25-16, 25-16) last Thursday before falling in five sets (26-24, 19-25, 18-25, 25-23, 13-15) at New Mexico State on Saturday, snapping a six-match WAC win streak ... Sarah Conwell tallied her 13th and 14th double-doubles of the season and extended her streak of consecutive double-doubles to seven. She had 18 kills and 10 digs vs. LA Tech and 17 kills and 11 digs at NM State ... Anna McKinney and Debbie Pederson currently rank ninth and 10th in the nation, respectively, in blocks per set (1.45) ... As a team, Idaho leads the nation with 3.15 blocks per set ... Idaho has clinched a spot in the WAC Tournament and can finish no lower than fifth in the WAC standings ... Idaho has out-blocked its opponents 98-41 over its past seven conference matches ... The Vandals host San Jose State on Thursday and No. 3 Hawai’i on Saturday.
LOUISIANA TECH LADY TECHSTERS (14-16, 4-10 WAC)
The Techsters fell to Idaho (19-25, 25-22, 16-25, 16-25) last Thursday and to Boise State (19-25, 25-20, 25-27, 25-23, 9-15) on Saturday ... Kassia Pinto recorded her fourth and fifth double-doubles of the season, finishing with 10 kills and a team-high 19 digs vs. the Vandals and team highs of 14 kills and 19 digs vs. the Broncos ... Tech had four players – Pinto (14), Nataliya Panova (13), KC Clayton (13) and Kara Jones (11) – reach double-digit kills vs. Boise State ... The team also had four players in double-digit digs – Pinto (19), Lori Hunsucker (18), Panova (12) and Jennifer Goodwin (10) ... Tech needs just one win to break the school record for WAC wins in a season (5) ... The Techsters host Centenary for Senior Night on Tuesday and play at Fresno State on Thursday and at Nevada on Saturday.
NEVADA WOLF PACK (10-17, 6-7 WAC)
The Wolf Pack fell in straight sets (25-27, 22-25, 20-25) to UNLV in a non-conference match last Thursday and swept San Jose State (25-18, 25-22, 25-21) on Saturday for its first road win of the season ... Kylie Harrington led the team with 11 kills vs. UNLV and 14 vs. SJSU ... On Monday, the Wolf Pack defeated Fresno State in four sets (14-25, 25-20, 25-21, 26-24) ... Harrington posted a career-high 25 kills in the win, Nevada’s second-straight on the road ... The two-match win streak equals the longest of the season for the Pack ... Sonnie Sei currently has 1,692 career assists, good for eighth place on the Nevada all-time list ... Lindsay Baldwin is 24 points from 1000 for her career ... Harrington is nine kills from 800 for her career ... The Wolf Pack host New Mexico State on Thursday and Louisiana Tech on Saturday.
NEW MEXICO STATE AGGIES (16-8, 11-3 WAC)
The Aggies swept Boise State (25-16, 25-23, 25-12) last Thursday and defeated Idaho in five sets (24-26, 25-19, 25-18, 23-25, 15-13) on Saturday for their final home matches of the season ... Kayleigh Giddens posted double-doubles in both matches, finishing with 15 kills and 11 digs vs. the Broncos and a career-high 25 kills and 12 digs vs. the Vandals ... Four Aggies finished in double-digit kills vs. Idaho – Giddens (25), Whitney Woods (19), Kelsey Brennan (13) and Erin Birmingham (10) ... Kelsey Phillips (23), Krista Altermatt (17), Jennah DeVries (11) and Giddens (12) all notched double-digit digs against the Vandals ... Giddens and DeVries now have six double-doubles apiece this season ... The Aggies, which have secured a spot in the WAC Tournament, play at Nevada on Thursday and at Fresno State on Saturday.
