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Women's Volleyball

Trio Of Schools Host Final Tournament

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10 VB Release-Week 4


Trio Of Schools Host Final Tournament
As tournament play comes to a close, Cal State Fullerton, UC Davis and UC Irvine have the luxury of playing the final preseason tournament on their home turf. The Titans are gearing up for their second home tournament of the season, the Fullerton Classic by Embassay Suites Brea, Sept. 17-18. Cal State Fullerton welcomes Liberty, Penn, Yale and West Virginia to Titan Gym for the two-day event.

UC Davis opens the home portion of its schedule with a single match versus Sacramento State on Wednesday before hosting the Aggie Invitational over the weekend. The two-day tournament features conference foe Cal Poly, Oregon State, Nevada and Portland. The Aggies enter the week with a 5-3 mark.

The Anteaters of UC Irvine host the Asics Challenge Thursday, Sept. 16-Saturday, Sept. 18. UC Irvine entertains Liberty at Crawford Court on Thursday and then hosts No. 13 UCLA on Saturday night. Friday's contest pits Penn against the Bruins.

Bruin Battle
UC Irvine and Cal State Northridge are both scheduled to battle the 10th-ranked UCLA Bruins this week. The Matadors get first crack at the Bruins when they welcome UCLA to the Matadome Tuesday evening. Tuesday's showdown marks the first top 25 opponent for Cal State Northridge. UC Irvine gets its chance for an upset win on Saturday evening as the Anteaters close out their home tournament, Asics Challenge, against UCLA. UC Irvine, who is 0-2 against the Top 25, tackles No. 25 San Diego in its home-opener on Tuesday, Sept. 14.

UC Riverside Notches First Victory
After a lack-luster start to the 2010 season with seven straight losses, the UC Riverside Highlanders posted their first win of the season on Saturday, Sept. 11. In their second match of the ASU Sheraton Invitational, the Highlanders swept High Point with scores of 25-17, 25-22, 25-17. Shelby LeDuff led the UC Riverside attack with a match-high 16 kills.

Pacific Upsets Wildcats, Receives Votes
The Pacific Tigers began last week with an impressive 3-1 victory over No. 24 Arizona in the Wolf Pack Invitational. Game scores for the match were 25-21, 22-25, 25-23, 25-12. The Tigers (6-2) went on to defeat Northern Arizona before falling to host Nevada, which snapped a six-game win streak. After its impressive showing, Pacific is receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 poll.

Road Warriors
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 adventures. Both schools hold top honors with season-opening 12-match road trips, which conclude this weekend. Being away from Mott Gym hasn't posed too much of a problem, as the Mustangs are now 7-3 after posting a 4-0 record last week. UC Riverside, on the other hand, has struggled away from the familiar confines of the Student Recreation Center with an overall record of 1-8.

Streaking Mustangs
Following an impressive 3-2 win over then-ranked No. 18 Arizona to open the 2010 season, Cal Poly struggled over the next four contests and only managed to post one victory. Since then the Mustangs have strung together five victories for an overall mark of 7-3, third-best in the Big West. Cal Poly carries its five-game win streak to northern California where it is set to compete in the Aggies Invitational.

Stork, Stevenson Eyeing Century Mark In Career Wins
Cal State Northridge head coach Jeff Stork entered 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 97-142 overall mark.

Also approaching the 100-win plateau is Cal Poly's Jon Stevenson, who is just three wins shy. The Mustangs have opened the 2010 season with a 7-3 mark to improve his record at Cal Poly to 97-54.

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 States Brian Gimmilaro (683), UC Santa Barbaras Kathy Gregory (609) and Cal State Fullerton's Carolyn Zimmerman (112).

Big West...Stat
Three weeks of women's volleyball in the record book and Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton are shining stars. League-leading Long Beach State owns the top spot in hitting percentage (.279), opposing hitting percentage (.142) and blocks (2.77). The Titans sit atop the conference in assists (13.34) and kills (14.38) and ranks second in digs.

Leading the charge for the 49ers is freshman Haleigh Hampton, who paces the Big West in blocks with a 1.63 average and ranks second in hitting percentage with a .438 clip. Erin Saddlers 4.56 kills per set leads the Titans and ranks second in the league, while Andrea Ragan holds a conference-best 11.27 set average.

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. 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 women's 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.

California Girls
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 women's volleyball as well as men's and women's basketball. Also covered are select contests in men's 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 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!