A Look Back At 2015 Volleyball Season
Big West Women's Volleyball Release - Final
Hawai’i End Season At NCAA Regional: The 2015 Big West women’s volleyball champion, Hawai’i, took care of business in its first & second round matchups of the NCAA Tournament in College Station, Texas. The Rainbow Wahine opened with a five-set victory over TCU before downing host and SEC Champion Texas A&M, 3-0. With the win over the Aggies, Hawai’i advancesd to the Iowa Regional for the first time since 2011. Hawai’i came out strong in regional action, sweeping 2013 & 2014 national champion Penn State to become the first Big West school to advance to the regional finals since Long Beach State in 2001. Unfortunately the momentum didn’t carry over to its elite 8 matchup against Minnesota the follow evening as the Rainbow Wahine fell to the Gophers, 3-1.
UH Claims Big West Volleyball Title: With a perfect 16-0 mark, Hawai’i captured the 2015 Big West women’s volleyball conference championship, its eighth Big West title overall. The Rainbow Wahine become the 10th team to finish the conference season undefeated and the fourth Hawai’i team to master the feat. Long Beach State finished second with a 13-3 mark. Cal Poly placed third with an 11-5 mark while UC Davis secured the fourth spot at 10-6. CSUN and UC Irvine ended up knotted in fifth after posting a 7-9 record. UC Riverside finished seventh followed by UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Fullerton.
AVCA All-Region: The AVCA announced its all-region teams and a trio of Big West players walked away with honors. Hawai’i’s Nikki Taylor and Olivia Magill were named to the Pacific North Region First Team list, while Long Beach State’s Jenelle Hudson earned Pacific South Region First Team accolades. It was the first honor for Taylor and Hudson and third for Magill.
UH All-American Duo: Hawai’i’s Nikki Taylor was named to the AVCA All-America Second Team, while her teammate, Olivia Magill, collected third team accolades.
800 And Counting...: Head coach Brian Gimmillaro, who concluded his 31st year at LBSU, captured his 800-career win in 2015. Gimmillaro, who now holds 814 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.
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 1,214 career kills and finishes her time at CSUN ranked eighth in school history.
Squyres Reaches Milestone: Senior Kaylin Squyres concluded her career with 1,197 kills to finish sixth in school history. Devon Damelio (1,058 in 2010-13) was the most recent Aggie to finish her career above that milestone.
Back On Track: The Mustangs concluded the 2015 season with an 19-8 overall record, their best finish since the 2010 squad went 22-7. It was also their highest conference win total since the 2010 team notched 12 Big West Conference victories.
Get Out The Brooms: The Mustangs captured 11 of its 19 wins by virtue of sweeps, the most 3-0 victories the program has recorded since 2007.
In The Big West: Adlee Van Winden ranked fourth with a 3.91 kills per set average while teammate Raeann Greisen holds the seventh slot with a 3.21 mark. Savannah Niemen hit .295 to sit eighth and Taylor Nelson finished second with a 10.74 assists per set average. Nelson and Niemen are also occupying spots in service aces at second and sixth, respectively.
Off And Running: Over the course of the year, the Mustangs managed to string together seven consecutive victories from Oct. 2 - Oct. 23. The seven-victory run matched the longest conference win streak for the Mustangs since 2007.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
In Search Of A ‘W’: Under the helm of first-year head coach Ashley Preston, the Cal State Fullerton Titans wrapped up the season with a 0-26 mark. This marks the first time the Titans have gone winless in program history. Prior to this year, the lowest win total came in 1994 when they produced a 1-28 record. It is also the first time they failed to record a win in conference.
Another Scoop Please: Junior Paige Reed sports a 3.94 digs average to sit fifth in the Big West.
Titan Leaders: Sophomore Kyra Hill paced the Titans with a 2.57 kill average and Kandace Thomas held a team-high .255 hitting percentage.
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.
Season Comes To An End: CSUN ended the season with a bang, as the Matadors captured back-to-back, five-set comeback victories to improve to 8-20 overall and 7-9 in Big West play.
Career Night For Conati: Sophomore setter Lauren Conati registered a career-high 63 assists in the Matadors’ 3-2 victory over Cal State Fullerton to end the season.
Senior Strength: All-Big West First Team member Cieana Stinson concluded her final season as a Matador ranked fifth in the Big West with a 3.74 kills per set average. Sophomore Katie Sato holds the seventh slot in digs with a 3.64 mark.
Home Is Where The Victory Is: Five of CSUN’s eight victories occurred in front of its hometown fans at The Matadome.
LONG BEACH STATE
All Good Things Must Come To An End: Long Beach State was unsuccessful at defending its title this year but they did manage to capture the second spot in the standings with a 13-3 Big West mark. The 49ers closed out league play winning nine of their final 10 contests.
