HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – University of Hawai'i outside hitter Kanani Danielson was named the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, and a total of six UH players earned all-WAC selections. The announcement was made Sunday at the WAC postseason banquet.
Also named to the first team were Emily Hartong, Brittany Hewitt, Chanteal Satele, and Mita Uiato. Jane Croson earned second-team honors and was named to the All-Freshman Team. New Mexico State's Meredith Hays captured Freshman of the Year honors, while Idaho head coach Debbie Buchanan was named WAC Coach of the Year.
Danielson becomes just the third player in WAC history to earn WAC Player of the Year honors three times, joining Hawai'i players Kim Willoughby and Kanoe Kamana'o. She has posted a WAC-best 15 double-doubles on the season, was twice named WAC Player of the Week and ranks 40th nationally in points per set and 50th in kills per set. She is also just the fourth four-time first-team all-WAC honoree, joining Hawai'i's Kamana'o and Lily Kahumoku, and Rice's Rebeca Pazo. Danielson is also a finalist for the Lowes Senior CLASS Award.
Satele was named to the first team for second time. She was third in the WAC in hitting percentage (.358), and posted a career-high 15 kills at San Jose State (9/22) this season.
Hewitt was far and away the WAC's top blocker, recording 126 blocks on the season and posting 1.43 blocks per set. This was her third all-WAC selection and second first-team honor.
Hartong has been a steady presence all season long. She ranks in the Top 20 nationally and first in the WAC in hitting percentage (.386), and last season was named WAC Freshman of the Year.
Uiato received her first all-WAC selection. In her first season as a starter, she finished second in the WAC in assists (1,028) and assists per set (11.05). She is also fourth on the 'Bows with 58 blocks.
Croson started every match in her first season of collegiate volleyball. She led the WAC in aces per set (0.37) and was second on the Rainbows in kills per set (3.55) and digs per set (2.81).
UH opens the WAC Tournament on Tuesday, facing the winner of No. 4 Utah State and No. 5 Fresno State. First serve is set for 7:30 p.m. PT.
2011 WAC Volleyball Award Winners
WAC Player of the Year: Kanani Danielson, Hawai'i
WAC Freshman of the Year: Meredith Hays, New Mexico State
WAC Coach of the Year: Debbie Buchanan, Idaho