Hughes MVP of LMU Classic, Hurricane Invite
Last updated 10/27/2006 at Noon
Heather Hughes was selected as the most valuable player of both the LMU Four Points Sheraton LAX Classic tournament and the Miami Hurricane Invitational tournament.
“This is actually the first time I’ve ever received an MVP award from a tournament my whole life, so getting two MVP awards is a big accomplishment,” Hughes said.
“I guess it’s a pretty big deal,” Hughes said. “Getting MVP is a really big honor, and it proves that you have a great leadership role on the team and you have to be a pretty strong and consistent player in order to receive MVP.”
The 2004 Fallbrook High School graduate, who now plays volleyball for Loyola Marymount University, had 47 kills, 14 digs, 10 aces, eight assists, and two blocks during the LMU Classic played September 8-9 at Loyola Marymount’s Gersten Pavilion. The Lions won that tournament after defeating University of California, Irvine in four games, Southern Methodist University in three games, and Nevada in three games.
Hughes had 19 kills against Irvine, which gave her a .405 kill percentage for that match, 16 kills against SMU, and 12 kills against Nevada for a tournament kill percentage of .333. She had six aces against SMU and four against Nevada while both of her blocks were against Irvine.
“She does all the little things,” said Loyola Marymount coach Steve Stratos.
The Hurricane Invite took place September 15-16 in Miami, Florida. The Lions also won that tournament, defeating Jacksonville University in four games, Florida A&M in three games, and the University of Miami in three games. Hughes had 45 kills, 28 digs, ten assists, nine aces, and six blocks in the tournament.
Hughes had a tournament kill percentage of .277 in Miami, obtaining 18 kills against Jacksonville, 14 against Florida A&M, and 13 against Miami. She had 13 of her digs against Florida A&M and five of her blocks against Jacksonville.
“I thought our team did a really nice job of playing consistently. Every single game we seem to be improving more and more,” Hughes said. “If we can just keep up the energy level and keep the fire going on to the real [conference] season when we start playing the top 25 teams on a weekly basis it will really help.”
As a freshman in 2004 Hughes earned honors on one all-tournament team as well as honorable mention to the West Coast Conference team. Last year Hughes earned three all-tournament team selections and first-team all-WCC honors.
“For Heather it’s all about the team,” Stratos said. “She almost looks embarrassed when she receives all of these awards.”
Stratos noted that her non-statistical accomplishments include making other players look good. “She celebrates a great deal more when one of her teammates does something wonderfully,” Stratos said.
During the spring Stratos named Hughes a co-captain for the 2006 team. “I think it’s something she enjoys, and she knows she can have even more of an impact with our other players in that role,” Stratos said.
Stratos notes that the all-tournament teams affirm Hughes’ own sentiments about her performance. “Heather, she doesn’t need somebody to tell her that she’s doing well,” Stratos said.
The tournament wins gave the Lions an 11-2 record. “Just knowing that our team’s doing well and we have a good start to our pre-season boosts our confidence,” Hughes said.
“I’m just really proud of the team and how we’re doing so far,” Hughes said. “As long as the team keeps that up, we’ll keep winning games.”
After those first 13 matches Hughes was leading the team with 195 kills, or 4.43 per game, and 34 aces. She ranked second on the team with 152 digs, fourth with 43 assists, and tied for fourth with 19 blocks.
“Being 11-2 right now is a very good start for us,” Stratos said. “It’s all about wins. That’s how you get to the NCAA playoffs, so every single win counts.”