Powerful Trio: Hayley Benson, Ashley Murray and Peyton Grahovac are log-jammed in the Big West’s hitting percentage category as they sit 6-7-8. Benson hit a team-best .322, while Murray and Grahovac recorded clips of .319 and .308.
Facing The Best: Long Beach State has posted six losses this season, three of which were against ranked opponents - No. 14 UCLA, No. 8 Hawai’i and No. 6 Hawai’i.
Out With A Bang: In one of her final Big West contests of her career, senior Hayley Benson registered a career-best .706 hitting percentage to lead LBSU to a 3-0 victory over Cal State Fullerton. Benson paces the 49ers and sits sixth in the league with a .322 attack percentage.
Final Countdown: The Aggies closed out the 2015 season winning four of its five final contests to secure a .500 record and a second consecutive 10-win conference season.
Leaving Her Mark: Senior Kaylin Squyres eclipsed the 1,000-kill career threshold earlier this year and sits sixth all-time in UCD history but she reached another milestone in the final match of the year. Her 13 digs in her final contest of her career, she scooped 13 digs to improve her season total to 403. She becomes just the second non-libero to record 400 digs in a season at UC Davis, Candy Lench tallied 493 in 1990. Squyres sits second in the league in kills this season with a 4.31 average and eighth in digs 3.54.
Block Party: UC Davis ranks second in the Big West with a 2.38 blocks per set average. The Aggies are led by Kelechi Ohiri and Aima Eichie, who hold the fourth (1.20) and fifth (1.04) spots in the league.
End With A Bang: The Aggies closed out the year playing in front of a season-best home crowd of 1,068 at The Pavilion.
2015 Comes To An End: UC Irvine wraps up the season with an overall mark of 13-15 and a Big West Conference record of 7-9 to finish tied for fifth in the league.
Power Pair: Senior Ella Rosenfeld and freshman Harlee Kekauoha sit fifth and ninth in the league in hitting percentage with marks of .322 and .303. You can also find Kekauoha’s name in the kills category with the sixth-best mark of 3.33 and service aces with a .30 average to sit fifth.
Strong Ending: The Anteaters’ 3-0 win over the Gauchos to end the season is the first for UCI since 2007 and marks the second win over UCSB this year, a feat UCI had not accomplished in 2008.
Hain At The Helm: Ashlie Hain, starting setter on UC Irvine’s 2003 and 2004 NCAA Tournament teams, returned to 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.
Highlanders Set School Record: UC Riverside concluded the 2015 season with an overall mark of 10-19 and 5-11 league record, breaking the program record for most conference wins in a season since the Highlanders made the move to Division I fifteen years ago. Also worth noting, the Highlanders’ 10 overall victories is the highest total since the 2005 squad registered a 16-11 mark.
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 paced the league with a 4.91 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.
Banner Year For Riverside: Along with the highest conference win total in school history, the Highlanders concluded a 2015 season filled with historic achievements and outstanding performances: two sweeps of Big West Opponents-UCR DI record; four sweeps on the season; one Big West Player of Week Award, two Defensive Player of the Week Awards.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Season Struggles: The Gauchos, owning a 7-20 mark, were unable to reach double-digit wins for the first time in school history. Prior to this season, the lowest win total dates back to 2008 when the squad went 11-16 overall. UC Santa Barbara also recorded its lowest Big West mark of 3-13.
Leading The Way: Junior Phoebe Grunt, 2015 All-Big West Second Team recipient, sits third in the Big West with a team-high .335 attack percentage, while Emilia Petrachi owns the second slot in digs with a 4.60 mark. You can also find the duo of Jaylen Villanueva and Elizabeth Sheffield sit ninth and 10th in services aces with marks of .26 and .25.
Diaper Dandy: Emilia Petrachi earned Big West All-Freshman Team honors after registering 4.6 digs per set and 423 digs overall, ranking second and fourth in the conference, respectively. Against conference opponents, the libero produced the second-most scoops in the conference with 280, averaging 4.83 per game which also ranked second.
‘Bows Capture Crown: With a perfect 16-0 mark Hawai’i captured its eighth Big West Conference championship, while becoming the 10th team to claim the conference title with an unblemished record. The Rainbow Wahine also own an impressive 29-2 overall mark with its lone defeat coming against then-ranked No. 25 UCLA (3-1) on Sept. 6.
Streaking ‘Bows: The Rainbow Wahine recorded a 24-match win streak that spanned from Sept. 10-Dec. 11, the longest since Hawai’i won 26-straight in 2011.
Cramping Their Style: The ‘Bows held their opponents to a miniscule .160 hitting percentage to 20th in the country.
Clean Sweep: Hawai’i swept 18 of its opponents this season, including a streak of six consecutive 3-0 victories from Sept. 20 - Oct. 9.
Leading The Pack: Hawai’i led the league in hitting percentage (.288), blocks (3.06), kills (14.42), service aces (1.46), assists (13.39) and opponent hitting percentage (.160).