University of Hawai'i women's volleyball player Nikki Taylor (Honolulu, O'ahu/Kaiser HS) was named Sports Impact/AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association) National Player of the Week on Tuesday. The junior opposite helped to lead the Rainbow Wahine to a thrilling five-set upset of then No. 2 Florida while sweeping their three matches this past week in the Outrigger Resorts Volleyball Challenge at the Stan Sheriff Center.
It marks just the eighth time in program history that a player from Hawai'i has garnered AVCA's Player of the Week honors and she is the sixth different Rainbow Wahine to earn the prestigious accolade.
"This award is very humbling. God has presented our team and I with great opportunities and He gave me strength to take advantage of them." says Taylor. "Volleyball is a sport where one player can't win a game by themselves and that showed in our games this weekend. Everyone contributed and because of that I'm very excited to see how the rest of the season plays out."
"This is a very prestigious award for Nikki who has worked very hard on her game this year," says head coach Dave Shoji. "It also helps bring some attention to our win against a very good Florida team as well as our good start to the season."
Earlier this week, Taylor became the first Rainbow Wahine to ever be voted conference Player of the Week for three consecutive weeks. She is only the third player in Big West history to accomplish the feat along with Pacific's Dominique Benton-Bozman in 1995 and Long Beach State's Antoinnette White in 1991. Taylor was also voted the Most Outstanding Player of the Outrigger Resorts Volleyball Challenge after hammering a tournament-high 57 kills while averaging 4.75 kills, 2.25 digs, 1.33 blocks and 0.75 service aces per set to help the Rainbow Wahine take down San Diego State, No. 2 Florida and Eastern Washington for the tournament title. She hit .252 over the three matches while also recording 27 digs, 16 blocks and nine service aces.
Taylor came up huge for the Rainbow Wahine in their thrilling, five-set win over the then second-ranked Gators. Taylor slammed a career-best 27 kills and added a season-high 17 digs for her third double-double of the season in the win. She hammered the kill to win set two to knot the match at a set apiece and then delivered the final dagger on match point against Florida. It was UH's first win over a Top 5 team since 2013.
Taylor posted 11 kills and a season and game-high eight blocks in the sweep of the Aztecs. Against the Eagles, Taylor drilled a match-high 19 kills—nine of which came in the decisive fourth set—and had five stuffs at the net.
She has led the Rainbow Wahine in kills in all nine matches this season. Taylor also tied her career-high three times with three service aces in each contest.
All-Time Hawai'i AVCA National Players of the Week
|1999||Heather Bown||Sept. 20|
|2001||Kim Willoughby||Sept. 24|
|Kim Willoughby||Oct. 22|
|2002||Kim Willoughby||Oct. 28|
|Lily Kahumoku||Nov. 18|
|2006||Jamie Houston||Oct. 9|
|2012||Emily Hartong||Oct. 29|
|2015||Nikki Taylor||Sept. 15|
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