Rebels Ready For First NCAA Appearance
Nov. 28, 2007
LAS VEGAS -
First Serve: UNLV went 3-0 last week at the 2007 Mountain West Conference Volleyball Championship, en route to its first MWC title. With the 3-2 win over Utah in the championship match, the Rebels earned the MWC's automatic bid into the their first-ever NCAA Tournament. UNLV will face the 25th-ranked Long Beach State 49ers in the First Round on Friday, Nov. 30 (5:00 pm) in Los Angeles, Calif. USC's Galen Center will play host to the First and Second Rounds. USC is one of 16 teams seeded in the tournament, as the Trojans received the fifth national seed. USC will play the Pepperdine Waves following the conclusion of the UNLV-LBSU contest (approximately, 7:00 pm). The first round winners advance to second round action on Saturday, Dec. 1 (7:00 pm). For the regional, USC is the top seed, while UNLV is second, LBSU third and Pepperdine fourth.
NCAA Tournament First/Second Round Schedule:
Friday, Nov. 30 - First Round Match 1: UNLV vs. Long Beach State, 5:00 pm Match 2: USC vs. Pepperdine, 7:00 pm
**Note: All matches will be streamed live via the All-Access link on the USCTrojans.com website.
Miramontes Recognized Nationally, Twice: The awards keep piling up for Lauren Miramontes, as she was named this week's (Nov. 26) Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National Player of the Week, while taking the same honor from CVU.com. In a week of firsts, Miramontes led the Rebel volleyball team to their first-ever Mountain West Conference (MWC) Championship last week, and an automatic bid into their first NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship. In addition to being the Sports Imports/AVCA's and CVU.com's weekly selection, she also tabbed the MWC's Player of the Week after taking home MVP honors in the conference tournament.
Against Wyoming in the quarterfinals, Miramontes planted 19 kills, hitting at a .341 clip, and added five digs and eight total blocks. In the semifinals against BYU, the Rebel senior landed a MWC Championship and school-record 34 kills and added seven total blocks and three digs. Miramontes then sent the Rebels to the dance with 30 kills on .397 hitting in a five-game thriller against Utah, adding nine more blocks and three digs. Her tournament averages for the week were 5.93 kills-per-game, hitting .337, with 1.71 blocks and 0.79 digs-per-game. Her 83 total kills for the event is also a tournament record. Miramontes is the first women's volleyball player from UNLV to win the Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National Player of the Week award.
Miramontes is the second Mountain West Conference student-athlete to receive Sports Imports/AVCA honors in 2007, as Colorado State's Mekana Barnes took home honors on Sept. 4. Additionally, Miramontes is the first MWC student-athlete since the 2005 season to garner national attention from CVU.com, as Lindsy Hartsock of BYU received recognition on Sept. 27, 2005.
Let The "New" Season Begin The NCAA Tournament is something new to UNLV, but has become common-place for the three other teams that will be playing in Los Angeles at the Galen Center. In 17 years of volleyball in Las Vegas, the Rebels will be making their first appearance in the postseason. On the other hand, USC is making its 25th NCAA trip, while Long Beach State is on visit #22 and Pepperdine is on its 19th.
Rebels In The Poll...Move Up To 27th: What a difference three wins and a tournament championship can do for you! The UNLV Rebels jumped from 29th to 27th in this week's (Nov. 27) CSTV/AVCA Division I Coaches Poll. The Rebels have been ranked as high as 25th (twice) this season. Overall, UNLV has been recognized in 11 straight polls dating back to Sept. 17.
UNLV's Mountain West Conference foes, Colorado State and BYU, have received some recognition in this week's poll, as well. Colorado State dropped one spot to 21st following its semifinal exit from the MWC Volleyball Championship. BYU sits in the "receiving votes" category and fell one position to 32nd after its semifinal loss to UNLV in the tournament.
Rebels Fall Short Of Best Conference Mark Ever: UNLV volleyball is in its 12th year since the sport was brought back to the athletics line-up in 1996. In the previous 11 seasons, the Rebels best conference mark came in 1998, when the team went 11-3 (79%) and finished fourth overall in the Western Athletic Conference (second in the Mountain Division). The 2007 team finished 12-4 (75%) in the Mountain West Conference and tied second place.
Since 1999, UNLV has finished between fourth and sixth as a member of the MWC. The Rebels finished in fourth in 2004, 2005 and 2006. This was the first time that the Rebels had won 12 matches in MWC play and fourth season to win at least 10.
tart (Never Ending): After playing in 29 contests and three tournaments, UNLV owns a 24-5 record and three tournament titles. The 24-5 record is the best record through 29 matches in the program's history.
Included in 2007's 24 victories are two prolonged winning streaks. A 10-match winning streak that began on Oct. 4 vs. Wyoming and ties for the longest in the program's history was snapped this against Utah on Nov. 16. From Aug. 25 (Virginia) to Sept. 15 (Utah), the squad won nine straight after beginning the season 1-1.
