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Women's Volleyball

Nationally-Ranked UC Irvine Atop Big West Leaderboard

Files associated with this release:
09 VB Release-Week 9


UC Irvine Atop Leaderboard
Nationally-ranked UC Irvine defeated then-No. 25 Long Beach State in a five-set thriller and then swept UC Riverside the following night to take sole possession of first place in the Big West standings with a 6-1 mark. The Anteaters' lone conference loss was a 3-2 defeat at UC Santa Barbara opening weekend. The rematch between the Gauchos and Anteaters takes place Friday, Oct. 23 at Crawford Gym, where UC Irvine is a perfect 7-0. UC Irvine enters the week riding a five-match win streak.

UC Davis On The Rise
In UC Davis' first two seasons competing in the Big West Conference (2007, 2008) the Aggies combined for a total of eight conference wins. So far in 2009, UC Davis has tallied six league victories - good enough for second place in the Big West - which includes a 2-0 road mark last week against its central coast opponents. The Aggies defeated Cal Poly, Big West Champion in 06 and 07, 3-2 and then picked up its first-ever win over UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos, who were among the teams receiving votes in the AVCA national coaches poll, suffered their first home loss of the season after falling to the Aggies, 3-2. UC Davis has also surpassed its highest overall win total of 12 in 2008, already posting a 15-7 record with one month of competition remaining. Leading the charge is head coach Jamie Holmes, who has made an impact on the UC Davis women's volleyball program in just her second season.

Home Sweet Home
Two teams went into last week with a perfect home record and only one team came out with its mark unblemished. UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara were both 5-0 when playing in front of their hometown fans, but only the Anteaters tallied a 2-0 record last week to improve to 7-0 at Crawford Gym. The Gauchos stretched their unbeaten streak to 6-0 before they fell to UC Davis, 3-2, on Saturday, Oct. 17. UC Irvine hosts UC Santa Barbara (10/23) and Cal Poly (10/24) this week to close out a four-game homestand.

Pacific.....Statistically Speaking
For the past few seasons Pacific has staked its claim on having one of the best serving teams in the conference and in the nation. This year isn't any different. Led by junior Svenja Engelhardt's .46 average, the Pacific Tigers (1.74 APG) own the league's top spot in service aces and rank among the top 20 nationally. The Tigers are also showing their dominance with an offensive attack of .269 which ranks first in the Big West and top 15 in the country. Pacing the squad is Natalia Tomaszewska with a league-leading .403 hitting percentage.

Gauchos' Record Night
Tuesday's volleyball match versus Pepperdine showcased a trio of Gauchos who posted a career-best number. Sophomore Chelsey Lowe scooped a career-high 26 digs and Stacey Schmidt tallied five block assists, also a career-best mark. Setter Dana Vargas also had a stellar day, firing four service aces, the highest total in her three-year career as a Gaucho. Senior Rebecca Saraceno was just two kills shy of joining the trio with her 27-kill performance.

In Search For A Victory
The Highlanders of UC Riverside are the lone team in the conference that has yet to post a win in conference play. Their quest continues this weekend when they have the luxury of playing at their home venue, the Student Recreation Center. This week's matchups versus Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara marks just the second home stint of the season for the Highlanders.

Struggles In San Luis Obispo
A year removed from back-to-back Big West championships, Cal Poly finds themselves in eighth place in the conference standings with a 2-6 conference record. Part of the reason for the struggles this year is the amount of youth on the Mustangs squad. They lost four starters and five letterwinners in the offseason and now feature a lineup that consists primarily of underclassmen. In fact, four of Cal Poly's top-five hitters are freshmen. The Mustangs look to turn things around and snap a three-match skid at UC Riverside Friday evening. They follow that up with a showdown at nationally-ranked UC Irvine Saturday.

UCSB's Gregory Approaching 600-Win Milestone In Big West
Kathy Gregory, the only coach UC Santa Barbara has known, is two wins away from eclipsing 600 wins since competing in the Big West Conference. While she has coached the Gauchos squad since 1975, UC Santa Barbara has only been a member of the Big West Conference since 1984. Gregory, who holds an overall win total of 823 while at UCSB, ranks in the top five in that nation among active coaches. The only other coach to reach the aforementioned milestone is current Long Beach State head coach Brian Gimmilaro, who currently has 668 wins.

Big West On Twitter
The Big West Conference is excited to bring Big West Live to Twitter, a Twitter feed designed to give fans an in-the-stands view of select Big West Events. Bringing near-instantaneous photos, commentary, and updates, Big West Live is the first feed of its kind. Moving beyond the scores and stats, Big West Live delivers the color of Big West events.

49ers Return To The Court As Conference Favorite
The Long Beach State womens volleyball team was selected to win its second straight, 10th overall, Big West Championship after receiving four first-place votes and 75 total points, according to the conference coaches in the annual Big West womens volleyball preseason coaches poll. The 49ers, looking to secure a 23rd consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2009, enter the season as defending Big West champions after capturing their ninth title a season ago with a 13-3 conference mark.

Crowning The Champion
Of the nine current members in the Big West, four of them have captured at least one Big West title- Cal Poly, Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara and Pacific. Long Beach State leads the quartet with nine conference championships, followed by UC Santa Barbara and Pacific with five apiece. The Mustangs round out the field with three titles.

Live On The Net
The Big West Conference and the CBS College Sports Network are partnering to bring you exclusive coverage of Big West sports, press conferences, interviews and features into your home via the Internet! Now in its fifth year, BigWest.TV covers every home and conference contest in womens volleyball as well as men's and women's basketball. Also covered are select contests in mens and women's soccer, baseball, softball, and Big West Conference Championships. A monthly subscription of $9.95 or an annual subscription of $79.95 delivers exclusive coverage to you. If you can't make it to the gym or the field, you can still catch all the action on BigWest.TV!