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This Week in WAC Volleyball - FINAL

This Week in WAC Volleyball - FINAL

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NM STATE FALLS TO NO. 15-SEED OREGON IN NCAA TOURNAMENT
NM State fell in four sets (25-22, 18-25, 25-21, 25-11) to No. 15-seed Oregon in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. With the loss, the Aggies ended the season at 24-8.

NM State had more kills (54-50), assists (49-46) and digs (62-48) than Oregon, but was out-blocked 11.5 to 4.0 on the match. The Ducks also hit. 315 compared to the .207 of the Aggies.

In her final match, Tatyana Battle led the Aggies with 14 kills on .400 hitting to go with nine digs and three service aces. Savannah Davison posted a double-double of 11 kills and 10 digs, while Briana Ainsworth also doubled up with 22 assists and 11 digs.

UVU FALLS TO PORTLAND IN NIVC SECOND ROUND
Utah Valley's five-set magic finally came to an end as the Wolverines fell in five sets (25-19, 16-25, 29-27, 27-29, 19-17) to Portland in the second round of the NIVC. UVU finished the season 20-15. In the fifth set, the Wolverines had match point twice at 14-13 and again at 15-14, but eventually fell 19-17. It was the Wolverines' 14th five-set match of the season.

Though Utah Valley out-hit Portland .208 to .207, the Pilots had more kills (72-58), assists (68-51), service aces (8-5), digs (62-60) and blocks (16-14) than the Wolverines. Utah Valley was led by Kristen Allred with 16 kills and 12 digs. Makaila Jarema added 11 kills and six blocks, while Kazna Tarawhiti finished with 10 kills. Seren Merrill led the team with 21 digs.

In the first round, Utah Valley completed an epic five-set (11-25, 28-26, 23-25, 25-22, 21-19) victory over host Wyoming to pick up its first-ever postseason victory. Tarawhiti led all players with 22 kills to go with 17 digs for her ninth double-double of the season. Allred added 13 kills and Jasmin Niutupuivaha finished with 10 for the Wolverines. Both Utah Valley setters posted double-doubles. Madi Wardle finished with 27 assists and 14 digs, while BriAnne Mortensen tallied 33 assists and 11 digs. Jarema led all players with 10 blocks and Merrill had a match-high 25 digs.

CALIFORNIA BAPTIST FALLS TO TULANE IN NIVC SECOND ROUND
California Baptist saw its historic season come to an end with a 3-1 (18-25, 25-15, 22-25, 15-25) loss to Tulane in the second round of the NIVC. The Lancers finished their first season at the Division I level with a 21-11 record.

Tulane dominated nearly every statistical category, including kills (71-44), hitting percentage (.301 to .181), assists (65-43) and digs (79-65). California Baptist had more service aces (4-3) and blocks (6-5).

Yagoda Jedrzejczak paced CBU with 11 kills, while Megan Sester added 10. Setter Natalie Zimmerer posted a double-double of 37 assists and 16 digs to finish the season with 15. Libero Nicole Abreu finished with 19 digs.

In the first round, CBU picked up a five-set (17-25, 25-12, 25-17, 20-25, 15-11) victory over Little Rock. The Lancers out-hit the Trojans .251 to .213 on the match, with five service aces to the Trojans' three.

Summer Avery paced all players with 18 kills on .357 hitting to go with 11 digs for her 10th double-double of the season. Sydney Marks and Tesa Oaks added 14 kills each. Oaks also had 10 digs for a double-double. Zimmerer also doubled up with 51 assists and 15 digs. Abreu tallied a match-high 29 digs.

KANSAS CITY'S LUKES NAMED ALL-MIDWEST REGION
Kansas City junior middle blocker Tyrecia Lukes was named to the 2018 All-Midwest Region team, announced today by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). A first team All-WAC honoree, Lukes led the league in hitting percentage (.420), ranked second in blocks (1.26), sixth in points (3.76) and 10th in kills (3.03) per set. A two-time WAC Offensive Player of the Week, she was named to the all-tournament teams at the WAC Tournament, the UMKC Invitational, the Billiken Invitational and was the MVP of the Kangaroo Klassic. She ranks second nationally in hitting percentage, 25th in total blocks (147) and 40th in blocks per set.

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 was a four-time Offensive Player of the Week honoree.

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 led the WAC in hitting percentage (.228), assists (12.55) and kills (13.38), while UT Rio Grande Valley was tops in opponent hitting percentage (.164), service aces (1.43) and digs (17.38). Utah Valley led the WAC in blocks (2.74).

Individually, Kansas City's Tyrecia Lukes led the WAC in hitting percentage (.420), while Utah Valley's Kazna Tarawhiti was the leader in kills (4.01) and points (4.49) and teammate Makaila Jarema was tops in blocks (1.78). California Baptist's Natalie Zimmerer led the WAC in assists (10.44), CSU Bakersfield's Desiree Sukhov was tops in service aces (0.41) and Chicago State's Megan Klavitter led 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).

FIVE 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 (11.26) and 19th 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 32nd in total kills (1,386), UTRGV's Alexandra Ecker is 45th in sets played (467) and teammate Ragni Steen Knudsen is 52nd in total kills (1,301).

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.

WAC POSTS 76-52 NON-CONFERENCE RECORD
As a conference, the WAC posted a 76-52 (.594) non-conference mark in 2018. Eight of the nine WAC schools had 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).

THREE WAC LIBEROS MOVE INTO WAC CAREER RECORD BOOKS
Three WAC liberos – Chicago State's Megan Klavitter, UT Rio Grande Valley's Gysell Zayas and Tijana Milojevic of Seattle U – have moved into the Top 10 in the WAC career record books. Klavitter's 1,516 career digs ranks sixth all-time. Meanwhile, in digs per set, Zayas ranks fifth (4.84), Milojevic is sixth (4.73) and Klavitter is seventh (4.50).

SIX WAC PLAYERS RANK IN SINGLE SEASON TOP 10
Five WAC players ranked in the Top 10 in six categories of the WAC single-season record books. The players and statistical categories are listed below.

Player

School

Category

Total

Rank

Megan Klavitter

Chicago State

Total Digs

678

1st

Megan Klavitter

Chicago State

Digs Per Set

5.65

T-2nd

Tyrecia Lukes

Kansas City

Hitting Percentage

0.42

5th

Makaila Jarema

Utah Valley

Blocks Per Set

1.78

6th

Gysell Zayas

UTRGV

Digs Per Set

5.28

8th

Seren Merrill

Utah Valley

Total Digs

600

10th