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Hawaii’s Taylor again earns conference honors

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    Hawaii's Nikki Taylor hits past UCLA's Reily Buechler in the first set of the UCLA vs. Hawaii's Rainbow Wahine women's volleyball match at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Hawaii junior hitter Nikki Taylor repeated as the volleyball player of the week in the Big West Monday after finishing the Hawaiian Airlines Classic with a tournament-high 53 kills.

The Kaiser High product was named to the all-tournament team as the Rainbow Wahine lost to UCLA in Sunday’s championship match, finishing 2-1 in the event. She led Hawaii in kills in all three matches, including 22 vs. Iowa Friday, had two aces in each of the matches and had a double-double (16 kills-15 digs) in the loss to the Bruins. 

Also Monday, the Rainbow Wahine moved up a spot in the AVCA Coaches Top 25 despite losing to UCLA on Sunday.

Hawaii (5-1) remains the only Big West Conference team ranked and is just one of four from a non-Power Five league.

Penn State was a near-unanimous choice when remaining at No. 1, the Nittany Lions (5-0) receiving all but one of the 64 first-place votes. Florida (4-0), which plays at the Stan Sheriff Center in this week’s Outrigger Resorts Challenge, moved up to No. 2 after wins over then-No. 11 Oregon and then-No. 3 Texas.

Stanford (3-1), receiving the remaining first-place vote, dropped a spot to No. 3 after being swept at Penn State State. Following the Cardinal are Texas (4-1), Nebraska (4-1) and USC (6-0).

The Bruins (4-1), who won the Hawaiian Airlines Classic for the 10th time on Sunday, jumped eight spots from 25th to No. 17. Dropping the furthest were Kentucky (4-3), from 10th to No. 21, and preseason No. 7 North Carolina (1-4), falling from No. 18 last week to out of the poll.

Defending Big West champion Long Beach State (4-2) continues to receive votes (9). 

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