SAN JOSE STATE SPARTANS (1-23, 1-12 WAC)
The Spartans were swept (12-25, 15-25, 15-25) by No. 3 Hawai’i last Monday, fell in four sets (20-25, 25-27, 25-22, 23-25) to Utah State last Thursday and lost in straight sets (18-25, 22-25, 21-25) to Nevada on Saturday ... In the loss to Hawai’i, Kylie Miraldi had 10 of the Spartans’ 22 kills ... Against the Aggies, Miraldi had a team-high 15 kills, while Caitlin Andrade fell just short of a triple-double, finishing with eight kills, 15 digs and 33 assists. She also had five service aces ... Taylor Japhet led the team with 11 kills vs. the Wolf Pack ... San Jose State has now lost seven straight ... Andrade remains the only player in the WAC and one of just 26 players nationwide to record a triple-double this season ... Kristal Tsukano currently ranks third in the SJSU career record books with 1,315 digs ... The Spartans play at Idaho on Thursday and at Boise State on Saturday.
UTAH STATE AGGIES (13-12, 4-8 WAC)
The Aggies defeated San Jose State in four sets (25-20, 27-25, 22-25, 25-23) last Thursday and fell in straights sets (11-25, 12-25, 21-25) at No. 3 Hawai’i on Sunday ... Against the Spartans, Liz McArthur had a match-high 20 kills ... Christine Morrill tied her career high with a match-high 29 digs vs. SJSU. She also had three service aces ... In the loss to Hawai’i, USU was out-hit .426-.153 ... UH also had 16 more digs (40-24) and six more service aces (7-1) ... Morrill leads the WAC with 4.64 digs per set, while McArthur ranks fourth with 3.81 kills per set ... Morrill’s 497 digs this season rank third all-time in the Aggie single-season record books, while McArthur’s 404 kills rank 10th ... Morrill ranks second all-time at Utah State with 1,238 career digs, while setter Chelsea Fowles ranks third with 3,203 assists ... The Aggies are idle this week.
NMSU’S GIDDENS NAMED VERIZON WIRELESS WAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
New Mexico State junior outside hitter Kayleigh Giddens has been named the Verizon Wireless Western Athletic Conference Volleyball Player of the Week for the week of Nov. 2-8. This is the second WAC Player of the Week honor of the season for Giddens.
The Lubbock, Texas, native tallied 40 kills, 23 digs and two service aces as NM State went 2-0 in WAC matches last week to remain in second place in the conference standings. Giddens, who posted double-doubles in both matches, averaged 5.00 kills on .281 hitting and 2.88 digs, all well above her season averages. She opened the week with 15 kills on .393 hitting to go with 11 digs in a sweep of Boise State. Giddens followed that up by posting a career-high 25 kills and 12 digs in a five-set win over national block leader Idaho. It was the most kills by an Aggie this season. With the two double-doubles last week, Giddens now has six on the season.
Other nominees included: Alisha Young of Boise State averaged 3.12 kills and 0.88 blocks as the Broncos went 1-1 on the week … Fresno State’s Kelly Leonardo tallied four blocks at Hawai’i to move into fourth place on the Bulldog career list with 272 … Kanani Danielson of Hawai’i averaged 4.78 kills on .458 hitting and 2.89 digs per set … Idaho’s Sarah Conwell averaged 3.89 kills and 2.33 digs as the Vandals went 1-1 on the week … Kassia Pinto of Louisiana Tech averaged 2.67 kills and 4.22 digs per set … Nevada’s Sonnie Sei averaged 10.83 assists and 2.00 digs per set as the Pack went 1-1 on the week … Christine Morrill of Utah State averaged a WAC-best 5.57 digs and 0.43 service aces last week.
HAWAI’I CLINCHES TOP SEED IN WAC TOURNAMENT
No. 3 Hawai’i won in straight sets (25-11, 25-12, 25-21) over Utah State Sunday night and in doing so locked up the top seed in the WAC Tournament. With a 13-0 WAC record and three matches remaining, the worst the Rainbow Wahine could finish this season is 13-3. Second-place New Mexico State is currently 11-3, so the best it could finish is 13-3. However, since Hawai’i swept the regular-season series, it holds the tiebreaker.
