This Week in the Big West - October 25-31, 2010
The first Big West Championships of the year are here, with the 2010 Big West Cross Country Championships set for Saturday. In addition to the finale of Big West cross country, critical match-ups in women's and men's soccer as well as women's volleyball line the schedule. The final week of the women's soccer regular season is here, and though UC Irvine has claimed the conference title and the top seed in next week's Big West Women's Soccer Tournament, there are still three spots left up for grabs. Men's soccer enters there final two weeks of play with a grudge match on national TV as well as a showdown of top teams, while women's volleyball will see the top four teams tangle.
The first championships of the 2010-11 season are upon us, with the Big West Cross Country Championships on tap for Saturday. For the third year in a row, UC Riverside will host the event, with the Cal Poly men looking for their eighth-straight Big West title and the UC Santa Barbara women hoping to defend their crown. While last year's men's champion, Joe Gatel of Cal Poly, has graduated, 2008 winner Daniel Gonia, also of Cal Poly, returns to action. Sarah Sumpter of UC Davis is set to defend the title she earned last year, the first by an Aggie runner.
For more information, head to the Big West Cross Country Championships page.
Big West Cross Country Championships Preview
It's all about survival this week, with multiple matches in the spotlight carrying extra weight as the regular season winds down. The week begins with one of the biggest rivalries in men's soccer getting national air time as league-leading UC Santa Barbara (6-1-0) travels to San Luis Obispo to face Cal Poly (2-2-2) on Fox Soccer Channel. The Gauchos have won 7 matches in a row, while the Mustangs are looking to get back in the Big West Tournament picture.
Also on Wednesday, streaking UC Irvine (5-0-1), unbeaten in their last 9, head to UC Riverside, Cal State Northridge hosts nationally-ranked UCLA, and UC Davis and Cal State Fullerton square off in a battle of teams currently tied for third in the Big West.
Saturday's big showdown will pit the top two teams in the Big West against each other in a rematch of the past two Big West Tournament finals. UC Irvine will host UC Santa Barbara in the bitter rivals' only regular-season meeting this year. Saturday also sees Cal Poly travel to UC Davis in a rematch of last week's narrow 2-1 win by the Mustangs, while Cal State Northridge welcomes UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton plays a non-conference match against San Diego State.
The UC Davis at Cal State Fullerton match is set to be broadcast by the Titans on BigWest.TV, the conference's video streaming initiative. This is the third year that Cal State Fullerton has broadcast select men's and women's soccer matches on BigWest.TV. The Titans' Saturday-night match against San Diego State will not air due to conflicts with Cal State Fullerton women's volleyball.
The Big West Men's Soccer Tournament is two weeks away, with semifinal matches scheduled for Wednesday, November 10 and the championship final on Saturday, November 30. The sites for all matches are yet to be determined.
Men's Soccer Weekly Release #9
The final week of regular-season action is upon us, with nationally-ranked UC Irvine (7-0-0) having earned the Big West regular-season title and the top seed in next week's Big West Women's Soccer Tournament. The 'Eaters, winners of their last 12 and unbeaten in 15, will look to close out a perfect conference schedule on Halloween as they host crosstown rival Cal State Fullerton on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the remaining three seeds for the Big West Tournament are yet to be determined. Cal State Northridge (4-3-0) will try to secure their spot in the tournament on Thursday when they host Cal State Fullerton (3-3-0). Long Beach State (3-1-1) will have a chance to secure the number two seed with win at Pacific (4-2-0) on Friday, while the Tigers can assure themselves of a berth should they win. UC Santa Barbara will travel to Cal Poly for a Blue-Green Rivalry match that the Gauchos must win in order to have any shot at making the field.
Final matches will take place on Halloween, with Long Beach State at UC Davis and UC Riverside at Pacific in conference play. Cal Poly will host Cal State Bakersfield while Cal State Northridge hosts Seattle in the final non-conference match-ups of the year.
The Big West Women's Soccer Tournament will be held next week, with semifinal matches on Thursday, November 4 and the championship final on Sunday, November 7. UC Irvine will host one semifinal match, while the other site is to be determined.
UCI coach Scott Juniper discusses winning the Big West title on BigWest.TV
Women's Soccer Release #11
The race for the Big West title is entering its second phase, with perhaps the toughest week of the year for the top four teams in the conference. Just a game separates the four teams in first through fourth place. League-leading UC Santa Barbara (7-2) and fourth-place Cal Poly (7-3) will head south to face Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State, both of whom are tied for second with 6-2 marks. The Gauchos and Titans will tangle on Friday while the 49ers and Mustangs meet. They will then swap opponents for Saturday's matches.
Also on tap is a big weekend for the Northern California schools, who must hold serve at home if they want to get back in the conference race. UC Davis will square off against UC Irvine and Pacific will take on Cal State Northridge on Friday before they meet the other's counterpart on Saturday.
UC Riverside will kick the week off on Tuesday, with a non-conference match at San Diego State. The Highlanders will also host a non-conference meeting with Arizona on Sunday.
For the fifth year in a row, all home and conference matches be broadcast by Big West institutions live on the conference's Internet-streaming initiative BigWest.TV.
Women's Volleyball Release #10
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This Week in the Big West is the one-stop listing of the top matches taking place across the Big West Conference! Each week, This Week in the Big West will highlight the games that fans won’t want to miss and critical match-ups home or away in one location. Keep in touch with the happenings around the conference!
 -- Big West Championships at UCR Agricultural Operations Course (Riverside, CA).