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Highlander Duo Helps Team Snap Streaks
UC Riverside teammates Blanca Barrio and Amanda Roy heavily influenced the ending of two streaks in back-to-back shutout victories as this week’s women’s soccer award recipients.
Barrio Involved In All Four Highlander Goals
UC Riverside senior Blanca Barrio (San Bernardino, Calif./Redlands Citrus Valley HS) captured Big West Women’s Soccer Offensive Player of the Week honors after tallying a goal with three assists in wins over UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly.
Barrio played a role in all four Highlander goals that led to shutouts of the two Central Coast opponents. As a results, UC Riverside snapped an eight-match losing streak and a string of four straight scoreless contests.
The midfielder recorded her second game-winning goal of the season in the 3-0 triumph against UCSB. She opened the scoring in the 18th minute, creating a 1-v-1 opportunity against the keeper. Although her first shot was blocked, Blanco collected the rebound and slammed it into the net for the early lead.
Blanco then teamed up with Hailey Maxwell for two more goals less than three minutes apart that gave the Highlanders an insurmountable 3-0 halftime lead. The two assists vaulted Blanco into first-place on the Highlander career list.
In Sunday’s 1-0 win against the Mustangs, Blanco recorded the game-winning assist as her corner kick with just seconds remaining before intermission found Amanda Roy on the far side of the box, for a redirected boot into the net.
Others nominated: Emily Hansen (Cal Poly); Kaycee Hoover (Cal State Fullerton); Ashley Gonzales (Long Beach State); Noel Baham (UC Irvine)
Roy Anchors Defensive Effort In Back-To-Back Shutouts
Amanda Roy (San Diego, Calif./Rancho Bernardo HS) was the centerpiece of a UC Riverside backline that clamped down on two opponents, as she earned Big West Women’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Week accolades.
The freshman helped limit UC Santa Barbara, the Big West’s top scoring team in the conference averaging 1.65 goals per match, to just four shots overall and two shots on goal in a 3-0 shutout. Roy then aided another shutout effort, a 1-0 victory over Cal Poly, by restricting the Mustangs to just three shots overall, and two on goal.
In addition, Roy got in on the act offensively, scoring the game-winning goal against Cal Poly. She redirected a corner kick to the near post for her first score of the season at the 44:42 mark.
Others nominated: Sophia Brown (Cal Poly); Jennifer Stuart (Cal State Fullerton); Nicole Thompson (CSUN); Kelsey Texeira (UC Irvine)
Heilmann, Del Curto Multiple Award Winners
Alex Heilmann earned national player of the week kudos for his efforts, while James Del Curto became just the 10th player in league history to claim three citations in one season.
Heilmann Reaches Double-Digits In Goals
Conference goals co-leader Alex Heilmann helped Cal State Fullerton win twice with a pair of goals, securing his second Big West Men’s Soccer Offensive Player of the Week award this season.
The forward netted his ninth and 10th goals of the year to help the Titans topple UC Irvine (3-1) and UC Riverside (1-0). CSF moved into a tie for second place in the South Division with 13 points, just one point from first.
The 10 goals also place him in a tie for first in the Big West alongside UC Santa Barbara’s Kevin Feucht.
Heilmann’s header inside the right post gave the Titans an early 1-0 lead against the Anteaters as he finished the game with three shots, and two on goal.
He collected his third game-winning goal – and third overall in the last four matches – for the only score in a 1-0 triumph over the Highlanders on Saturday. Heilmann once again struck early as he hit a strike to the far post at the 13:27 mark.
Heilmann also was rewarded as the College Soccer News National Player of the Week for his efforts.
Others nominated: Juan Fernando Samayoa (CSUN); Alex Bettencourt (Sacramento State)
Del Curto Captures Third Defensive Award
Sacramento State goalkeeper James Del Curto earned his third Big West Men’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Week award after helping the Hornets to two wins with a 0.52 goals against average.
Del Curto became just the 10th individual in Big West history to earn three weekly citations in a season.
He earned a shared shutout in Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over Cal Poly. Del Curto made two saves and controlled the box. After leaving the game briefly due to bleeding caused by a cleat to the head, Del Curto returned less than seven minutes later to preserve the clean sheet.
