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This Week in WAC Volleyball
Courtesy: Utah State


Hawai‘i senior outside hitter Jamie Houston has been named Western Athletic Conference Volleyball Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 8-14. This is the first WAC Player of the Week of the season and the sixth career honor for Houston.


The Huntsville, Ala., (Huntsville HS) native averaged 5.18 points, 4.64 kills, 0.91 digs and 0.81 blocks per set as she led the Rainbow Wahine to a 3-0 record and the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational title. She was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after posting a season-high 27 kills vs. No. 9 Washington. She also led UH with 15 kills vs. Pacific. On the season, Houston is averaging 3.89 kills, 1.54 digs and 0.79 blocks.


Other nominees included: Sadie Maughan of Boise State hit .363 over three matches and was named to the InnTowner Invitational all-tournament team ... Allanah Munson of Fresno State tallied 100 assists en route to all-tournament team honors ... Idaho’s Anna McKinney tallied 13 block assists, the most by any Vandal since 2003 ... KC Clayton of Louisiana Tech hit .304 on the week and led the Techsters to their first victory of the season ... Kylie Harrington of Nevada was named to the AT&T Invitational all-tournament team after averaging 3.42 kills and 2.00 digs per set ... New Mexico State’s Amber Simpson averaged 3.00 kills, 1.40 blocks and 0.50 service aces and was named to the all-tournament team of the Stanford Tournament ... Kelly Crow of San Jose State was named to the all-tournament team of the LMU Classic after averaging 3.36 kills and 1.64 digs per set ... Utah State’s Melissa Osterloh tallied 18 kills, six digs and five block assists in an upset of No. 15 Purdue to give the Aggies their first win of the season.



The WAC had 11 of its players named to all-tournament teams last week. Boise State’s Sadie Maughan earned all-tournament honors at the InnTowner Invitational, while Allanah Munson of Fresno State was named to the Cal State Bakersfield Invitational. Hawai‘i’s Kanani Herring, Jamie Houston and Amber Kaufman were named to the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational all-tournament team. Houston was also the Most Outstanding Player. Lindsay Baldwin and Kylie Harrington of Nevada received AT&T Invitational honors, while New Mexico State’s Amber Simpson was named to the all-tournament team at the Stanford Tournament. Kelly Crow and Colleen Burke of San Jose State were named to the LMU Volleyball Classic all-tournament team, while Utah State’s Melissa Osterloh received all-tournament honors at the Utah Classic.


Boise State Broncos (2-7, 0-0 WAC)

Boise State earned its first two victories of the season as it went 2-1 at the Wisconsin hosted InnTowner Invitational last weekend ... The Broncos fell to No. 23 Brigham Young, but defeated IUPUI and Central Michigan, both of which had winning records coming into the matches ... Sadie Maughan was named to the all-tournament team after leading BSU in hitting percentage (.363) over the three matches ... Boise State has now played two ranked teams this season.


Fresno State Bulldogs (3-6, 0-0 WAC)

Fresno State finished 1-2 at the Cal State Bakersfield Invitational with a 3-0 sweep of Chicago State and losses to Arizona and the host Roadrunners ... Junior setter Allanah Munson was named to the all-tournament team after tallying 100 assists and leading the team with four service aces, including a career-high two vs. Chicago State.


Hawai‘i Rainbow Wahine (7-2, 0-0 WAC)

UH won the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational with victories over Saint Mary’s, Pacific and No. 9 Washington ... Jamie Houston was named tournament MVP after averaging 4.64 kills, 0.91 digs and 0.82 blocks per set ... Amber Kaufman and Kanani Herring were also named to the all-tournament team ... Houston had a season-high 27 kills vs. UW and led Hawai’i with 15 kills vs. Pacific ... UH’s win over No. 9 Washington was its first over a Top 10 opponent since beating No. 6 USC on Dec. 12, 2006, and only its second since the start of the 2006 season ... Herring recorded her first reception error of the season, coming after 98 reception attempts.


