Big West Women's Volleyball Release - Week 6
This Week In The Big West
Race For The Title:
First week of Big West play in the record books and four teams maintained an unblemished conference mark. Hawai’i, Long Beach State and CSUN own a 2-0 record while UC Riverside downed Cal State Fullerton, 3-2, to mark the first time the Highlanders won their Big West opener since 2005. They sit 1-0 in league action. The remaining five teams were unable to secure a victory opening weekend.
Big West In the Top 25:
With sweeps over Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara, the University of Hawai’i moved up one slot to crack the Top 10 for the first time this season as it sits 10th with 1,014 points. Like the Rainbow Wahine, Long Beach State bumped up one spot to 24th with 138 points.
800 And Counting...:
Head coach Brian Gimmillaro opened Big West play with a 2-0 mark to improve to 801 career wins during his 31 years at Long Beach State. Gimmillaro becomes just the fourth active coach to reach 800 wins at one institution, and is only the 14th coach ever to record 800 wins at the Division I level.
Big West On FOX Prime Ticket:
FOX Sports Prime Ticket and the Big West Conference recently unveiled the fall broadcast schedule on Prime Ticket which features a showdown of CSUN and Long Beach State squaring off in the Walter Pyramid. The Saturday, October 17 match begins at 7:00 p.m. The 49ers seek to defend their 2014 championship, accomplished with a unblemished 16-0 record and the 13th overall title in program history. The Matadors regularly have finished among the upper echelon in the Big West standings, including a share of the championship two seasons ago.
• The Big West Conference announced that 11 women’s volleyball matches will be distributed on ESPN3 this fall, beginning on September 25.
Fri., September 25 - UC Davis at Long Beach State
Sat., September 26 - UC Irvine at Long Beach State
Fri., October 2 - Hawai’i at Cal State Fullerton
Sat., October 3 - Hawai‘i at UC Riverside
Fri., October 23 - Cal Poly at CSUN
Sat., October 24 - UC Santa Barbara at CSUN
Fri., November 6 - Hawai‘i at Long Beach State
Fri., November 13 - UC Santa Barbara at Cal St. Fullerton
Sat., November 14 - Cal Poly at Cal State Fullerton
Tues., November 17 - Hawai’i at UC Irvine
Sat., November 21 - UC Davis at UC Irvine
Cal Poly Suffers Loss In Big West Opener:
Cal Poly suffered its second straight loss last week, for the first time this season, as the Mustangs were swept by No. 11 Hawai’i. The Mustangs look to notch their first Big West win this weekend when they welcome No. 24 Long Beach State and CSUN to Mott Gym. Cal Poly is 1-1 at home this season.
Cal Poly paces the Big West Conference with a 15.40 digs per set average. The Mustangs are led by freshman Katherine Brouker’s 3.30 average, which ranks ninth in the league.
Freshman outside hitter Adlee Van Winden recorded a team-high 12 kills against No. 11 Hawai’i, marking the 11th time in 12 contests that the true freshman recorded a double-digit kill total. She currently sits fourth in the conference with a 3.82 average.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
In Search Of A ‘W’:
Under the helm of first-year head coach Ashley Preston, the Cal State Fullerton Titans are still searching for their first victory of the season with a 0-13 mark thus far. The last time the Titans opened the year with an 0-13 mark was back in 1994 when they tallied an overall record of 1-28. Things don’t get any easier for the Titans this week as they host No. 10 Hawai’i Friday at 7:00 p.m.
Sophomore outside hitter Kyra Hill is averaging 2.38 kills per set to lead Cal State Fullerton. On defense, Paige Reed leads the way with a 3.62 dig average and Kyra Smith is dominating at the net with a .98 blocks per set mark.
Diaper Dandies On The Bench:
The Cal State Fullerton coaching staff is one of the youngest in the nation as the three full-time coaches are a combined 89 years old. In addition, volunteer assistant Naseri Tumanuvao preps for his first season at Cal State Fullerton at 28 years of age.
CSUN Makes Statement In Conference-Opening Weekend:
After posting a 1-11 mark during nonconference play, the Matadors turned things around and notched a pair of victories to open Big West play and snap an eight-match skid in the process. CSUN started things off with a sweep over UC Irvine before downing UC Davis, 3-1. Up next for the Matadors is a weekend trip to the Central Coast to battle UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly.
Stinson Eyes Career Mark:
Senior Cieana Stinson registered 39 kills over the weekend, bumping her career total to 1,017 kills. The senior outside hitter becomes the 12th player in Matador history to reach the career milestone. Both Casey Hinger and Natalie Allen reached 1,000 kills in 2014 with Mahina Haina accomplishing the feat in 2013. Stinson is currently averaging 3.64 kills per set to sit fifth in the Big West.
CSUN, who ranked eighth in the league in kills during nonconference play (340), notched a league-best 110 kills in the first weekend of conference play to lead second place Hawai’i by 12.
LONG BEACH STATE
LBSU On Course To Defend Title:
Defending Big West champion Long Beach State opened conference play with a 2-0 mark, taking down UC Davis (3-0) and UC Irvine (3-1). Up next for the 49ers is a road trip to the Central Coast to battle Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara.
