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Rebels Back Home Again

Nov. 4, 2008


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First Serve: The UNLV Rebels return home after two unsuccessful weekends on the road to open up the second half of the Mountain West Conference campaign. UNLV will welcome the BYU Cougars and #24 Utah Utes to Las Vegas and the Cox Pavilion for matches on Thursday, Nov. 6 (7:00 pm) and Friday, Nov. 8 (1:00 pm), respectively.

BYU enters Thursday's contest with a 11-10 overall record and 4-7 mark in conference play. The Cougars have had a rough go of it since defeating Air Force in Provo, Utah, on Sept. 27. With the win, BYU owned a 9-3 record and were 2-1 in the league. Unfortunately, the Cougars have since gone 2-7 in its last nine, which included a five-match losing streak with UNLV handing them the fourth loss in that stretch. In the all-time series, BYU owns a 22-5 edge. The Cougars had won 10 straight between 2002 and 2006. UNLV managed to turn the tide and have won three of the last four dating back to last season, which includes the past two meetings: Nov. 23, 2007 (MWC Tournament semifinals) and Oct. 11, 2008 (in Provo). The victory on Oct. 11, in Provo, was only the second for UNLV to take place on the Cougars' home court.

The #24 Utah Utes will head to Las Vegas following a Thursday night match with the San Diego State Aztecs. The Utes, who had been receiving votes over the past few weeks, finally cracked the Bison/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll on Monday, Nov. 3. Coming into the week, the Utes sit second in the MWC with a 9-2 record, while going 17-5 overall. Utah began the year 7-1 before suffering three-straight losses. After that trio of defeats, they have gone 10-1, which includes an eight-match winning streak. In the all-time series, Utah owns a 25-3 advantage. The Utes won 19 straight between 1999 and 2006, but saw UNLV's fortunes change for the better in 2007. The Rebels took two of three from Utah, which included the MWC Championship match (3-2) on Nov. 24. Utah won the last meeting on Oct. 9, in Salt Lake City.

On The Sidelines UNLV will hit the road for the final time during the regular season with a trip to Colorado and Wyoming. The Rebels will square off with the Wyoming Cowgirls in Laramie, Wyo., on Nov. 13 (6:00 pm PT) and then head to Fort Collins, Colo., for a Nov. 16 match.

The CSU affair was originally supposed to be aired live by CBS College Sports, but has since been changed to a tape-delay event. The game time was moved up from a 3:00 pm PT start to noon PT The match will air on CBS C on Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 6:00 pm PT. CBS C can be found in Las Vegas on Cox Digital Cable Ch. 333 and on DirecTV 610.

Weekly Rewind: at San Diego State: The UNLV Rebels (13-11 overall, 6-5 Mountain West) dropped a 3-1, Mountain West Conference affair to the San Diego State Aztecs (8-13, 5-6) on the road Friday night at Peterson Gym. The Rebels have now lost its last three contests for its first three-match losing streak since 2005 (Oct. 17-22) and its first in league play since 2004 (Oct. 30-Nov. 6). UNLV came out strong in the first set, but faltered in the remaining three to lose by set scores of 25-15, 23-25, 12-25, 22-25.

UNLV was out-hit in the match by a .252 to .180 margin, while the Aztecs racked up five more kills (55-to-50) and four less errors (26-to-22). The Rebels owned the better hitting efficiencies in the first two sets, but were only able to win the first. After the intermission, SDSU stormed out with .452 and .235 tallies in the third and fourth frames, respectively, to take the match. UNLV maxed out with its .385 hitting in the first, but never swung above .212 the remaining stanzas. SDSU, on the other hand, hit in the .100s prior to the break, but came out strong when it counted.

Cursty Jackson and Erin Greenwood led the Rebels offensively. Jackson equaled her career-high in kills as she led all attackers with her 14 successful swings and topped the team with her .367 hitting. Greenwood knocked down 12 kills, of her own, while hitting .310.

Melody Nua notched her 10th 40-plus assist match of the season, as she helped out on 40 of 47 kills. Nua has now tallied 10 or more assists in 113 of 114 career matches.