BIRMINGHAM, DANIELSON, DURRANT EARN ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT HONORS
Three WAC volleyball players – Erin Birmingham of New Mexico State, Kanani Danielson of Hawai’i and Shantell Durrant of Utah State – earned Academic All-District honors from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). All three were named to the second team in their respective districts. Birmingham, a senior middle hitter from Riverside, Mo., has a cumulative 3.88 grade-point average in exercise science. Danielson, a sophomore outside hitter from ‘Ewa Beach, O‘ahu, has a cumulative GPA of 3.51. Durrant, a junior middle blocker from American Fork, Utah, has a cumulative 3.83 GPA in psychology. In order to be eligible for the team, a student-athlete must be a starter or important reserve with at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA (on a 4.0 scale) at her current institution and have reached sophomore athletic eligibility.
WAC TO STREAM FOUR TOURNAMENT MATCHES
The WAC will stream the first two days of the 2009 WAC Volleyball Tournament, Nov. 23-24. Viewers can sign up by visiting www.WAC.tv. The top six teams advance to the tournament with the top two seeds earning a first-round bye. On Monday, Nov. 23, the first round matches include the No. 3 seed vs. the No. 6 seed at 5 p.m. PT and the No. 4 seed vs. the No. 5 seed at 7:30 p.m. PT. On Tuesday, Nov. 24, the semifinal matches include the No. 2 seed vs. the winner of Monday’s first match at 5 p.m. PT and the top seed vs. the winner of Monday’s second match at 7:30 p.m. PT. Each day, you can view both matches on WAC.tv for $9.95. Wednesday’s championship match is not available on WAC.tv, but can be viewed on ESPNU. More information and how to subscribe to any of these video streaming events can be found at www.WAC.tv.
HAWAI‘I REMAINS AT NO. 3 IN NATIONAL POLL
For the fifth-consecutive week, Hawai’i is ranked 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. The Rainbow Wahine currently come in at 21st in the RPI.
IDAHO LEADS THE NATION IN BLOCKING
As a team, Idaho currently leads the nation with 3.11 blocks per set. The Vandals are one of three WAC teams ranked in the Top 50 as New Mexico State (22nd, 2.65) and Hawai’i (28th, 2.57) are also ranked.
In other statistics, the Rainbow Wahine are third in hitting percentage (.310), seventh in winning percentage (.909), 14th in service aces (1.8), and 16th in both kills (14.27) and assists (13.26).
Five WAC players rank in the Top 50 nationally in blocks per set, led by Hawai’i’s Brittany Hewitt in eighth place with a 1.46 average. Idaho’s Anna McKinney and Idaho’s Debbie Pederson are 11th and 12th, respectively, with 1.43 and 1.41 averages. Fresno State’s Brianna Clarke is 29th with a 1.29 average, while Kelsey Brennan of New Mexico State rounds out the group in 40th place (1.23).
Hawai’i has several players in the Top 50 in other statistical categories. Amber Kaufman is third in hitting percentage (.468) and 30th in service aces (0.44). Aneli Cubi-Otineru ranks fifth in service aces per set (0.58), while Dani Mafua is 10th in assists per set (11.63). Meanwhile, Kanani Danielson is 47th in kills per set (3.99) and 50th in points per set (4.48).
HAWAI’I LEADS NATION IN ATTENDANCE
The Rainbow Wahine currently lead the nation in attendance with an average of 6,423 fans per match, well ahead of Nebraska’s 4,983 average. In addition, all 20 of Hawai’i’s home matches this season rank in the Top 40 highest attended for the year, including four of the Top 10. Meanwhile, New Mexico State ranks 18th nationally (1,919), Fresno State is 19th with a 1,871 average and Utah State is 50th (888).
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