With the first week of conference play in the books, four Big West teams own a perfect record. Defending conference champion Hawai’i dominated play in its first road contests of the season as it swept UC Santa Barbara and downed Cal Poly, 3-1, to post a 2-0 mark. The Rainbow Wahine have now tallied 23 consecutive conference wins and their 14th-straight Big West road win.
Long Beach State also went 2-0, defeating UC Davis and UC Irvine. For the second straight year the Matadors of CSUN produced a 2-0 record to open conference play but it didn’t come easy as both contests, against UC Irvine and UC Davis, went five sets.
Cal State Fullerton captured a win in its lone league contest last week. The win for the Titans ended a 19-match conference losing streak that dated back to Nov. 15, 2014, which was also a win over UCR. In addition, Fullerton won its first Big West Conference opener since 2011. It also marked the first conference win for second-year head coach Ashley Preston.
Live At The Pyramid:
This week kicks off the ESPN3 television package for women’s volleyball and starting things off is the Cal Poly at Long Beach State showdown Friday evening. The broadcast returns to The Pyramid the following evening for the 49ers contest against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. In all, ESPN3 will broadcast 11 women’s volleyball events during Big West play.
After 14 road matches to kick off the 2016 season, CSUN finally plays its first home contests this week. The Matadors entertain UC Santa Barbara (9/30) and Cal Poly (10/1) at the Matadome.
CSUN sophomore Aeryn Owens pounded a match-high 22 kills in the Matadors’ conference opening win over UC Irvine. She also recorded a career-high 14 digs to complete her first collegiate double-double. Owens was even eyeing a triple-double with seven blocks.
Can You Dig It:
UC Riverside libero Maddie Hubbell has tallied 1,477 scoops during her tenure as a Highlander. The senior needs just 80 more digs this season to surpass Sheryl Benson (1984, 86, 88-89) for the top spot in UCR’s record book.
Despite not having one player ranked in the top three in the Big West, UC Santa Barbara continues to have a collective effort to lead the league in blocks with an average of 2.7. They are led by senior Phoebe Grunt, who is averaging .96 blocks per set. The last time the Gauchos ended the season pacing the Big West in blocks was 2004.
Career Night For LBSU Trio:
Two weeks removed from garnering national player of the week accolades, Long Beach State’s Nele Barber had another stellar night as she recorded a double-double in the 49ers five-set win over UC Irvine. The senior tallied 19 kills and a career-high 27 digs. Anete Brinke recorded a new career best with 17 kills and was also one dig shy of a double-double with nine. Sophomore Missy Owens also set career highs in both assists (57) and digs (19).
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.
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.
Big West Live: A showdown between longtime women’s volleyball rivals Hawai‘i and Long Beach State kicks off Prime Ticket’s 2016-17 coverage of Big West sports. The first of 20 televised events on the network, UH and LBSU will battle on Saturday, October 8 at 8:00 p.m. (PT) inside the Walter Pyramid.
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.
The Big West Conference also announced that 11 women’s volleyball events will appear on its fall ESPN3 schedule, beginning with a Sept. 30 women’s volleyball clash between Cal Poly and Long Beach State.
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. 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.
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.