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This Week in WAC Volleyball - Dec. 7
Courtesy: Hawai‘i
No. 3 Hawai’i, the No. 10 overall seed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, swept Northern Colorado (25-21, 25-15, 25-15) in the opening round, then defeated Colorado State in four sets (22-25, 25-22, 25-16, 25-18) to advance to the Regional. Against UNC, Kanani Danielson recorded a match-high 16 kills with 12 digs. Jane Croson had 11 kills and six digs, Brittany Hewitt had four service aces and Mita Uiato added 36 assists. In the win over the Rams, Danielson posted her 20th double-double of the season, recording 22 kills along with a career-high 20 digs. Croson also posted a career-high 20 digs while adding 11 kills. Emily Hartong posted 12 kills and five blocks and Emily Maeda added 14 digs.

UH is making its 30th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and 19th in a row. Hawai‘i has advanced to the NCAA Regionals in 12 of the last 14 tournaments.

Seven WAC volleyball players were selected to the 2011 All-West Region team by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. Hawai‘i’s Kanani Danielson and Emily Hartong, and New Mexico State’s Jennah DeVries were selected to the team. New Mexico State’s Meredith Hays was named West Region Freshman of the Year, while teammate Kelsey Brennan, Brittany Hewitt of Hawai‘i and Allison Walker of Idaho received honorable mention all-region honors.

Danielson, a two-time first team All-American and third team All-American in 2008, was named to the All-West Region team for the third straight year. The MVP of the WAC Tournament, she led the WAC with 20 double-doubles and ranks 38th nationally with 4.13 kills per set. She is a three-time WAC Player of the Year.

A first team all-WAC selection for the second year in a row, Hartong boasts a .378 hitting percentage, good for 20th nationally. She has had five matches with 10 or more kills and has hit .300 or better in 24 of 32 matches this season.

DeVries, a three-time first team all-WAC selection, ranks 47th in the nation with 10.78 assists per set and was named to the WAC Tournament all-tournament team. She posted 13 double-doubles on the season and closed out her career with 4,051 assists, good for fourth place all-time at NM State.

Hays leads the WAC and ranks 17th nationally with 4.42 kills per set. She also boasted a WAC-best 4.94 points per set, which currently ranks 18th in the nation. She posted 12 double-doubles on the year, was named to the all-tournament team at the WAC Tournament, was a first team all-WAC selection and the WAC Freshman of the Year.

A three-time first team all-WAC selection, Brennan ranks 35th nationally with a .354 hitting percentage. She ranked second on the team in both kills and blocks.

Hewitt, who has led Hawai‘i in total blocks in each of her three seasons, is a three-time all-WAC honoree, earning first team honors in each of the last two seasons. She currently ranks 28th nationally with 1.32 blocks per set and was named to the all-tournament team at the WAC Tournament.

A three-time WAC Player of the Week this season and an all-tournament team selection at the WAC Tournament, Walker tallied 13 double-doubles on the year. She ranks second in the league and 25th in the nation in kills (4.24) and third in the WAC and 39th nationally in points (4.64).

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 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 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 completed WAC play without a loss and its 14th overall unbeaten season in conference play (Big West 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 (.295), opponent hitting percentage (.149), assists (13.25), kills (14.42) and service aces (1.54). 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 (.378), assists (11.16), service aces (0.36) and blocks (1.32), 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 6,655 fans per match, more than 2,100 ahead of the second-place team, Nebraska (4,522). The Rainbow Wahine have had 5,000 or more fans at 21 of their 22 home matches this season. Meanwhile, New Mexico State ranks 22nd (1,554) and Fresno State ranks 43rd (1,032).
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