This Week in WAC Volleyball - Nov. 20
San Jose State junior middle blocker Alex Akana has been named Western Athletic Conference Volleyball Player of the Week for Nov. 14-20. This is the first WAC Player of the Week honor of her career for Akana.
The Kailua, Hawaii (Kamehameha HS) native, led the Spartans to a five-set win over Texas Tech. She posted a career-high 17 kills on .500 hitting and added a team-high five blocks. Her final kill of the match, her career-best 17th, gave San Jose State the win over the Red Raiders.
Other nominees included: Louisiana Tech’s Bianca Bin tallied 20 assists, five kills and two digs in a sweep of Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
WAC VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT OPENS MONDAY
The 2011 WAC Tournament kicks off Monday at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. No. 6 San Jose State faces No. 3 New Mexico State in the first match, followed by No. 5 Fresno State vs. No. 4 Utah State in the second match. On Tuesday, No. 2 Idaho faces the winner of the San Jose State/New Mexico State match, while top-seeded Hawai’i plays the winner of the Fresno State/Utah State match. The championship match will be played at 6 p.m. Wednesday and will be televised live on ESPNU.
WAC TOURNAMENT HISTORY
Top-seeded Hawai’i has won 10 of the last 11 WAC Tournament titles after falling to Utah State in the championship match last year. When the Aggies swept the Rainbow Wahine to claim last title, they became just the third team ever to win the title. Hawai‘i has a 34-3 (.919) overall record in the tournament.
WAC TO WEBSTREAM TWO DAYS OF WAC TOURNAMENT
The WAC will stream the first two days of the 2011 WAC Volleyball Tournament. Viewers can sign up by visiting www.WAC.tv. Each day, fans 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.
WAC TOURNAMENT TICKETS ON SALE NOW
All-session tickets are on sale for the WAC Volleyball Tournament at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas Nov. 21-23. Tickets are general admission seating.
Ticket prices are as follows: All-Session: $45
Single-Session Adult: $20
Single-Session Students/Youth: $10
Single-day tickets are available for purchase beginning Nov. 21 and can only be purchased through the Orleans Arena. To purchase tickets, go to wacsportsvolleyballtournament.com.
2011 ALL-WAC TEAM
For the 16th-straight year, Hawai‘i boasts 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. Meanwhile, Fresno State and Utah State had one player each on the first team.
Danielson becomes 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 has posted a WAC-best 15 double-doubles on the season, was twice named WAC Player of the Week and ranks 40th nationally in points per set and 50th in kills per set. She 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.
HAWAI’I CLAIMS 16TH STRAIGHT REGULAR-SEASON TITLE
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 EARN ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT HONORS
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 cumulative grade-point average 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 specializing in forensic science. 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 as an interdisciplinary studies major. A two-time WAC Player of the Year and three-time All-American, Danielson has been named WAC Player of the Week 10 times.
WAC STAT LEADERS
In team statistics, Hawai‘i leads the WAC in hitting percentage (.304), opponent hitting percentage (.151), assists (13.14), kills (14.43) and service aces (1.57). Meanwhile, Utah State is tops in blocks (2.81) and digs (15.25).
Individually, New Mexico State’s Meredith Hays leads the WAC in kills (4.29) and points (4.78). Hawai‘i’s Emily Hartong, Jane Croson and Brittany Hewitt are tops in hitting percentage (.386), service aces (0.37) and blocks (1.43), respectively. Idaho’s Jenny Feicht leads the WAC in assists (11.06), while Stephany Salas of Louisiana Tech is tops in digs (4.62).
In WAC matches, Hawai‘i leads the league in hitting percentage (.303), opponent hitting percentage (.125), assists (12.70), kills (14.11) and service aces (1.77). Idaho is tops in blocks (2.75) and digs (15.09).
Individually, in WAC matches Hays leads the league in points (4.83), while Idaho’s Allison Walker is tops in kills (4.31). Hawai‘i’s Chanteal Satele is tops in hitting percentage (.381), while teammate Kalei Adolpho is the leader in blocks (1.48). Croson and Utah State’s Kiely Pieper are tied for the lead in service aces (0.39), while Barbara Alcantara of Fresno State is the leader in assists (11.04) and Idaho’s Cassie Hamilton is the leader in digs (4.37).
