UTRGV'S KNUDSEN, NM STATE'S SALANOA NAMED WAC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
UT Rio Grande Valley senior outside hitter Ragni Steen Knudsen and NM State sophomore middle blocker Julianna Salanoa have been named the Western Athletic Conference Offensive and Defensive Volleyball Players of the Week, respectively, for the week of Oct. 1-7. This is the third honor of the season and her career for Knudsen and the first-ever honor for Salanoa.
Knudsen, a Myre, Norway native, led the WAC in points per set (5.29), kills per set (4.71) and hitting percentage (.342) last week as the Vaqueros went 2-0 on the week with a pair of road wins to move into first place in the WAC standings. Steen opened the week with a match-high 17 kills to go along with two service aces in a sweep of Chicago State. She followed it up with a match-high 16 kills in a four-set win at Kansas City. She also had double-doubles in both matches. Steen moved her career kills total to 1,124 during the week to move into sixth place all-time at UTRGV.
Salanoa, an Olympia, Wash. native, led the WAC with 2.67 blocks per set, almost one per set more than any other player, as the Aggies swept a pair of road matches. Against Kansas City, she tallied a career-high nine blocks and was one shy of posting her first career double-double as she also had 10 kills in the match. On Saturday at Chicago State, Salanoa finished with a match-high seven blocks. She also recorded a pair of digs on the weekend.
Other offensive nominees included: Tesa Oaks of California Baptist averaged 4.67 kills on .264 hitting and 0.33 service aces per set as the Lancers went 2-0 ... CSU Bakersfield's Sidney Wicks averaged 8.00 assists and 0.20 service aces per set ... Kansas City's Alicia Harrington averaged 3.29 kills and 3.64 points per set last week ... Julianna Salanoa of NM State averaged 2.67 kills on .520 hitting and 4.00 points per set ... Utah Valley's Jaysa Funk Stratton averaged 4.75 assists and 0.25 service aces per set as the Wolverines went 2-0 on the week.
Other defensive nominees included: Yagoda Jedrzeczak of CBU averaged 1.78 blocks per set ... Kansas City's Alex Ratzlaff averaged 3.29 digs and 0.71 blocks per set ... Talita Oliveira of UTRGV averaged 1.00 blocks per set ... Utah Valley's Jazmine Niutupuivaha averaged 1.57 blocks and 0.71 digs per set.
WAC STAT LEADERS
Kansas City leads the WAC in assists (12.61) and kills (13.34), while UT Rio Grande Valley leads the WAC in hitting percentage (.228) and digs (17.38). NM State is tops in opponent hitting percentage (.158), Utah Valley leads the WAC in blocks (2.54) and California Baptist is tops in service aces (1.65).
Individually, Kansas City's Tyrecia Lukes leads the WAC in hitting percentage (.415), while Utah Valley's Kazna Tarawhiti is the leader in kills (4.00) and points (4.47) and teammate Makaila Jarema is tops in blocks (1.48). CBU's Natalie Zimmerer leads the WAC in assists (10.46), CSU Bakersfield's Desiree Sukhov is tops in service aces (0.42) and Chicago State's Megan Klavitter leads the league in digs (5.69).
In WAC matches only, Kansas City leads the league in assists (13.14) and kills (13.91), while UTRGV is tops in service aces (1.95) and digs (19.27). Utah Valley leads the WAC in opponent hitting percentage (.131) and blocks (3.00) and NM State is tops in hitting percentage (.236).
Individually in WAC play, Kansas City's Lukes leads the league in hitting percentage (.351), while Knudsen is the leader in kills (4.32) and points (4.77). CBU's Zimmerer is tops in assists (10.38), while Sukhov leads the league in service aces (0.59). Seattle U's Maja Stojanovic leads the WAC in blocks (1.80) and Klavitter is tops in digs (5.76).
UTAH VALLEY'S ATOA GETS 400TH CAREER WIN
Utah Valley head coach Sam Atoa recorded his 400th career victory on Oct. 6 at Grand Canyon. Atoa, who is currently in his 20th season as Utah Valley's head coach, boasts a 400-230 career record (.635). The 2016 WAC Coach of the Year holds a 262-199 (.568) mark during his 16 seasons of coaching Utah Valley at the NCAA Division I level, as well as a 138-31 (.775) clip during his four seasons of coaching the Wolverines during the school's junior college era. He is Utah Valley's winningest active coach in any sports, as well as the school's winningest coach at the NCAA Division I level.
