Courtesy: Western Athletic Conference
Week 4 of Western Athletic Conference play begins with five matches on Tuesday featuring UMKC, Chicago State, Cal Baptist, Texas-Rio Grande Valley and Utah Valley.
UMKC begins the week with a Power Five matchup against Kansas State. The four remaining matches pit WAC teams against instate foes: Chicago State vs. Northern Illinois, UTRGV vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Utah Valley vs. Weber State and Cal Baptist vs. La Sierra.
WEEK 3 AWARDS
In the third weekend of play, the WAC had 19 players earn all-tournament honors, including two MVPs. NM State had three players – Ashley Anselmo, Tatyana Battle and Megan Hart – earn all-tournament honors at the Springhill Suites/Borderland Invitational, with Battle taking home MVP. Kansas City’s Alicia Harrington, Brooke Jacobs and Tyrecia Lukes were all named to the Kangaroo Klassic All-Tournament Team, with Lukes taking home MVP honors. California Baptist’s Nicole Abreu and Sydney Marks and CSU Bakersfield’s Emily Hansen and Desiree Sukhov were named to the all-tournament team at the Amy Svoboda Memorial Classic. Alexandra Ecker was named the Best Blocker and Gysell Zayas was named the Best Defender at the Baylor Classic. Meanwhile, Annabelle Kubinski and Kaira Moss of Grand Canyon were named to the Blue Hen Invitational All-Tournament Team and Seattle U’s Shae Harris and Tijana Milojevic earned honors at the Sacramento State Invitational. Rounding out the group were Utah Valley’s Kristen Allred and Jasmine Niutupuivaha, who were named to the Wolfpack/Camel Invitational All-Tournament Team, and Chicago State’s Megan Klavitter, who earned all-tournament honors at the Georgia State Invitational.
WAC STAT LEADERS
Kansas City leads the WAC in hitting percentage (.238), assists (12.75) and kills (13.52), while California Baptist is tops in opponent hitting percentage (.169), service aces (1.66) and digs (16.32). Utah Valley leads the WAC in blocks (2.37).
Individually, Kansas City’s Tyrecia Lukes leads the WAC in hitting percentage (.458) while Utah Valley’s Kazna Tarawhiti is the leader in kills (4.07) and points (4.57). UT Rio Grande Valley’s Debora Nazario is tops in assists (10.11) and Grand Canyon’s Kayla Matthews is the leader in service aces (0.39). Utah Valley’s Jasmine Niutupuivaha is the blocks leader (1.08) and Chicago State’s Megan Klavitter is the best when it comes to digs (5.21).
UTAH VALLEY GETS FIRST-EVER WIN OVER ACC SCHOOL
On Sept. 7, Utah Valley defeated NC State in five sets for its first-ever victory over a foe from the Atlantic Coast Conference. With the three victories, UVU captured the Wolfpack/Camel Invitational and has now won six straight matches and seven of its last eight.
UTRGV GETS FIRST-EVER WIN OVER RANKED TEAM
UT Rio Grande Valley picked up what is considered to be the biggest victory in regular season program history, knocking off No. 15 Baylor in five sets on Sept. 8. It is believed to be UTRGV’s first-ever victory over a ranked Division I institution. It is UTRGV’s second-straight win over Baylor, which knocked off No. 2 Wisconsin the previous day. Barbara Silva recorded a career-high 21 kills, while Dubravka Vukoja dished out a season-high 46 assists. Gysell Zayas added 26 digs en route to tournament Best Defender honors and Alexandra Ecker recorded a season-high eight blocks en route to tournament Best Blocker honors.
NM STATE BEATS ARIZONA FOR FIRST TIME EVER
When it defeated Arizona in five sets on Sept. 8, it was NM State’s first-ever victory over the Wildcats. What’s more, the win is the Aggies’ first over a Power-5 school since defeating North Carolina on Aug. 30, 2008 and the first win at home over a school from a power conference since defeating Texas Tech on Sept. 10, 2003. The victory also extended NM State’s home winning streak, which dates back to the 2017 season, to 16 matches.
UTAH VALLEY’S ATOA APPROACHING 400 CAREER WINS
After going 4-0 last week, Utah Valley head coach Sam Atoa is two wins shy of recording his 400th career victory. Atoa, who is currently in his 20th season as Utah Valley’s head coach, boasts a 398-224 career record (.640). The 2016 WAC Coach of the Year, he holds a 260-193 (.574) 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.
CHICAGO STATE’S KLAVITTER JOINS 1,000-DIG CLUB
Chicago State junior Megan Klavitter became the only active player in the WAC with 1,000 or more digs on Sept. 8 at Georgia State. She currently has 1,036 digs and leads the WAC with a 5.21 digs per set average this season.
NM STATE’S BATTLE JOINS 1,000-KILL CLUB
NM State senior outside hitter Tatyana Battle recorded her 1,000th career kill on Aug. 31 against Florida Gulf Coast. The only current WAC player with 1,000 or more kills, Battle has 1,081 on her career.
UTRGV PLAYERS RANK IN PROGRAM TOP 10
UT Rio Grande Valley currently has two of the best blockers in program history. Alexandra Ecker already holds the program record for block assists (309) and last week moved into a tie for total blocks (341). Meanwhile, Barbara Silva ranks fifth in block assists (233) and ninth in total blocks (251). The duo also join WAC Preseason Player of the Year Ragni Steen Knudsen to rank in the Top 10 in hitting percentage. Ecker is second (.287), Silva is fifth (.245) and Knudsen is eighth (.227). Knudsen also ranks ninth all-time in program history in kills (974) and looks to become the ninth member of the UTRGV 1,000-kills club.