Houston named WAC’s player of year
LAS CRUCES, N.M. » Hawaii's conference home winning streak in volleyball is pau, but the Rainbow Wahine's domination in one other category is alive and well.
Hawaii's WAC players of the year:
To no one's surprise, Rainbow Wahine junior Jamie Houston picked up the Western Athletic Conference's Player of the Year award at last night's tournament banquet here. Houston, the WAC's kill leader (5.34 kpg), is the 12th consecutive Hawaii player to be honored by the league's coaches in the 12 years of UH's membership.
Joining Houston from UH on the 12-member first team were senior middle Juliana Sanders (Castle '03) and sophomore Aneli Cubi-Otineru (Punahou '05). It's the third first-team honor for Sanders (2.65 kpg, 1.32 bpg) and the first for Cubi-Otineru (3.90 kpg, 2.83 dpg), a junior college All-American as a freshman at College of Southern Idaho.
"No surprise that it would be Houston; it's a recurring theme," said Wahine sophomore setter Stephanie Brandt, the WAC's assist leader (13.19 apg). "She deserved it and lived up to the (preseason) hype."
Brandt, named to the Big West's all-freshman team last season while at UC Santa Barbara, was on the All-WAC second team. Wahine captain Tara Hittle, the WAC Freshman of the Year in 2004, was a second-team pick for the second time.
"I was surprised about that," said Hittle, who averaged 2.06 kpg and 3.40 dpg. "I didn't think I'd be getting an award tonight."
Equally surprised was libero Elizabeth Ka'aihue (4.10 dpg), named to the all-freshman team.
"It's pretty cool, but I didn't even know there were freshmen awards," the 2007 Punahou graduate said.
Named the Freshman of the Year was Utah State setter Chelsea Fowles, who orchestrated the Aggies' upset over the Wahine last Sunday. Not only did Utah State's victory end Hawaii's home conference winning streak at 108 (Big West and WAC), it was the first time a WAC team was able to sweep the Wahine in 201 matches.
Utah State's Grayson DuBose was named Coach of the Year, his Aggies finishing third after being picked seventh in the preseason poll.