Mountain Trip, Part Two
Nov. 11, 2008
LAS VEGAS -
First Serve: After splitting a pair of home matches, the UNLV Rebels embark on their sixth and final road trip for the 2008 regular season. The Rebels will head to the front range of the Rocky Mountains for contests at Wyoming (Thursday, Nov. 13 - 6:00 pm PT) and #16 Colorado State (Sunday, Nov. 16 - 12:00 pm PT).
The Wyoming Cowgirls will welcome UNLV to Laramie on Thursday night. The Cowgirls sit 4-17 overall and 3-9 in MWC play. Wyoming began 2008 with eight consecutive losses, but then won three of five before going 1-7 in its last eight contests. In the all-time series, UNLV leads 17-11, with five straight wins dating back to 2006. Wyoming owns a 7-5 edge in matches played in Laramie, but UNLV took last year's by a 3-1 tally on Nov. 3.
The CSU Rams dropped to 16th in this week's Bison/AVCA Division I College Coaches' Top 25 Poll (Nov. 10). CSU will host San Diego State on Thursday (Nov. 13), prior to welcoming UNLV to Fort Collins for Sunday's (Nov. 16) tilt. The Rams own a 20-3 overall record with a 10-2 mark in league action. CSU sat 16-1 prior to its first meeting with UNLV (Oct. 16), which the Rebels won by 3-1. The Rams then won four consecutive before dropping a 3-1 affair at TCU this past Saturday. In the all-time series, CSU leads by a 21-6 margin, but UNLV has made up some ground with four wins in the last seven meetings. The Rebels have won three straight in Las Vegas and once in Fort Collins (3-1: Nov. 4, 2005). Overall, CSU owns a 11-1 advantage in matches played on its home court.
On The Sidelines: After this week's road trip, UNLV will head home for a single match on Saturday, Nov. 1 (1:00 pm) vs. Air Force. The match will be the last for the Rebels in the 2008 MWC regular season.
Weekly Rewind: vs. BYU: The UNLV Rebels (14-11 overall, 7-5 Mountain West) needed a bit of extra volleyball to knock off the BYU Cougars (11-11, 4-8) in a five-set match by a 3-2 margin. The match witnessed UNLV storm out to a quick 2-0 lead only to see BYU rally with two wins out of intermission. The Rebels trailed up until the 10-10 mark of the fifth frame, but rallied to win five of the final six points for the set and match. UNLV took the match by set scores of 25-21, 25-20, 20-25, 23-25, 15-11.
In a series that dates back to 1984, the Rebels trail historically by a 6-22 margin. UNLV has managed to reel off four wins in the last five encounters. More importantly, UNLV has now won three consecutive dating back to 2007.
UNLV out-hit BYU by a .199-to-.194 margin. The Rebels racked up 10 more kills (69-to-59), but had seven more errors (31-to-24) in the victory. The Rebels hit no worse than .170 (fourth set) and stayed within the .100s until the fifth and final frame. UNLV reeled off a .316 efficiency in the fifth to take the match. BYU, on the other hand, fluctuated between .079 (second) and .361 (third). The Cougars came out strong in the fifth with their .278.
The Rebels were led by double-doubles from Melody Nua and Sara Nehf. Nua racked up her 11th of the season and 38th of her career by combining a match-high 51 assists and 12 digs. Nehf used a pairing of 12 kills and 12 digs for her second double-double of the year and third of her career.
Erin Greenwood topped all attackers and tied her career-high in kills with 22. Coincidentally, she set her career mark against BYU on Nov. 23, 2007 in the MWC Tournament semifinals.
Cursty Jackson followed Greenwood's lead in reaching a career milestone, as she knocked down 19 kills. Jackson surpassed her previous high of 14, which she set twice earlier this season. She led all Rebels in hitting efficiency with a .400 average with only three errors in 40 swings.
vs. #24 Utah: The UNLV Rebels (14-12 overall, 7-6 Mountain West) fell in four sets in the Cox Pavilion to the #24 Utah Utes (19-5, 11-2) Saturday afternoon. The Rebels managed to take a tightly contested first set, but Utah's offense proved to be too powerful, as they took the final three sets. The Rebels lost the match by set scores of 27-25, 17-25, 22-25, 19-25.
