August 14, 2019 - 10:52 pm
The UNLV volleyball team was picked to finish third in the 2019 Mountain West preseason poll, which was voted on by the league’s 11 coaches, and Rebels junior outside hitter Mariena Hayden was named to the preseason all-league team.
Colorado State was picked first for the sixth straight year with 100 points and 10 first-place votes. Wyoming (79) was picked second, followed by UNLV (78) and Boise State (73, one first-place vote).
Next were San Jose State (66), Fresno State (56), New Mexico (50), San Diego State (41), Air Force (28), Utah State (19) and UNR (15).
This season’s predicted finish for the Rebels is tied for the second highest in league history (2013), trailing only the second-place selection in 2015.
Hayden, an all-conference performer in 2018, was one of seven players named to the league’s preseason team.
The native of Belle Plaine, Minnesota, led the nation in aces (114) and aces per set (0.90) and finished second in points (690), fifth in points per set (5.43) and 10th in total kills (543).
Hayden’s 114 aces were a UNLV single-season record and the most by an NCAA student/athlete since the 25-point scoring format was adopted in 2008.
The Rebels were picked to finish tied for fifth in the Mountain West preseason poll, voted on by the league’s 12 coaches. They went 11-6-3 in 2018 and return six starters, including four senior three-year starters.
Defending regular-season champion Boise State was picked to win the league again, garnering 109 points and four first-place votes.
The Broncos were followed by San Jose State (105, three first-place votes), New Mexico (104, three), San Diego State (96, two), UNLV and Wyoming (70), Fresno State (62), Colorado College (59), Utah State (40), Colorado State (33), Air Force (29) and UNR (15).
The Rebels’ returning starters include four senior three-year starters: forward Michaela Morris, midfielders Georgia Kingman and Katie Ballou and defender Paige Almendariz.
The Rebels also return sophomore goalkeeper Emberly Sevilla, who had a 0.97 goals-against average as a freshman, and sophomore defender Taylor Clark, who made 14 starts as a freshman and made the league’s all-newcomer team.