Volleyball Blog

Volleyball Yote Notes - Edition 16 (Season Review)

COMING UP: Season Complete

LAST WEEK: at NAIA Volleyball National Championships – vs. No. 13 Indiana Wesleyan (W 3-2), vs. No. 24 Kansas Wesleyan (W 3-1), vs. No. 2 Concordia-Irvine (L 3-1), vs. No. 9 Rocky Mountain (W 3-2), vs. No. 4 Columbia (L 3-1)

RECORD-SETTING RUN AT NATIONALS: In their seventh trip to the NAIA Volleyball National Championships, The College of Idaho recorded their best finish in program history – advancing to the national quarterfinals for the first time, finishing in a tie for fifth overall.  The Lady Yotes fought through a pair of grueling five-set marathons against Top-15 teams, while both losses at the tournament were four-set decisions against Top-5 squads.

FINALLY PAST THE FIRST ROUND: The 2011 squad became the fourth Lady Yote team to advanced out of Pool Play, but unlike the 2006, 2009, and 2010 teams – which lost in the first round of Bracket Play, this Coyote team did not fold.  A five-set victory over No. 5 seeded Rocky Mountain – one of only three upsets in the first four days of the tournament, advanced the Yotes into the national quarterfinals for the first time.  The C of I finished the National Championships with a 4-2 record, improving their all-time record in the event to 14-16.

BRIGHAM CAPS CAREER WITH FIRST-TEAM HONORS: An amazing career for record-setting libero Whitney Brigham (Caldwell, Idaho / Vallivue HS) was capped by the highest honor ever bestowed on a Lady Yote – as the senior became the first-ever Tachikara-NAIA first-team All-American.  Brigham, who was also one of 14 players named to the 2011 NAIA Championships All-Tournament Team, led the event in digs and digs per set, recording her school record 14th and 15th 30-or-more dig matches along the way.  Brigham, the 2011 Cascade Conference Player of the Year, was also honored as AVCA Northwest Region Player of the Year, and finished the season fourth nationally in digs per set.  She established a CCC record with 2,359 career digs and was named CCC Libero of the Week a record 20 times.

NAWAHINE, HULSEY EARN NATIONAL HONORS: For the first-time ever, the Lady Yotes had three All-Americans in one season, as two players – sophomore Kylee Nawahine (Fruitland, Idaho / BYU-Hawaii) and junior Torrey Hulsey (Sutter, Calif. / West Virginia U.) were named honorable mention selections.  Both Nawahine and Hulsey, who were first team AVCA All-Northwest Region selections, had quality NAIA Championships – Nawahine recording double-figure dig totals in 4-of-5 matches, including 12 kills and 12 digs vs. top-seeded Concordia, while Hulsey had 60 kills and 23 blocks in Sioux City – including a career-high 24 kills in a win over Rocky Mountain.  Both players finished the season with over 300 kills.

FOX, MONTALBO CLOSE CAREERS ON GREAT NOTE: Both senior outside hitters went out with a bang in Sioux City, as Ciciley Fox (Challis, Idaho / Challis HS) and Dani Montalbo (Mountain Home, Idaho / Coll. of Southern Idaho) each had big National Championships.  Fox, who had a fabulous final month of the season, led the team with 70 kills at the tournament – including a career-high 24 kills against Indiana Wesleyan.  She led the team in kills this season, finishing her career with 906 kills.  Montalbo had three double-digit kill matches, recording 57 kills over the course of the week.

27 WIN SEASONS: With their victory over Concordia on Oct.28, the Lady Yotes secured their seventh-straight season with at least 20 wins. During the run of 20-win seasons (including the school record 35-4 record in 2006), The C of I has a combined record of 188-45.  The 27 wins by the 2011 marked the fifth time that the team has won 27-or-more games in a season (1981, 1983, 2005, 2006,2011).