Gimmillaro Reaches New Milestone:
Head Coach Brian Gimmillaro claimed his 800th career Division I win with a 3-0 victory over UC Davis. Gimmillaro, currently in his 31st season, becomes just the fourth active coach to reach 800 wins at one institution, and is only the 14th coach ever to record 800 wins at the Division I level. He also eclipsed the 400-win threshold in conference play, the first coach in league history to do so.
In Saturday’s 3-1 victory over UC Irvine, Mele Barber notched her 13th double-double (20 kills, 13 digs) of the season. The junior outside hitter is averaging 3.93 kills per set and 3.14 digs per set, to pace the 49ers in both categories.
After opening the 2015 season playing 15 of their 16 contests on the road, the UC Davis Aggies return home for a four-match homestand that begins Wednesday against UC Riverside. UC Davis, who opened Big West play with an 0-2 record, was 5-3 at home in 2014.
Squyres Leading The Charge:
Senior outside hitter Kaylin Squyres continues to pace the Aggies and rank second in the Big West with a 4.54 mark, which also places her sixth in the country. In UC Davis’ four-set loss to CSUN Saturday, Squyres tied her career high of kills with 26 to bump her season total to a conference-high 268 kills. She also owns the league’s sixth spot in service aces with a .29 service ace average.
Led by the duo of Aima Eichie and Kelechi Ohiri, who sit fourth and fifth in the Big West in blocks, the Aggies rank second in the conference with a 2.41 blocks per set average. Individually, Eichie is averaging 1.18 blocks while Ohiri posts 1.10 blocks per set.
UCI Drops Conference Opener:
UC Irvine opened Big West play with a pair of losses, falling to both CSUN and Long Beach State. The Anteaters look to tally their first Big West victory of the season Wednesday when they entertain Cal State Fullerton at Crawford Court. Following the clash with the Titans, the Anteaters visit UC Davis Saturday evening.
Dandy Of A Freshman:
When looking at the Big West stats, freshman Harlee Kekauoha can be found in the top 10 in hitting percentage (6th - .339), kills (8th - 3.23) and service aces (4th - .34). She is the top freshman in hitting percentage and second in both kills and service aces.
Hain At The Helm:
Ashlie Hain, starting setter on UC Irvine’s 2003 and 2004 NCAA Tournament teams, returned UCI as head coach this season after coaching at American River College. There, she took over a program that had won just three matches and led the Beavers to consecutive Big 8 Conference titles in 2013 and 2014.
UC Riverside Set Program Milestones With Conference-Opening Victory:
UC Riverside posted a 3-2 comeback victory over Cal State Fullerton to open Big West with a victory, marking the first time the Highlanders have won their league opener since 2005. With the win, UCR improves to 6-8, the program’s best record through 14 matches.
UC Riverside looks to keep the momentum going as the Highlanders travel to UC Davis Wednesday evening. The Highlanders then return home to host No. 10 Hawai’i at the SRC.
Can You Dig It?:
Ever since Maddie Hubbell began her career at UC Riverside three years ago, she has excelled on defense and this year is no difference. The junior libero currently paces the league with a 4.66 digs per set average. In 2014 she finished the year ranked eighth in the league and during her freshman campaign she ended her year in fourth.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Rough Start To Conference Play:
UC Santa Barbara dropped its Big West Conference opener last week with a 3-0 loss to No. 11 Hawai’i, extending its skid to seven. The Gauchos, who look to turn things around, have another tough week ahead of them as they are slated to entertain CSUN and No. 24 Long Beach State. Both schools opened league play with a 2-0 record.
Elizabeth Sheffield continues to pace the Gauchos while ranking fifth in the league with a .350 hitting percentage. She also sits ninth in service aces with a .25 mark. Teammate Emilia Petrachi owns the second slot in digs with a 4.38 average.
Home Not So Sweet Home:
UC Santa Barbara has struggled in front of their fans this season, posting a 0-5 mark at The Thunderdome. Their four victories were all on the road at nonconference tournaments. The Gauchos host CSUN and No. 24 Long Beach State this weekend.
UH Opens League Play With Pair Of Wins:
The 10th-ranked Rainbow Wahine opened Big West play with a pair of victories, extending their win streak to seven. This week they head to the mainland for the first time this season to battle Cal State Fullerton (10/2) and UC Riverside (10/3) with both contests airing on ESPN3.
The Rainbow Wahine own an impressive 12-1 overall mark to rank seventh in the country with a .923 win-loss percentage. Their lone defeat came on Sept. 6 against to No. 25 UCLA (3-1).
Big West Dominance:
Hawai’i is dominating the Big West Conference in nearly every category including hitting percentage (.286), kills (14.33), assists (13.17), blocks (3.17), service aces (1.57) and opponent hitting percentage (.156). The only category they are not leading in is digs, where they sit seventh with a 13.54 average. Individually, the results are pretty similar with Olivia Magill owning the top ranks in both hitting percentage (.395) and blocks (1.58), while teammate Nikki Taylor is first in kills (4.74) and service aces (.50).