Final Week Of Conference Play; Three teams Still In Contention For Title
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10 VB Release-Week 13
It All Comes Down To This
As we enter the final week of conference play, one match separates first place Cal State Fullerton (12-2) and second place Long Beach State (11-3). Both teams close out Big West action facing Cal State Northridge and UC Irvine, who combine for a 7-20 Big West record.
The Titans are in the driver's seat with a one-match advantage. Cal State Fullerton, riding a seven-match win streak, must win one of their final two contests to secure at least a share of the 2010 Big West championship, the first in school history. If the Titans are able to tally a pair of wins this weekend, they will garner sole-possession of the league title.
If Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton conclude the year knotted for first place, the 49ers would receive the conference's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament due to a head-to-head tiebreaker. Long Beach State swept the series versus the Titans this year.
Cal Poly, sitting third with an 11-4 mark, has a slim shot of sharing a piece of the title. If the Mustangs win their final contest against UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State are unsuccessful in their final stretch there is a possibility of a potential two-way or three-way tie at 12-4.
Crowning The Champion
Of the nine current members in the Big West Conference, 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.
NCAA Selection Show
The field of 64 teams for the 2010 NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament will be unveiled on ESPNews at noon (PST) on Sunday, Nov. 28. The 2010 first and second round host sites will also be announced during the selection show while the Regional and Final sites are predetermined. This year's Regional sites include Austin, Texas, Dayton, Ohio, Seattle, Wash., and University Park, Pa., with the finals taking place at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., December 16 &18.
The Big 2-0
Two weeks ago Cal State Fullerton cracked the 20-win mark for the first time in school history. The Titans, winners of 20 of their last 22, now own a 24-5 overall record. They also posted a school record 12th conference win after sweeping UC Riverside on Saturday. The Titans reached the double-digit quota in dominating fashion, sweeping all but three of their opponents (Cal Poly twice, UC Davis and Pacific).
Long Beach State and Cal Poly also joined the elite club last week as both teams registered a 2-0 mark to elevate them to 21 wins. While the 49ers posted their seventh-straight 20-win season, this marks the first 20-win season for the Mustangs since 2007. It is also a vast improvement over last season's Cal Poly squad that registered an overall mark of 9-20.
All three teams are still in the hunt for the 2010 Big West Women's Volleyball championship.
Gimmillaro Goes For 700
This weekend Long Beach State head coach Brian Gimmillaro goes for his 700th career victory. Entering the week sitting at 699, he needs just one more victory to reach the 700-win threshold. When Gimmillaro records his next victory, he will become just the ninth Division I active head coach to reach 700 career wins. He also owns an .805 winning percentage, which ranks him in the Top 10 among active coaches. Gimmillaro, currently in his 26th year of coaching, accumulated all 699 wins at the helm of the Long Beach State squad.
Among The Big West
League-leading Cal State Fullerton continues to dominate in the Big West team statistics, leading the way in five categories. The Titans are hitting .259, while registering 14.45 kills, 1.33 service aces and 17.19 digs per set. With the assistance of setter Andrea Ragan, who paces the league with an 11.78 average, the Titans also top the chart in assists with 13.51 assists per set.
Individually, the top spots are scattered among the Big West members. UC Davis' Betsy Sedlak continues to rank first in hitting percentage with a .399 clip. Svenja Engelhardt, who normally leads Pacific and the Big West in service aces, is the conference's kills leader with a 4.43 average. She still is impressive at the service line, posting a fifth-best average of .26.
The blocks category is led by freshman Haleigh Hampton, who paces the 49ers and the Big West with 1.56 blocks per set. Hampton currently ranks among the Top 5 in the country .
The Elusive 'W'
UC Riverside, the lone team yet to tally a conference win, is 0-14 in conference play after posting a 0-2 record last week. This week the Highlanders host central coast opponents, Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara, in their final Big West matches of the season. UC Riverside is also the only team unable to post a road victory this year.
Home Court Advantage
Cal State Fullerton has proven it is a force to be reckoned with when battling on its home court, Titan Gym. The Titans, who concluded the home portion of its schedule last weekend, own an impressive 16-1 record when playing in front of their hometown fans. Their lone home loss came by way of Long Beach State.
Also taking full advantage of their hometown fans is Long Beach State. The 49ers are 12-2 when playing at The Walter Pyramid. While the home portion of its conference season has come to an end, LBSU still has three nonconference contests remaining next week when the 49ers host the annual Mizuno Thanksgiving Tournament. The 49ers' two home losses this season were a 3-1 defeat to then-ranked No. 25 San Diego and a 3-1 loss to conference foe Cal Poly.
CSUN Posts Double-Digit Victories
The Matadors (12-17, 4-9 Big West) reached 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. Next up for the Matadors are Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State, both of which will be making the trek to The Matadome.
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 107-153 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 111-60.
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 (699), UC Santa Barbara's Kathy Gregory (621) and Cal State Fullerton's Carolyn Zimmerman (132).
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 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!