DANIELSON FINALIST FOR LOWE’S SENIOR CLASS AWARD
Hawai‘i’s Kanani Danielson is 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.
The finalists were chosen by a media committee from 30 candidates. Nationwide fan voting has begun to determine the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award Web site or the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award Facebook fan page through Nov. 21. Fan votes will be combined with media and head coaches’ votes to determine the winner.
Utah State’s Liz McArthur was one of the 30 initial candidates for the award.
FRESNO STATE BULLDOGS (13-14, 7-7 WAC)
Fresno State fell to Idaho (23-25, 25-20, 21-25, 23-25) and defeated Utah State in five sets (25-21, 25-19, 20-25, 24-26, 15-9) to close out the regular season ... Korrin Wild had 19 kills and 15 digs against Idaho and followed it up with a career-high 27 kills and 10 digs against Utah State ... The Bulldogs posted their best conference record since 2003 ... Brianna Clarke moved into second place on the Bulldog career blocking list with 429. She is just eight shy of the school record of 437, which has stood for 18 seasons ... Wild ranks third in the WAC in service aces (0.33) and sixth in digs (3.11) ... Barbara Alcantara ranks fifth in the WAC in service aces (0.32) and sixth in assists (9.02) ... Cecilia Agraz is seventh in the WAC in service aces (0.31), while Clarke is fifth in hitting percentage (.329) and Maci Murdock is eighth (.302) ... As a team, Fresno State ranks second in the WAC and 37th nationally in service aces (1.51), third in assists (12.07) and fourth in kills (12.72) ... In WAC-only stats, Wild ranked fourth in aces (0.36), and fifth in both kills (3.89) and points (4.47) ... The Bulldogs, the No. 5 seed in the WAC Tournament, face fourth-seeded Utah State in the first round on Monday.
HAWAI‘I RAINBOW WAHINE (26-1, 14-0 WAC)
Hawai‘i swept past Louisiana Tech (25-11, 25-7, 25-15) and New Mexico State (25-15, 25-11, 25-23) for its 11th undefeated WAC record in 16 years ... The Rainbow Wahine lead the nation in hitting percentage (.304), rank second in winning percentage (.963), 10th in kills (14.43), 14th in blocks (2.78), 25th in assists (13.14) and 26th in service aces (1.57) ... Brittany Hewitt ranks 13th nationally in blocks (1.43), while Mita Uiato is 29th in assists (11.05) ... Emily Hartong is 20th (.386) and Chanteal Satele in 37th (.358) in hitting percentage ... Kanani Danielson ranks 40th nationally in points (4.58) and 50th in kills (3.98) ... As a team, Hawai‘i leads the WAC in hitting percentage, opponent hitting percentage (.151), assists, kills, and service aces (1.45), and ranks second in blocks ... Hartong leads the WAC in hitting percentage, while Satele is third, Hewitt is fourth (.335) and Danielson is ninth (.301) ... Hewitt leads the league in blocks, while Jane Croson is tops in aces (0.37) ... Hawai‘i earned the top seed in the WAC Tournament and has a bye into the second round, where it will face the winner of the Utah State-Fresno State match on Tuesday.
IDAHO VANDALS (16-11, 10-4 WAC)
Idaho picked up road wins at Fresno State (25-23, 20-25, 25-21, 25-23) and at Nevada (25-19, 19-25, 25-23, 25-20) to close out the regular season ... Allison Walker had her 13th double-double of the season vs. Fresno State, finishing with 17 kills and 14 digs ... Walker had her sixth 20-plus kill match of the season, and third in Idaho’s last four matches, when she finished with 20 kills against Nevada ... Idaho’s second-place WAC finish is its highest in its seven seasons in the conference, and its highest finish in any conference since winning the Big Sky in 1995 ... Cassie Hamilton has 1,394 career digs, 24 shy of Idaho’s all-time record ... The Vandals rank 26th nationally in blocks (2.62) ... Jenny Feicht leads the WAC and ranks 28th nationally in assists (11.06) ... Walker ranks 30th in the nation in kills (4.18) and 42nd in points (4.58), while Alyssa Schultz is 31st in blocks (1.28) ... The Vandals rank second in the WAC in digs (15.23), and third in hitting percentage (.216), kills (12.89) and blocks (2.62) ... Idaho, the No. 2 seed in the WAC Tournament, has a bye for the first round and faces the winner of the New Mexico State-San Jose State match on Tuesday.