Idaho Vandals  (7-3, 0-0 WAC)

The Vandals went 2-2 at the Portland State Volleyball Showcase, falling to Seattle and Oregon State before defeating UC Riverside and the host Vikings ... Anna McKinney recorded 13 block assists vs. Portland State, the most for a Vandal since 2003... McKinney tallied a career-high with 14 kills vs. Seattle and hit a team-best .295 for the weekend ... Idaho’s come-from-behind won over Portland State in the final match of the tournament ended the Vikings’ 20-match home winning streak, dating back to 2006.


Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters (1-5, 0-0 WAC)

The Techsters played their first match in more than two weeks last Tuesday, picking up their first victory of the year over Louisiana-Monroe ... Over the weekend, Louisiana Tech dropped a pair of matches to Jacksonville State and North Dakota State at the All State Sugar Bowl Tulane Tulane Volleyball Classic ... Junior KC Clayton hit .304 for the week  with 12 kills in the win over ULM.


Nevada Wolf Pack (4-4, 0-0 WAC)

The Pack went 2-1 to place second in the AT&T Invitational last weekend, defeating Missouri and UC Davis before falling to No. 24 Pepperdine ... Kylie Harrington and Lindsay Baldwin were named to the all-tournament team ... Baldwin averaged 3.42 kills and 2.00 digs with a .204 attack percentage and posted a career- and match-high 19 kills vs. Missouri ... Baldwin averaged 2.17 kills, 1.25 blocks and 0.42 service aces over the three matches ... After starting the season 0-2 the Pack have won 4-of-6 matches to even their record at 4-4.


New Mexico State Aggies (5-6, 0-0 WAC)

The Aggies went 1-2 at the Stanford Tournament, falling to No. 7 Stanford and Santa Clara before beating UC Santa Barbara in four sets ... Amber Simpson was named to the all-tournament team after hitting .267 and averaging 3.00 kills, 1.40 blocks and 0.50 service aces ... Simpson currently ranks second on the NMSU all-time total blocks list with 473 and needs just 23 to surpass the career record, which has been held for 16 years ... The Aggies head into conference play with a losing record for the first time in seven years ... NMSU has played three Top 15 teams heading into conference play.


San Jose State Spartans (4-6, 0-0 WAC)

The Spartans went 2-1 at the LMU Volleyball Classic last weekend, defeating UC Irvine and Pittsburgh and falling to the host Lions ... Kelly Crow and Colleen Burke were named to the all-tournament team ... Crow averaged 3.36 kills and 1.64 digs per set and recorded double-digit kills in every match, while Burke averaged 1.73 kills on .359 hitting.


Utah State Aggies (1-9, 0-0 WAC)

Utah State finished tied for third place at the Utah Classic last weekend, losing to the host Utes and Saint Louis, but notching its first win of the season against No.

15 Purdue in five sets ... Melissa Osterloh was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 3.92 points, 3.17 kills, 1.25 digs and 1.17 blocks ... Against the Boilermakers, she recorded 18 kills, six digs, five block assists and two service aces ... USU has now won two of its last three matches against ranked teams as it lost at No. 20 BYU earlier this season and defeated No. 10 Hawai’i in its final regular season match last year.



In a poll of the league’s coaches, defending Western Athletic Conference champion Hawai‘i was the unanimous favorite to defend its crown in 2008 and take home its 13th-straight regular-season title. The Rainbow Wahine received eight of the nine first-place votes (coaches can’t vote for their own team) and 64 points, with New Mexico State earning the other first-place vote and 57 points.


San Jose State and Idaho finished tied for third with 42 points, while Utah State was picked fifth with 40. Nevada was sixth with 34 points, followed by Boise State (20) and Fresno State (16). Louisiana Tech rounded out the poll with nine points.



The WAC Preseason all-WAC volleyball team, as voted on by the nine coaches, was announced Aug. 8. Hawai‘i All-American Jamie Houston was named WAC Preseason Player of the Year. The reigning WAC Player of the Year, this is Houston’s second-straight honor and the fourth-straight season that a Rainbow Wahine player earned the preseason honor.


