Key SoCal Matchups This Week
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10 VB Release-Week 10
All eyes are on southern California this weekend as the top four teams in the Big West face off. League-leading UC Santa Barbara and central coast neighbor Cal Poly, who ranks fourth in the conference, are slated to face both Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton. The 49ers and Titans, both nearly unstoppable when playing on their home court, are knotted in second place with a 6-2 record. Friday evening, LBSU entertains Cal Poly and CSF hosts UC Santa Barbara. On Saturday the SoCal teams switch central coast opponents.
Ole! Gauchos Pace The League
Following a 2-0 performance last week, UC Santa Barbara stands alone at the top of the Big West standings with a 7-2 record. Close behind in second place with a 6-2 mark are two-time defending champion Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton, both of which host UC Santa Barbara this week. The Gauchos have their work cut out for them this week as the Titans and 49ers have a combined home record of 20-2. Cal State Fullerton snapped its 11-match home win streak last weekend and the 49ers' only home loss was back on Sept. 10 to nationally-ranked San Diego.
Fullerton Sweeps Competition
League-leading Cal State Fullerton paces the Big West with most overall wins at 17. The Titans, winners of 13 of their last 15 matches, reached the double-digit quota in dominating fashion, sweeping all but two of their opponents. Cal Poly and UC Davis are the two teams that took their respective matches to five sets before eventually falling to the Titans. On the flip side, Cal State Fullerton has only been swept by one of its opponents, then-ranked No. 23 Long Beach State.
Climbing The LBSU Ladder
Caitlin Ledoux's first kill in Long Beach States first conference match of the 2010 season was her 1,000th of her career. Ledoux, who currently holds 1,088 kills, needs just 31 more to crack Long Beach State's top 10 in career kills.
Midway through the season both Ashley Lee and Lauren Minkel surpassed the 1,000th career dig mark. Lee and Minkel should move into the top seven in LBSU's record book over the next few weeks.
UC Davis has had an impressive showing so far in 2010 with a 6-3 Big West mark and overall record of 15-7. Part of the Aggies success comes from the arm of junior Betsy Sedlak. Sedlak is hitting .422 on the season to rank among the top 10 in the country. She is the only Big West athlete to be hitting over .400 this season. While showing her dominance on offense she has also contributed defensively with the league's second-best block average of 1.27, which includes a career-high nine-block performance last week versus UC Riverside.
Playing on the road is always tough, but for UC Irvine (0-9)and UC Riverside (0-11) it has been quite strenuous as both teams are winless on the road this season. Fortunately for UC Irvine, there are only two more road contests left on its 2010 schedule. UC Riverside isn't as lucky as it closes a three-match road trip this week and has a total of four more road matches.
Home Court Advantage
Cal State Fullerton has proven it is a force to be reckoned with when battling on its home court, Titan Gym. Until last weekend, CSF held a perfect 11-0 record. LBSU snapped the Titan's impressive streak with a 3-1 victory. Looking ahead, the Titans play five of their final nine contests at home.
Also taking full advantage of their hometown fans is Long Beach State. The 49ers currently hold a 9-1 mark when playing at The Walter Pyramid. Their lone loss was a 3-1 defeat to then-ranked No. 25 San Diego.
The Elusive 'W'
One team still remains winless in Big West play after a month of competition. UC Riverside is 0-9 in conference play after posting a 0-2 record on the road last week. The Highlanders take a short break from Big West play with a pair of matches against San Diego State and Arizona State.
Engelhardt's Career Night
In Pacific's match against UC Riverside, senior Svenja Engelhardt notched a career high in digs with 20 on the night. Engelhardt, who posted her fourth double-double (13 kills, 20 digs) in her last five matches, recorded one more dig than her previous career best of 19 digs which was set earlier this season in a five-game marathon at Long Beach State. In addition, she tallied a match-high three service aces while also adding two blocks for an all-around stellar night.
CSUN Eyeing Double-Digits
With their next win, the Matadors will reach double figures in wins for the sixth time in nine seasons under Jeff Stork and first time since 2007. Northridge averaged nearly 15 wins per season over Stork's first three seasons (2002-04) which included 17 wins and an NCAA Tournament berth in 2004. The Matadors next opportunity for a victory is this weekend when they welcome Pacific and UC Davis to The Matadome.
LBSU'S Lee Gains National Recognition
Honors keep piling up for setter Ashley Lee, as the senior was selected the National Player of the Week by both Collegiate Volleyball Update and the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), sweeping the selections for the Division I honor, for the week of Oct. 18. In a five-set win over UC Riverside Lee made 50 assists, 13 digs, 10 kills and 10 block assists, the first quadruple-double in LBSU history, and the first nationally this year. It was also just the 20th triple-double recorded in Division I this season.
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 104-150 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 107-59.
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 (694), UC Santa Barbara's Kathy Gregory (619) and Cal State Fullerton's Carolyn Zimmerman (125).
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. 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.
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!