Camille Cunningham tied for the match-high in digs with 15.

A Nua Record For The Books: With her 12th assist coming at the 2-2 mark of the second set vs. Nevada, Reno on Sept. 28, Melody Nua became the all-time assist leader in UNLV volleyball history surpassing Nicki King's (2001-04) 4,261. Nua has dished out 4,599 through three-plus years of play. She already owns the 2nd, 3rd and 8th-best single-season tallies in school history.

She has dished out 850 total helpers and notched double-digits in all 24 of UNLV's matches this season and has achieved the feat in 113 of 114 career matches. Her best match, thus far, in 2008 came at home vs. San Diego State (Oct. 3), where she dished out 54 helpers.

She has amassed the second-most digs on the team with 198. She has hit the double-digit mark in digs on 10 occasions.

She has 10 double-doubles on the year with help from double-figure assist and dig totals. In all, she has 37 double-doubles for her career.

Besides helping her hitters rack up kills, she is known to contribute one every now and then. She has 72 kills of her own this year with a season-high six occurring twice: Arizona State (Aug. 29) and Oregon (Sept. 12).

She is UNLV's second-best at serving up aces, as she has knocked down 17 in 2008.

Besides taking over the top spot in the history books in assists, she sits ranked in matches played (2nd, 14), sets played (2nd, 419), aces (10th, 79) and digs (3rd, 923).

Going Green: Erin Greenwood has made her presence felt in the middle with her ability to attack and put back attacks. In UNLV's all-time record book, Greenwood ranks fourth in hitting efficiency with a .279 average and in total blocks (250), fifth in solo blocks (39) and fifth in assisted blocks (211).

At the net, she is first in blocks with 58 (14 solo, 44 assisted) with a season-high six coming against TCU on Oct. 25.

She is second on the team in kills (225) and kills-per-set (2.71). She is hitting at a .292 efficiency, which is the best amongst Rebels. She has amassed 10 or more kills in 12 matches. Half of those 12 matches have occurred in the past six contests.

In the past six matches, she has racked up a team-best 79 kills and tops the squad with her 3.76 kills-per-set average. She has hit at a staggering .326 clip, which includes a .579 outing at BYU (Oct. 11). She nearly surpassed that effort with one a week later vs. Wyoming (Oct. 18), when she hit .567.

Thus far, her best match of the season came against South Carolina (Aug. 30) in ASU's Sheraton Classic. Against the Gamecocks, she knocked down 20 kills with only one errors in 42 swings and hit .452. The 20 kills were two shy of tying her career-best 22 racked up against BYU on Nov. 23, 2007.

In the Wyoming (Oct. 18) match, she had 19 kills and two errors in 30 attempts.

On The Outside: Jessica Walters played well enough the first month of 2008 to earn all-tournament honors four times over. At the ASU Sheraton Classic (Aug. 29-30), Walters smashed 60 kills (4.62 kps) and hit .278. In the UNLV Invitational (Sept. 5-6), she had 29 kills (2.42 kps). In the Oregon Classic (Sept. 12-13), she collected 42 kills (4.20 kps) and hit .293. At the Denver Invitational (Sept. 19-20), she had 31 kills (3.10 kps) and hit .244.

She leads the team in kills (268) and kills-per-set (3.23). She has hit for double-digits in 15 of UNLV's 24 matches. She has eight matches of 15 or more kills and one where she tallied more than 20 (Arizona State - Aug. 29).

Against ASU (Aug. 29), she collected a career-best 27 kills, while hitting at a .404 clip.

She set a career-best in hitting efficiency when she smashed a .520 at BYU (Oct. 11). She knocked down 14 kills with only one errors in 25 swings.

Another Cunningham: Camille Cunningham shares the same last name (but no relation) with a former UNLV all-time great...Randall Cunningham. Randall was inducted into the UNLV Hall of Fame in 1996 after his accomplishments on the gridiron, while Camille has spent her time on the court and has slowly worked her way into the record books.

