Loaded Schedule For UC Irvine:
The UC Irvine Anteaters start the week at San Diego State before participating in the USD Invitational that features three Top 25 opponents. The Anteaters open the three-day event Thursday against host and 15th-ranked San Diego. On Friday they are slated to battle No. 7 UCLA while tackling No. 18 Colorado on Saturday. UC Irvine has already notched a victory against a Top 25 opponent this season as it swept then-ranked No. 7 USC opening weekend. The win is over the highest ranked opponent since the Anteaters topped No. 6 California, 3-2 to open the 2009 season.
Gauchos Off To Strong Start:
After a strong performance in last week’s Thunderdome Classic (3-1), UC Santa Barbara currently sits atop the Big West standings with a 5-2 record. This marks the best start to a season since the Gauchos opened 2012 with a matching 5-2 record.
The Gauchos’ impressive start includes a victory over No. 25 Colorado State, a feat that Baylor also mastered the same day, to become the first unranked teams to beat a nationally-ranked Colorado State since New Mexico back on Nov. 11, 2010.
WVB: Gauchos SWEEP No. 25 Colorado State!
Posted by Big West Conference on Saturday, September 3, 2016
In The Ranks:
In the most recent AVCA Top 25 poll, the University of Hawai’i moved up one spot to 14th. Following a 3-1 record at the Thunderdome Classic, the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos have found themselves in the receiving votes category for the first time since November 2013. It’s the same year UCSB captured the Big West crown and picked up two road wins against nationally ranked teams, Hawai’i and CSUN.
A quartet of Big West schools have the tough task of playing their entire nonconference portion of their schedules on the road. Two more weeks before Big West play kicks off means more frequent flyer miles for Cal Poly, CSUN, UC Davis and UC Riverside. The Matadors and Highlanders lead the group with a season-long 14-match road trip to kick off the 2016 season.
Despite spending so much time away from home, all four teams have produced a .500-or-better winning percentage the first two weeks of the season. Cal Poly is 4-2, while the other three schools are knotted at 3-3.
Mustangs Snag Top 25 Win:
Cal Poly opened the Marcia E. Hamilton Classic on a high note as it knocked off No. 19 Western Kentucky, 3-1. It marked the second straight ranked opponent for Cal Poly, having lost to No. 13 BYU in the final match of the BYU Invitational opening weekend.
As a conference, the nine Big West teams own a collective 3- 3 mark against the Top 25.
CSUN’s Haake Has Career Night...Again:
Senior Julie Haake pounded a career-high 27 kills to lead the CSUN Matadors to a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Hofstra Friday at the UNLV Rebel Challenge in Las Vegas, Nev. The outside hitter, who bettered her career mark for the second straight week, currently owns 102 kills to lead the Matadors while also ranking third in the league with a 4.08 kills average.
Kekauoha Notches Triple-Double Opening Weekend:
In UC Irvine’s 3-2 loss to Marquette opening weekend, sophomore Harlee Kekauoha recorded a triple-double with 15 kills, 19 assists and 14 digs.
UC Santa Barbara is dominating on both sides of the ball as it paces the Big West is both kills and blocks. The Gauchos are averaging 13.84 kills and 2.82 blocks per set. Leading the charge on offense is freshman Lindsey Ruddins, who is sporting a 4.80 kills average to rank second in the league and 15th in the nation. Defensively Charlie Robinson and Phoebe Grunt both hold spots in the top 10, sitting tied for first (1.40 BPS) and tied for fourth (1.00 BPS), respectively.
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.