Big West Women's Volleyball Release
Race For The Title:
The Rainbow Wahine (18-1) continue to cruise through the Big West Conference portion of its schedule as it knocked off UC Davis and UC Irvine last week to maintain a perfect 8-0 league mark. Cal Poly sits second with a 6-1 record and is followed by defending Big West champion Long Beach State, who holds a 5-2 mark. The Aggies of UC Davis are fourth at 4-3 while CSUN owns the fifth spot with a 3-3 mark. UC Santa Barbara earned its first two Big West victories of the season last week to tie for sixth with a 2-5 record. UC Riverside (1-6) is eighth and Cal State Fullerton (0-6) rounds out the nine-team field.
Big West In the Top 25:
With an 18-1 overall mark, Hawai’i continues to hold steady in the eighth spot of the AVCA Top 25 poll. Long Beach State collected 17 points to remain in the ‘others receiving votes’ category.
800 And Counting...:
Head coach Brian Gimmillaro opened Big West play with a 2-0 mark to reach the 800-career win threshold during his 31 years at Long Beach State. Gimmillaro, who now holds 804 wins, became 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.
We’re Number One:
The Rainbow Wahine lead the nation with an impressive 3.50 blocks per set average. Olivia Magill is the catalyst for the team, sporting the country’s second-best average of 1.69. With Magill pacing the Big West, teammates Emily Maglio and Nikki Taylor rank second and third with averages of 1.35 and 1.29.
Big West On ESPN3:
The Big West Conference announced that 11 women’s volleyball matches will be distributed on ESPN3 during the 2015 season 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
With a sweep over UC Riverside Saturday evening, the Cal Poly Mustangs clinched their sixth-straight Big West Conference victory, a first since the 2007 season. Up next is a Friday-night showdown against CSUN on ESPN3 and a rematch against Long Beach State, where Cal Poly downed the 49ers, 3-1, to kick off its six-match win streak.
Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner:
With a pair of victories last week, Cal Poly bumped its win total to 14, marking the most wins since the 2010 squad finished with an overall mark of 22-7. That same year the Mustangs posted a 12-4 Big West record to finish second in the league.
A Clean Sweep:
Cal Poly collected its eighth sweep of the season with a 3-0 victory over the Highlanders last week. It’s the first time since 2008 that the Mustangs have compiled eighth sweeps in a single seasons.
The Mustangs currently pace the Big West in assists (13.11) and digs (16.03).
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 0-18 mark thus far. The last time the Titans opened the year with an 0-18 mark was back in 1994 when they tallied an overall record of 1-28.
Cal State Fullerton returns home to Titan Gym where it will entertain UC Irvine Friday evening and UC Davis Saturday with first serve slated for 7:00 pm. both nights.
Middle blocker Kandace Thomas paces the Titans with a .253 hitting percentage, while Kyra Hill own a team-best 2.37 kills average. At the net, Kyra Smith is dominating with a .92 blocks per set average.
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.
Matadors Prepare For Weekend Showdown On ESPN3:
After dropping three straight road contests, the Matadors return home to The Matadome this week to host central coast foes Cal Poly (10/23) and UC Santa Barbara (10/24). Both contests are scheduled to air live on ESPN3 at 7:00 p.m. each day.
Leading The Charge:
Cieana Stinson is pacing the Matadors offense with the conference’s fifth-best kill average of 3.71. Defensively, Katie Sato is tied for fourth in digs with a 3.86 average.
Stinson Eclipses 1,000-Kill Mark:
Senior Cieana Stinson reached the 1,000-kill threshold the final weekend of September to become 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 owns 1,070 career kills and currently ranks 10th in school history and is just 52 kills from grabbing the ninth slot.
LONG BEACH STATE
Long Beach State In Action:
Long Beach State, 5-2 in the Big West, closes out a three-match homestand against central coast opponents UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly. The 49ers fell to the Mustangs, 3-1, earlier this season but downed the Gauchos, 3-1.
LBSU’s Explosive Offense:
In last week’s sweep over CSUN, the 49ers botched a .389 hitting percentage, its second-highest attack percentage of the season, behind only a .473 mark against Stony Brook on Sep. 12.
Nele Barber recorded her 16th double-double of the season against the Matadors, recording 18 kills and 14 digs. Barber currently ranks fourth in the Big West Conference with a 3.91 kills per set average and ninth in digs with a 3.16 mark.
