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This Week in WAC Volleyball - Nov. 30
Courtesy: WAC
Hawai’i earned the No. 10 overall seed in the in the 2011 NCAA Tournament and will host Northern Colorado on Thursday, Dec. 1, at the Stan Sheriff Center. It is the first time UH has hosted the first and second rounds since 2003. The Rainbow Wahine (29-1) were awarded the 10th seed after winning their 11th WAC Tournament title and 16th-straight WAC regular-season title. UH is making its 30th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and its 19th in a row. Hawai‘i has advanced to the NCAA Regionals in 11 of the last 13 tournaments. Big Sky Conference champion Northern Colorado comes in with an overall record of 22-8. Oregon (21-9) and Mountain West Conference champion Colorado State (23-5) play the first match of the doubleheader. The winners of both matches will play Friday with the winner advancing to the Honolulu Regional.

Top-seeded Hawai’i defeated No. 5-seed Fresno State in five sets in the semifinals and No. 3-seed New Mexico State in the championship match to claim its 11th straight WAC Tournament title last week at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. WAC Player of the Year Kanani Danielson took tournament MVP honors after averaging 4.25 kills, 3.62 digs and 4.44 points per set over the two matches. Joining Danielson on the all-tournament team were teammates Jane Croson and Brittany Hewitt, Brianna Clarke of Fresno State, Allison Walker of Idaho, and New Mexico State’s Jennah DeVries, Meredith Hays and Kelsi Phillips.

For the 16th-straight year, Hawai‘i boasted the WAC Player of the Year, as senior outside hitter Kanani Danielson earned the honor for the third consecutive year. New Mexico State’s Meredith Hays captured Freshman of the Year honors, while Idaho head coach Debbie Buchanan was named WAC Coach of the Year.

Five different schools were represented on the first team, led by top-seeded Hawai‘i with five players on the first team and one on the second team. No. 2 seed Idaho had two players on the first team and three on the second team, while New Mexico State had three first-team selections and two second-team picks.

Danielson became just the third player in WAC history to earn WAC Player of the Year honors three times, joining Hawai‘i players Kim Willoughby and Kanoe Kamana‘o. She was twice named WAC Player of the Week and is also just the fourth four-time first-team all-WAC honoree.

Hays earned Freshman of the Year honors, becoming just the second New Mexico State player to do so (Amber Simpson, 2005). She currently leads the WAC and ranks 22nd nationally in kills (4.29) and leads the WAC and ranks 26th in the nation in points (4.79) per set. Hays was also honored as an All-Freshman Team selection and a first team all-WAC pick.

Buchanan led her team to its highest-ever finish in the WAC and the No. 2 seed in the WAC Tournament, its highest ever. Earlier this year, she became the all-time wins leader at Idaho. Her team is 10-2 since Oct. 1 and is currently on a five-match winning streak. This is her first WAC Coach of the Year honor.

The Rainbow Wahine claimed their 16th WAC regular-season title in as many seasons with a perfect 14-0 mark in conference play. It was the 12th time UH has completed WAC play without a loss and its 14th overall unbeaten season in conference play as it did it as a member of the Big West Conference in 1988 and 1995.

Four WAC players – Cecilia Agraz and Marissa Brand of Fresno State, Liz McArthur of Utah State and Kanani Danielson of Hawai’i – earned Capital One Academic All-District honors. Agraz and McArthur were named to the first team and advance to the national ballot.

A junior outside hitter from Hanford, Calif., Agraz has a 4.0 GPA in communication and political science. A four-time member of the university’s President List, she has twice received Academic all-WAC accolades.

McArthur, a senior outside hitter from St. George, Utah, has a 3.76 cumulative GPA in family, consumer and human development and has earned academic all-WAC honors three times in her career.

A junior outside hitter from Cypress, Calif., Brand is a criminology major. She is the team’s leader in kills, digs and points per set. A 2010 second team all-WAC selection, Brand has also been named to the President’s List along with four distinctions on the Dean’s List.

Danielson, a senior outside hitter from Ewa Beach, O’ahu, boasts a 3.40 GPA in interdisciplinary studies. A three-time WAC Player of the Year and All-American, she was named WAC Player of the Week 10 times.


