UH Women's Volleyball Sweeps Big West Major Awards
(Hawaii Athletics) - After capturing its first Big West title under third year head coach Robyn Ah Mow last week, the University of Hawai'i women's volleyball team swept the major post-season awards for the first time in the Big West. Ah Mow earned Co-Coach of the Year honors, splitting the award with Cal State Fullerton's Ashley Preston. Norene Iosia was named the Big West Player of the Year and rookie Hanna Hellvig garnered Freshman of the Year honors. (While Hawai'i was a member of the Western Athletic Conference from 1996-2011, UH swept the three awards a total of four times - 2000, '04, '09 and '10). In all, seven different Rainbow Wahine—including Ah Mow—hauled in 11 post-season awards this year. Amber Igiede, Skyler Williams, Hellvig, and Iosia all were voted to the all-Big West First Team, while McKenna Ross and Brooke Van Sickle earned Honorable Mention honors. For only the second time in UH history and first time since 1993, two players also earned a spot on the all-Big West all-Freshman team—Hellvig and Igiedie. The only two Rainbow Wahine previously to earn BWC all-freshman team honors in same season was in 1993 were current associate coach Angelica Ljungqvis and Ah Mow. (In the WAC two UH players made it to the all-Freshman team four times.)
For Ah Mow, it is the first time a Hawai'i head coach not named Dave Shoji earned conference Coach of the Year honors. In his legendary career, Shoji earned seven Big West Coach of the Year awards and eight Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Coach of the Year awards. This is the 16th time in UH history that a Rainbow Wahine coach has earned the honor.
It is the 10th time that a Rainbow Wahine was named Big West Player of the Year, and first since Nikki Taylor in 2016. Iosia, a native of Torrance, Calif., is also the first setter to earn BWC Player of the Year honors. Overall, it is the 25th time that a Rainbow Wahine has earned top league honors (WAC-16). Kanoe Kamana'o, who was named WAC Player of the Year three times (2004, '05, '06) is the only other setter in UH history to be named POY. Iosia is also just the third setter in the last 21 years to be named Player of the Year for the BWC. Iosia has been a double-double machine for Hawai'i. This season, she has recorded 17 double-doubles in 27 matches and has 61 double-doubles and five triple-doubles for her career. She finished the regular season firmly etched in the UH record books, ranked at No. 10 with 1,137 career digs, No. 9 with 3,080 career assists, and No. 4 with 135 service aces—most recently passing Ljungvist with a career-high seven aces against Long Beach State. Iosia leads UH this season with 577 assists, 293 digs, and a career-high 44 service aces. Since renewing her role as setter/opposite, she also has contributed with 72 kills and 30 blocks. Iosia is in elite company in the BWC, joining only 11 other players to ever earn a spot on the all-Big West first team all four seasons. Iosia is only the seventh UH player to accomplish the feat of earning all-conference first team honors all four seasons, joining: Ljungqvist (1993-96), Lily Kahumoku (1999-2000 '02-'03), Kim Willougby (2000-'03), Kanoe Kamana'o (2004-'07) and Kanani Danielson (2008-'11).
Hellvig has shouldered much of the offensive load since the eighth match of the season. She has been solid all season and leads UH with 324 kills and is averaging 3.12 kills per set. Hellvig, an outside hitter from Lidongo, Sweden, has been in on 72 total blocks with 188 digs, and 15 service aces. Before she moved over to play opposite midway through the conference season, Hellvig also had five double-doubles. She is the fifth Rainbow Wahine to earn the Big West's FOY award—first since Nikki Taylor in 2013. She joins Ljungqvist (1993) as the second UH player from Sweden to earn the award as well. Hellvig was also named to the all-Big West first team and the all-freshman team.
Fellow freshman, middle blocker Igiede has become a formidable force on the court. The rookie, from Baton Rouge, La. leads UH with 118 total blocks—including 19 solo. She is also second on the team with 193 kills and a .365 hitting percentage. She has shown her versatility on the Teraflex recording 39 digs, six assists, two service aces and has one double-double (10K/10B vs. CSUF) this season. Igiede, along with Hellvig, also earned a spot on the Big West all-freshman team.
A day after earning her second BWC Defensive Player of the Week award, junior middle blocker Skyler Williams was named to the BWC first team. It is Williams' first time earning a post-season honor. This year, Williams put up career-high numbers with 175 kills and 100 total blocks. She led the Big West with a .388 hitting percentage. Williams, who hails from Bellflower, Calif., also has tallied 28 digs and nine assists this season.
Also earning post season honors for the first time is outside hitter McKenna Ross who was named honorable mention. Ross, a senior from Aliso Viejo, Calif., finished the season strong, notching seven double-digit kill matches in the last 11 matches of the season. For the year, Ross has posted career-highs with 167 kills, an averaged of 2.14 kills p/set, and 20 total blocks.
Although Brooke Van Sickle missed four matches in the conference season due to injury, the junior transfer proved her merit, earn honorable mention honors as well. Van Sickle, an outside hitter from Battle Ground Wash., notched three double-doubles this season, the last coming against Cal Poly at home with 12 kills and 11 digs. She is third on the team with 179 kills while averaging 2.24 kills p/set. Van Sickle's all-around prowess on the court is evident with her stats as she has 176 digs, 39 blocks, 22 assists and 19 service aces.
2019 All-Big West
Player of the Year: Norene Iosia
Freshman of the Year: Hanna Hellvig
Co-Coach of the Year: Robyn Ah Mow
Brooke Van Sickle