New Mexico State placed the most athletes on the 12-player team with four. Seniors Krystal Torres and Amber Simpson, and juniors Krista Altermatt and Lindsey Yon earned preseason honors. Simpson, Yon and Torres were all first-team all-WAC selections in 2007.


Two other Hawai‘i players, juniors Aneli Cubi-Otineru and Amber Kaufman, joined Houston on the preseason team. Both Houston and Cubi-Otineru were first team all-WAC selections last season. San Jose State also had two players make the team with seniors Niki Clement and Colleen Burke earning nods.


Chelsea Fowles of Utah State, the 2007 WAC Freshman of the Year, and Idaho’s Haley Larsen were also named to the team, while Nevada’s Lindsay Baldwin rounded out the preseason squad. Six teams placed at least one player on the preseason all-WAC. Eight players are returning first-team all-WAC honorees.



For the fourth-straight year the WAC will not compete in divisions. This season’s format will be a double-round robin. Each team will face the other eight at home and on the road. All nine teams will compete in the WAC Volleyball Tournament.




Nov. 20 (Quarterfinals) 

Match 1 - No. 8 vs. No. 9, 9:30 a.m.                  

Match 2 - No. 4 vs. No. 5, noon

Match 3 - No. 3 vs. No. 6, 2:30 p.m.

Match 4 - No. 2 vs. No. 7, 5 p.m.

Match 5 - Winner Match 1 vs. No. 1, 7:30 p.m.


Nov. 21 (Semifinals)

Match 6 - Winner Match 3 vs. Winner Match 4, 5 p.m.

Match 7 - Winner Match 2 vs. Winner Match 5, 7:30 p.m.


Nov. 23 (Championship)

Match 8 - Winner Match 6 vs. Winner Match 7, 3 p.m.



The Western Athletic Conference announced that Hawai‘i will host the 2008 WAC Volleyball Tournament, Nov. 20-23, at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu. It marks the first time Hawai‘i has hosted the WAC Volleyball Championship. 



The following are the returning statistical leaders in the WAC from 2007. In hitting efficiency, six of the top 10 hitters are back, led for the second year by New Mexico State’s Amber Simpson (.345) and San Jose State’s Colleen Burke (.373), who finished No. 2 and No. 3 in the WAC, respectively. The remaining leaders are Utah State’s Danielle Taylor (.272- seventh), Hawai‘i’s Jamie Houston (.260 - eighth), Hawai‘i’s Amber Kaufman (.259 - ninth) and Boise State’s Sadie Maughan (.256 - 10th).


Five of the top 10 kill leaders are back for 2008. The top returner is Hawai‘i’s Jamie Houston who has been first the last two seasons, averaging 5.51 kpg. Idaho’s Haley Larsen was second, averaging 5.39 kpg. Lindsey Yon of New Mexico State was seventh, averaging 3.95 kpg, while Hawai‘i’s Aneli Cubi-Otineru was ninth (3.69 kpg). The other returning leader was New Mexico State’s Krista Altermatt (3.42 - 10th).


Seven of the top assist leaders from last season return for the 2008 campaign. Hawai‘i’s Stephanie Brandt is the top setter to return, finishing last season first in the WAC (12.75 apg). WAC Freshman of the Year, Chelsea Fowles, of Utah State was second in assists after averaging 12.45 apg, followed by Idaho’s Kelsey James (11.71 apg - fourth) and San Jose State’s Emily Burke (11.44 apg - fifth). The remaining leaders are Boise State’s Mandy Klein (9.94 apg - seventh), New Mexico State’s Alyssa Gintant (8.40 apg - eighth) and Kasey Van Grouw (6.38 apg - 10th).