Hawai‘i leads the WAC in hitting percentage (.298), opponent hitting percentage (.148), assists (13.19), kills (14.38) and service aces (1.47). Utah State is tops in blocks (2.79) and Idaho is the leader in digs (15.20).

Individually, New Mexico State’s Meredith Hays leads the WAC in kills (4.42) and points (4.94). Hawai‘i’s Emily Hartong, Mita Uiato, Jane Croson and Brittany Hewitt are tops in hitting percentage (.373), assists (11.10), service aces (0.35) and blocks (1.35), respectively. Stephany Salas of Louisiana Tech is tops in digs (4.62).

In WAC matches, Hawai‘i led the league in hitting percentage (.303), opponent hitting percentage (.125), assists (12.70), kills (14.11) and service aces (1.77). Idaho was tops in blocks (2.75) and digs (15.09).

In WAC matches Hays led the league in points (4.83), while Idaho’s Allison Walker was tops in kills (4.31). Hawai‘i’s Chanteal Satele was tops in hitting percentage (.381), while teammate Kalei Adolpho was the leader in blocks (1.48). Croson and Utah State’s Kiely Pieper tied for the lead in service aces (0.39), while Barbara Alcantara of Fresno State was the assists leader (11.04) and Idaho’s Cassie Hamilton was the digs leader (4.37).

Hawai‘i leads the nation with an average of 6,497 fans per match, more than 1,900 ahead of the second-place team, Nebraska (4,572). The Rainbow Wahine have had 5,000 or more fans at 19 of their 20 home matches this season. Meanwhile, New Mexico State ranks 22nd (1,554) and Fresno State ranks 43rd (1,032).

Hawai‘i’s Kanani Danielson was one of 10 student-athletes selected as finalists for the 2011 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition.
Fan votes will be combined with media and head coaches’ votes to determine the winner, which will be announced in conjunction with the Final Four. Utah State’s Liz McArthur was one of the 30 initial candidates for the award.

Hawai‘i middle blocker Brittany Hewitt currently has 433 career blocks, good for eighth place all-time in the Rainbow Wahine record books and just three away from seventh place.

With eight blocks in two matches during the WAC Tournament, Fresno State’s Brianna Clarke closed out her career with 436, just one shy of the school record of 437 held by Suzie Regul (1989-92), which has stood for 18 seasons.

New Mexico State senior setter Jennah DeVries dished out her 4,000th career assist in her final collegiate match last Saturday. She closed out her career with 4,051 assists, good for fourth place all-time in the Aggie record books.

Idaho senior Cassie Hamilton fell just short of the program’s career digs record. The WAC’s active leader in career digs, she closed out her career ranked second in Idaho history in that category with 1,410, 10 digs shy of the all-time record.

Fifth-seeded Fresno State swept No. 4 Utah State (25-18, 25-19, 25-10) in the quarterfinals before falling in five sets (25-23, 25-19, 20-25, 11-25, 10-15) to top-seeded Hawai’i in the semifinals of the WAC Tournament ... Brianna Clarke was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 3.75 kills on .605 hitting over the two matches ... Against the Aggies, Korrin Wild posted a match-high 17 kills to go along with eight digs, while Clarke tallied 12 kills on .733 hitting, the highest hitting percentage in the WAC in a match this season ... The Bulldogs posted their best conference record since 2003 ... Clarke finished her career with 436 career blocks, just shy moved of the school record of 437, which has stood for 18 seasons ... As a team, Fresno State ranks second in the WAC and 45th nationally with 1.46 service aces per set ... Clarke ranks fourth in the WAC and 47th in the nation with a .351 hitting percentage this season ... Wild and Barbara Alcantara are tied for third in the WAC in service aces (0.31), while Cecilia Agraz is fifth ... The Bulldogs rank third in the WAC in assists (12.19) and fourth in both kills (12.85) and hitting percentage (.195).


