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Women's Beach Volleyball
Hudson, Kruidhof Earn Weekly Honor
Long Beach State’s No. 5 duo in Jenelle Hudson and Megan Kruidhof earned Big West Pairs Team of the Week Honors for the second time this season.
Sophomores Jenelle Hudson (San Diego, Calif./Iowa State) and Megan Kruidhof (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood HS) went 2-0 last week in a tri-dual with No. 1 USC and CSU Bakersfield. The tandem opened the day with a straight-set victory over league foe CSUB (21-10, 21-15) before rallying from a first-set loss to the Trojans (14-21, 21-19, 15-10). The pair claimed LBSU’s only win over No. 1 USC.
The tandem helped the Beach earn a #1 seed in the Big West Tournament that kicks off this week in Pismo Beach, Calif.
Hudson and Kruidhof are just the second pair this year to earn multiple weekly honors.
Others nominated: none
Smith, Edberg Collect April Golfer of the Month Honors
First-place finishes from UC Santa Barbara’s Zach Smith and Cal State Fullerton’s Martina Edberg earned them Big West Golfer of the Month accolades for April.
Smith Leads UC Santa Barbara to Back-To-Back Titles
UC Santa Barbara junior Zach Smith (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley HS) parlayed two top-five individual finishes into back-to-back tournament team titles, as he captured Big West Men’s Golfer of the Month honors for April.
It was his second honor this season as he also was recognized in February.
Smith secured his first career tournament victory at the Wyoming Cowboy Classic in Chandler, Ariz. He shot a 10-under-par 206 at the Whirlwind Golf Club. Smith sank about an 8-foot putt on the 18th hole for a final round 67, giving him a one-shot advantage over Sacramento State’s Aaron Beverly. Smith carded rounds of 71 and 68 over the first 36 holes. His 67 in the final round was the second-lowest next to teammate Brandon Bauman’s 6-under par 66.
Smith helped the Gauchos record their third tournament title of 2016-17, as they won by 11 strokes in the 18-team field.
UCSB tallied its fourth tournament title at the Cal Poly Shootout in Arroyo Grande, Calif. The four titles are the most in school history. It also represented the first time the school won back-to-back tournament titles. Smith led the way once again, tying for fourth place with an aggregate 5-under-par 211 at the Cypress Ridge Golf Course.
He carded rounds of 69, 72 and 70 – and has shot at or under par in six straight rounds entering the Big West Tournament. His performance helped UCSB coast to a comfortable 24-shot victory over second-place UC Irvine. UCSB shot 22-under-par to lead wire-to-wire in the tournament. Teams played in a “play six, count five” format as opposed to the standard “play five, count four” format.
Others nominated: Cole Nygren (Cal Poly); Ty Stites (Cal State Fullerton); Ben Corfee (UC Davis); David Kim (UC Irvine)
Edberg Nabs Fifth Straight Golfer of the Month Award
Cal State Fullerton senior Martina Edberg (Glumskov, Sweden/Klippans Gymnasieskola) extended her conference record of consecutive Big West Golfer of the Month selections to five when the coaches voted her the winner for April.
It was Edberg’s seventh career honor, placing her second on the all-time Big West career list.
Edberg secured her fifth medalist honor of 2016-17 as she won the Hawkeye El-Tigre Invitational in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
She fired her top round of 70 over the final 18 holes, allowing her to come back from two shots behind and win with an overall 2-under-par 214. Edberg carded back-to-back rounds of 72 to stay in contention.
Edberg, who has posted a top-3 finish in eight of nine tournaments this season, helped the Titans move up four spots on the leaderboard to tie for fifth in the 14-team field on the 6,085-yard El-Tigre Golf Club.
She currently leads the Titans with a 71.54 scoring average in 26 rounds this season.
Others nominated: Sophie Bergland (Cal Poly); Haley Tygret (Long Beach State); Paige Lee (UC Davis); Janet Yeo (UC Irvine); Izzy Leung (Hawai‘i)
Heim, Dubavets Earn Tennis Athlete of the Week Honors
Juniors Sebastian Heim of UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara's Palina Dubavets were recognized as Big West Tennis Athlete of the Week for the second time this season.
Heim Goes Unbeaten In Conference Duals
UC Irvine junior Sebastian Heim (Speyer, Germany/Hans-Purrmann-Gymnasium) nabbed his second Big West Men’s Tennis Athlete of the Week award this season as he went unbeaten in a pair of league duals. It also was his seventh career award, placing him fourth all-time in Big West annals.
Heim helped the Anteaters record their first Big West victory, 5-2 at UC Riverside, defeating Cooper Bridge at No. 1 singles by a 6-1, 6-1 score. He also teamed with Luis Lopez at No. 2 doubles for a 6-2 victory against Nabil Abdallah and Anderson Ju.
In a 5-2 loss to No. 48 UC Santa Barbara, Heim played a part in both UCI points. He won his match at No. 1 singles versus Nicolas Moreno de Alboran, 6-1, 7-5. He also helped pave the way for UCI to take the doubles point, again pairing with Lopez to take a 6-4 triumph over Moreno de Alboran and Morgan Mays. The duo is 3-0 in doubles against league foes.
Others nominated: Garrett Auproux (Cal Poly); Morgan Mays (UC Santa Barbara)
Dubavets Defeats Top Notch Opponent
UC Santa Barbara junior Palina Dubavets (Minsk, Belarus/TCU) defeated the two-time conference Player of the Year in singles to earn her second Big West Women’s Tennis Athlete of the Week award this season.
