This Week in WAC Volleyball - Dec. 20
No. 3, the No. 10 overall seed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, Hawai’i saw its postseason run come to end in the semifinals of the Honolulu Regional, falling in five sets (19-25, 29-27, 19-25, 25-23, 15-12) to No. 1 USC. The Rainbow Wahine close the season at 31-2. Jane Croson had career highs of 25 kills and 23 digs, while Kanani Danielson finished with 21 kills and 23 digs. Brittany Hewitt recorded a match-high 11 blocks. It was the first sellout since 2003, with 9,692 fans in attendance. Croson and Danielson were named to the all-tournament team.
In earlier rounds, Hawai’i swept Northern Colorado (25-21, 25-15, 25-15), then defeated Colorado State (22-25, 25-22, 25-16, 25-18). Against UNC, Danielson recorded a match-high 16 kills with 12 digs. Croson had 11 kills and six digs, 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 20 digs while adding 11 kills. Emily Hartong posted 12 kills and five blocks and Emily Maeda added 14 digs.
HAWAI‘I’S DANIELSON WINS LOWE’S SENIOR CLASS AWARD
Hawai’i All-American Kanani Danielson, who led her team to a 31-2 record and the regional semifinal of the NCAA Tournament, was selected as the 2011 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award winner in NCAA® Division I women’s volleyball. The announcement and trophy presentation were made by Lowe’s, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, during the 2011 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship in San Antonio.
The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I women’s volleyball coaches, national volleyball media and fans, is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball. 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.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
A native of Ewa Beach in O’ahu, Danielson has been on the WAC academic team and is a two-time member of the CoSIDA Academic All-District team. The interdisciplinary studies major participates in beach cleanup efforts with her team and has also been part of the Manoa Makeover – an effort to beautify the campus. She participates in reading workshops for students at Alii’ lolani elementary school and has volunteered at the Kaneohe drug rehabilitation clinic.
FRESNO STATE’S AGRAZ NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN
Fresno State’s Cecilia Agraz became the first Bulldog volleyball player ever to receive Capital One Academic All-America honors. A junior outside hitter/defensive specialist from Hanford, Calif., Agraz received the second-team distinction for a combination of her play on the court and performance in the classroom. She was the only player from the WAC to earn the honors.
Agraz appeared in all 29 matches with 21 starts and recorded 120 kills (1.1 kps), 194 digs (1.9 dps) and 33 aces (0.3 aps). She also posted three double-digit kill efforts and three double-digit dig marks.
Agraz is a member of the Smittcamp Family Honors College and held a perfect 4.0 grade point average while double-majoring in communication and political science. Additionally, she has been on the university’s President List four times and twice received Academic All-WAC accolades.
FOUR WAC PLAYERS NAMED AVCA ALL-AMERICANS
Four WAC volleyball players were named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America team. Hawai’i’s Kanani Danielson headlined the group with first team honors, while teammate Emily Hartong received second team honors. In addition, Brittany Hewitt of Hawai’i and Jennah DeVries of New Mexico State were named to the honorable mention team.
Danielson, a 5-10 outside hitter, was a first team All-American in each of the last two years and third team All-American in 2008. Earlier this year she became just the third player in league history to earn WAC Player of the Year honors three times. She posted a conference-leading 15 double-doubles in the regular season, and recorded her 21st of the year against USC in the Honolulu Regional semifinal, which included a career-high 23 digs. Danielson was named the 2011 WAC Tournament MVP and earned all-WAC honors for the fourth time. She finished 2011 ranking in the top 40 nationally in points per set and in the top 50 nationally in kills per set.
A 6-2 sophomore middle blocker, Hartong was named first team all-WAC for the second year in a row and ranks in the Top 25 nationally in hitting percentage (.369). The California native had six matches with 10 or more kills and hit .300 or better in 24 of 33 matches this season.
Hewitt finished the season with 152 total blocks and ranks 18th nationally in blocks per set (1.36). She has led Hawai‘i in total blocks in each of her three seasons and is a three-time all-WAC honoree, earning first team honors in each of the last two seasons. She was also named to the all-tournament team at the WAC Tournament.
DeVries earned the honors for the third consecutive year as she led the Aggies and was third in the WAC with 10.78 assists per set. A three-time first team all-WAC selection, she 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 in the Aggie record books.
WAC STAT LEADERS
Hawai‘i led the WAC in hitting percentage (.291), opponent hitting percentage (.152), assists (13.30), kills (14.45) and service aces (1.52). Utah State was tops in blocks (2.79) and Idaho was the leader in digs (15.20).
Individually, New Mexico State’s Meredith Hays led the WAC in kills (4.42) and points (4.94). Hawai‘i’s Emily Hartong, Mita Uiato, Jane Croson and Brittany Hewitt were tops in hitting percentage (.369), assists (11.24), service aces (0.37) and blocks (1.36), respectively. Stephany Salas of Louisiana Tech was 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 NATION IN ATTENDANCE
For the 18th season in a row, Hawai‘i led the nation in attendance with an average of 6,814 fans per match, close to 2,300 ahead of the second-place team, Nebraska (4,522). The Rainbow Wahine had 5,000 or more fans at 22 of their 23 home matches this season. Meanwhile, New Mexico State ranked 22nd (1,554) and Fresno State ranked 43rd (1,032).
DANIELSON JOINS 1,000-KILL, 1,000-DIG CLUB
In the fourth and final set of a win at Idaho on Sept. 22, Hawai‘i’s Kanani Danielson recorded her 1,000th career dig. In doing so, she became the seventh player in Rainbow Wahine history to surpass 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs. The senior closed out her career ranked in the Top 10 in several statistical categories at Hawai‘i, including attempts (4,156, 4th), kills (1,760, 5th), digs (1,233, 5th), kills per set (4.0, 7th) and digs per set (2.79, 8th). Her career kill total also ranks eighth all-time in WAC history.