Fullerton Wins Title; Holiday Tournament On Horizon
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10 VB Release-Week 14
Fullerton Wins Title
A 3-1 win over UC Irvine Friday night clinched the 2010 Big West Women's Volleyball Championship for Cal State Fullerton. The Titans, who never finished higher than fifth prior to this season, finished the regular season with a 14-2 league mark and earned their first-ever NCAA postseason berth. Riding a nine-match win streak and winning 22 of their last 24 matches, the Titans posted a school-best 26 overall wins and they reached the double-digit quota in dominating fashion, sweeping their opponent in 20 of the victories.
Long Beach State fell short of capturing its third straight title and finished tied for second with Cal Poly at 12-4. The Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara finished fourth with a 10-6 mark, while Pacific rounded out the top five with a 9-7 record.
Cal State Fullerton joins the quartet of Cal Poly, Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara and Pacific as current Big West members that have captured a conference title. Long Beach State leads the group 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.
Turkey Day Tourney
While many have the tradition of gathering with the family and gobbling up turkey and pumpkin pie over the Thanksgiving holiday, Long Beach State has another time-honored tradition of hosting an annual women's volleyball tournament. This year's Mizuno Thanksgiving Tournament takes place Friday, Nov. 26 and Saturday, Nov. 27 with the 49ers welcoming Akron, Seattle and Notre Dame to The Walter Pyramid.
Not participating in a Thanksgiving tournament, but still in action over the holiday are UC Irvine and Pacific. The Anteaters host Akron Saturday at 7:00 p.m., while the Tigers visit Saint Marys for a 3:00 p.m. start on Saturday.
The Big 2-0
Cal State Fullerton cracked the 20-win mark for the first time in school history. The Titans, winners of 22 of their last 24, end the regular season with a 26-5 overall record. They also posted a school record 14 conference wins to claim their first-ever title.
Long Beach State and Cal Poly also joined the elite club as both teams registered 22 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 seasons Cal Poly squad that registered an overall mark of 9-20.
Croteau Shatters Big West Record
In the final week of the regular season, Cal State Fullerton libero Cami Croteau notched 59 digs to vault her to the top spot in career digs for the Big West Conference with 2,171. The senior from Orange, Calif., bested former Cal Poly standout Kristin Jackson's mark of 2,132 digs, which she held since 2007. Croteau still has at least one more match left of her career, as Cal State Fullerton prepares for their first appearance in the NCAA tournament.
Gimmillaro Captures No. 700
Last weekend Long Beach State head coach Brian Gimmillaro collected his 700th career victory. Entering the week at 699, Long Beach State swept UC Irvine Thursday evening to pick up Gimmillaro's 700th win. With the victory, Gimmillaro became 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 700 wins at the helm of the Long Beach State squad.
Big West Champion Cal State Fullerton owns a majority of the top spots in the conference's statistics - hitting percentage (.253), kills (14.62), digs (17.61), service aces (1.28) and assists (13.67). Individually, the Titans are represented in the No. 1 slot in both assists and digs. Setter Andrea Ragan paces the league with an 11.91 set average and teammate Cami Croteau scoops 5.45 digs per set for the top ranking.
Long Beach State owns the top spot in the league in blocks. Led by freshman Haleigh Hamptons 1.58 average, the 49ers average 2.94 blocks per set.
Junior Betsy Sedlak (UC Davis) has maintained the top spot in hitting percentage and has ranked among the best in the country with a .395 hitting percentage. Pacific's Svenja Engelhardt had been battling Fullerton's Erin Saddler for the bragging rights in the kills category. Engelhardt currently has the edge with a 4.41 kill average.
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 concluded the home portion of its schedule owning 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 this week with the 49ers 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 (13-18, 5-10 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 Storks first three seasons (2002-04) which included 17 wins and an NCAA Tournament berth in 2004. The Matadors ended the season going 1-1 at The Matadome in the final weekend of competition.
The Elusive 'W'
UC Riverside concludes the 2010 volleyball season with an 0-16 Big West mark. This is the first time the Highlanders have gone winless in conference play since 2006 when they tallied a 0-14 record. UC Riverside did record two nonconference victories (Cal State Bakersfield and High Point) during the 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 108-154 mark.
A day after Stork's accomplishment, Jon Stevenson captured his 100th victory as Cal Poly's head coach with a win over Cal State Bakersfield. In six seasons as the Mustangs leader, Stevenson has registered an overall record of 112-60.
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 Gimmillaro (700), UC Santa Barbara's Kathy Gregory (622) and Cal State Fullerton's Carolyn Zimmerman (134).
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!