YOTES FINISH NO. 7 IN NAIA POSTSEASON POLL: The outstanding run in Sioux City parlayed the Yotes into their highest national ranking to close a season, as The C of I finished No. 7 in the postseason Tachikara-NAIA Top-25 Poll.  The Coyotes received 452 voter points in the tabulation, just 15 points behind No. 6 Embry-Riddle (Fla.).  The previous-best final ranking was No. 8, achieved during the 2006, 2008, and 2009 seasons.  National champion, Texas at Brownsville earned the No. 1 spot, followed by Concordia-Irvine, Lee (Tenn.), Columbia (Mo.), and Biola (Calif.).  It marked the 79th-straight week that the team has been ranked or receiving votes and the 42st-straight week in the Top-25 – the sixth-longest streak in the NAIA.

NINE OPPONENTS FINISH IN TOP-25: Of the 20 opponents’ the Coyotes faced in 2011 –  nine finished ranked in the NAIA Top-25, with two others receiving votes.  The C of I had wins over No. 5 Biola, No. 9 Rocky Mountain, No. 10 Southern Oregon, No. 13 Indiana Wesleyan, No. 14 Vanguard, and No. 24 Kansas Wesleyan, while losing matches to No. 2 Concordia-Irvine, No. 4 Columbia, and No. 25 Bellevue.  Two others – Carroll and Eastern Oregon, both received votes.

RECORD BOOK: Multiple single-game records, plus multiple Top-10 season and career records were established by the 2011 Coyotes.  Whitney Brigham tied her school record with 41 digs in a match vs. Eastern Oregon, while the team set a match record with a .644 hitting percentage vs. Evergreen.  Both Brigham and Kelsey Soos (Santa Ynez, Calif. / Santa Barbara City CC) recorded single-season and career Top-10 marks, Brigham ranked second in digs per set in a season (6.22) and third in season digs (703), while setting a new school record with 2,359 digs,  second in career digs per set (5.62), and tenth in career sets played (415).  Soos finished No. 6 on the single-season assist list (1,343) and No. 8 in assists per set (11.29), with her 1,343 assists ranking No. 8 for a career.

CONFERENCE WIN STREAK SURVIVES TO 2012: Though the Lady Yotes had their 42-match home win streak snapped on Nov. 12 vs. Southern Oregon, the J.A. Albertson Activities Center has been a tough place for any team since the building opened in 1991.  The Coyotes have an all-time record of 175-38 in the building, including a 123-14 record under head coach Liz Mendiola.  The C of I has won 84 of their last 86 home matches and will take a 62-match CCC win streak at home into the 2012 season.

A LOOK BACK AT 2011: It was another phenomenal season for the Lady Yotes, winning their sixth-straight CCC regular-season title, posting a 17-1 league record.  The C of I opened the year going 3-1 at the Holiday Inn Summer Slam in California, including a win over then No. 5 ranked Biola, before rattling off 18-straight wins during the regular-season.  After stumbling against Southern Oregon in the CCC championship game, the squad rolled past Carroll in the NAIA Tournament Opening Round match, before beginning their furthest run through the NAIA Final Site.

LOOKING AHEAD: Though the squad will have to replace a quality senior class – the Yotes will return 11 players from this record-setting team, including five starters.  The big key to the team will be the health and recovery of redshirt senior Jessica Peacock (Summertown, Australia / San Diego State U.), an imposing six-foot outside hitter, who missed the season with a shoulder injury.

