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Fifth volleyball weekly honor for Wahine’s Taylor

    Rainbow Wahine Nikki Taylor goes down the line against UC Irvine Anteaters Victoria Dennis and Harlee Kekauoha during a match Tuesday night at the Bren Center.

Hawaii junior hitter Nikki Taylor on Monday was named the Big West’s player of the week for the fifth time this season, the first ever for a Rainbow Wahine in Big West play and third overall.. 

The Kaiser High graduate had a combined 46 kills, 13 digs, nine blocks and four service aces  as Hawai‘i swept its three opponents on the road in UC Irvine, Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara last week.  She hit .276 with just 19 errors in 98 attempts as UH improved to 26-1 on the year and extended its winning streak to 21 matches.

The 6-foot-3 Taylor led UH in kills in all three matches including 20 last Tuesday at UC Irvine. It was the seventh time she had 20 or more kills in a match.

Taylor join Angelica Ljungquist and Kanani Danielson as UH’s five-time weekly honorees. Ljungqvist (1996) and Danielson (2009) competed in the Western Athletic Conference. 

Also Monday, Hawaii remained at No. 8 in Monday’s AVCA Coaches Division I Top 25 volleyball poll despite closing out the regular season with a 16-0 conference record and a 21-match win streak.

The Rainbow Wahine (26-1, 16-0 Big West) did move up a spot to 26 in the computer-generated Ratings Percentage Index also released Monday.

USC (29-1, 17-1 Pac-12) stayed in the top spot, receiving 55 first-place votes, and Washington (26-2, 16-2 Pac-12) remained at No. 2 with the other nine votes. The other top five traded places with Texas (24-2, 14-1 Big 12) jumping two spots to No. 3, Minnesota (24-4, 16-12 Big Ten) down a place to No. 4; and Nebraska (24-4, 15-3 Big Ten) up a spot to No. 5. 

Stanford (20-6, 14-4 Pac-12) moved up one place to No. 6 while defending national champion Penn State (25-4, 14-4 Big Ten) fell three places to No. 7.

The rest of the Top 10 remained the same with Kansas (24-2, 14-2 Big 12)) staying at No. 9 and Wisconsin (20-6, 14-4 Big Ten) at No. 10. UCLA (22-6), the only team to defeat Hawaii this season, slipped two spots to No. 13.

Big West runner-up Long Beach State (23-6, 13-3 Big West) received 24 points, putting the 49ers outside the Top 25 at 38th. 

Hawaii has earned the Big West’s automatic berth into the NCAA tournament, which begins next week. The Wahine have a bye week and will learn their postseason fate Sunday. 

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