LOUISIANA TECH LADY TECHSTERS (10-22, 0-14 WAC)
Louisiana Tech swept past Arkansas Pine-Bluff (25-14, 25-20, 25-11) last Tuesday 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 WOLF PACK (5-21, 2-12 WAC)
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 AGGIES (21-8, 10-4 WAC)
New Mexico State swept San Jose State (25-23, 27-25, 25-16) and fell at No. 6 Hawai‘i (15-25, 11-25, 23-25) to close out the regular season ... Against the Spartans, Stephanie Ziegler had a career-high 17 kills and added nine digs and three blocks ... Against the Rainbow Wahine, Meredith Hays led the team with nine kills, while Kelsi Phillips had a match-high 13 digs ... Phillips notched her 1,000th career dig vs. SJSU, becoming the 10th player in Aggie history to do so ... Jennah DeVries has 3,902 career assists, good for fourth place all-time at NM State ... Hays leads the WAC and ranks 22nd nationally in kills (4.29) and tops the conference and ranks 26th in the nation in points (4.79) ... Kelsey Brennan is second in the league and 36th nationally in hitting percentage (.359), while Michelle Kuester is fourth in the WAC and 45th in the nation in blocks (1.21) ... Phillips ranks third in the WAC in digs (4.06), while DeVries is third in assists (10.69) ... Phillips (0.30) and Hays (0.29) are eighth and ninth, respectively, in the WAC in service aces ... The Aggies, the No. 3 seed, play sixth-seeded San Jose State in the first round of the WAC Tournament next Tuesday, Nov. 21.
SAN JOSE STATE SPARTANS (12-16, 6-8 WAC)
San Jose State defeated Texas Tech in five sets (26-24, 15-25, 25-21, 27-29, 15-12) last Tuesday ... Alex Akana led a group of four Spartans with double-digit kills with a career-high 17 on .500 hitting ... Samantha O’Connell posted her first-ever double-double with 14 kills and 15 digs, while Caitlin Andrade had her eighth double-double of the year with 56 assists and 10 digs ... Andrade ranks fourth all-time at SJSU in career assists with 2,730 ... Andrade ranks fifth in the WAC with 9.57 assists per set, while Akana is seventh in hitting percentage (.313) and Kylie Miraldi is ninth (.302) ... Kiely Pieper ranks sixth in the conference in service aces (0.32), while Katie Turner is ninth in digs (2.85) ... As a team, San Jose State ranks fourth in the conference in hitting percentage (.192) ... 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) ... SJSU has its most wins since 2008 ... The sixth-seeded Spartans face No. 3 New Mexico State in the first round of the WAC Tournament on Monday.
UTAH STATE AGGIES (12-16, 7-7 WAC)
Utah State defeated Nevada (26-24, 25-18, 16-25, 25-10) and fell in five sets at Fresno State (21-25, 19-25, 25-20, 26-24, 9-15) to close out the regular season ... Against the Wolf Pack, Shay Sorensen led the team with 14 kills on .524 hitting to go with six blocks ... Paige Neves posted a double-double of 34 assists and 12 digs ... In the loss to the Bulldogs, Liz McArthur finished with a team-best 18 kills ... McArthur ranks second all-time at Utah State in career attempts (4,252), third in kills (1,424) and tied for eighth in service aces (97) ... As a team, the Aggies lead the WAC and 12th nationally in blocks (2.81) ... USU also leads the league in digs (15.25) and ranks third in opponent hitting percentage (.172) ... The Aggies boast four of the top 10 blockers in the WAC – Alyssa Everett (2nd, 1.30), Kaitlyn VanHoff (5th, 1.20), Nicole Gneiting-Theurer (6th, 1.12) and Josselyn White (8th, 1.04) ... McArthur ranks fourth in the WAC in kills (3.76) and points (4.21), while White is seventh in points (3.50) and eighth in kills (2.76) ... The Aggies earned the No. 4 seed at the WAC Tournament and play fifth-seeded Fresno State Monday in the first round.