comscore Rainbow Wahine move up in NCAA ratings, sweep Big West weekly awards | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Rainbow Wahine move up in NCAA ratings, sweep Big West weekly awards


    Hawaii’ Nikki Taylor, center, and Casey Castillo, right, goes up for the block against UC Davis outside hitter Lauren Matias, left, during the first set of an NCAA volleyball match tonight in Davis, Calif.

No. 14 Hawaii has swept its last seven volleyball matches. Today, the Rainbow Wahine swept the Big West Conference’s weekly awards.

Senior opposite Nikki Taylor was named player of the week, junior middle Emily Maglio defensive player of the week and setter Norene Iosia freshman of the week.

In last week’s straight-set victories at UC Irvine and UC Davis, Taylor had a combined 27 kills with just five errors in 50 attempts, hitting .440, and became the 12th Wahine to reach the 1,300-kill mark. The 6-foot-4 Kaiser High product also had a combined two aces, was in on nine blocks with 11 digs.

Maglio, the Big West block leader, had a combined 12 stuffs to help Hawaii improve to 20-5 overall, 13-1 in conference. She tied her career high with nine block assists against the Anteaters.

Iosia recorded her ninth and 10th double-doubles of her career with 28 assists and 11 digs against UCI and 33 assists and 12 digs against UC Davis.

Also today, Hawaii moved up two spots in the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Ratings Percentage Index while staying put in the AVCA Coaches Top 25.

The Rainbow Wahine are at 36 in the RPI and stay at No. 14 in the poll. Hawaii remains 1 1/2 games ahead of Long Beach State for first place in the conference standings and could clinch a share of the title with a win over Cal Poly on Thursday at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Defending national champion Nebraska (24-1) again was the unanimous choice for No. 1, receiving all 64 first-place votes. The next three remained the same with Minnesota (21-4) at No. 2 followed by Wisconsin (22-3) and Kansas (23-2).

The biggest drops were Penn State (19-8), down five spots to No. 15 after a five-set loss at then-unranked Ohio State, and San Diego (22-4), four places to No. 11 following a five-set home loss to unranked Portland.

Moving into the Top 10 were two teams that defeated Hawaii in nonconference play: Washington from No. 11 to No. 8, and UCLA from No. 13 to No. 9.

In the RPI — which is used by the NCAA to select and seed the 64-team tournament field — Texas (19-4) moved to 1.

Hawaii has the best RPI in the Big West. The RPI of the other Big West teams are 56 (Cal Poly), 61 (Long Beach State), 86 (UC Santa Barbara), 144 (Cal State Northridge), 151 (UC Davis), 178 (UC Irvine), 265 (UC Riverside) and 287 (Cal State Fullerton).

The RPI of the nonconference opponents ahead of Hawaii are: 3 (Wisconsin) 12 (UCLA) 13 (Washington) 19 (Kansas State) and 26 (Arizona). The Wahine lost to the Badgers (22-3), the Bruins (21-5), the Huskies (22-4) and K-State (18-8) and defeated Arizona (16-12).

The RPI of the five nonconference teams Hawaii beat are 47 (Missouri State, 23-7), 67 (Northern Illinois, 23-5), 72 (Pacific, 14-13), 110 (Pepperdine (12-16) and 125 (Utah Valley, 15-13).

The Wahine conclude the regular season on Saturday hosting UC Santa Barbara. It will be the final home matches for seniors Taylor, Tayler Higgins, Annie Mitchem and Katiana Ponce.

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