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This Week in WAC Volleyball - Aug. 27

This Week in WAC Volleyball - Aug. 27

Complete Release in PDF

NM STATE FAVORED IN WAC PRESEASON POLL
The WAC volleyball coaches selected NM State to win the WAC regular-season crown in 2019. The reigning WAC Tournament champion Aggies received four of the first-place votes and 60 total points to earn the top spot in the poll. Utah Valley finished in second place with 55 points and three first-place votes, just ahead of Kansas City in third with 52 points and the other two first-place votes. California Baptist and UT Rio Grande Valley tied for fourth place with 41 points each. CSU Bakersfield was selected in sixth place with 26 points, while Grand Canyon was seventh with 22 points. Seattle U and Chicago State rounded out the poll with 13 points and 10 points, respectively.

PRESEASON ALL-WAC
Kansas City senior middle hitter Tyrecia Lukes was selected as the WAC Preseason Player of the Year. Kansas City, NM State and Utah Valley placed the most players on the preseason All-WAC team with three apiece. Joining Lukes on the preseason team are teammates Melanie Brecka and Alicia Harrington, NM State's Savannah Davison, Megan Hart and Juliana Salanoa, Utah Valley's Kristen Allred, Makaila Jarema and Kazna Tarawhiti, California Baptist's Tesa Oaks and Natalie Zimmerer, Chicago State's Megan Klavitter, Grand Canyon's Teagan DeFalco and UT Rio Grande Valley's Barbara Silva.

2019 PERSONNEL CAPSULE
Five of the nine schools return at least four starters from last year for the 2019 campaign. Kansas City and UT Rio Grande Valley return six starters apiece, while Chicago State returns five. The following is a breakdown of each team's letterwinners returning and lost and starters returning and lost.

Team

SR

SL

LR

LL

California Baptist

6

1

11

2

CSU Bakersfield

3

4

7

5

Chicago State

4

3

8

8

Grand Canyon

7

0

12

3

Kansas City

4

3

11

5

NM State

5

2

16

2

Seattle U

4

2

8

4

UT Rio Grande Valley

3

4

9

6

Utah Valley

6

1

9

5


2019 WAC TOURNAMENT
The 2019 WAC Volleyball Tournament will be held Nov. 21-23 at Lockhart Arena in Orem, Utah, and will include the top six eligible teams in the regular-season standings.

2019 WAC TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
Thursday, Nov. 21 (First Round)
Match 1 - No. 4 seed vs. No. 5 seed, 4:30 p.m.
Match 2 - No. 3 seed vs. No. 6 seed, 7 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 22 (Semifinals)
Match 3 - Winner Match 1 vs. No. 1 seed, 4:30 p.m.
Match 4 - Winner Match 2 vs. No. 2 seed, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 23 (Championship)
Match 5 - Winner Match 3 vs. Winner Match 4, 7:30 p.m.

TOP RETURNING STAT LEADERS
In hitting efficiency, seven of the top 10 hitters are back, including the top two – Kansas City's Tyrecia Lukes (.420) and NM State's Megan Hart (.362). NM State's Julianna Salanoa (.331), who ranked fourth last year, also returns. The remaining leaders are California Baptist's Sydney Marks (.317, fifth), Utah Valley's Jasmine Niutupuivaha (.308, sixth), Grand Canyon's Annabelle Kubinski (.305, seventh) and Kansas City's Melanie Brecka (.282, eighth).

Seven of the top 10 kill leaders return, led by Utah Valley's Kazna Tarawhiti, who last year led the WAC with 4.01 kills per set, followed by CBU's Tesa Oaks in fourth (3.49). Kansas City's Alicia Harrington ranked sixth with 3.15, followed by Utah Valley's Kristen Allred (3.14, seventh), NM State's Savannah Davison (3.11, eighth), UT Rio Grande Valley's Barbara Silva (3.1, ninth) and the Roos' Lukes (3.03, 10th).

Six of the top assist leaders from last season return for the 2019 campaign, including last year's leader, Natalie Zimmerer, who averaged 10.44 assists per set, followed by Kansas City's Alli Schomers, who ranked fifth in the WAC with 6.53 assists per set. Also returning are CSU Bakersfield's Sidney Hicks (6.33, sixth), UTRGV's Debora Nazario (6.23, seventh), Utah Valley's Madi Wardle (5.88, ninth) and Chicago State's Lacee Adams (5.76, 10th).

Seven of the top 10 servers return, led by NM State's Natalie Mikels in second place with 0.38. Grand Canyon's KJ Adams was third with 0.35, followed by Chicago State's Megan Klavitter in fourth with 0.33. CBU's Oaks was seventh (0.29), Seattle U's Tijana Milojevic was eighth (0.29), and Utah Valley's Allred and UTRGV's Nazario round out the group tied for ninth (0.28).

Six of the top blockers return, led by Utah Valley's Makaila Jarema, who last year led the WAC with 1.78 blocks per set, followed by Kansas City's Lukes in second (1.26). The remaining leaders are NM State's Hart (1.10, fourth) and Salanoa (1.07, fifth), UTRGV's Talita Oliveira (1.03, sixth) and Utah Valley's Niutupuivaha (0.98, 10th).

Six of the top 10 dig leaders return for the 2019 season, including last year's leader Megan Klavitter of Chicago State (5.65), followed by Grand Canyon's Teagan DeFalco in third with 4.89 digs per set. The remaining leaders are CBU's Nicole Abreu (4.57, fifth), Seattle U's Tijana Milojevic (4.56, sixth), Utah Valley's Seren Merrill (4.35, seventh) and Kansas City's Alex Ratzlaff (3.02, 10th).

Seven of the top 10 point leaders from a year ago return, led by last year's leader Tarawhiti of Utah Valley with 4.49 points per set. CBU's Oaks ranked fourth with 3.97 points per set. The other returning point leaders are Kansas City's Lukes (3.76, sixth), Utah Valley's Allred (3.67, seventh), UTRGV's Silva (3.63, eighth), Kansas City's Harrington (3.51, ninth) and NM State's Davison (3.41, 10th).

RETURNING ALL-CONFERENCE PLAYERS
Of the seven first team All-WAC players in 2018, five return for the 2019 season – Preseason Player of the Year Tyrecia Lukes and teammate Alicia Harrington of Kansas City, NM State's Megan Hart, Tessa Oaks of California Baptist and Kazna Tarawhiti of Utah Valley.

Five of the seven second team honorees return, including Utah Valley's Kristen Allred and Makaila Jarema, Kansas City's Melanie Brecka, Barbara Silva of UTRGV and CBU's Natalie Zimmerer

All of the six All-Freshman Team honorees from a year ago return – Brooke Boiseau of CSU Bakersfield, Kansas City's Brecka, NM State's Savannah Davison, Kaira Moss of Grand Canyon, Megan Sester of California Baptist and Utah Valley's Tarawhiti.

2019 NCAA TOURNAMENT INFORMATION
The NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship 64-team bracket will be announced Sunday, Dec. 1. First and Second Round competition will be held Dec. 5-7 at 16 non-predetermined campus sites. At each campus site, four teams will compete in single-elimination competition. The winning team from each of the 16 second rounds advances to the Regionals, which will be held Dec. 13-14 at four non-predetermined sites. The winning team from each of the four regions will advance to the Division I Women's Volleyball Championship at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. The national semifinals will be held Dec. 19, while the national championship will take place Dec. 21.