Del Curto then turned away six shots, five on diving stops, to help the Hornets defeat UC Davis, 2-1. He was brilliant on a day the Aggies outshot the Hornets 20-8 overall.
Others nominated: Eric Kam (Cal Poly); Corentin Ohlmann (Cal State Fullerton); Kevin Marquez (CSUN); Josue Delgado (UC Santa Barbara)
Kekauoha, Bolko, Ruddins Notch Women's Volleyball Honors
UC Santa Barbara’s Lindsey Ruddins led the parade of women’s volleyball weekly award honorees with her fourth Big West Freshman Player of the Week citation.
Kekauoha Spectacular In UC Irvine Sweeps
Sophomore Harlee Kekauoha (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Wilson HS) hit a combined .583 to lead UC Irvine to sweeps of Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside for Big West Women’s Volleyball Player of the Week accolades.
The 6-0 opposite hammered 22 kills with just one error in 36 attempts last week as the Anteaters catapulted into a tie for fourth in the conference with the two wins.
Kekauoha set a school record for single-match hitting percentage against the Titans, finishing with a .923 mark. She slammed 12 kills in 13 swings without an error. The .923 mark is tops in the Big West and ranks third nationally this year in attempts between 10-14.
She contributed prominently in other ways, firing a career-high five aces while adding nine digs and a block. The five aces rank No. 8 in the UCI record book.
Against the Highlanders, Kekauoha finished with 10 kills, nine digs, three aces and two blocks. She tallied her only error of the weekend in that match while taking 23 swings.
For the week, she averaged 3.67 kills, 3.00 digs, 1.33 aces and 0.50 blocks per set. Kekauoha currently ranks 28th nationally in service aces (28) and is one of only nine players in the country with three triple-doubles this season.
Others nominated: Adlee Van Winden (Cal Poly); Julie Haake (CSUN); Nele Barber (Long Beach State); Kendall Walbrecht (UC Davis); Lindsey Ruddins (UC Santa Barbara)
Impressive Effort Nets Bolko Defensive Honor
Tying her highest dig total for a weekend, UC Davis sophomore Malia Bolko (Benicia, Calif./St. Patrick-St. Vincent HS) claimed Big West Women’s Volleyball Defensive Player of the Week honors.
The 5-8 libero accumulated a total of 47 digs to help the Aggies post consecutive four-set victories over UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton. The combined dig total tied her highest for a weekend, which includes two three-match tournaments in which she totaled 47 digs.
Bolko had 23 digs against the Highlanders followed by 24 versus the Titans.
In addition, she led the team in passing, with no aces allowed in 62 receptions. She also recorded 13 assists.
Others nominated: Katherine Brouker (Cal Poly); Katie Sato (CSUN); Maddie Hubbell (UC Riverside)
Ruddins Leads UC Santa Barbara Offense
Recording her fourth Big West Women’s Volleyball Freshman Player of the Week honor, UC Santa Barbara outside hitter Lindsey Ruddins (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Aliso Niguel HS) averaged 4.89 kills per set and hit .330 to help the Gauchos to a 1-1 split.
Ruddins, who won the award in each of the first three weeks of the season, tallied a match and career-high 25 kills in an upset bid against Long Beach State. Although the Gauchos fell in five sets to the undefeated and first-place 49ers, Ruddins swung at a .361 clip with just three errors in 61 attempts. She added 11 digs to secure her fifth double-double of the season.
She returned one night later to help UCSB post a four-set victory over CSUN. Ruddins delivered 19 kills, nine digs and a career-high four service aces. The 19 kills led her team and she hit a solid .292 in the victory.
Others nominated: Melissa Eaglin (CSUN); YiZhi Xue (Long Beach State)
Hutchins, Bilo Team Up Again For Cross Country Honors
For the third time this season, Cal Poly runners Clayton Hutchins and Peyton Bilo have been selected as the Big West Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Athletes of the Week.
Hutchins Posts Top-25 Finish at Pre-Nationals
Cal Poly junior Clayton Hutchins (San Anselmo, Calif./Drake HS) earned his third Big West Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week honor this season after an impressive showing at the Adidas Pre-Nationals.
Hutchins finished in 22nd place among 268 competitors in Saturday’s Blue 8K race on the LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind. He posted a time of 24:24.6 to help the Mustangs to a 12th-place team score of 409 in the 41-team field, including eight squads ranked in the Top 30 nationally.
