UNLV VOLLEYBALL TO OPEN MOUNTAIN WEST PLAY THIS WEEK
The Rebels, who are receiving votes in the national rankings, will play at San Jose State and at UNR on Thursday and Saturday
The defending Mountain West Champion UNLV Volleyball Team (9-2), which has won seven matches in a row, will open league play this week at San Jose State on Thursday and at UNR on Saturday.
Thursday’s match against the Spartans (6-4) is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., while Saturday’s vs. the Wolf Pack (3-8) will start at 1 p.m. Both matches will be broadcast on the Mountain West Network and will also have live stats available online. All links may be found on the UNLV volleyball schedule page at UNLVRebels.com.
LAST WEEK: The Rebels won their second tournament championship of the season at the Sparky Volleyball Invitational, hosted by Arizona State. The Rebels defeated Pacific and ASU to claim the crown. Fifth-year senior Mariena Hayden earned tournament MVP honors, while senior setter Lauryn Burt and Junior libero/defensive specialist Paris Oliveira were both named to the All-Tournament Team.
MOUNTAIN WEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Oliveira was also honored for her performance last week as she was named the MW’s Defensive Player of the Week. It was the third weekly honor for a Rebel volleyball student-athlete this season as middle blocker Chloe Thomas has twice earned the MW’s Freshman of the Week award.
WINNING: Dating back to 2019, UNLV has won 38 of its last 43 matches, including nine of 11 this season with seven straight wins heading into this week’s Mountain West opener. UNLV’s only losses this season are to two ranked teams (No. 7 Purdue and No. 11 BYU).
AMONG THE NATIONAL LEADERS: Hayden ranks No. 4 in the nation this season in aces per set at 0.72. Senior middle blocker Kate Brennan ranks 32 in the nation in hitting percentage (.413).
MOVING UP THE UNLV CHARTS: Hayden is No. 2 all-time at UNLV in career kills and currently has 1,598 for her collegiate career. She is only the second student-athlete in UNLV history to record 1,500 kills and is only three behind No. 1 on the list (Maria Aladjova with 1,601 from 2004-07). Hayden also ranks No. 5 in career digs with 1,211 and is No. 1 in service aces with 290 (174 ahead of second place).
FIRST WIN OVER A RANKED TEAM SINCE 2016: Earlier this season the Rebels faced three straight ranked teams: at then-No. 15 BYU, vs. then-No. 8 Purdue and vs. then-No. 25 Washington State. UNLV’s win over Washington State marked its first victory over a ranked opponent since defeating then-No. 22 Utah in the NCAA Tournament in 2016. With their win last week at ASU, the Rebels are 2-0 against the Pac-12 this season.
MOUNTAIN WEST FAVORITES: For the first time in program history, the Rebels were predicted to finish atop the MW volleyball standings by the league’s 11 head coaches as the preseason poll was released in August. Hayden was chosen as the Preseason Conference Player of the Year.
OTHER NEWS & NOTES:
- UNLV returned nine letterwinners this season including Hayden, an All-American and MW Player of the Year, and Brennan, an All-MW First Team performer.
- Also returning to the squad from last season were Gabrielle Arretche-Ramos, Burt, junior outside hitter Shelby Capllonch (honorable mention All-MW), Arien Fafard, Jordyn Freeman, Paola Garcia and Oliveira. There are eight newcomers, which include six freshmen and a pair of international student-athletes.
- UNLV is coming off a record-breaking season during the spring that saw the Rebels go undefeated in regular-season play (12-0) and advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Rebels ended the season with a 13-1 overall record, falling to eventual national champion Kentucky.
- UNLV is led by fourth-year head coach Dawn Sullivan, who was honored following the Spring 2021 season with the MW’s Coach of the Year award.
- Hayden was named Honorable Mention All-America by the AVCA following Spring 2021 after being selected to the organization’s Pacific South All-Region Team. She also was UNLV’s first league Player of the Year in volleyball.
- Hayden entered this season as the NCAA’s active leader in aces (269) and aces per set (.674). Additionally, she sat 12th in total attacks (3,897), 13th in kills (1,484) and 23rd in kills per set (3.72).