Look Out Below:
Senior Hayley Benson is one of just six Big West athletes who is averaging at least one block per set. She guides a team that is averaging 2.03 blocks per set, placing them fourth in the Big West Conference.
Aggies Look To Get Back On Track:
UC Davis, 4-3 in Big West play, snapped a four-match win streak last week after suffering a three-set loss at No. 8 Hawai’i. The Aggies continue their three-match road trip this week as they visit UC Riverside (10/23) and Cal State Fullerton (10/24).
Squyres Reaches Milestone:
Senior Kaylin Squyres lifted her career kill total to 1,044 last week to rank ninth in school history. Fifteen more kills could bump her to sixth. Devon Damelio (1,058 in 2010-13) was the most recent Aggie to finish her career above that milestone. Squyres is averaging a league-best 4.45 kills per set to rank 15th in the nation. She is even more impressive in conference-only contests with the top-ranked average of 4.58.
The Aggies, led by Aima Eichie and Kelechi Ohiri, currently rank second in the Big West with a 2.26 average. Eichie is sporting a 1.19 blocks per set average, while Ohiri, who returned to the lineup last week after missing nine contests due to injury, owns a 1.05 average.
UC Irvine looks to rebound from its loss to Hawai’i with visits to Cal State Fullerton (10/23) and UC Riverside (10/24), which closes out a three-match road trip. The Anteaters downed both opponents earlier this season on their home court.
In UC Irvine’s 3-1 loss to Hawai’i, the Anteaters nearly matched the Rainbow Wahine effort at the net. Hawai’i, the nation’s No. 1 blocking team, registered 18 while UC Irvine totaled 17. Leading the charge for the Anteaters was freshman Idara Akpakpa, who tied a career-high with seven. Sophomore Emily Blair also had a career-best performance with five blocks.
Senior Ella Rosenfeld owns the third spot in the Big West Conference with a .353 hitting percentage.
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 Returns Home In Search Of A Win:
After recording its first league-opening win since 2005, UC Riverside has since struggled and tallied six straight losses. This week the Highlanders welcomes UC Davis and UC Irvine to the SRC in hopes of securing a Big West victory.
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 4.78 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.
Against the Big West:
Along with Hubbell pacing the league in digs, teammate Alexis Urbach can also be found among the top of the Big West. The freshman outside hitter currently sits eighth in service aces with a .29 average. Setter Chelsea Doyle ranks fifth in the conference with a 7.93 digs per set average.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Gauchos Seeing Ws:
Last week the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos snapped an 11-match skid with a pair of victories against UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton. It was also UCSB’s first Big West victories of the season.
The Gauchos, who have six wins so far this year, have never not tallied double-digit wins in a season. The lowest overall win total by a UCSB squad was 11 back in 2008, while the lowest conference win total of six happened a year earlier in 2007.
The Gauchos are back on the road this week as they prepare to battle defending Big West champion Long Beach State and CSUN. The match at The Matadome will air live on ESPN3 Saturday, Nov. 24 at 7:00 p.m. UC Santa dropped its earlier contests to both opponents by scores of 3-1.
Back-to-back stellar performances by Phoebe Grunt, which included career-best numbers in kills with 13, elevated her to fourth in the Big West with a team-leading .328 attack percentage.
Hawai’i, riding an 13-match win streak - its longest win streak since UH won 19 in a row in 2012, own an impressive 18-1 overall mark to rank fourth in the country with a .947 win-loss percentage. The lone defeat came on Sept. 6 against to No. 25 UCLA (3-1). The Rainbow Wahine may be one win away from a perfect overall record, but the Rainbow Wahine do own an unblemished 8-0 record in Big West play.
Career Night For Mitchem:
Annie Mitchem, filling in for Nikki Taylor who was not medically cleared to play, shined in UH’s 3-1 win over UC Irvine. The junior middle blocker displayed career-best marks of 13 digs, seven kills and two service aces.
Hawai’i has swept 11 of its opponents this season, including a streak of six consecutive 3-0 victories from Sept. 20 - Oct. 9.
Break In The Schedule:
Hawai’i is idle this week and is set to resume action the following weekend when it closes out the home portion of its schedule against UC Riverside (10/30) and Cal State Fullerton (11/1).