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2006 UNLV Volleyball Season Wrap-Up

Jan. 5, 2007


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First Serve: The UNLV volleyball team concluded the 2006 season with a 20-10 overall record and a 10-6 mark in Mountain West Conference play. The 20 wins are the second-most in the program's history (23 in 1998), since volleyball was reinstated in the 1996 season. The Rebels set a program record by winning 13 of its 20 matches by 3-0 margins. The 13 sweeps surpassed the 12 set by the 1998 squad.

2006 MWC Tournament Recap: For the third straight year the UNLV Rebels reached the semifinals of the Mountain West Conference Tournament, but have been unsuccessful in their attempt to reach the championship match. The fourth-seeded Rebels were matched up against the fifth-seeded Wyoming Cowgirls in the quarterfinals on Thursday, Nov. 23. UNLV promptly swept past Wyoming to advance to the semifinals against the top-seeded Utah Utes. The Rebels were unable to get past the Utes and were eliminated by a 3-0 margin.

In the quarterfinals, the seventh-seeded San Diego State Aztecs pulled off a quarterfinal upset of the second-seeded BYU Cougars. SDSU jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead only to watch BYU even things up at 2-2. The Aztecs managed to win the fifth frame for the unlikely 3-2 win. That was the only match to be won by the lower-seeded team until the championship match between the third-seeded Colorado State Rams and Utah. The Rams fell behind two games to none, but rallied from the brink of elimination to earn the conference's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament with an exciting 3-2 come-from-behind victory.

Reaching the 50-Win Plateau: In the past three seasons UNLV has won a total of 50 matches under the leadership of head coach Allison Keeley. Since the arrival of Keeley from Villanova University in 2004, the Rebels have won 57% (50-37) of its matches. In her three years at UNLV, she has won 15 matches in each of her first two seasons, while hitting the 20-win mark in 2006.

Prior to her taking over the reigns of the program, UNLV needed five seasons to amass 52 total wins.

In 2004, she picked up her first win as a Rebel in a 3-2 victory over Washington State on Sept. 3. Her 50th came against Wyoming in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Conference Tournament on Nov. 23. The Rebels used a 3-0 sweep to advance to the tournament semifinals.

Trio Tabbed To all-Conference: At the Mountain West Conference Tournament banquet on Nov. 22, three UNLV Rebels were recognized for their outstanding play in the 2006 regular season. Maria Aladjova, Lauren Miramontes and Jada Walker were honored for their feats in the 16-match MWC regular season.

Aladjova and Miramontes duplicated their 2005 efforts by being selected for a second straight year, while this was the first for Walker.

Utah, who went 16-0 en route to winning the MWC regular season crown, ran away with many of the league awards. Head coach Beth Launiere was selected as the coach of the year. Airial Salvo was chosen as the player of the year, while Sydney Anderson was tabbed the freshman of the year.

Joining Aladjova, Miramontes, Walker, Salvo and Anderson on the 2006 squad were eight other members of teams that finished in the top three in the conference. Emillie Toone, Whitney Webb and Lori Baird rounded out Utah's five selections. BYU contributed four players to the team with the addition of Rachel Dyer, Chelsea Goodman, Lindsy Hartsock and Erica Lott. Colorado State rounded out the squad with Mekana Barnes and Tonya Mokelki.

UNLV Finishes Fourth...Once Again: The Rebels sewed up their third straight fourth-place finish in Mountain West Conference play with its victory over Colorado State on Nov. 12. The team solidified its conference record with its 3-0 sweep at San Diego State on Nov. 17. UNLV closed out the 2006 MWC regular season with a 10-6 mark. The 10-6 record is identical to that of the 2005 team's.

This season, the Rebels swept the season series from TCU, San Diego State, New Mexico and Air Force, while splitting with Colorado State and Wyoming. Unfortunately, Utah and BYU got the best of the Rebels in each of those respective series.

The 10-Spot: After 30 matches of play, UNLV closed out 2006 with a 20-10 record. The Rebels held a winning percentage of 66% and were 10-matches over .500. The last time in program history that a team was over .500 by 10 or more matches at the end of a season was in 1998 when that squad finished 23-8 (74%).

The 1998 squad began the year 6-3 prior to rattling off a program-best 10 match winning streak to go 13-matches above .500. They pushed the mark to +16 prior to a loss in the final match of the season to conclude the year at 23-8 (+15).

Against The Nationally Ranked: In 2006, the Rebels were defeated on 10 occasions. When the season started the team had only one ranked-squad on its schedule -- Utah was 24th. Now that the season is over the Rebels had four opponents ranked in the top 25 or that were receiving votes.

Those four squads held a combined 102-22 record and a 82% winning percentage. Utah (28-4) closed out 2006 ranked 15th and won three against UNLV. Cal Poly (23-6) was 1-0 against UNLV and was ranked 17th. BYU (25-6) went 2-0 vs. the Rebels and ranked 20th. Long Beach State (26-6) went 1-0 against UNLV and received votes in the final poll.

