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This Week in WAC Volleyball - Nov. 27

This Week in WAC Volleyball - Nov. 27

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NM STATE TO FACE NO. 15 SEED OREGON IN NCAA TOURNAMENT
NM State will travel to Eugene, Ore., to face No. 15 Oregon in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at 7 p.m. (PT) this Thursday, Nov. 29.

NM State is led by first team All-WAC and WAC All-Tournament Team honoree Tatyana Battle, who averages 3.38 kills and 3.03 digs per set, and WAC All-Freshman Team and WAC All-Tournament Team honoree Savannah Davison, who averages 3.12 kills and 2.27 digs per set. WAC Tournament MVP Megan Hart adds 2.13 kills on .364 hitting and 0.88 blocks per set.

Oregon (20-10) earned an at-large bid out of the Pac-12 Conference and is the No. 15 overall seed. The Ducks are led by Lindsey Vander Weide, who averages 3.45 kills and 2.98 digs per set. Ronika Stone adds 3.02 kills on .337 hitting and 1.20 blocks per set.

In the other match, Hawai'i (18-8) faces Baylor (19-8) at 4:30 p.m. (PT) Thursday. The Rainbow Wahine earned an at-large bid out of the Big West Conference, while the Bears earned an at-large bid out of the Big 12 Conference. The winners of the two matches will play at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30.

TWO WAC TEAMS TO PLAY IN NATIONAL INVITATIONAL VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Two WAC teams – California Baptist and Utah Valley – will participate in the postseason in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC) later this week.

The Lancers (19-10) will travel to New Orleans on Thursday, Nov. 29, where they will face Arkansas-Little Rock (19-12) at 5 p.m. CT. In the other match, Tulane (25-8) hosts Arkansas State (19-13). The winners of the two matches will play at 7 p.m. CT on Friday, Nov. 30.

CBU is led by first team All-WAC honoree Tesa Oaks, who averages 3.56 kills and 2.88 digs per set. Second team All-WAC honoree Natalie Zimmerer averages a WAC-best 10.50 assists per set.

Utah Valley (19-13) travels to Laramie, Wyo., where it will face the host Cowgirls (20-10) at 6:30 p.m. MT on Thursday. In the other match, Portland (18-12) faces Northern Colorado (15-13). The winners of the two matches will play at 6:30 p.m. MT on Friday, Nov. 30.

The Wolverines are led by WAC Freshman of the Year and WAC Tournament Team honoree Kazna Tarawhiti, who averages 4.08 kills per set. Second team All-WAC selections Kristen Allred and Makaila Jarema add 3.16 kills and 1.80 blocks per set, respectively.

ALL-WAC TEAMS ANNOUNCED
UT Rio Grande Valley senior outside hitter Ragni Steen Knudsen was named WAC Player of the Year, while Seattle U's Shae Harris repeated as Setter of the Year. Meanwhile, Chicago State's Megan Klavitter was named Libero of the Year, Utah Valley's Kazna Tarawhiti was named WAC Freshman of the Year and Kansas City's Christi Posey was named WAC Coach of the Year.

Knudsen earned WAC Player of the Year honors after leading the league in kills (4.27) and points (4.79) and ranking ninth in hitting percentage (.259) in WAC matches. She posted eight double-doubles in WAC play and was a four-time Offensive Player of the Week honoree this season.

Harris repeated as WAC Setter of the Year after averaging 9.62 assists and 2.90 digs per set in conference play. She posted nine double-doubles in WAC matches.

Klavitter earned WAC Libero of the Year honors after breaking the WAC record for digs in a season at 678. She led the league in digs (318) and digs per set (5.68) and ranked second in service aces per set (0.41) in WAC play and was twice named WAC Defensive Player of the Week this season.

Tarawhiti earned WAC Freshman of the Year honors after rafter leading the WAC in kills (4.15) and points (4.61). She had seven double-doubles on the season, including five in WAC matches.

Posey led her team to a third-place finish after being picked to finish fifth in the preseason poll. The Roos won 20 matches for just the third time in program history. She earned the award for the second time in her career.

NM STATE WINS WAC TOURNAMENT TITLE
Second-seeded NM State defeated No. 3-seed Kansas City 3-1 (15-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-15) in the semifinals before beating fourth-seeded Utah Valley 3-1 (19-25, 28-26, 25-20, 25-17) in the championship match to earn its fourth WAC Tournament title. Aggie middle blocker Megan Hart was named tournament MVP after posting a double-double of 13 kills and 10 blocks in the championship match and averaging 2.88 kills on .408 hitting and 2.00 blocks per set throughout the tournament.