Hawai‘i won its 11th WAC Tournament title with wins over Fresno State (23-25, 19-25, 25-20, 25-11, 15-10) and New Mexico State (25-22, 25-18, 25-20) ... Kanani Danielson was named tournament MVP after averaging 4.25 kills and 3.62 digs over the two matches ... Brittany Hewitt and Jane Croson were also named to the all-tournament team ... Last Friday, the Rainbow Wahine defeated Cal State Fullerton (14-25, 25-16, 25-17, 25-9) ... Danielson tallied a match-high 20 kills and added 14 digs for her 18th double-double of the season ... The Rainbow Wahine rank second in the nation in hitting percentage (.298) and winning percentage (.967), 13th in kills (14.38), 17th in blocks (2.72), 24th in assists (13.19) and 40th in service aces (1.47) ... Brittany Hewitt ranks 22nd nationally in blocks (1.35), while Mita Uiato is 32nd in assists (11.10) ... Emily Hartong is 22nd (.373) and Chanteal Satele in 44th (.353) in hitting percentage ... Danielson ranks 42nd nationally in points (4.60) and 43rd in kills (4.04) ... Hawai‘i faces Northern Colorado in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at home on Thursday. The winner faces the winner of the Colorado State/Oregon match on Friday.

IDAHO VANDALS  (16-12, 10-4 WAC)
Idaho fell in straight sets (22-25, 22-25, 16-25) to New Mexico State in the semifinals of the WAC Tournament to close out the season ... Allison Walker had 18 kills, six digs, a block, a service ace and an assist while hitting .359 and was named to the all-tournament team ... Cassie Hamilton finished with 16 digs to bring her career total to 1,410, six shy of Idaho’s all-time record ... Idaho’s second-place WAC finish was its highest in its seven seasons in the conference, and its highest finish in any conference since winning the Big Sky in 1995 ... The Vandals rank 31st nationally in blocks (2.59) ... Jenny Feicht ranks second in the WAC and 33rd nationally in assists (11.09) ... Walker ranks second in the WAC and 27th nationally in kills (4.24), and second in the WAC and 39th in the nation in points (4.64) ... Alyssa Schultz ranks third in the WAC and 34th nationally in blocks (1.27) ... Alicia Milo ranks fifth in the WAC in kills (3.66) and sixth in points (4.07) ... As a team, the Vandals lead the WAC in digs (15.20), and rank third in hitting percentage (.216), kills (12.90) and blocks (2.59), and fourth in opponent hitting percentage (.185) and assists (12.01).


Louisiana Tech swept past Arkansas Pine-Bluff (25-14, 25-20, 25-11) Nov. 15 to close out the season ... Bridget Benditz led the Techsters with eight kills, while Regan Himmelberg added seven ... LA Tech closed out the conference slate with losses at No. 6 Hawai‘i (11-25, 7-25, 15-25) and San Jose State (25-17, 17-25, 23-25, 12-25) ... Marcella Braz paced the Lady Techsters against the Rainbow Wahine, finishing with seven kills, while Stephany Salas added a match-high nine digs ... In the loss to the Spartans, Benditz had a match- and career-high 16 kills, while Braz added 12 ... Salas tallied a match-high 22 digs against San Jose State, while Nataliya Panova finished with 13 ... As a team, LA Tech ranks third in the WAC in digs (15.02) and fifth in service aces (1.23) ... Salas leads the WAC with 4.62 digs per set, while Clara Vido is seventh (3.04) ... Bianca Bin ranks eighth in the WAC with 7.72 assists per set ... In WAC play, Salas ranked third in the league in digs (3.94), while Bin was eighth in assists (6.76) ... Marcella Braz was 10th in kills (2.76) in WAC matches ... The Techsters failed to qualify for the WAC Tournament.