It is the third time in four meets this season that Hutchins has been Cal Poly’s top finisher.
Others nominated: Sam Pimentel (Cal State Fullerton); Isaiah Thompson (UC Irvine); Cesar Solis (UC Riverside); Adam Avila (UC Santa Barbara)
Bilo Finishes Third at Pre-Nationals in Indiana
Sophomore Peyton Bilo (El Dorado Hills, Calif./St. Francis HS) captured her fifth career Big West Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week accolade as the Cal Poly standout finished in third place overall at the prestigious Pre-Nationals meet in Indiana on Saturday.
Claiming her fourth award this season, Bilo traversed the 6K LaVern Gibson Championship Course in 20:11.5. She trailed only two-time All-Americans Erin Finn of Michigan and Erin Clark of Colorado, both who finished in the top 20 at last year’s NCAA Championships.
Bilo, who has been the Mustangs’ top finisher at nine consecutive meets over the last two years, helped the team to an 11th-place finish among 42 squads, with a score of 477. The race featured eight teams ranked in the Top 30 and 285 individuals.
Others nominated: Brianna Jacklin (Cal State Fullerton); Faith Makau (UC Riverside); Jenna Hinkle (UC Santa Barbara); Camille Campos (Hawai‘i)
Greisen, Petrachi, Sherman Earn Women's Volleyball Honors
Raeann Greisen of Cal Poly, Emilia Petrachi of UC Santa Barbara and Mickayla Sherman of UC Riverside received the Big West women’s volleyball weekly honors following standout performances.
Greisen Leads Mustangs To Consecutive Sweeps
Cal Poly junior Raeann Greisen (San Diego, Calif./The Bishop’s School) hit .413 and led the team in kills in two wins, earning Big West Women’s Volleyball Player of the Week accolades.
The 6-2 outside hitter tallied a combined 32 kills in back-to-back sweeps over Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside as the Mustangs improved to 5-2 in the Big West.
Greisen pounded a match-high 17 kills on .382 hitting against the Titans. She committed only four errors in 34 swings while also adding a dig and a solo block in the victory.
She returned the following night with a match-high 15 kills to go along with five blocks (one solo). Greisen hit .448 against the Highlanders, making only two errors in 29 attempts.
Greisen ranks No. 7 in the Big West with 3.46 kills per set.
Others nominated: Ashley Murray (Long Beach State); Mickayla Sherman (UC Riverside); Nikki Taylor (Hawai‘i)
Petrachi Posts Season-High In Digs
UC Santa Barbara sophomore Emilia Petrachi (Modena, Italy/Liceo Classico San Carlo) captured her third career Big West Women’s Volleyball Defensive Player of the Week honor – and her second of the season – averaging 6.13 digs per set over two matches.
The 5-6 libero recorded back-to-back 20-plus dig performances as the Gauchos lost to UC Riverside and defeated Cal State Fullerton in a pair of four-set road contests.
Petrachi had 20 digs against the Titans and a season-high 29 versus the Highlanders. It was the second-highest total of her career after collecting one 30-scoop match last year.
Petrachi, who has five 20-dig performances this season, she helped the Gauchos limit the Titans to .151 hitting, keeping them under .100 in two sets.
Others nominated: Katherine Brouker (Cal Poly); Harlee Kekauoha (UC Irvine); Norene Iosia (Hawai‘i)
Sherman Helps Highlanders To First Conference Victory
UC Riverside outside hitter Mickayla Sherman (Antioch, Calif./Freedom HS) exploded for a career-high in kills to power her club to its first conference victory this season, earning her Big West Women’s Volleyball Freshman Player of the Week recognition.
The 6-1 Sherman notched 26 kills against UC Santa Barbara in a four-set victory on Friday. She hit a season-best .400 for the match, with just six errors in 50 swings. She also logged a career-best 11 digs for her second double-double, and added three block assists and a service ace to her stat line.
Sherman also had seven kills, five digs and two blocks against Cal Poly in Saturday’s three-set loss.
Others nominated: Nadia Retoff (Cal Poly); Melissa Eaglin (CSUN); Loryn Carter (UC Irvine); Norene Iosia (Hawai‘i)