UNLV VOLLEYBALL TO OPEN MOUNTAIN WEST HOME SCHEDULE WITH AIR FORCE AND NEW MEXICO THIS WEEK
The Rebels, who have won eight of their last nine matches, host the Falcons Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and the Lobos Saturday at 1 p.m. at Cox Pavilion; Special pregame recognitions planned for both matches
The defending Mountain West Champion UNLV Volleyball Team (10-3, 1-1), which has won eight of its last nine matches, will be back at home in the Cox Pavilion for two matches this week.
The Rebels will host Air Force in their Mountain West home opener on Thursday, September 30 at 6:30 p.m., then will face New Mexico on Saturday, October 2 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.
TICKETS: Admission is free for all kids in high school and younger, and tickets for adults are just $6 when purchased online in advance at UNLVtickets.com. For all ticket information, call 702-739-FANS (3267).
SPECIAL PREGAME RECOGNITIONS PLANNED: Both matches this week will have special pregame recognitions. On Thursday, fifth-year senior outside hitter Mariena Hayden will be celebrated for setting the UNLV all-time career kills record, and on Saturday, last year’s team will be recognized for winning the Mountain West title with the championship banner presentation.
LAST WEEK: The Rebels had their seven-match win streak snapped with a 3-0 loss in their MW opener at San Jose State on Thursday, where the Spartans have only lost one set at home all season. UNLV bounced back on Saturday with a sweep of intrastate rival UNR in Reno in the first meeting of the Silver State Series presented by IBEW Local 401 and Nevada Donor Network.
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.
MOUNTAIN WEST PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: UNLV has been recognized three times this season with Mountain West weekly honors. Junior libero/defensive specialist Paris Oliveira was named the MW’s Defensive Player of the Week following the Rebels’ win at the Sparky Volleyball Invitational hosted by Arizona State and middle blocker Chloe Thomas has twice earned the MW’s Freshman of the Week award.
WINNING: Dating back to 2019, UNLV has won 39 of its last 45 matches, including 10 of 13 this season and eight of its last nine heading into Thursday’s Mountain West home opener. UNLV’s only two non-conference losses this season were to two ranked teams (No. 4 Purdue and No. 10 BYU).
AMONG THE NATIONAL LEADERS: Hayden ranks No. 4 in the nation this season in aces per set at 0.69.
ATOP THE UNLV CAREER CHARTS: Hayden is now No. 1 all-time at UNLV in career kills with 1,615 and career service aces with 293, which is 177 ahead of second place. She has also moved up to No. 4 in career digs with 1,224. She surpassed Maria Aladjova for No. 1 in kills last week. Aladjova had 1,601 from 2004-07.
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.
OTHER NEWS & NOTES:
- UNLV returned nine letterwinners this season including Hayden, an All-American and MW Player of the Year, and senior middle blocker Kate Brennan, an All-MW First Team performer.
- Also returning to the squad from last season were Gabrielle Arretche-Ramos, Lauryn Burt, Shelby Capllonch (honorable mention All-MW), Arien Fafard, Jordyn Freeman, Paola Garcia and Paris 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).