GAME RECAP – C OF I 3, INDIANA WESLEYAN 2: Ciciley Fox slammed a career-high 24 kills, leading The C of I to a come-from-behind 26-28, 25-22, 17-25, 25-23, 15-12 victory over Indiana Wesleyan on Tuesday.  It wasn’t easy, as The C of I fought from a two-sets-to-one deficit, as the No. 13 ranked Wildcats, the champions of the Mid-Central College Conference scored the final six points of Set 3 to take control of the match.  Fox hammered four kills and Torrey Hulsey had two aces in an eight-point push midway through Set 4 to take a 17-10. Leading 19-12, IWU got back-to-back Alijah Mulitauopele kills and three Coyote hitting errors to pull even at 21-21. Fox broke a 22-22 tie with a kill, with a Wildcat error pushing the frame to set point, with a Fox kill sending the match to a winner-take-all finale.  The Yotes got a pair of Liz Myers (Middleton, Idaho / Middleton HS) kills in a 5-0 run to take a 8-4 lead in the deciding frame, pushing the margin to 12-7 on a Hulsey kill. IWU would not fold, as a Peyton Thompson kill off a long rally and two Lauryn Barfell aces pulled the Wildcats within 12-10. The C of I responded with back-to-back Dani Montalbo kills, with Hulsey slamming down the match winner, as the Yotes improved to 4-2 in five set matches.  The opening set featured 14 ties, with the Yotes biggest lead coming at 4-2 and IWU’s at 11-8. Tied at 15-15, the two teams would exchange side-outs to 26-26 – with The C of I holding one set point at 24-23, but a Thompson kill tied the period, and a Rae Brandes block gave IWU the set win.  Set 2 saw the Yotes break a 7-7 tie with a 12-5 run, fueled by five Fox kills. However, two Thompson spikes and three C of I hitting errors got the Wildcats deadlocked at 20-20, before kills from Montalbo, Hulsey, and Fox, and a Myers stuff block, evened the match at 1-1.  Montalbo added 16 kills, Myers had 12 kills and a team-high seven blocks, and Hulsey notched 12 kills. Kelsey Soos had 60 assists and 16 digs – her seventh double-double of the year, with Whitney Brigham logging 34 digs, her 14th-career 30-or-more dig match. Kylee Nawahine had a season-high 22 digs, with Janel Porter (Eagle, Idaho / Rocky Mountain HS) recording 18 digs.

GAME RECAP – C OF I 3, KANSAS WESLEYAN 1: The C of I pounded out 62 kills and tied a season-high with 13 team blocks, as the Lady Yotes earned a 25-23, 17-25, 25-18, 25-19 victory over Kansas Wesleyan on Wednesday.  In the battle of Coyotes, The C of I used seven kills from Liz Myers in Set 1 to take control of the match early. Two kills each from Torrey Hulsey, Ciciley Fox, and Myers helped the Yotes to a 10-5 lead in the period, but KWU (26-9) used a six-point surge late in the set, keyed by four C of I hitting errors and kills from Lauren Chamness and Melissa Blair, to lead 22-20. A Myers spike, a Dani Montalbo/Hulsey block, and a Hulsey kill gave the Yotes the lead for good.  Set 2 saw The C of I surge to a quick 5-2 lead on the strength of two Montalbo kills, but it was short-lived. The Salina, Kan., squad got kills from Blair and Leah Kreller in a 4-0 spurt to break an 8-8 tie and never trailed again. The Yotes closed to 14-13 on a Montalbo kill, but a 6-1 run by KWU – fueled by three C of I hitting errors, evened the match at one set apiece.  The six-time defending CCC champs used two Fox kills and a Kelsey Soos ace to grab a 13-9 lead in Set 3, putting the period away with a four-point run, punctuated by a Kylee Nawahine/Hulsey combo block, to take the lead of the match back. KWU led early in Set 4 a 7-6, but The C of I scored eight of the next nine points, including three Montalbo kills and aces from Nawahine and Bryanne Gribble (Boise, Idaho / Bishop Kelly HS), to earn the win.  Fox led all players with 19 kills, with Montalbo recording 15 kills and four blocks. Myers had 13 kills and three blocks in the victory, while Hulsey recorded nine kills and a season-high 10 blocks. Soos led all players with 54 assists, with Whitney Brigham recording 30 digs – her second-straight match with 30-or-more digs. 

