Big West Women's Volleyball Season Wrap-Up
Big West Women's Volleyball Release - Final
Cal Poly Wins Big West Conference Title: The Cal Poly women’s volleyball team (26-3) swept Cal State Fullerton in its final conference match to close out the regular season with a perfect 16-0 record. It’s the first time the Mustangs were undefeated in conference play and the 11th time in Big West history a school has posted a perfect mark in league action. The last Big West team to accomplish that was Hawai’i in 2015. Cal Poly, which recorded its best season in program history registered a program-high 22-match win streak. The Mustangs didn’t just win these matches, they dominated them as they swept 20 of their opponents this season. The Mustangs’ three losses this year were against Top 25 opponents - No. 8 Washington, No. 14 Oregon and No. 17 UCLA.
CP, UH Advance To NCAAs: Cal Poly, the 2017 Big West Conference Champion, and Hawai’i advanced to the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship The Mustangs, making their first NCAA DI Women’s Volleyball Championship since 2007, and 15th overall, headed to Los Angeles for the first & second rounds. The Mustangs opened with a sweep over Denver to advance to a second round showdown versus host and 15th-seeded UCLA. Cal Poly took an early first-set lead over the Bruins, but UCLA came back and took the next three sets to down Cal Poly, 3-1.
The University of Hawai’i, playing in its 36th overall and 25th straight NCAA DI Women’s Volleyball Championship after receiving an at-large berth, traveled to Seattle, Wash. for first round action against Illinois. Unfortunately the Rainbow Wahine fell short in a marathon five-set match against the Fighting Illini, ending their postseason run.
UC Irvine Finishes Season In NIVC: Playing in its first National Invitational Volleyball Championship, which was been revived this year after its six-year run from 1989-1995, UC Irvine advanced to the quarterfinals. The Anteaters opened play with it’s 12th sweep of the season after dominating Sacramento State in the first round. In second round action, UCI found itself on the winning side of a five-set decision over host Pacific, sending them to a quarterfinal matchup against Texas Tech in Fort Worth, Texas. Unfortunately that is where it ended for the Anteaters as they dropped a 3-1 contest to the Red Raiders to close out a successful 2017 season. Junior Harlee Kekauoha was named to the VolleyMob National Invitational Volleyball Championship All-Tournament team. This marked the first postseason appearance for UC Irvine since 2004, the same year current UCI Head Coach Ashlie Hain was the starting setter for the Anteaters.
Six Big West Representatives On AVCA All-Region List: The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) released its 2017 AVCA All-Region Teams today and five Big West athletes and one coach were recognized. Cal Poly’s Torrey Van Winden nabbed her second AVCA All-Pacific North Region Team, while her teammate Taylor Nelson and Hawai’i’s Emily Maglio each collected their first All-Pacific North Region Team. Mustang Adlee Van Winden was named to the AVCA All-Pacific North Region Honorable Mention Team, while her coach, Sam Crosson, earned the region’s coach of the year accolades. Representing the Big West on the AVCA All-Pacific South Region Team is UC Santa Barbara’s Lindsey Ruddins.
Big West Well Represented On AVCA All-America List: The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced the 37th annual AVCA Division I All-America Teams for women’s volleyball today and five Big West athletes were recognized on the elite list. Hawai’i’s Emily Maglio was named to the AVCA All-America Second Team for the first time in her career, while Cal Poly’s Taylor Nelson, Adlee Winden and Torrey Van Winden and UC Santa Barbara’s Lindsey Ruddins were named honorable mention.
UCSB’s Ruddins Ends Regular Season As The Nation’s Leader: Lindsey Ruddins concluded the regular season with an NCAA-leading 5.84 kills per set average, leading all other Big West players by more than a full kill. Should she remain at the perch of the kills list, she will become the first Gaucho ever to lead the nation in kills per set for an entire season.
Mustangs’ Power At The Net: Quarterbacked by Big West Player of the Year setter Taylor Nelson, the Cal Poly Mustangs posted a league-best .310 hitting percentage, which ranked seventh in the nation. It is also the highest hitting percentage by a Big West school since Long Beach State recorded a .359 clip in 2001. They were led by Savannah Niemen’s conference-high .396 mark.
UCD’s Bolko Sets School Mark: Junior libero Malia Bolko eclipsed the school’s single-season digs record this season as she concluded 20017 with 536 scoops. That surpasses the previous UCD benchmark of 526, set by Nichole Brown in her lone collegiate season of 2005. Her 536 dig total is the highest single-season mark in the Big West since UCSB’s Taylor Formico tallied 792 in 2012.
The Big 2-0: Three schools registered a 20-win season in 2017 - Cal Poly, UC Irvine and Hawai’i - a first since a trio of Big West programs posted 20-plus win seasons in 2012. The Mustangs, with 27 victories this season, captured its first 20-plus win season since 2010. With a school-tying season best 24 victories, the Anteaters mastered the feat for the first time since the 2009 squad tallied a 22-8 mark. Hawai’i joined the 20-win club in the final week of the regular season after picking up two league wins to sit at 20-7.
Home Sweet Home: Big West Champion Cal Poly posted a perfect 8-0 record at Mott Athletic Center this season, a first since 2007, the same year the Mustangs won the Big West Conference title. Six of the eight matches were won by sweeps.
1,000 Kill Milestone: CSUN junior Aeryn Owens owns a career kill total of 1,209 to sit 11th all-time in the Matador annals. This season the two-time All-Big West First Team performer became the 13th player in Matador history with 1,000 career kills.
UC Irvine’s Harlee Kekauoha, a three-time All-Big West First Team performer, surpassed the 1,000 kill mark in the postseason match versus Pacific and enters her senior year with 1,026.
Mustang Sister Power: The Van Winden sisters, Torrey, a sophomore transfer, and Adlee, who is a junior, are lead the Mustangs at the net as they paced the team and sat second and eighth in the Big West with kill averages of 4.72 and 3.32. Both earned Big West Player of the Weeks nods with Adlee earning the first of the season and Torrey collecting back-to-back accolades the following two weeks. Torrey also ranks seventh in the conference’s top 10 in hitting percentage (.337), while Adlee ranks seventh in service aces (.29 APS).
New Head Coaches: The 2017 women’s volleyball season was without two legendary coaches at the helm of their respective programs as Hawai’i’s Dave Shoji and Long Beach State’s Brian Gimmillaro both retired in the offseason. Between the two, there was 74 years of coaching experience as Shoji led the Rainbow Wahine for 42 years and Gimmillaro guided the Beach for 32.
Big West Volleyball On ESPN3: The Big West Conference produced nine women’s volleyball matches broadcast on WatchESPN.