2007 Season: That's A Wrap
Dec. 19, 2007
LAS VEGAS -
Final Serve: The 2007 volleyball season came to an end on Nov. 30 for the UNLV Rebels in Los Angeles, Calif. The Rebels were defeated in a hard-fought five-game match by the then-#25 Long Beach State 49ers in the NCAA Tournament First Round at USC's Galen Center. The Rebels rallied from 1-0 and 2-1 game deficits, but fell in the decisive fifth frame by a 15-10 score.
NCAA Tournament First/Second Round Results:
Friday, Nov. 30 - First Round Match 1: Long Beach State def. UNLV, 3-2 Match 2: USC def. Pepperdine, 3-0
Miramontes Becomes UNLV's First All-America: Lauren Miramontes just added one more accolade to her successful season by being named a 2007 American Volleyball Coaches Association's (AVCA) Division I Honorable Mention All-America. Miramontes was eligible for AVCA All-America honors after being tabbed to the AVCA West Region's First Team on Dec. 5.
Besides being named to the two AVCA squads, she was named the Sports Imports/AVCA and the CVU.com (College Volleyball Update) National Player of the Week on Nov. 26, while taking home her fourth MWC Player of the Week honor. She was selected as the MWC's Volleyball Championship MVP on Nov. 24 for her record-setting play in UNLV's run to the program's first-ever title. She was one of four Rebels on the 2007 MWC All-Conference Team. At the start of the season, she selected to three regular season all-tournament teams.
She was an integral part of the squad that helped UNLV to a school-record season. The team finished the year with a program-best record of 24-6. The Rebels received their first Top 25 ranking in program history, as they were ranked 25th twice. In MWC action, she helped UNLV to a 12-4 record and a second-place finish.
For the year, Miramontes owned team-highs in kills (521), kills-per-game (4.65), hitting (.296), total blocks (132), solo blocks (32) and assisted blocks (100). She contributed 111 digs, 13 assists and 11 aces, as well. She had 29 matches with double-digit kills, which included 10 matches with 20 or more. Her 34 kills vs. BYU in the MWC Semifinals were a program-best and MWC Tournament high. She hit above .300 in 16 matcehs, including two matches in the .600s. She blocked at least four attacks on 21 occasions, with a career-high nine coming against Utah in the MWC Championship.
In final MWC standings, she placed first in kills-per-game and points-per-game (5.48), while coming in ninth and tenth in blocks-per-game and hitting percentage, respectively.
Keeley Named AVCA's West Region Coach Of The Year: UNLV head coach Allison Keeley was recognized by the 2007 American Volleyball Coaches Association as the West Region's Division I Coach of the Year. This is the first AVCA honor for Keeley after she shared the Mountain West Conference's Coach of the Year award.
The 2007 season has been as year of firsts for Keeley and her Rebels. Under her direction, UNLV turned in its most successful campaign in the program's history, finishing the season with a 24-6 overall record, it's first-ever Mountain West Conference Championship and earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. After ending 2006 with a 20-10 record, Keeley guided the Rebels to the program's first-ever appearance in the CSTV/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll, where it stood at No. 25 for two consecutive weeks. In addition, UNLV achieved only its fourth-ever 20-win campaign, with two of those four seasons coming under the mentorship of Keeley.
Three Sent Packing...To The NCAA Tournament: With UNLV winning the Mountain West Conference Championship, the Rebels were awarded the conference's automatic bid into the 2007 NCAA Tournament. Joining UNLV in the field of 64 were MWC foes BYU and Colorado State. All three teams were sent packing as UNLV went to Los Angeles, BYU to Seattle and Colorado State to Ann Arbor, Mich. The CSU Rams were seeded 14th nationally and were the top seed in their regional.
BYU nearly made it to the National Semifinals, but fell short in a 3-0 loss to the third-seeded Penn State Nittany Lions in the University Park, Penn. Regional Final. The Cougars defeated Mississippi (3-0) in their first round match and then upset the sixth-seeded Washington Huskies (3-2) on their home court. BYU then knocked off Middle Tennessee (3-0), prior to its loss to PSU.
Colorado State defeated Illinois State in its first round match by a 3-0 margin, but were swept by Michigan in the second round. Unfortunately, the Rams had to play the Wolverines on UM's home court.
