This Week in WAC Volleyball
No. 6 Hawai‘i swept through Belmont (25-19, 25-11, 25-16) and No. 12 USC (25-21, 25-18, 25-22) in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament last weekend to advance to its 10th NCAA Regional in the last 11 years and 23rd overall. With the victories, the Rainbow Wahine have an amazing record of 35-3 (.921) in the NCAA first and second rounds. The only three losses came in 1984, 1997 and 2007. In 1984, UH fell to Oregon in the first round. UH then lost to Loyola Marymount in the 1997 first round and to Middle Tennessee in the second round last season.
NMSU EARNS FIRST-EVER NCAA TOURNAMENT WIN
For the first time in program history, New Mexico State advanced past the first round of the NCAA Tournament with a 3-1 win (22-25, 25-16, 25-21, 25-15) over Saint Mary’s at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif., last Friday. On Saturday, the Aggies fell in four sets to No. 8 California, ending their season. The Aggies are now 1-5 overall in NCAA Tournament matches.
HOUSTON RECORDS 2,000TH CAREER KILL
Hawai‘i’s Jamie Houston became just the second player in UH history to reach the 2,000-kill milestone. She picked up her 2,000th kill to end the first set of the win over Cal Poly on Nov. 28, and now has 2,033 on her career.
HOUSTON, TORRES, SIMPSON IN WAC RECORD BOOKS
With 2,033 career kills, UH’s Jamie Houston ranks second in the WAC record books behind the Rainbow Wahine’s Kim Willoughby (2000-03), who finished her career with 2,598 kills. New Mexico State’s Krystal Torres ended her career with 1,942 career digs, good for second place all-time in the WAC record books behind San Jose State’s Jessie Shull (2003-06) with 2,260. Teammate Amber Simpson closed out her career as an Aggie with 574 total blocks, good for third all-time in the WAC annals.
Boise State Broncos (9-19, 5-11 WAC)
No. 7 Boise State was swept (15-25, 16-25, 17-25) by second-seeded Hawai‘i in the quarterfinals of the WAC Tournament to close out the season ... The Broncos were led by Sadie Maughan and Jeanette Jenkins with five kills apiece ... On the season, Jenkins paced the Broncos with 2.19 kills per set ... Maughan added 2.15 kills on .276 hitting and 1.02 blocks per set, while Alisha King averaged 2.18 kills ... Lydia Blaha led the team with 1.16 blocks per set, while libero Lauren Hamm averaged 3.49 digs per set ... Setter Mandy Klein dished out 8.02 assists per set and closed out her career with 3,583 career assists.
Fresno State Bulldogs (7-20, 3-13 WAC)
Fresno State went 1-1 at the WAC Tournament, defeating Louisiana Tech in four sets (23-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-19) in the opening round before falling to top-seeded New Mexico State (17-25, 17-25, 22-25) in the quarterfinals ... The Bulldogs out-hit the Lady Techsters .224 to .096, and out-blocked Louisiana Tech 12-10 ... Baylee Platt posted her seventh double-double of the season, finishing with 18 kills and 15 digs ... Lacey Gera added 20 kills on .382 hitting to go with five blocks, while setter Allanah Munson dished out 47 assists ... In the loss to the Aggies, Platt led Fresno State with 14 kills and eight digs ... On the season, Platt led the team with 3.46 kills and 2.46 digs per set.
Hawai‘i Rainbow Wahine (30-3, 15-1 WAC)
UH went 2-0 in the NCAA first and second rounds last week, sweeping Belmont (25-19, 25-11, 25-16) and No. 12 USC (25-21, 25-18, 25-22) ... Nickie Thomas hit .625 with five kills and five blocks vs. Belmont ... Amber Kaufman added seven kills and five service aces, while Kanani Danielson hit .368 with eight kills and five digs ... In the win over the Trojans, Kaufman hit a career-high .714 with 10 kills, while Danielson had a double-double, finishing with 13 kills and 15 digs ... Jamie Houston led all players with 17 kills ... Hawai‘i is now 35-3 (.921) in NCAA first and second rounds ... The Rainbow Wahine face 10th-seeded Purdue in the NCAA Regional at 5 p.m. Friday.
Idaho Vandals (19-10, 11-5 WAC)
The Vandals closed out the season with a 1-1 record at the WAC Tournament, sweeping Nevada in the quarterfinals (25-20, 25-21, 25-18) before falling to eventual champion Hawai‘i in the semifinals (21-25, 24-26, 14-25) ... Idaho out-hit the Wolf Pack .250 to .164 and bettered Nevada in kills (42-39), assists (40-35), service aces (5-2) and blocks (9-7.5) ... Sarah Conwell led Idaho with 12 kills on .375 hitting, while Haley Larsen added 10 kills ... Idaho out-blocked Hawai‘i 13-8, including seven by Kelsey Taylor ... Haley Larsen posted a match-high 14 kills in the loss ... Larsen was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 4.00 kills, 1.83 digs and 0.50 service aces ... On the season, Larsen averaged a league-best 4.44 kills per set.
Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters (4-24, 0-16 WAC)
The Techsters fell to Fresno State (25-23, 23-25, 22-25, 19-25) in the opening round of the WAC Tournament to close out the season ... Natasha Kolunija led Tech with 13 kills ... On the season, Louisiana Tech was led by KC Clayton with 1.93 kills and 1.05 blocks ... Setter Bianca Bin averaged 7.24 assist per set, while libero Debora Bolonhini posted 4.19 digs per set ... Bin posted a team-best five double-doubles on the season, while Taylor Fritz added four ... Bolonhini closes out her two-year career with 656 digs ... Samantha Crowder (278) and Clayton (273) are both nearing the 300 career blocks mark.
Nevada Wolf Pack (12-17, 7-9 WAC)
The Pack closed out the season with a 0-2 record at the Banker’s Classic, falling in straights sets to No. 21 Utah (16-25, 22-25, 19-25) and Portland (17-25, 19-25, 23-25) ... Kylie Harrington was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 3.17 kills per set ... Nevada fell to Idaho in three sets (20-25, 21-25, 18-25) in the quarterfinals of the WAC Tournament ... On the season, the Wolf Pack were led by Harrington with 2.90 kills and 1.90 digs per set ... Lindsay Baldwin added 2.71 kills and 1.14 blocks ... Nevada had six players – Harrington (8), Allison Hernandez (7), Sonnie Sei (6), Tatiana Santiago (2), Baldwin (1) and Nicole Link (1) – post double-doubles on the year.
New Mexico State Aggies (26-9, 15-1 WAC)
The Aggies picked up their first-ever NCAA Tournament win last week, defeating Saint Mary’s in four sets (22-25, 25-16, 25-21, 25-15) before falling to No. 8 California in four sets (23-25, 13-25, 25-21, 17-25) in the second round ... Against the Gaels, Lindsey Yon led all players with 17 kills and added 13 digs for her 13th double-double of the season ... Amber Simpson tallied 11 kills, while Whitney Woods finished with 10 ... Setter Alyssa Gintant had her first double-double of the season, finishing with 28 assists and 11 digs ... In the loss to the Bears, Yon posted her 14th double-double of the season, finishing with 11 kills and 11 digs ... Krista Altermatt had a team-high 12 kills.
San Jose State Spartans (13-18, 7-9 WAC)
The Spartans closed out the season with a loss at San Francisco (14-25, 23-25, 20-25) ... In her final match in a Spartan uniform, Colleen Burke led SJSU in hitting (.333), kills (10) and blocks (4), while Kelly Crow led the team with 12 digs ... At the WAC Tournament, SJSU defeated No. 4 Utah State in five sets (16-25, 25-23, 25-16, 17-25, 15-8) in the quarterfinals before falling to No. 1 New Mexico State in the semifinals (18-25, 22-25, 18-25) ... Crow led the Spartans on the season with 3.48 kills and 2.54 digs per set ... Burke closed out her career ranked second all-time in hitting percentage (.314), seventh in block assists (281), eighth in total blocks (301) and ninth in kills (1,196).
Utah State Aggies (11-17, 9-7 WAC)
No. 4 Utah State closed out its season with a five-set loss (25-16, 23-25, 16-25, 25-17, 8-15) to fifth-seeded San Jose state in the quarterfinals of the WAC Tournament ... The Aggies tallied more digs (62-60) and blocks (8-6) than the Spartans ... Melissa Osterloh posted her seventh double-double of the season in the loss, finishing with 20 kills and 10 digs ... On the season, Osterloh led Utah State with 3.59 kills and 1.97 digs per set ... Setter Chelsea Fowles averaged 9.49 assists per set, while libero Christine Morrill posted 3.79 digs per set ... Osterloh was a first-team all-WAC selection, while Fowles, Morrill and Katie Astle were named to the second team ... Emily Kortsen was an All-Freshman Team selection.