Nevada closed out the season with losses to Utah State (24-26, 18-25, 25-16, 10-25) and Idaho (19-25, 25-19, 23-25, 20-25) ... Against the Aggies, Tessa Lea‘ea and Elissa Ji posted 12 kills apiece ... Ji added 12 digs for her fourth double-double of the season ... Tatiana Santiago also posted a double-double of 46 assists and 10 digs ... In the loss to Idaho, Grace Anxo and Erin Garvey led the Wolf Pack with 10 kills each ... Santiago was just shy of a double-double, finishing with 38 assists and nine digs ... Santiago closed out her career ranked fifth in school history in career assists (2,568) ... As a team, Nevada ranks third in the conference in service aces (1.26) ... Anxo ranks second in the WAC in service aces (0.35), while Santiago is fourth in assists (9.67), Lea‘ea is sixth in hitting percentage (.316) and Kelly Chang is fifth in digs (3.43) ... Janelle Batista ranks ninth in the WAC in points (3.25) and 10th in kills (2.67) ... In WAC matches only, Santiago ranked fifth in assists (9.88), Chang was fifth in digs (3.48), Anxo was ninth in service aces (0.28), and Lea‘ea was sixth in blocks (1.10) and 10th in hitting percentage (.306) ...  The Wolf Pack failed to qualify for the WAC Tournament.

New Mexico State swept San Jose State (25-11, 28-26, 25-13) and Idaho (25-22, 25-22, 25-16) before falling to top-seeded Hawai‘i (22-25, 18-25, 20-25) in the championship match of the WAC Tournament ... Meredith Hays, Jennah DeVries and Kelsi Phillips were named to the all-tournament team. Hays averaged 4.44 kills and 3.44 digs, while DeVries averaged 10.56 assists and 2.67 digs, and Phillips averaged 4.67 digs and 0.44 service aces over the three matches ... Last Saturday, the Aggies closed out the season with a loss to Colorado State (23-25, 26-24, 23-25, 23-25) ... Hays posted a career-high 31 kills and added 11 digs for her 13th double-double of the season ... DeVries also posted a double-double of 54 assists and 15 digs ... DeVries closed out her career with 4,051 assists, good for fourth place all-time at NM State ... Hays leads the WAC and ranks 18th nationally in kills (4.42) and tops the conference and ranks 20th in the nation in points (4.94) ... Kelsey Brennan is second in the league and 38th nationally in hitting percentage (.354), while Michelle Kuester is fifth in the WAC and 50th in the nation in blocks (1.19).


San Jose State fell to New Mexico State in straight sets (11-25, 26-28, 13-25) in the quarterfinals of the WAC Tournament last week to close out the season ... Samantha O’Connell and Taylor Japhet led the team with 10 and nine kills, respectively ... Caitlin Andrade ranks fourth all-time at SJSU in career assists with 2,759 ... Andrade led the team with eight double-doubles on the season ... Andrade ranks fifth in the WAC with 9.57 assists per set, while Alex Akana is seventh in hitting percentage (.309) and Kylie Miraldi is eighth (.300) ... Kiely Pieper ranks eighth in the conference in service aces (0.30) ... As a team, San Jose State ranks fifth in the conference in hitting percentage (.192), assists (11.51) and kills (12.30) ... In WAC play, Miraldi ranked fourth in the league in hitting percentage (.339), while Akana was eighth (.311) ... Andrade was sixth in WAC play in assists (9.42), while Krista Miller ranked eighth in digs (2.77) and Pieper tied for the lead in service aces (.039) ... Akana and Miraldi were both named second team all-WAC ... SJSU had its most wins since 2008.

Utah State fell in straight sets (18-25, 19-25, 10-25) to Fresno State in the quarterfinals of the WAC Tournament to close out the season ... The Aggies managed just 24 kills in the match, led by Liz McArthur with seven ... McArthur finished the season with 12 double-doubles and posted double-digit kills in 22 of 29 matches on the year ... McArthur closed out her career ranked second all-time at Utah State in attempts (4,294), third in kills (1,431) and tied for eighth in service aces (97) ... As a team, the Aggies lead the WAC and 10th nationally in blocks (2.79) ... USU  also ranks second in the league in digs (15.05) and third in opponent hitting percentage (.177) ... The Aggies boast four of the top 10 blockers in the WAC – Alyssa Everett (2nd, 1.27), Kaitlyn VanHoff (4th, 1.19), Nicole Gneiting-Theurer (6th, 1.12) and Josselyn White (8th, 1.01) ... McArthur ranks fourth in the WAC in kills (3.72) and points (4.17), while White is seventh in points (3.45) and ninth in kills (2.73).
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