UNLV fought hard in its five-game loss to Long Beach State in the first round of their match in L.A. The 49ers could not keep their five-game luck running, as they lost to the fifth-seeded USC Trojans in the second round. USC carried its momentum all the way to the National Semifinals before losing to the National Runner-Up Stanford.
Rebels In The Poll...End Year Receiving Votes: On Dec. 19, the CSTV/AVCA Division I Top 25 Final Poll was released and UNLV was listed in the "receiving votes" category. Although, the Rebels would hypothetically be "ranked" 36th, it marked the 13th straight week that the squad was listed in the weekly poll.
The Rebels first showed up in the "receiving votes" category on Sept. 17. Since then UNLV had been solidified in the poll. The team finally cracked the Top 25 on Nov. 5, with a #25 placement. The Top 25 ranking was a first for UNLV in the program's history. In the following week's poll (Nov. 12), the team stayed at #25. From the Nov. 19 poll to Dec. 19's, the team stayed in the "receiving votes" category.
There were four notable teams in the Dec. 19 poll that hold significance to UNLV. BYU and Colorado State, both Mountain West Conference foes, were recognized as they were 12th and 26th, respectively. Long Beach State, who UNLV played in the NCAA Tournament's First Round was 23rd, while regular season opponent Santa Clara was 37th.
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 for second place.
Since the formation of the MWC in 1999, the Rebels had finished between fourth and sixth place prior to 2007. UNLV stood firm in the fourth spot the past three years (2004-06), but moved up a couple spots this season.
Through 30: After playing in 30 contests and three tournaments, UNLV closed out 2007 with a 24-6 record and three tournament titles. The 24-6 record is the best record 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 tied for the longest in the program's history was snapped 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's winning percentage equals that of the 1998 team that went 7-0 in the Western Athletic Conference.
Fantastic Four Finish: When Long Beach State scored the final point of the five-game match against UNLV on Nov. 30, the Rebels' season came to a close, as did the collegiate careers of the "Fantastic Four". Seniors Maria Aladjova, Lauren Miramontes, Jada Walker and Brittani Lumsden went out on top, as they helped UNLV to a series of firsts: Mountain West Conference Championship; NCAA Tournament appearance; back-to-back 20-win seasons and four straight 15-win seasons.
All four players have their names in the all-time UNLV career and single-season records.
Maria Aladjova: All-time leader in kills and total attempts, sits in five 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.
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 had 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 during the regular season, whether it be home or away. They own sweeps in the season-series against Air Force, New Mexico, TCU and Wyoming.
The 20-20 and 15-15-15-15 Clubs: In took 17 years for the UNLV volleyball program to put together back-to-back 20-win seasons. With the program in its third go-round, the 2006 and 2007 Rebels notched at least 20 victories in each season. The 2006 squad won 20 matches, while the 2007 team upped that tally by four with 24 wins of its own. Overall, UNLV has only had four 20+ win seasons.
Prior to Allison Keeley's arrival at UNLV, the volleyball program had only accomplished three seasons with 15 or more wins. Since Keeley took the helm, the Rebels have won at least 15 matches in four straight years. The 2004 (15-12) and 2005 (15-15) squads won 15 each, while the 2006 and 2007 teams broke the 20-win barrier.
Nationally Speaking - Team: The UNLV volleyball team ranked nationally in per-game statistics in hitting percentage, assists, digs and kills, as well as owning the 23rd-best winning percentage (80%). The statistics were compiled through Dec. 16.
~ Hitting: UNLV ranks 53rd with an average of .240. ~ Assists: UNLV ranks 12th with an average of 15.53 apg. ~ Digs: UNLV ranks 10th with an average of 19.76 dpg. ~ Kills: UNLV ranks 13th with an average of 16.78 kpg.
Nationally Speaking - Individual: The UNLV volleyball team has three players ranked nationally in individual per-game statistics in assists, digs and kills. The statistics were compiled through Dec. 16.
~ Assists: Melody Nua ranks 19th with an average of 13.16 apg. ~ Digs: Jada Walker ranks 33rd with an average of 5.64 dpg. ~ Kills: Lauren Miramontes ranks 36th with an average of 4.65 kpg.