Big West Women's Volleyball Season Recap
Big West Women's Volleyball Release - Final
BIG WEST TID BITS
Rainbow Wahine Grab Big West Title: With a near-perfect 15-1 mark, the University of Hawai’i captured its second straight championship, and fourth out of the five years since rejoining the league. Long Beach State finished second with a 13-3 mark and was followed by the Mustangs of Cal Poly placed third with an 11-5 record. UC Santa Barbara posted an even 8-8 mark to place fourth while CSUN, UC Davis and UC Irvine were knotted in fifth with a 7-9 conference record. UC Riverside (3-13) finished eighth and Cal State Fullerton (1-15) rounded out the nine-team field.
UH, UCSB Snag Conference Top Honors: The 2016 Big West Conference Champion, University of Hawai’i, collected two of the top three awards, while UC Santa Barbara nabbed the final honor. Rainbow Wahine senior Nikki Taylor was named Big West Player of the Year for the second consecutive year and Big West Coach of the Year was awarded to Hawai’i’s Dave Shoji. Grabbing the final award was UC Santa Barbara’s Lindsey Ruddins, who was named Big West Freshman of the Year.
Seven teams were represented on the All-Big West First Team with Hawai’i leading the way with five selections apiece. Long Beach State and Cal Poly nabbed three nods each, UC Irvine collected two and CSUN, UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara each picked up one selection.
Taylor also received her fourth All-Big West First Team honor to become just the 10th player in conference history to master that feat. Her teammate Emily Maglio, along with Cal Poly’s Raeann Greisen, Taylor Gruenewald and Taylor Nelson, Long Beach State’s Nele Barber and UC Irvine’s Harlee Kekauoha, each picked up their second first-team accolade.
Hawai’i Concluded 2016 In NCAA Tournament: The University of Hawai’i competed in its 35th overall and 24th straight NCAA DI Women’s Volleyball Championship with a trip to Minnesota. The Rainbow Wahine downed USC in a five-set marathon in first round action. In the second round, Hawai’i would go up against Minnesota, the team that knocked them out of the Elite Eight a year ago. Unfortunately the same result happened this year as the Golden Gophers swept the Rainbow Wahine on their home court.
Big West Quartet Earns All-America Accolades: The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced the 36th annual AVCA Division I All-America Teams for women’s volleyball today and four Big West athletes were recognized on the elite list. Hawai’i’s Nikki Taylor was named to the AVCA All-America Second Team for the second consecutive year, while teammate Emily Maglio, Long Beach State’s Nele Barber and UC Santa Barbara’s Lindsey Ruddins were named honorable mention.
Big West Nabs Five Spots On AVCA All-Region Teams: The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) released its 2016 AVCA All-Region Teams and five Big West athletes were recognized. Hawai’i’s Nikki Taylor nabbed her second AVCA All-Pacific North Region Team, while her teammate Emily Maglio and Cal Poly’s Taylor Nelson earned All-Pacific North Region Honorable Mention honors. Long Beach State’s Nele Barber picked up an All-Pacific South Region accolade and UC Santa Barbara’s Lindsey Ruddins landed on the honorable mention list.
Shoji Earns 1200th Victory: Thursday, November 17 was a big day for Hawai’i women’s volleyball fans. Not only did they capture the 2016 Big West Title and the automatic qualifier into the NCAA Tournament, Head Coach Dave Shoji earned his 1,200th career victory. He became just the second NCAA DI women’s volleyball coach to hit the 1,200 win milestone. Shoji, who concluded his 42nd year at the helm of the Rainbow Wahine program, now has a career record of 1,202-204-1. He is right behind Penn State’s Russ Rose who notched his 1,200th career win earlier this season. Rose currently has a 1,210-196 career record.
Mustangs Finish On A High Note: The Cal Poly Mustangs, winning five of their final six contests, concluded the year with an 11-5 league mark to tie for third for the second straight season. It marks their highest conference win total since the 2010 team notched 12 Big West Conference victories. This is a huge improvement considering in 2014 Cal Poly only tallied four Big West victories.
Ace In The Hole: Hawai’i’s Nikki Taylor finished 2016 ranked tied for eighth all-time in the Big West record book for single season service ace average with a .61 aces per set mark. Her impressive number placed her second in the nation this year.
Climbing The Charts: Opposite Nikki Taylor concluded her stellar career at Hawai’i ranked No. 12 in the UH record book with 1,377 kills and No. 8 with 117 service aces.
Also making a name for herself is Cal Poly setter Taylor Nelson. The junior held down the No. 1 spot in the Big West Conference for conference and overall assists, as she tallied an overall of 1,192. The finished sixth in the NCAA’s top 10 with 11.64 assists per set and has landed herself at the No. 9 spot in season assists in school history. With 3,124 career assists, the Granite Bay, Calif. native is already No. 5 in career assists in Cal Poly’s program history.
The Big 2-0: Hawai’i and Long Beach State each eclipsed the 20-win threshold this season. The Rainbow Wahine have now won 20 matches in a season for the 38th time in program history and the 49ers collected their 27th 20-plus win season.
Hubbell Set UCR Career Mark: On Thursday, Oct. 20, senior libero Maddie Hubbell logged 17 digs to reach 1,558 for her career to become UCR Volleyball’s all-time digs leader. She surpassed UCR Athletics Hall of Famer and Two-Time All American Sheryl Benson-Rawlins’ mark of 1,556 (1984, 86, 88-89). Hubbell ended the season collecting 32 digs in the final weekend to bump her career total to 1,695 scoops, earning her the seventh spot in the Big West annals.
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.
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.