University of Hawai’i women’s volleyball player Nikki Taylor was named the Sports Imports/American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Player of the Week after a pair of strong performances last week against Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara.
Taylor, a 6-4 opposite from Honolulu, O’ahu, helped the Rainbow Wahine clinch their second straight Big West Conference title and 25th conference title overall. It is the ninth Sports Imports/AVCA Player of the Week honor for Hawai’i and the second for Taylor who previously won it last season on Sept. 15th. There have only been six Rainbow Wahine to ever earn National Player of the Week honors—Heather Bown, Kim Willoughby, Lily Kahumoku, Jamie Houston, Emily Hartong and Taylor. Willoughby is the only other Rainbow Wahine to earn the award multiple times with three National weekly honors over two years.
Taylor’s all-around contributions lifted UH to victories over Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara as she averaged 5.29 kills, 2.57 digs, 1.14 service aces and 0.57 blocks per set. She also hit .333 with a team-leading 37 kills and just 12 errors in 75 swings in the two matches. Taylor’s eight service aces and 47.5 points also topped the squad.
In the sweep of the Mustangs, Taylor tallied a match-high 15 kills and five aces to go with seven digs and four blocks as head coach Dave Shoji notched career win #1,200. Three of her five aces were registered during a seven-point serving run that propelled the Rainbow Wahine to a 25-15 win in set 3.
On Senior Night against the Gauchos, Taylor pounded a match-high 22 kills to go along with 11 digs, securing her sixth double-double this season. Nine of her kills came in set three when she hit .571 with just one error in the frame. Her 22-kill effort marked the seventh time this season she has exceeded the 20-kill plateau. She swung at a .405 clip (22-5-42) for the match and her three aces gave her a Big West-leading 51 for the season.
Overall, Taylor continues to lead the conference in kills per set (4.59), service aces (51), service aces per set (.65) and points per set (5.85). She is ranked No. 2 in the NCAA DI in aces per set.
On a sidenote, the DII Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week went to UH-Hilo’s senior outside hitter Marley Strand-Nicolaisen.