Dubavets fought to a 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory against Long Beach State’s Maeva Razakasoa to help the Gauchos claw out a 4-2 win in Long Beach. Razakasoa was the Big West Player of the Year in 2014 and 2016.
She also won a doubles match with partner Melissa Baker, 6-1, to help UCSB to a 4-0 win at UC Riverside.
Others nominated: Molly Reed (Cal Poly); Camille De Leon (Cal State Fullerton); Nikita Pradeep (UC Davis); Constance Branstine (UC Irvine); Cindy Nguyen (Hawai‘i)
Women's Water Polo
Stingy Nelson Earns Weekly Women's Water Polo Award
UC Irvine senior Annika Nelson (Upland, Calif./Upland HS) helped extend her team’s winning streak to 10 straight following a stellar performance in goal, earning her Big West Women’s Water Polo Player of the Week honors.
The goalkeeper tallied a season-high 12 saves against No. 13 UC Davis to key an 8-2 conference win, improving UCI to 4-0 in the Big West. Nelson played an important role in accomplishing what only Stanford, UCLA and Cal have been able to do against the UC Davis offense this season – limit it to two or fewer goals.
Nelson stopped a fourth quarter penalty shot among her 12 saves. The 10th straight victory set a new school record, bettering the old mark of nine from 2012.
In 120 minutes of action this year, Nelson has allowed just 12 goals.
Others nominated: Christina Kotsia (Long Beach State); Kenzi Snyder (UC Santa Barbara); Irene Gonzalez (Hawai‘i)
Track & Field
Weekly Honors Distributed Evenly Among Four Schools
The four Big West Track and Field Athlete of the Week winners showed off their talent at four separate meets.
UC Irvine sophomore Isaiah Jewett (Inglewood, Calif./Cathedral Catholic HS) maintained his grip on the 800-meters in earning his third Big West Men’s Track Athlete of the Week award this season. In just the fourth 800m race of his UCI career, Jewett won the collegiate open section at the prestigious Mt. SAC Relays in a personal-best time of 1:48.43. That helped him clear the finish line .28 seconds faster than the runner-up from Michigan. Jewett, undefeated in the 800m this year, recorded his biggest victory yet as the field of 50 athletes was the strongest he has competed against to-date. His 1:48.43 ranks No. 1 in the Big West, 10th in the West Region and 22nd in the NCAA. Jewett also stands at No. 3 now on the UCI all-time list.
CSUN junior Courtney Robinson (Las Vegas, Nev./San Diego State) contributed four solid times at the Texas Invitational to capture Big West Women’s Track Athlete of the Week honors. Her best showing came in the 100-meter hurdles, where she ran a blistering 13.13 to finish third overall. That time tops the Big West, while ranking No. 7 in the West Region and No. 12 nationally. Robinson also placed 11th in the 100-meters in a personal-best time of 11.66. She also contributed on legs of both relay events. The 4x100 quartet of Robinson, Lexis Lambert, Asheley Bamberg and Marie Veale took third in a time of 44.65, the fastest finish in the Big West this season. That same group notched a fourth-place finish in the 4x400 relay, clocking a conference-best 3:42.46.
Setting two personal records in the pole vault at home meets, Long Beach State senior Xander Cooper (Coronado, Calif./Cuyamaca College) took home Big West Men’s Field Athlete of the Week accolades. Cooper initially equalled his lifetime best of 17-00.75 (5.20m) at the Pacific Coast Intercollegiate, finishing third in a field of 18 vaulters on Thursday. He then returned that weekend to compete in the 23rd Beach Invitational, and responded by increasing his PR almost four inches to a conference-best 17-04.50 (5.30m). The mark inserted him into the LBSU record books at No. 9 on the all-time list. In addition, he landed at No. 11 in the West Region – one of the top vaulters to advance to next month’s NCAA First Round in Austin, Texas, and he’s also ranked nationally at No. 21.
UC Santa Barbara senior Tori Usgaard (Dana Point, Calif./Dana Hills HS) recorded an impressive personal-best score of 5,551 points in the heptathlon to garner Big West Women’s Field Athlete of the Week recognition. She finished third overall at the California Invitational Heptathlon and landed at No. 2 on the school’s all-time list. Usgaard mopped up big points with personal-bests in the long jump (19-05.25) and 100-meter hurdles (13.88). She pared off two-tenths of a second from her previous best in the 100m hurdles. She also ran well in the 800-meters with a time of 2:18.55. The 5,551 points not only is the best score in the Big West so far this year, it ranks No. 12 in the NCAA.
Others nominated (Men’s Track): Swarnjit Boyal (Cal Poly); Xavier Brown (CSUN); Koty Burton (Long Beach State); Sike Azu-Irondi (UC Santa Barbara)
Others nominated (Women’s Track): Peyton Bilo (Cal Poly); Courtne’ Davis (Long Beach State); Natsumi McGee (UC Davis); Persis William-Mensah (UC Irvine); Weslie Pearce (UC Riverside); Jenna Hinkle (UC Santa Barbara)
Others nominated (Men’s Field): Arnie Sambel (Cal Poly); Trevor Gorwin (Cal State Fullerton); Dennis Hicks (CSUN); Kyle Clancy (UC Davis); Matt Seawright (UC Irvine); Silviu Bocancea (UC Riverside)
Others nominated (Women’s Field): Allison Scranton (Cal Poly); Naiah Boardingham (Cal State Fullerton); Brianna Cueva (CSUN); Kennedy Krueger (Long Beach State); Michaela Mundt (UC Davis); Haleigh Sudbeck (Hawai‘i)