Busy Week In Women's Volleyball
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10 VB Release-Week 3
A Trio Of Perfection
Labor Day weekend was nothing but perfection for UC Davis, Cal State Fullerton and Pacific, who all went undefeated in their respective tournaments.
The Aggies, who entered the week with a 0-2 overall record, swept the Lone Star State competition as they downed Texas State, Texas Tech and host SMU at the Doubletree Invitational. Earning recognition on the all-tournament team for the Aggies were Jenny Woolway, Kayla Varney (best libero) and Bety Sedlak (MVP).
The Titans hosted the Crowne Plaza Fullerton Titan Classic and used the home court to their advantage as they posted a 3-0 mark. Cal State Fullerton opened the two-day event with a win over Montana and then continued its successful streak the next day with victories over Georgia State and Colorado. Cami Croteau and Erin Saddler (MVP) represented the Titans on the all-tournament team.
Pacific also proved successful on its home court, posting a 2-0 mark at the 32nd Annual Community Bankers Classic. The Tigers knocked of both Idaho and Santa Clara to extend their win streak to four. The Tigers only loss this season is to then-ranked No. 23 LSU (3-1). Hannah Clancy was named MVP of the tournament, while teammates Svenja Engelhardt and Rebekah Torres also earned all-tournament honors.
Close But No Cigar
Nationally-ranked Long Beach State, who had a five-match win streak going, fell just short of upsetting No. 3 Texas last week at the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational. After dropping the first two sets to the Longhorns, the 49ers rebounded and won the next two, knotting the score at 2-2. Unfortunately, Long Beach State couldn't keep the streak going and lost the final set 15-11. Long Beach State, who is now 1-1 against Top 25 opponents, plays its next top caliber team this weekend when it faces nationally-ranked San Diego.
CSUN Adds To Win Column
Following an 0-3 opening weekend performance at the Aztec Invitational, Cal State Northridge rebounded last weekend and recorded a 2-1 mark. The Matadors opened the Sacramento State Invitational with a 3-2 victory over Elon. The next day they notched a second victory against Texas-San Antonio (3-1) before falling to host Sacramento State. The Matadors enter this week's lineup with a 2-4 record.
While a handful of Big West schools open the 2010 season with lengthy road trips, none are longer than Cal Poly and UC Riverside's treks. Both schools hold top honors with season-opening 12-match road trips. Being away from Mott Gym hasn't posed too much of a problem, as the Mustangs are 3-3 over the first half of the excursion. UC Riverside seems to be struggling away from its hometown fans with a 0-6 record. This week Cal Poly travels to Pullman, Wash., for the Cougar Invitational and UC Riverside visits Tempe, Ariz., for the ASU Sheraton Invitational.
Stork, Stevenson Eyeing Century Mark In Career Wins
Cal State Northridge head coach Jeff Stork enters the 2010 season with the 100th career win milestone well within reach. Over the past nine years at the helm of the Matadors program, he has tallied a 96-140 overall mark.
Also approaching the 100-win plateau is Cal Poly's Jon Stevenson, who is just seven wins shy. The Mustangs have opened the 2010 season with a 3-3 mark to improve his record at Cal Poly to 93-54.
Only 11 Big West Conference coaches have collected 100 or more overall wins during their time in the league. Three of the 11 coaches are still coaching in the Big West - Long Beach State's Brian Gimmilaro (683), UC Santa Barbara's Kathy Gregory (609) and Cal State Fullerton's Carolyn Zimmerman (112).
Struggles In Irvine
All or nothing seems to be the saying at UC Irvine early in the season with the first five contests showing scores of 3-0. Of the five matches, the Anteaters have only swept the competition twice to hold an overall mark of 2-3. Some may be a little surprised by this since UC Irvine is one of the most veteran teams in the Big West. The Anteaters welcomed back a league-high 12 letterwinners from last year's second-place squad, which includes five seniors. The road doesn't get any easier this weekend at the Honolulu Advertiser Challenge when they face Hawaii, Saint Mary's and San Diego State, all of which have been either nationally-ranked or receiving votes in the AVCA Poll this year.
Looking For A 'W'
UC Riverside is showcasing a very young squad with a league-low seven returning letterwinners and a roster filled with 14 underclassmen. Along with a young team, UC Riverside has faced a fairly talented lineup with three opponents either ranked or receiving votes in the AVCA Poll. Under the guidance of second-year head coach Ron Larsen, the Highlanders (0-6) are still in search for their first win of the 2010 season. They get their next opportunity to record a victory this weekend when they tackle Utah Valley, High Point and Arizona State at the ASU Sheraton Invitational.
Injury Strikes UCSB Lineup
The UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball team will be without starting outside hitter Leah Sully for the rest of the season after learning that the sophomore tore her anterior cruciate ligament in the Gauchos' season opener last Friday at California.
Sully, who played in every one of UCSB's sets last season as a freshman, injured herself in the second game of the Gauchos' 2010 season. The Irvine, Calif., native led the 2009 squad in aces, finished second in digs and was third in kills. She was going to be relied upon this season to ease the loss of 2009 Big West Player of the Year Rebecca Saraceno, who graduated. Sully is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for the Gauchos 2011 season.
Pacific Begins New Era With Gibbons
In the offseason, Pacific hired Greg Gibbons as head coach of the Pacific women's volleyball program. Gibbons has spent the last four seasons at UC Santa Barbara, including the last two as associate head coach. He was the primary recruiter for the Gauchos, and was involved in all facets of running the program. Prior to his time in Santa Barbara, Gibbons emerged as an outstanding club coach. He was the co-director and coach of the Los Angeles-based Sports Shack Volleyball Club from 2004-07.
LBSU Tabbed Preseason Favorite
The Big West Conference head coaches selected Long Beach State to claim the 2010 womens volleyball title after receiving seven first-place votes and 79 total points. If the coaches' prediction reigns true, the 49ers would capture their third straight championship, 11th overall. Long Beach State (22-9) is coming off a stellar season where it won the Big West title with a 12-4 mark and advanced to its 23rd consecutive NCAA Tournament, 24th overall.
UC Irvine received one first-place vote and a total of 68 points to secure the second spot. UC Santa Barbara nabbed one first-place vote and 65 overall points to claim the third spot in the poll. Cal State Fullerton was selected fourth after picking up 47 points, followed by Cal Poly and UC Davis, who were tied for fifth with 45 points. Pacific secured seventh place with 28 points and Cal State Northridge and UC Riverside were knotted in the eighth spot with 14 points apiece.
The Big West is a California-only league and two schools have followed suit with their 2010 lineups. For the second straight year, UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara each showcase rosters composed entirely of players from the Golden State.
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 10 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 sixth year, BigWest.TV covers every home and conference contest in womens volleyball as well as mens and womens basketball. Also covered are select contests in mens and womens soccer, baseball, softball, and Big West Conference Championships. A monthly subscription of $9.95 or an annual subscription of $79.95 delivers exclusive cover age to you. If you cant make it to the gym or the field, you can still catch all the action on BigWest.TV!