2006 NCAA Tournament Influence: Once the 2006 NCAA Tournament field was set, the Rebels could say that they played seven of the 64 participants seeking the national title. Against those seven opponents UNLV held an overall record of 3-8 in 11 matches. UNLV defeated UC Santa Barbara, Oral Roberts and Colorado State. The Rebels suffered losses to BYU (two times), Long Beach State, Utah (three times), Colorado State and Cal Poly.

Overall, those seven held a combined record of 4-7 in the tournament. BYU, Long Beach State, Utah and Cal Poly went 1-1, while the rest were 0-3.

Saturday Was Quite Alright: Saturdays were good to the Rebels this season as the squad went 11-1 on the day this season. The Rebels were 7-0 prior to its lone Saturday loss to then-#16 BYU on Sept. 23, but won four straight afterwards. UNLV held a record of 9-9 in non-Saturday contests.

Playing the Games: UNLV held a 21-9 (70%) edge in winning the second game of its matches. The Rebels were 19-11 (63%) in the first game and 17-13 (57%) in the third. The team went 5-6 (45%) in the fourth game and 3-1 (75%) in the fifth frame.

In 2005, the Rebels won only 11 of 30 game twos. UNLV's best record in any game was 19-11 (63.3%) in game ones. The team was nearly as good in the third game with an 18-12 mark. The team played at .500 in game four with a 10-10 record, but were 3-5 in the decisive fifth games.

Since 1996, when the Rebel volleyball program was brought back, UNLV's best record in any frame is 1998's game one mark of 23-8 (74%).

In-N-Out Double-Doubles Coming Up: Through 30 matches of play the UNLV Rebels amassed 41 double-doubles with Maria Aladjova leading the way with 14. Melody Nua is second on the team with seven.

Aladjova began 2006 with five double-doubles in six matches and then scattered nine more over the final 24 contests. She had a span of four straight matches during the UNLV Classic and then Baden Cougar Challenge where she combined her kills and digs for double-doubles. On three occasions she had back-to-back matches of double-doubles with the last combo coming on Nov. 10 (Air Force) and Nov. 12 (Colorado State). She notched one double-double during the MWC Tournament quarterfinals against Wyoming with 13 kills and 10 digs.

Nua racked up her first four double-doubles in an odd stretch. She got her first against Cal Poly in match #1. From that point, she was averaging one double-double every four-matches. In the fourth match after getting her first, she notched #2 against UC Davis. Four matches after that she got #3 against Xavier. Four matches after that she got #4 against Utah. Unfortunately, that one in four strategy ended when she picked up #5 at Wyoming, only five matches later. She got #6 at BYU, only three matches after her fifth. When she got the sixth it averaged out to one in every her original streak. The 7th had to wait six matches later until a match with Colorado State (Nov. 12).

Double Killing: The Rebels had 78 instances of attackers racking up double-digits in the kill department. Maria Aladjova led the way with 24 of the 78 tallies. Brittani Lumsden placed second amongst all Rebels with 14, while Lauren Miramontes had 12.

In the six matches, that Aladjova failed to hit 10+ kills she tallied eight kills three times, seven twice and six once. She began the season with seven straight matches of 10 or more kills, before notching eight against Cal State Northridge. She collected a then-season-high 21 kills at New Mexico (Sept. 30), but surplanted that total with 22 kills vs. the Lobos on Oct. 28. She had two streaks of seven straight matches of 10+ kills.

Lumsden had picked up 10 or more in four straight matches from Sept. 25 (Nevada, Reno) to Oct. 7 (Wyoming). She hit for a season-high 21 at New Mexico on Sept. 30.

Miramontes began the season with three straight during the UNLV Classic before going four matches without hitting double-digits. After the layoff, she came back with a 21-kill outing against Xavier (Sept. 9) and then followed that with 12 vs. San Diego State on Sept. 13. From that poing on she only registered two more before closing out the season with five in-a-row. In her final five matches she notched 18 apiece against Colorado State (Nov. 12) and at SDSU (Nov. 17).

Digging Around, Nationally Speaking: As of the final statistics released by the NCAA on Dec. 17, the Rebels ranked 16th nationally in digs per game. UNLV averaged 19.32 digs per game and trailed first-place Murray State and its 23.48 figure.

Dishing Assists, Nationally Speaking: As of the final statistics released by the NCAA on Dec. 17, the Rebels ranked 50th nationally in assists per game. UNLV averaged 14.58 assists per game and trailed first-place Nebraska and its 16.20 figure.

Gentle Killing, Nationally Speaking: As of the final statistics released by the NCAA on Dec. 17, the Rebels ranked 49th nationally in kills per game. UNLV averaged 15.87 kills per game and trailed first-place Nebraska and its 17.40 figure.



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