Only six of the top 10 blockers return, including Nevada’s Lindsay Baldwin who was first in the league, averaging 1.47 blocks per game. Idaho’s Anna McKinney finished second (1.36 bpg), followed by Utah State’s Rebecca Anderson (1.22 bpg - fifth). The remaining block returners are Idaho’s Sarah Loney (1.16 - seventh), New Mexico State’s Amber Simpson (1.14 - ninth) and Utah State’s Danielle Taylor (1.12 - 10th).


Eight of the top 10 servers also return, including four of the top five. Nevada’s Lauren Kelly finished first in the WAC in service aces per game, averaging 0.41 sapg, followed by Hawai‘i’s Stephanie Brandt (0.35 - third). New Mexico State’s Krystal Torres was tied for fourth, averaging 0.32 sapg along with Louisiana Tech’s Brittney Nakamura, followed by Boise State’s Lauren Hamm (0.30 - seventh), Fresno State’s Lisa Gera (0.30 - t-eighth) and New Mexico State’s Krista Altermatt (0.30 - t-eighth). The remaining top server is Utah State’s Jessalyn Payne (0.29 - 10th).


All 10 of the dig leaders return for the 2008 season. For the second-straight season New Mexico State’s Krystal Torres is the top returner (5.32 dpg - first), followed by Fresno State’s Lisa Gera (5.10 dpg - second) and Nevada’s Allison Hernandez (4.41 dpg - third), followed by Boise State’s Lauren Hamm (4.37 - fourth). The other top dig returners are Louisiana Tech’s Brittany Nakamura (3.97 - fifth), Hawai‘i’s Elizabeth Ka’aihue (3.96 - sixth), San Jose State’s Kristal Tsukano (3.95 - seventh), Utah State’s Christine Morrill (3.92 - eighth) and Idaho’s Kelsey Yonker (3.67 - ninth). The final top dig returner is Idaho’s Haley Larsen (3.44 - 10th).



Louisiana Tech and Fresno State both added new head coaches this off season. Former Tulsa head coach Matt Sonnichsen become the Lady Techsters’ new head coach, while former Hofstra head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell takes the reins for the Bulldogs.


Sonnichsen was the head coach at Newberry College in 2007. Prior to his stay at Newberry, Sonnichsen was an assistant at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, where he coached the 2006 season under his father, Tom. Sonnichsen’s longest tenure as head coach came during his eight seasons at the helm of the University of Tulsa Hurricanes. Under his guidance, Tulsa had its first winning season in over 20 years in 2000 while finishing with 20 wins or better three separate seasons. His team finished second in the Eastern Division WAC in 2004 and earned a third place finish in C-USA in 2005.


In her two years at Hofstra, Netherby-Sewell led the Pride to their first-ever Colonial Athletic Association Championship in 2006 with a 17-1 conference record. That team was ranked No. 32 in the country, the highest ever ranking in school history. They also won their schools’ first NCAA Tournament game and advanced to the second round. Her overall record as a head coach is 43-19. Before being named head coach at Hofstra, Netherby-Sewell was an assistant for the Pride for two seasons, following two years as an assistant at Columbia, where she also earned her master’s in physical education.



Of the 12 first-team all-WAC players in 2007, six should return for the 2008 season, including two from Hawai‘i, Jamie Houston and Aneli Cubi-Otineru. There are three returning from New Mexico State, Amber Simpson, Krystal Torres and Lindsey Yon. Idaho’s Haley Larsen and San Jose State’s Colleen Burke also return from the first team. Six of the second-team all-WAC performers will also return this season, including San Jose State’s Niki Clement. Idaho’s Haley Larsen and Utah State’s Danielle Taylor and Melissa Osterloh also return from the second team. The other remaining second-team honorees from last season are Hawai‘i’s Stephanie Brandt and Tara Hittle.



The NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Committee has announced the following sites for regional competition of the 2008 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championships.


Regionals (4) December 12-13, 2008

Host: Colorado State University

Moby Arena

Fort Collins, Colorado


Host: Pennsylvania State University

Rec Hall

University Park, Pennsylvania


Host: University of Texas

Gregory Gymnasium

Austin, Texas


Host: University of Washington

Bank of America Arena

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