Good Start For Big West Teams:
Collectively, the nine Big West Conference women’s volleyball teams assembled the best season-opening start since 2012 when they produced a .600 winning percentage. Last weekend, the nine teams combined for a 14-13 mark en route to a .519 winning percentage.
Facing The Best:
For the second straight week, Hawai’i and Cal Poly are facing Top 25 opponents. Hosting their second consecutive tournament, the Hawaiian Wahine Volleyball Classic, Hawai’i welcomes No. 8 UCLA as part of the three-day event. The Rainbow Wahine are also set to entertain Missouri State, who is receiving votes in the most recent AVCA poll, and former Big West foe Pacific.
The Mustangs of Cal Poly closed out the BYU invitational last week with a loss to the 13th-ranked Cougars and will now open Marcia E. Hamilton Classic against No. 19 Western Kentucky. The Mustangs are also scheduled to battle Arkansas State and host Saint Louis.
The final team facing a Top 25 contender this week is UC Santa Barbara, as it takes on No. 25 Colorado State as part of the UCSB Tournament scheduled September 2-4.
Anteaters Post Biggest Win In Seven Years:
UC Irvine seamed to be struggling out of the gates as it posted an 0-2 record in its first two matches of the USC Baden Invitational in Los Angeles, Calif. But that all changed during the Anteaters final match of the tournament as it upset host and seventh-ranked USC by a score of 3-0. The win is over the highest ranked opponent since the Anteaters topped No. 6 California, 3-2 to open the 2009 season. It was also the first time in 11 attempts the Anteaters were successfully against the Women of Troy.
Titans Find Success Early:
Cal State Fullerton opened the 2016 season with back-to-back victories, downing Mississippi Valley and South Carolina State 3-0. The season-opening victory over Mississippi Valley was the first triumph for second-year head coach Ashley Preston and her staff. The successful weekend also marked the first back-to-back victories by the Titans since 2014 and the first back-to-back sweeps since September 2013. The Titans, who are tied for first in the Big West with a 2-1 mark, did suffer a loss in their third and final match of the UT Chattanooga Tournament, falling to host Chattanooga 30.
Hawai’i Gets Injury Bug; Granato To The Rescue:
Unfortunately the Rainbow Wahine opened the new year scrambling to comprise a starting line-up that could take on powerhouses such as No. 4 Wisconsin, Kansas State and Arizona, due to the offseason injuries of reigning Big West Player of the Year Nikki Taylor and senior middle Annie Mitchem. While UH struggled in its first two contests of its home tournament - Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational - it battled back from a two-set deficit against the Wildcats to clinch its first victory over the season. A large part of the success was thanks to McKenna Granato, who led the charge with a career-high 33 kills. The sophomore outside hitter put the team on her shoulders while hitting an efficient and career-high .459 hitting percentage. Her 33 kills was the most since Emily Hartong blasted 33 against Long Beach State on Oct. 26, 2012.
Kekauoha Notches Triple-Double Opening Weekend:
In UC Irvine’s 3-2 loss to Marquette last week, sophomore Harlee Kekauoha recorded a triple-double with 15 kills, 19 assists and 14 digs.
Hawai’i Picked To Repeat As Conference Champion:
The University of Hawai’i has been unanimously selected to repeat as the Big West Conference women’s volleyball champion, according to the Big West women’s volleyball preseason coaches poll as voted on by the nine head coaches. The Rainbow Wahine, who reclaimed the title last season with a perfect 16-0 mark, captured all nine first-place votes en route to a perfect 81-point total.
Long Beach State secured the second slot after securing 68 points and earning the third spot with a point total of 66 was Cal Poly. The Anteaters of UC Irvine ranked fourth with 47 points and is followed by UC Davis after tallying 44 points. UC Santa Barbara, who welcomes the No. 24 recruiting class in the nation, according to PrepVolleyball.com, nabbed the sixth slot after registering 39 points. CSUN holds the seventh spot with 29 points and UC Riverside locked-in the eighth position after grabbing 20 points. Rounding out the nine-team field is Cal State Fullerton with 11 points.
Gauchos Welcome Top Recruiting Class:
In 2016, the UCSB women’s volleyball team will be joined by the No. 24 recruiting class in the nation, according to PrepVolleyball.com. This is the program’s third appearance on the list in four years and its fourth ever top-30 selection, including last year’s school record No. 18 ranking.
Women’s Volleyball Match To Air On ESPNU:
ESPNU is set to televise the Hawai‘i at UC Riverside women’s volleyball match Friday, October 28 at 8:00 p.m. (PT) inside the SRC Arena, which was updated with a newly designed floor over the summer.
Big West In Rio: A total of 26 Big West Conference athletes, coaches and staff represented nine different nations in fifteen different sports at the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil., Aug. 5-21, 2016. Included in the mix was former CSUN volleyball player Lynda Morales. The former Matador and her teammates from the Puerto Rico National Team participated in the Olympic Games for the first time this summer in Rio. Morales led the Matadors in blocks three of her four seasons (2007, 2008 and 2010).
UC Davis’ Quinn Returns “Home”:
Katie Quinn, a two-time All-Big West Conference honoree and one of UC Davis’ all-time leading blockers, returns to her alma mater to serve as an assistant women’s volleyball coach, announced UCD head coach Dan Conners. Quinn will be involved in all aspects of the program, including that of recruiting coordinator, while her on-court focus will be with the Aggie middles.