After spending the past three years as a defensive specialist, she has taken over the libero jersey for the 2008 season. She leads the Rebels with her 441 digs and sits second all-time in that category with 1,171 defensive stops. Coming into 2008, her 2007 output of 354 digs ranked fifth, she surpassed that figure a few weekends ago with her 2008 tally moving into that position.

She earned all-tournament honors in the UNLV Invitational (Sept. 5-6) and the Denver Invitational (Sept. 19-20).

She has registered at least 11 digs in all 24 matches this season with nine contests of at least 20. She amassed a career-best 33 against Arizona State (Aug. 29).

Not only does she stop opponents' attacks, but she manages to produce offensively for UNLV, as well. She leads the team in aces with 21. She has seven matches in which she has at least two aces. She notched a career-best four aces against South Carolina (Aug. 30) and has two contests where she nailed down three.

Action Jackson: Before playing in UNLV's road trip through the state of Colorado (Sept. 18-20), Cursty Jackson had played in a total of four matches and eight sets. Since the Air Force match on Sept. 18, Jackson has seen plenty of court time, as she has played in all 15 matches and 52 sets.

In the last 15 matches, she has tallied 140 kills which equates to 2.69 kills-per-set and a .266 hitting efficiency. She has amassed no less than five kills in each match, while maxing out at 14 vs. Wyoming (Oct. 18) and San Diego State (Oct. 31). In all, she has gone into double-digits on six occasions. Against Georgia State (Sept. 20) she hit at a .750 clip.

Not only has she been strong attacking, she has been just as effective as a blocker. In the past 15 matches, she is second on the team with 39 blocks (eight solo, 31 assisted).

Overall, she has thrown down 150 kills (2.50 kps) and is second on the team with a .277 hitting efficiency. At the net, she is second with 47 blocks (11 solo, 36 assisted).

Sam I Am: After growing up in Las Vegas, Samantha Richard began her collegiate volleyball career in Salt Lake City at Salt Lake Community College. After a stellar career at SLCC, Richard chose to come back to Las Vegas and close out the final two years of her eligibility at UNLV.

Through 24 matches of play she has three double-doubles (Dayton, Cal State Fullerton and San Diego State). She picked up her first two double-doubles in the season's first five matches with 10 kills and 12 digs for her first as a Rebel vs. Dayton (Aug. 29) and then 12 kills and 17 digs vs. Fullerton (Sept. 6). It took her 12 matches to notch her third double-double with a 14 kill-10 dig effort vs. San Diego State (Oct. 3).

She currently sits fourth amongst attackers with 121 kills for an average of 1.48 kills-per-set. She has notched double-digits in kills on four occasions, with New Mexico (Sept. 27) and San Diego State (Oct. 3) topping the list with 14 kills in each. In the New Mexico match, she hit a season-best .444 with only two errors in 27 swings.

Defensively, she is third on the squad in digs (180) and fourth in digs-per-set (2.20). She has eight matches with 10 or more digs with a season-high 17 coming against Cal State Fullerton on Sept. 6.

She is fourth on the squad in aces with 12.

Maurer Power: Leah Maurer has seen action in 17 matches this season (71 kills, .217, 28 blocks), but made the most of her opportunity in UNLV's four-match home stand from Sept. 27 to Oct. 3.

In the quartet of matches, she led the team in kills with 39 and owned the highest hitting efficiency (.280) of players with 10 or more kills. She was third in kills-per-set with a 2.60.

She began the home stand with a nine-kill, four-block performance vs. TCU (Sept. 26) and then one-upped herself with 15 kills and a .448 hitting outing vs. Nevada, Reno (Sept. 28).

Nehf Said: Sara Nehf has racked up 100 kills on the year for an average of 2.04 and a hitting efficiency of .211. Nehf has seen action in 20 matches and 49 sets, but has been more of a factor lately.

In the past eight matches, she has contributed 71 kills for an average of 2.84 kills-per-set and is hitting .212. She has tallied eight or more kills in six of the eight contests, while topping out at a career-best 13 against TCU (Oct. 25).

In the same time frame, she has produced defensively, as well. She had 28 digs in those eight matches matches with 10 coming against Wyoming (10-18) to give her her second career double-double and first of the season.



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