Categorized | Featured, Sports, Volleyball

Vulcans are the team to beat in PacWest volleyball

MEDIA RELEASE

Shown here in action from last seasons match against Chaminade University is PAC West Preseason Player of the Year Josimara Pinheiro (right) and teammate Fabiane Seben (left) who joins her on the Preseason  All-Conference Team. Photography by Rick Ogata/Special to Hawaii 24/7.

Last season against Chaminade University is PAC West Preseason Player of the Year Josimara Pinheiro (right) and teammate Fabiane Seben (left) who joins her on the Preseason All-Conference Team. Photography by Rick Ogata/Special to Hawaii 24/7.

The University of Hawi‘i at Hilo is the preseason favorite to win the Pacific West Conference Volleyball Championship and Vulcan senior outside hitter Josimara Pinheiro (Jundiai, Brazili/Guimaraes) has been chosen as the Preseason Player of the Year as the PacWest prepares to start the 2009 volleyball campaign.

The announcements came during the PacWest Media Day hosted by Academy of Art University in San Francisco, CA, on Thursday, Aug. 20. The Pacific West Conference unveiled its predicted order of finish and 2009 Preseason All-Conference Volleyball Team during the live press conference. The squad and predicted order of finish were determined by a vote of the nine PacWest head volleyball coaches.

The Vulcans were the top point-getters in the weighted poll after receiving three first-place votes. BYU-Hawaii, last year’s champion, actually received four first-place nods but was predicted to finish second. Newcomer Academy of Art was listed third in its first year of eligibility for a PacWest crown after receiving one first-place vote.

Hawaii Pacific, Dixie State and Grand Canyon were selected to finish fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, while Chaminade – which received one first-place vote – was picked to finish seventh. Notre Dame de Namur and Dominican (CA) are slated for eighth and ninth, respectively.

Pinheiro was one of two Hawai‘i Hilo players named to the PacWest Preseason All-Conference Team. She is a two-time all-conference athlete after making the First Team in 2008 and the Second Team in 2007.

Last year Pinheiro posted 402 kills – averaging 3.83 per game in the process. She also recorded 23 aces, 289 digs and 70 total blocks to finish the year with 463.5 points.

Pinheiro was joined on the squad by Vulcan senior middle blocker Fabiane Seben (Caxias do Sul, Brazil/Guimaraes), a two-time All-PacWest First Team selection in 2007 and 2008. Last year Seben compiled 286 kills, 50 aces, 90 digs and 132 blocks, finishing the season with 408.5 points.

The islands also were represented on the preseason team by Hawaii Pacific junior middle hitter Kelly Balanay (San Diego, CA/Valhalla) and BYU-Hawaii sophomore outside hitter Losaline Faka’osi (Salt Lake City, UT/Highland).

Balanay is a two-time All-PacWest First Team selection after earning the honors in 2007 and 2008. Last year she recorded 257 kills for the Sea Warriors while contributing 98 blocks and 316 points. She boasted a .313 hitting percentage.

Faka‘osi – the 2008 PacWest Freshman of the Year – exploded on the scene with 304.5 points thanks largely to 280 kills and 250 digs.

Dixie State senior outside hitter Katie Luna (Mesa, AZ/Westwood) was an All-PacWest Second Team selection in 2008 after compiling 341 kills, 249 digs and 34 blocks. She averaged 3.52 kills and 3.89 points per game, finishing the year with 377.5 total points. Her outstanding 2008 campaign landed her on this year’s preseason squad.

Academy of Art produced its first PacWest Preseason All-Conference player in junior outside hitter Dan Yang (Beijing, China/Beijing 5th Sports School). Yang had 396 kills, 42 blocks, 27 aces and 220 digs in 2008 for AAU.

Grand Canyon sophomore libero Laurann Durbin (Phoenix, AZ/Sunnyslope) rounds out the PacWest Preseason All-Conference Team after being selected as the Preseason Libero of the Year. Durbin racked up 530 digs in 2008, averaging 4.57 per game.

Predicted order of Finish (1st Place Votes)
1. Hawai‘i Hilo (3)
2. BYU-Hawaii (4)
3. Academy of Art (1)
4. Hawaii Pacific
5. Dixie State
6. Grand Canyon
7. Chaminade (1)
8. Notre Dame de Namur
9. Dominican (CA)

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