Home Sweet Home - Overall: UNLV closed out its 2007 home regular season schedule with a record of 13-1 (93%). The 2007 winning percentage ranks as the best in the program's history and surpassed the 81% set by the 2006 squad and its 13-3 record.
Home Sweet Home - Conference: UNLV closed out its 2007 home conference schedule with a perfect 8-0 record (100%). The 2007 squad equals the winning percentage of the 1998 team that went 7-0 in the Western Athletic Conference.
Home Sweet Home - California: Although it can be said that Las Vegas is a suburb of California, 10 of 18 players on the 2007 UNLV roster are from the Golden State. Seven of the 10 are within a four-hour drive to the Greater Los Angeles area. Brittani Lumsden (Brea), Melody Nua (Long Beach), Camille Cunningham (La Canada), Jada Walker (Palmdale), Lauren Miramontes (Upland), Gerryn Moran (Torrance) and Mercedes Winchester (Walnut) call Southern California home. Alyssa Erickson (San Diego), Samantha Noland (Northern California - Moraga) and Kelsey Keeler (Northern California - Concord) round out the remaining three Californians.
Sibling Rivalry: Besides this being UNLV's first trip to the postseason, an underlying sibling rivalry may be taking place. The Rebels have two players with sisters that have had or are presently playing with two of the three other teams playing this weekend in Los Angeles.
Lauren Miramontes' older sister, Robin, played at Long Beach State (UNLV's First Round opponent) up until the 2006 season. Robin was a five-year player at LBSU, just like Lauren has been at UNLV. They both suffered injuries in their initial freshman seasons.
Brittani Lumsden's little sister, Rachel, is a sophomore for Pepperdine (UNLV's possible Second Round opponent, if both win their First Round matches). In her two years, Rachel has played in 185 games for the Waves and has amassed 603 kills (3.26 kpg), 81 aces (0.45 apg) and 488 digs (2.64 dpg). The sisters are similar in that they both are offensive and defensive players and can serve up an ace every now and then.
A First For Everything: With wins over then-#12 BYU and Utah in September and a win over then-#18 Colorado State on Oct. 25, the Rebels won matches against the "Big 3" in the Mountain West Conference for the first time in the same season in the program's history.
With help from wins in the Mountain West Conference Volleyball Championship, UNLV picked up its second wins over BYU and Utah in 2007. It was the first time that the Rebels have won two against either foe in a season.
Chalk `Em Up: The 2007 Rebels have accomplished another first this season. They defeated all eight of their MWC counterparts at least once, whether it be home or away. They own sweeps in the season-series against Air Force, New Mexico, TCU and Wyoming.
Four Of 15 Or More: Since Allison Keeley took over the UNLV volleyball program in 2004, she has done what no other coach has been able to do. Keeley has won at least 15 matches in four straight years at the helm. The team went 15-12 in 2004 and 15-15 in 2005. The squad improved to 20-10 in 2006 and currently sits at 24-5. The four-year span is also the first to own winning percentages of .500 or greater, since the sport was brought back in 1996.
Senior Salute: The UNLV Rebels recognized their "Fantastic Four" on Saturday, Nov. 10 in the seniors' final home regular season match. Maria Aladjova, Lauren Miramontes, Jada Walker and Brittani Lumsden have helped UNLV volleyball become what it is today. The four have left their names in the UNLV record book for years to come.
Maria Aladjova: All-time leader in kills and total attempts, sits in three other top 10s.
Lauren Miramontes: All-time leader in all three block categories, sits in five other top 10s.
Jada Walker: All-time leader in digs, matches and games played, sits in one other top 10.
Brittani Lumsden: Sits in the top 10 in six all-time career categories.
Nationally Speaking - Team: The UNLV volleyball team ranks nationally in per-game statistics in hitting percentage, assists, digs and kills, as well as owning the 21st-best winning percentage (83%). The statistics are compiled through Nov. 25.
~ Hitting: UNLV ranks 45th with an average of .245. Texas leads with a .341.
~ Assists: UNLV ranks 10th with an average of 15.68 apg. Nebraska leads with a 16.63 apg.
~ Digs: UNLV ranks 9th with an average of 19.89 dpg. Chattanooga leads with a 22.63 dpg.
~ Kills: UNLV ranks 13th with an average of 16.93 kpg. Nebraska leads with a 18.00 kpg.
Nationally Speaking - Individual: The UNLV volleyball team has three players rank nationally in individual per-game statistics in assists, digs and kills. The statistics are compiled through Nov. 25.
~ Assists: Melody Nua ranks 14th with an average of 13.34 apg.
~ Digs: Jada Walker ranks 29th with an average of 5.70 dpg.
~ Kills: Lauren Miramontes ranks 32nd with an average of 4.69 kpg.