IRVINE, CALIFORNIA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Much like the regular season awards and the Big West Championship, the University of Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine beach volleyball earned a near-perfect sweep in the final Big West Conference awards, winning each major award with five pairs on either the all-Big West first or second teams.
Earning an 21-4 record together between the No. 1 and No. 2 slots, the tandem of Santa Barbara, Calif. senior Katie Spieler and Coquitlam, British Columbia redshirt freshman Emily Maglio was named the Big West Pairs Team of the Year. With an 18-4 duals record, Spieler and Maglio posted a 9-4 mark at the No. 1 spot and an undefeated 9-0 record at No. 2. The tandem received three Pairs Team of the Week honors over the course of the season. The pair will be key in the 'Bows run in the postseason.
As one half of the conference's best pair, it was no surprise that Maglio also added Big West Freshman of the Year honors. Maglio opened up her career as strictly an indoor player, but made the transition to two-sport star after hitting .384 in 30 games as a middle hitter on the hardcourt last fall. On the sand, she has earned a 19-5 record in dual matches with a .792 win percentage, going 3-0 in tournament pairs.
After winning the first-ever conference crown and leading his team to a 16-8 record and No. 5 seed in the NCAA Championships, second-year head coach Jeff Hall has been named the inaugural beach volleyball Big West Coach of the Year. Since taking over the program, Hall has led the Rainbow Wahine to a 34-11 record and a bid to Gulf Shores, Ala. (AVCA in 2015) for the national tournament in each season. The 'SandBows' are 10-8 against ranked teams and have registered five sweep victories in 2016. UH has been ranked as high as No. 3 in the country this season.
"I'm humbled and honored," Hall said. "It's a testament to the hard work and commitment of our girls and the entire program."
In addition to Spieler/Maglio, the tandem of Nikki Taylor (Jr., Honolulu, O'ahu) and Lara Schreiber (So., Freiburg, Germany) were named among the all-Big West first team pairs. The pair combined for an 8-7 overall record when playing together.
All five primary UH pair teams earned all-Big West honors, with the tandems of Ari Homayan (Fr., San Fernando, Calif.) and Hannah Zalopany (Jr., Spokane, Wash.), Ginger Long (Sr., Kihei, Maui) and Mikayla Tucker (Placerville, Calif.) and Hannah Rooks (Jr., Honolulu, O'ahu) and Ka'iwi Schucht (So., Escondido, Calif.) all collecting second-team all-conference pairs honors. Homayan/Zalopany went 12-3 overall, Long/Tucker were 17-7 and Rooks/Schucht head into the postseason with a 14-7 record together.
The fifth-seeded Rainbow Wahine are in transit on Tuesday to Gulf Shores, Ala. and the inaugural NCAA Championships. UH is slated to open tournament action on Friday, May 6 at 11:00 a.m. ET (5:00 a.m. HT) against No. 4 seed. UCLA. The winner will advance to the 4:00 p.m. ET (10:00 a.m. HT) game against the winner between No. 1 Florida State and No. 8 Stetson.