GAME RECAP – CONCORDIA 3, C OF I 1: Brooke Marino and Maddy Ekis combined for 37 kills, leading top-ranked Concordia-Irvine to a four-set victory over upset-minded C of I, 25-20, 25-16, 21-25, 25-19, on Thursday afternoon.  Marino dominated play early for CUI, rocketing seven kills in the opening set. The Coyotes kept the score close, thanks to 11 Eagle errors, cutting the margin to 14-11 on a service error. But three quick Marino kills started a 9-2 surge that pushed the margin to 23-13. The C of I staved off five set points, including a pair of Bryanne Gribble aces, before a Fei Gao kill ended the period.  Concordia jumped out to a 12-4 lead in Set 2, as Ekis had four kills in the rally, before the Yotes responded with a four-point push, capped by a Torrey Hulsey/Kylee Nawahine combo block. However, it was as close as The C of I would get, as four Marino kills helped CUI open the lead to 18-10 and were never threatened.  The Eagles started quickly in Set 3, getting a pair of aces and an Ekis kill to lead 5-1 – but a Hulsey stuff block evened the score at 8-8. CUI would push the lead to 13-10 on a Gao kills, but a Nawahine kill punctuated a three-point Coyote rally to tie the score at 13-13. Trailing 17-15, the Yotes would take their first lead of the match on a Nawahine kill at 18-17 and never trail again, closing the frame on a 10-4 surge. The Yotes hit a blistering .464 percent in the period.  Set 4 was back-and-forth early – as the Yotes grabbed a 7-4 lead on a Dani Montalbo kill, but CUI rallied to tie the set at 12-12, one of nine ties in the frame. A block by Gao and Brianna Hughes started a 4-0 Eagles run that gave the Golden State Athletic Conference champs the lead for good. The C of I cut the margin to 20-18 on a Liz Myers/Ciciley Fox block, but could not get closer.  Nawahine recorded her sixth double-double of the year with 12 kills and 12 digs, with Fox notching eight kills and 11 digs. Myers had seven kills and five blocks, Montalbo added seven kills, Kelsey Soos led all players with 31 assists and eight digs, with Whitney Brigham registering a match-high 19 digs.

GAME RECAP – C OF I 3, ROCKY MOUNTAIN 2: Torrey Hulsey recorded a career-high 24 kills, including seven kills in a decisive fifth set, as The C of I defeated No. 6 ranked Rocky Mountain 18-25, 25-18, 25-23, 20-25, 15-12 on Friday morning.  After the Bears rallied to win Set 4, the two Northwest squads locked in a slugfest in the finale. Hulsey recorded five kills in a 5-1 C of I run to bolt out to an 8-3 lead, only to watch RMC get kills from Jillian Bates and Ashley Welborn to start a five-point push to deadlock the score at 8-8. Leading 10-9, the Yotes got a Ciciley Fox kill and a key Liz Myers/Kylee Nawahine block to take a three-point lead, with the teams trading side-outs the rest of the way – capped by a Hulsey kill to end the match.  Myers led the Lady Yotes in the early going, recording four Set 1 kills, but two Kristin Barrett spikes in a 4-0 run by Rocky gave the Bears a 10-8 lead – a margin they would not relinquish. RMC used a 6-1 spurt, helped by three C of I hitting errors to extend the margin to 21-14, and cruised to the one set lead.  The Coyotes turned the tide early in Set 2, as a pair of Kelsey Soos aces and three Myers kills helped The C of I scored 12-of-15 points to erase a 5-4 Rocky lead. The Billings, Mont., school got with 21-18, but a Myers block and a third Soos ace helped even the match at one set apiece.  Rocky looked to run away with Set 3, getting three Sara Brunner kills, opening a 12-6 lead. The Yotes responded behind three Hulsey kills and a Nawahine ace to tie the score at 13-13. A Myers/Nawahine block gave The C of I their first lead of the set at 19-18, with a Hulsey kill extending the margin to 22-19, as Hulsey closed out the period with a spike.  Set 4 saw the Yotes rally from a 17-13 deficit, as a pair of Myers kills and two combo blocks helped The C of I grab a 19-18 lead. Rocky would not fold, as Brunner hammed four-straight kills in a 7-1 run to close the set, forcing the winner-take-all set.  Myers continued her stellar play with 16 kills and seven blocks, with Nawahine adding seven kills, 15 digs, and six blocks. Dani Montalbo recorded nine kills and nine digs, Soos logged 55 assists and three aces, and Whitney Brigham had a match-high 28 digs.

