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Sullivan Rounds Out Staff, Hires Ariel Apolinario

March 12, 2018

LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV volleyball head coach Dawn Sullivan has rounded out her coaching staff with the addition of assistant coach Ariel Apolinario, who served in the same capacity at Rice University the past two seasons.

"I am thrilled to finalize my staff with the addition of Ariel," said Sullivan. "It became obvious through the interview process that he would be a great fit for the UNLV volleyball family. He is hard working and loyal, and places a high priority in building relationships. His experience in recruiting as well as his on-court training will both be great assets to this program."

In two years at Rice, Apolinario assisted as offensive coordinator and worked specifically with the outside and right-side hitters. The Owls won 20 matches in 2016 and 21 in 2017 towards a combined 41-21 overall record. This past season, Rice competed in the inaugural National Invitational Volleyball Championship and earned a berth in the C-USA Tournament. In 2016, the Owls advanced to the C-USA Championship's title game.

Additionally, he guided Chelsey Harris and Madison McDaniel to 2016 American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America Team Honorable Mention honors after the duo and teammate Portia Okafor earned AVCA All-Southwest Region Team recognition that same season. Last year, Grace Morgan was also an AVCA All-Southwest Region Team honoree. Both Harris and McDaniel were 2016 C-USA All-Conference First Team performers, while Morgan achieved the same status in 2017. In all, five members from both the 2016 and 2017 squads represented the Owls on the C-USA's First, Second or Freshman Teams, including Nicole Lennon the conference's freshman of the year.

Prior to his tenure in the Lone Star State, the Cuban national was an assistant coach at Ohio University, and served as defensive coordinator with a focus on setters and middle blockers. The Bobcats went 48-14 in his two seasons in Athens, which included a 29-3 mark in Mid-American with a pair of MAC East titles as well as one regular-season and conference tournament championship that resulted in a trip to the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

 

 

Ohio had a total of six student-athletes earn all-conference honors, highlighted by Abby Gilleland's selection as an AVCA All-America Honorable Mention and two-time All-Region representative as well as the MAC's Player and Setter of the Year. Both Meredith Ashy and Kelly Lamberti were also tabbed AVCA All-Region Honorable Mention, while the former was the conference's defensive player of the year.

He also spent two years at Austin Peay State University, where the Lady Govs won 30 total matches and 19 in Ohio Valley play.

On the court, Apolinario played two years and then-NAIA member Newman University before the program was dropped. He transferred to NCAA Division II-member King University, and was a founding member of the Tornado volleyball program and was a two-time all-conference team member. He graduated from King University in 2010 with a degree in Spanish and a minor in coaching.

Apolinario has also served as a head coach in of the Northeast Tennessee Volleyball Club system for three seasons, Willowbrook Volleyball Club for two and the Memphis Juniors Volleyball Association for one.

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