UNLV was out-hit in the match by a .162-to-.274 clip. The Utes threw down 10 more kills (62-to-52) and made seven less errors (26-to-19). The Rebels couldn't muster a hitting efficiency above their opening tally of .255, while settling between .054 (second) and .190 (third) the remainder of the match. Utah, on the other hand, hit no worse than .213 (first) and swung better than .277 (third) in the final three sets.
The Rebels were led offensively by Melody Nua's 12th double-double of the year and 39th of her career. Nua assisted on a match-high 42 assists, while tying for the team lead in digs with 16.
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.
Besides taking over the assists mark this season, she is about to be atop the "matches played" and "sets played" soon. She sits tied in the all-time matches played list with Jada Walker (2004-07) at 116. She is second behind Walker (431) in all-time sets played with 423.
She has dished out 943 total helpers and notched double-digits in all 26 of UNLV's matches this season and has achieved the feat in 115 of 116 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 226. She has hit the double-digit mark in digs on 12 occasions.
She has 12 double-doubles on the year with help from double-figure assist and dig totals. In all, she has 39 double-doubles for her career.
Although she is known for setting up her attackers, she is known to contribute one every now and then. She has 76 kills of her own this year with a season-high six occurring twice:
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 (257), fifth in solo blocks (40) and fifth in assisted blocks (217).
At the net, she is first in blocks with 65 (15 solo, 50 assisted) with a season-high six coming against TCU on Oct. 25.
She is second on the team in kills (256) and kills-per-set (2.78). She is hitting at a .290 efficiency, which is the best amongst Rebels. She has amassed 10 or more kills in 13 matches. Eight of those double-digit kill contests have come in the past 10 matches.
In the past 10 matches, she has racked up a team-best 122 kills and tops the squad with her 3.49 kills-per-set average. She has hit at a staggering .309 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.
She tied her career-high in kills with 22 this past Thursday (Nov. 6) vs. BYU. Coincidentally, she initially set her personal-best against the Cougars on Nov. 23, 2007, in the MWC Tournament semifinal match.
Prior to Thursday's achievement, her season-best to-date was against South Carolina (Aug. 30) in ASU's Sheraton Classic. Against the Gamecocks, she knocked down 20 kills with only one error in 42 swings and hit .452.
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 480 digs and sits second all-time in that category with 1,210 defensive stops. The 480 digs ranks as the third-most in a single-season at UNLV, while her 2007 tally of 354 is sixth.
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 26 matches this season with 10 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 22. 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 Sept. 18, Jackson has seen plenty of court time, as she has played in all 17 matches and 61 sets.
In the last 17 matches, she has tallied 176 kills which equates to 2.88 kills-per-set and a .279 hitting efficiency. She has amassed no less than five kills in each match, while maxing out at 19 vs. BYU (Nov. 6). In all, she has hit double-digit figures in eight matches of the 17 contests.
She racked up a .750 hitting efficiency against Georgia State (Sept. 20) to rank as her best outing to-date. She has seven matches in which she has hit above .300.
Not only has she been strong attacking, she has been just as effective as a blocker. In the past 17 matches, she is second on the team with 43 blocks (nine solo, 34 assisted).
Overall, she has thrown down 186 kills (2.70 kps) and is second on the team with a .288 hitting efficiency. At the net, she is second with 51 blocks (12 solo, 39 assisted).
Nehf Said: Sara Nehf has racked up 127 kills on the year for an average of 2.19 and a hitting efficiency of .186. Nehf has seen action in 22 matches and 58 sets, but has been more of a factor lately.
In the past 10 matches, she has contributed 98 kills (third most) for an average of 2.88 kills-per-set and is hitting .178. She has tallied eight or more kills in eight of the 10 contests, while topping out at a career-best 15 vs. #24 Utah on Nov. 8. She had previously set a career-high of 13 at TCU on Oct. 25.
In the same 10-match time frame, she has produced defensively, as well. She had 48 digs in those 10 matches matches. She picked up 10 vs. Wyoming (10-18) and 12 vs. BYU (11-6) to combine with her kill totals for her second- and third-career double-doubles.
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 (277) and kills-per-set (3.08). She has hit for double-digits in 15 of UNLV's 26 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.
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 26 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).
As her double-double efforts show, she is a balanced offensive/defensive player. She sits fifth on the team in kills with 124 and comes in fourth in digs with 202.
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.
She has 10 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 19 matches this season (76 kills, .221, 31 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).