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UTRGV'S KNUDSEN, UTAH VALLEY'S JAREMA NAMED WAC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
UT Rio Grande Valley senior outside hitter Ragni Steen Knudsen and Utah Valley junior middle blocker Makaila Jarema have been named the Western Athletic Conference Offensive and Defensive Volleyball Players of the Week, respectively, for the week of Oct. 29-Nov. 4. This is the fourth honor of the season and of her career for Knudsen and the first-ever honor for Jarema.
Knudsen, a Myre, Norway native, led the WAC in points per set (6.25) and kills per set (5.17) last week as the Vaqueros went 2-0 and set the program Division I record for road wins and moved into first place in the WAC standings. Knudsen opened the week with a match-high 14 kills to go along with one assist and one service ace in a sweep of Grand Canyon. She also tallied nine digs and three blocks in the win. She followed it up with a match-high 17 kills, a season-high-tying two service aces and a season-high four blocks in a three-set win at Seattle U on Saturday. Knudsen leads the league in WAC play in kills (4.51) and points (5.02) per set.
Jarema, a Highland, Utah native, helped Utah Valley record two big league victories last week by tallying 19 blocks and a stellar 2.38 blocks per set average. In a sweep at then first-place California Baptist, she led the way at the net with a match-high six blocks. She also added eight kills on .429 hitting. She followed it up by recording 13 blocks in a thrilling five-set come-from-behind victory over NM State. Jarema also added nine kills on .500 hitting as well as back-to-back blocks in the final two points of the comeback victory. The 13 blocks ranks second all-time in the school single-match record books. Jarema leads the WAC with 1.60 blocks per set and her blocking average is also good enough to rank her in the top five nationally when she reaches the statistical minimums on the year.
Other offensive nominees included: California Baptist's Natalie Zimmerer averaged 11.00 assists per set ... Briannah Mariner of CSU Bakersfield averaged 2.62 kills and 2.88 points per set ... Kaira Moss of Grand Canyon averaged 2.83 kills on .333 hitting ... Kansas City's Melanie Brecka averaged 5.00 kills on .386 hitting and 5.38 points per set in a win over CSU Bakersfield ... Megan Hart of NM State averaged 3.13 kills on .442 hitting and 0.75 service aces per set ... Utah Valley's Kristen Allred averaged 4.81 points, 4.25 kills and 0.38 service aces per set.
Other defensive nominees included: Nicole Abreu of CBU averaged 5.50 digs per set ... Chicago State's Megan Klavitter averaged 6.57 digs per set on the week ... Teagan DeFalco of Grand Canyon averaged 7.50 digs per set ... Emma Dyer of Kansas City averaged 1.75 blocks per set ... NM State's Megan Hart averaged 1.38 blocks and 0.88 digs per set ... Ragni Steen Knudsen of UTRGV averaged 2.33 digs and 1.17 blocks per set.
WAC STAT LEADERS
Kansas City leads the WAC in hitting percentage (.235), assists (12.78) and kills (13.57), while UT Rio Grande Valley is tops in service aces (1.47) and digs (17.17). NM State leads the WAC in opponent hitting percentage (.159) and Utah Valley is tops in blocks (2.59).
Individually, Kansas City's Tyrecia Lukes leads the WAC in hitting percentage (.415), while Utah Valley's Kazna Tarawhiti is the leader in kills (4.05) and points (4.51) and teammate Makaila Jarema is tops in blocks (1.60). CBU's Natalie Zimmerer leads the WAC in assists (10.73), CSU Bakersfield's Desiree Sukhov is tops in service aces (0.43) and Chicago State's Megan Klavitter leads the league in digs (5.67).
In WAC matches only, Kansas City leads the league in hitting percentage (.239), assists (13.24) and kills (14.13), while UTRGV is tops in service aces (1.78) and digs (17.82). NM State is tops in opponent hitting percentage (.149) and Utah Valley leads the WAC in blocks (2.88).
Individually in WAC play, NM State's Megan Hart leads the league in hitting percentage (.393), while UTRGV's Ragni Steen Knudsen is the leader in kills (4.51) and points (5.02). Zimmerer leads the WAC in assists (10.79), Sukhov is tops in service aces (0.51) and Jarema leads the league in blocks (1.71). Seattle U's Tijana Milojevic is tops in digs (5.74).
CSU'S KLAVITTER MOVES INTO WAC TOP 10 FOR DIGS IN A SEASON
With 607 digs this season, Chicago State's Megan Klavitter moved into the WAC Top 10 for digs in a season and currently ranks eighth, two shy of seventh place. With a minimum of four matches remaining, at her current pace she would finish the season with 691 digs, which would break the all-time WAC record of 676 set by San Jose State's Jessie Shull in 2006. Additionally, Klavitter's career total of 1,445 digs ranks eighth in WAC history, 23 shy of seventh and 25 away from sixth.
KANSAS CITY'S 18 WINS RANKS THIRD ALL-TIME
Kansas City has now posted 18 wins this season, the third-most victories in school history. The team needs two wins to tie the 1999 team, which went 20-14. In 2014, the Roos won a program-record 24 matches.
CSUB RANKS IN TOP 10 FOR SERVICE ACES
CSU Bakersfield currently ranks 10th in program Division I history with 145 service aces this season. The 'Runners are three shy of ninth place.
UVU KNOCKS OFF TOP-RANKED TEAM IN WAC AGAIN
With a three-set sweep at California Baptist and a thrilling come-from-behind five-set victory over NM State last week, Utah Valley has now knocked off the top-ranked team in the conference standings twice on the year, as well as defeated the three-time defending league champion NM State Aggies. The Wolverines previously defeated then first-place UT Rio Grande Valley in four sets at home on Oct. 11 and followed that up by knocking off then first-place CBU on Nov. 1 in straight sets. UVU then capped its stellar week by recording a 3-2 come-from-behind home victory over reigning conference champs and preseason favorite Aggies.
CSUB SETS PROGRAM RECORD FOR DIGS
As a squad, CSU Bakersfield recorded 97 digs in its match at Chicago State on Nov. 3. It was the most in Bakersfield's Division I history for a four-set match.
UVU'S TARAWHITI SURPASSES 400 KILLS
Freshman outside hitter Kazna Tarawhiti became just the sixth player in Utah Valley's NCAA Division I history to surpass 400 kills in a season on Nov. 3 against NM State, as she now has a total of 413 during her true freshman campaign. The 413 kills not only leads the WAC on the season but also ranks her fourth all-time in the single-season record books at UVU. The program's all-time leader in kills, Kayli Doxey (1,600), is also UVU's single-season record holder with 494 during the 2009 season.
FOUR WAC PLAYERS RANK AMONG NCAA ACTIVE CAREER LEADERS
Chicago State's Lauryn Dela Cruz currently ranks seventh among NCAA active career leaders in attacks per set (11.19). Meanwhile, UT Rio Grande Valley's Ragni Steen Knudsen ranks 24th in kills per set (3.71) and 44th in total kills (1,250), teammate Alexandra Ecker ranks 41st in sets played (451) and NM State's Tatyana Battle ranks 41st in total kills (1,288).
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