UTRGV'S ZAYAS RANKS SECOND IN CAREER DIGS PER SET
UT Rio Grande Valley libero Gysell Zayas has a career digs per set average of 4.77 which ranks second all-time in program history behind Carol Marcengo (2003-04), who averaged 5.51 digs per set on her career. Zayas is averaging 5.38 digs per set this season, which ranks second in the season record books behind Marcengo's 6.12 average during the 2004 season.
UTAH VALLEY HAS PLAYED 10 FIVE-SET MATCHES THIS SEASON
Utah Valley has played a total of 10 five-set matches this season. Nine of Utah Valley's last 11 matches have also gone the full five sets. The Wolverines hold a 4-6 record in five-set contests.
CSUB'S HERNANDEZ BREAKS PROGRAM DIGS RECORD
CSU Bakersfield sophomore libero Krista Hernandez posted 37 digs in a five-set victory over Utah Valley on Sept. 29, breaking CSUB's five-set match record. Hernandez's 37 digs ranks second in the WAC this season for a single match. With 353 digs this season, Hernandez is currently eighth on CSUB's single-season list.
UTRGV'S OLIVEIRA RANKS IN TOP 10 FOR BLOCK ASSISTS VS. GCU
UT Rio Grande Valley's Talita Oliveira posted a career-high nine blocks vs. Grand Canyon on Sept. 27. Thursday. She had eight block assists, tying for the seventh-highest single-match total in program history. The nine total blocks were one shy of breaking into the top 10.
NM STATE SENIORS MOVE INTO CAREER RECORD BOOKS
NM State senior setter Briana Ainsworth currently ranks eighth all-time with 2,466 career assists. Meanwhile, Tatyana Battle ranks sixth with 3,447
career attempts and ninth with 1,207 kills.
CSUB'S SUKHOV TIES PROGRAM SERVICE ACE RECORD
CSU Bakersfield sophomore outside hitter Desiree Sukhov finished with five service aces against UT Rio Grande Valley on Sept. 20 to tie the program four-set match record.
UTRGV'S VUKOJA RANKS SECOND ALL-TIME IN TOTAL ASSISTS
UT Rio Grande Valley senior setter Dubravka Vukoja ranks second all-time in the UTRGV record books with 2,678 total assists. She trails only UTRGV Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Operations Chelsea Blakely, who finished her career with 3,905 assists.
CSUB'S BOISEAU RANKS IN TOP FIVE IN SINGLE-MATCH RECORDS
CSU Bakersfield redshirt freshman Brooke Boiseau recorded season highs with 17 kills and eight blocks against NM State on Sept. 22. Her blocks total and .483 hitting percentage both tied for second-best by an individual in CSUB's five-set match history. CSUB also out-blocked NM State 15-9, tying the second-most blocks in a five-set match in Bakersfield's Division I history.
WAC POSTS 72-48 NON-CONFERENCE RECORD
As a conference, the WAC has posted a 71-47 (.600) non-conference mark. Eight of the nine WAC schools have non-conference records of .500 or better. In the previous four years, the league posted non-conference records of 49-64 (434), 51-64 (.443), 47-65 (.420) and 58-64 (.475).
UTRGV'S KNUDSEN JOINS 1,000-KILL CLUB
In her team's match against Texas Tech on Sept. 14, UT Rio Grande Valley's Ragni Steen Knudsen recorded her 1,000th career kill to become the ninth UTRGV player to do so. Knudsen now ranks sixth with 1,124 career kills, 51 away from fourth place, and currently holds the program record for kills per set (3.63).
CSU'S KLAVITTER APPROACHING PROGRAM CAREER DIGS RECORD
Chicago State's Megan Klavitter, who earlier this season became the only active player in the WAC with 1,000 or more digs on Sept. 8 at Georgia State, posted a career-high 38 digs against Brown on Sept. 14. She leads the WAC in digs per set (5.69) and total digs (444). With 1,282 career digs, Klavitter needs 33 to break Chicago State's Division I record as Mysta Townsell (2010-13) holds the Division I career digs record with 1,314.
THREE WAC PLAYERS RANK AMONG NCAA ACTIVE CAREER LEADERS
UT Rio Grande Valley's Ragni Steen Knudsen currently ranks 20th among NCAA active career leaders in kills per set (3.63) and 49th in total kills (1,124). Meanwhile, teammate Alexandra Ecker ranks 27th in sets played (424) and NM State's Tatyana Battle ranks 34th in total kills with 1,207.
UTRGV'S ECKER BECOMES PROGRAM BLOCKS LEADER
In her team's win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Sept. 11, Alexandra Ecker broke the program record for total blocks when she finished the match with a pair of blocks to push her total to 343, surpassing the 341 of Haley Durham (2012-15). Ecker now has 369 total blocks. She also holds the program block assists record with 332.