GAME RECAP – COLUMBIA 3, C OF I 1: Columbia College used 12 service aces to end The C of I’s run in the national quarterfinals, winning 25-22, 23-25, 25-20, 25-22 inside the Tyson Events Center.  The two teams battled to seven ties early in the opening frame, before one of four Kylee Nawahine kills in the period gave the Lady Yotes a 13-12 lead. CC used a 6-0 surge, keyed by two Vesna Trivunovic kills and two Chelsea Browner aces, to take a 18-13 lead. Kills by Nawahine and Liz Myers helped The C of I pull even at 22-22, before a service ace, a combo-block, and a Trivunovic kill ended the set.  Set 2 saw the Coyotes use two Torrey Hulsey kills and three Columbia errors to take an 8-3 lead, before the Cougars pulled even at 11-11 on back-to-back combo-blocks. The C of I regained a 18-15 edge on a Dani Montalbo-Hulsey block, but CC used three Serena Jenkins kills and a Paula Ferreira spike to grab a 21-20 lead. The Yotes trailed 23-22 after a Trivunovic kill, but kills from Nawahine and Hulsey gave The C of I set point, with a Ferreira hitting error knotting the match at 1-1.  Columbia jumped out to a10-5 lead in Set 3, but the Yotes scored eight of the next nine points – including four Ciciley Fox kills and three Hulsey aces, to take a 13-11 lead. The C of I led 19-16 before the Cougars closed the set on a 9-1 run, including three Ferreira aces to take control of the match.  Set 4 featured 12 ties – as both teams held leads of two or less, the last at 17-17. A Jenkins kill started a three-point Cougar surge to give the Missouri school a 20-17 lead, with the teams trading side-outs the rest of the match – ended on a C of I service error.  Fox led the Lady Yotes with 13 kills and 11 digs, with Montalbo adding 10 kills in their final collegiate match. Hulsey had nine kills and five blocks, Nawahine and Myers each had eight kills for The C of I. Kelsey Soos had 41 assists and Whitney Brigham 26 digs in the loss.

ABOUT THE COACH: Liz Mendiola closed out her 11th season as The C of I head volleyball coach. During her career, the Coyotes have advanced to 10 consecutive CCC tournaments, four NAIA regional tournaments, and trips to the NAIA National Championships in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 – amassing a career record of 263-90, the most wins and highest winning percentage in school history. In 2006, she led the Lady Yotes to their best season in program history, compiling a 35-4 record - earning CCC and NAIA Region I Coach of the Year honors. The Yotes won their first CCC championship in 24 years, becoming just the second school to complete the league schedule without a loss. The Coyotes also captured their second-straight CCC Tournament title, along with their second-straight NAIA Region I Tournament title, before placing ninth at the NAIA Championships – with that team setting a school-record with 22 straight wins. Her 2012 club will take a 62-match CCC home win streak into the season and have won 84 of their last 86 home matches. Mendiola was an assistant for the Coyotes on two separate occasions – from 1995-96 and from 1999-2000, before elevating to head coach. She has also coached club volleyball at Emmett High, for the Treasure Valley Volleyball Club, the Boise River Volleyball Club, and various camps in the Northwest. A native of Jerome, Mendiola graduated from The C of I in 1996 with a degree in elementary education, and taught kindergarten in Nampa before becoming head coach in 2001. A two-year member of the Coyotes, Mendiola set school records for kills per game (4.86) in 1994, and holds the school mark for kills per game in a career (4.46). She earned All-CCC honors following her senior season with the Yotes.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: For more on the The C of I volleyball program, head to the official homepage of the Coyotes, http://www.collegeofidaho.edu/athlete/vball.htm.