HAWAI‘I WINS 2008 WAC VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT
After sweeping past Boise State and Idaho, Hawai‘i defeated New Mexico State 25-19, 25-27, 25-18, 25-9 in front of a crowd of 5,250 in the championship match of the WAC Tournament to claim its ninth-straight title. Jamie Houston took tournament MVP honors, hitting .341 with 22 kills, 11 digs and three blocks in the championship match. Joining Houston on the all-tournament team were teammates Stephanie Brandt and Aneli Cubi-Otineru, New Mexico State’s Amber Simpson, Krystal Torres and Lindsey Yon, Idaho’s Haley Larsen and San Jose State’s Colleen Burke. With the win, Hawai‘i earns the WAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
2008 ALL-WAC TEAM
For the second year in a row, Hawai‘i outside hitter Jamie Houston was named the WAC Player of the Year. Teammate Kanani Danielson captured Freshman of the Year honors, while New Mexico State’s Mike Jordan was named WAC Coach of the Year.
Six different schools were represented on the first team and eight overall. New Mexico State, the first seed in the WAC Tournament, had four players named to the first team and one to the freshman team. Second-seeded Hawai‘i had four players on the first team, three on the second team and two on the freshman team. Utah State placed one on the first team, three on the second team and one on the freshman team. Idaho, Nevada and San Jose State all had one player on the first team.
For the 13th-straight year, Hawai‘i boasts the WAC Player of the Year. Houston has ranked in the Top 50 nationally in kills per set all season, averaging 3.99. The senior hit .300 or better in 11 matches this season and finished conference play ranked second in the WAC in kills per game (4.08). She is a four-time all-WAC honoree.
Danielson earned Freshman of the Year honors, the sixth Rainbow Wahine player to do so. She was also one of 12 players named to the first team and one of six players on the all-freshman team. She hit .305 with 2.57 kills and 3.04 digs in WAC matches.
This is Jordan’s second Coach of the Year honor, having earned the award in 2006, as well. He led the Aggies to their first-ever WAC regular-season title and the top seed in the tournament. NMSU handed Hawai‘i its only WAC loss in three sets in Honolulu.
Houston is one of six returning first-team members, along with teammate Aneli Cubi-Otineru, Idaho’s Haley Larsen, and New Mexico State’s Amber Simpson, Krystal Torres and Lindsey Yon. Larsen is the Vandals’ first-ever four-time honoree.
NMSU, HAWAI‘I SHARE REGULAR-SEASON TITLE
New Mexico State and Hawai‘i shared the 2008 WAC regular-season title. It is the first-ever title for the Aggies and the 13th straight for the Rainbow Wahine. This is the first time there has been a tie at the top of the standings since 1998, when Hawai‘i and BYU were the Pacific Division co-champions with 13-1 marks.
UH IN TOP 10 NATIONALLY IN FOUR CATEGORIES
In the most recent NCAA statistics (Dec. 8), the Rainbow Wahine rank fourth in the nation in won-loss percentage (.909), fifth in assists per set (13.77) and hitting percentage (.292), and sixth in kills per set (14.72). Meanwhile, Idaho ranks second nationally in blocks per set (3.02).
WAC PLAYERS IN TOP 50 IN KILLS, BLOCKS
Two WAC players are currently ranked in the Top 50 nationally in kills per set – Haley Larsen, Idaho, 11th (4.44) and Jamie Houston, Hawai‘i, 32nd (4.06). In blocks per set, three WAC players appear in the Top 50, led by Idaho’s Anna McKinney in 12th place with a 1.42 average. Amber Simpson of New Mexico State is in 27th place with 1.29 per set and Lydia Blaha of Boise State is in 46th place with a 1.16 average.
WAC STAT LEADERS
In overall team stats, Hawai‘i leads the conference in hitting percentage (.292), assists (13.77), kills (14.72) and service aces (1.57). Idaho is tops in blocks per set (3.02) and digs per set (15.34), while New Mexico State boasts the lowest opponent hitting percentage (.134).
In conference only statistics, Hawai‘i currently led the WAC in hitting percentage (.309), assists (14.22), kills (15.20) and service aces (1.64). New Mexico State was tops in opponent hitting percentage (.084) and digs (15.47), while Idaho led the WAC in blocks (3.14).
Individually, Idaho’s Haley Larsen leads the league in kills (4.44) and points (4.90) per set. Hawai‘i’s Amber Kaufman leads the WAC in hitting percentage (.383) and service aces (0.50), while teammate Dani Mafua and is tops in assists (11.23). New Mexico State’s Krystal Torres leads the league in digs per set (4.41), while Anna McKinney of Idaho is tops in blocks per set (1.42).
In conference matches only, Hawai‘i’s Mafua and Kaufman were tops in assists (11.94) and service aces (0.46), respectively. Larsen led the conference in kills (4.48) and points (4.90), while Amber Simpson was tops in hitting percentage (.391). Idaho’s Kelsey Taylor led the WAC in blocking (1.61) and Torres was the leader in digs (4.77).