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Women's Volleyball

Quest For The Title Begins

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10 VB Release-Week 5

9/20/2010

Quest For The Title
This weekend marks the start of Big West play for the 2010 women's volleyball season. UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Northridge have the honors of kicking off league action with a showdown Friday night at The Matadome. First serve is slated for 7:00 p.m. UC Davis visits UC Riverside at 7:30 p.m., while the Cal Poly-UC Irvine face-off gets underway at the Bren Events Center at 8:00 p.m.

Pacific joins the competition Saturday evening as UC Riverside entertains the Tigers at the Student Recreation Center. UC Irvine and Cal State Northridge switch opponents on Saturday with the Anteaters hosting UC Santa Barbara and the Matadors taking on the Cal Poly Mustangs. All match times are scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

Two-time defending champion Long Beach State (9-3) plays a nonconference match against Loyola Marymount Friday evening before hosting Cal State Fullerton (10-3) Saturday, Sept. 25 at 7:00 p.m.

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.

Home Sweet Home
UC Riverside, 1-11 on the road this season, hopes the home crowd will cheer them to victory when it begins conference play. After a season-opening 12-match road trip, the Highlanders finally play their first home contest of the season this Friday when they welcome the UC Davis Aggies to the Student Recreation Center for a 7:30 p.m. start. UC Riverside, who becomes the last Big West school to play a home event, also faces Pacific Saturday night.

Against The Best
UC Irvine, who has already faced a conference-high four Top 25 opponents, faces yet another challenging opponent this week. The Anteaters host the sixth-ranked USC Trojans Tuesday evening as part of their six-match homestand. UC Irvine is 0-4 against the Top 25.

Cal State Fullerton gets another opportunity for an upset as they close out a five-match homestand with a showdown with No. 21 San Diego. Cal Sate Fullerton follows that up with another nationally-ranked opponent in conference foe No. 23 Long Beach State Saturday night. The Titans previous Top 25 matchup was a 1-3 loss to then-ranked No. 10 USC on August 28.

Win After Win After Win
Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton both carry impressive win streaks into the new week. The Mustangs own a league-best eight-match win streak, seven of which have been away from Mott Gym. The Titans put their six-match streak on the line Tuesday when they host nationally-ranked San Diego in a midweek nonconference contest. Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton open conference play this weekend.

Duo Reaches Coaching Milestone
After an impressive 3-0 performance at the UNLV Classic, Cal State Northridge head coach Jeff Stork captured his 100th career win. Over the past nine years at the helm of the Matadors squad, Stork has compiled a 100-143 mark.

A day after Stork's accomplishment, Jon Stevenson captured his 100th victory as Cal Poly's head coach with a 3-0 win over Cal State Bakersfield. In six seasons as the Mustangs' leader, Stevenson has registered an overall record of 100-56. His coaching career total is 183-123 (.598).

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 (687), UC Santa Barbara's Kathy Gregory (612) and Cal State Fullerton's Carolyn Zimmerman (118).

Simply Perfection
Four Big West schools posted nothing but wins last weekend as they swept their competition in their respective tournaments. Cal Poly and UC Davis, who both competed in the Aggies Invitational but did not face each other, both ran the table. Host UC Davis went 3-0, while Cal Poly went 2-0. The Mustangs also hosted Cal State Bakersfield and successfully downed the Roadrunners 3-0. Cal State Fullerton extended its win streak to six after defeating all four opponents 3-0 for a flawless 4-0 mark at the Fullerton Classic By Embassay Suites Brea. The final school to string together a trio of victories is Cal State Northridge. The Matadors registered a 3-0 mark at the UNLV Classic, defeating Xavier, San Jose State and host UNLV.

'Eaters Career-Best Performances
In UC Irvine's 3-2 win over Liberty in day one of the UCI-Asics Challenge, two Anteaters put their best performances on display. Senior outside hitter tallied a personal-best 26 kills, while sophomore libero Kristin Winkler scooped a career-high and tied a UCI single-match record with 32 digs. Winkler currently ranks second in the Big West with a 5.08 dig average.

Best In The West...The Big West
Cal State Fullerton leads the league in four of the seven categories - hitting percentage (.280), assists (13.89), kills (14.82) and services aces (1.43). Holding the top spot individually for the Titans are Erin Saddler (4.52 KPS), Andrea Ragan (11.98 APS) and Cami Croteau (5.20 DPS). UC Davis' Betsy Sedlak owns the top spot in hitting percentage with a .495 clip which assists the Aggies to a third place team ranking with a .257 hitting percentage. UC Riverside's Courtney Wypiszynski is averaging over .50 services aces per set to hold the conferences top spot.

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.

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 womens 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 can't make it to the gym or the field, you can still catch all the action on BigWest.TV!