All-Tournament Team
Tatyana Battle, NM State
Savannah Davison, NM State
Megan Hart, NM State (MVP)
Tyrecia Lukes, Kansas City
Seren Merrill, Utah Valley
Kazna Tarawhiti, Utah Valley

UTRGV WINS FIRST-EVER WAC REGULAR-SEASON TITLE
With its wins over Chicago State and Kansas City, UT Rio Grande Valley earned its first-ever WAC regular-season title. The Vaqueros also broke the program NCAA Division I record for conference wins with 13. The previous record was 10, set by the 2017 squad. UTRGV closed out the regular season on a season-best eight-match winning streak. UTRGV last won eighth-straight matches Oct. 4-Nov. 2, 2002

WAC STAT LEADERS
Kansas City leads the WAC in hitting percentage (.228), assists (12.55) and kills (13.38), while UT Rio Grande Valley is tops in service aces (1.43) and digs (17.38). NM State leads the WAC in opponent hitting percentage (.160) and Utah Valley is tops in blocks (2.72).

Individually, Kansas City's Tyrecia Lukes leads the WAC in hitting percentage (.420), while Utah Valley's Kazna Tarawhiti is the leader in kills (4.08) and points (4.56) and teammate Makaila Jarema is tops in blocks (1.80). California Baptist's Natalie Zimmerer leads the WAC in assists (10.50), CSU Bakersfield's Desiree Sukhov is tops in service aces (0.41) and Chicago State's Megan Klavitter leads the league in digs (5.65). 

In WAC matches only, UTRGV led the league in opponent hitting percentage (.156), service aces (1.63) and digs (18.13), while Kansas City was tops in assists (12.83) and kills (13.75). NM State led the WAC in hitting percentage (.235) and Utah Valley was tops in blocks (2.99).

Individually in WAC play, Lukes led the league in hitting percentage (.399), while UTRGV's Ragni Steen Knudsen was the leader in kills (4.27) and points (4.79). Zimmerer led the WAC in assists (10.45), Sukhov was tops in service aces (0.44), Jarema led the league in blocks (1.92) and Klavitter was tops in digs (5.68).

TWO WAC VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT
Two WAC volleyball players – Grand Canyon's Melody Horton and California Baptist's Natalie Zimmerer – have earned Google Cloud Academic All-District VIII honors. Horton was a first team selection, while Zimmerer was named to the second team.

Horton, a junior outside hitter, boasts a perfect 4.00 grade-point average in health care administration. The League City, Texas native is averaging 2.31 kills and 2.27 digs per set this season.

Zimmerer, a senior setter from Fresno, Calif., has a 3.95 GPA in marketing and is averaging 10.50 assists and 2.38 digs per set.

FIVE WAC PLAYERS RANK AMONG NCAA ACTIVE CAREER LEADERS
Chicago State's Lauryn Dela Cruz currently ranks sixth among NCAA active career leaders in attacks per set (11.26) and 20th in kills per set (3.82). Meanwhile, UT Rio Grande Valley's Gysell Zayas ranks 19th in digs per set (4.86), NM State's Tatyana Battle is 33rd in total kills (1,372), UTRGV's Alexandra Ecker is 35th in sets played (467) and teammate Ragni Steen Knudsen is 48th in total kills (1,301).

NM STATE'S BATTLE JOINS 1,000-KILL, 1,000-DIG CLUB
In the championship match of the WAC Tournament, NM State senior Tatyana Battle recorded her 1,000th career dig. In doing so she became the only active player in the WAC with 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs. Battle is the WAC's active leader in kills with 1,372 and has 1,008 career digs. 

UVU'S TARAWHITI BREAKS SCHOOL RECORD FOR KILLS IN A SEASON
Utah Valley freshman outside hitter Kazna Tarawhiti broke the Utah Valley NCAA Division I program record for kills in a season during her team's quarterfinal match of the WAC Tournament when she posted her 495th kill of the season. She is the only Wolverine to surpass 500 kills in a single season and now has 526 on the year, over 100 more than the next closest player in the WAC. Tarawhiti broke the previous Wolverine record of 494 set by the program's career leader in kills, Kayli Doxey, during the 2009 season.

CSUB'S BOISEAU BREAKS SINGLE-SEASON BLOCKS RECORD
CSU Bakersfield redshirt freshman Brooke Boiseau broke the school's Division I single-season record for total blocks when she posted her 110th block in the WAC Tournament quarterfinal match on Nov. 22, surpassing the previous record of 109 set last year by Haylee Roberts. Teammate Mattison DeGarmo finished the season with 109, good for a tie for second place. Boiseau also broke the program single-season record for block assists with 108.

CSUB FINISHES SEASON RANKED SIXTH IN SERVICE ACES
CSU Bakersfield closed out the season with 173 service aces, good for sixth place in the program Division I record books. The all-time record is 267 set by the 2008 team.