Long Beach State Battles The Best
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11 VB Release-Week 2
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This Week in the Big West - August 29-September 4, 2011
LBSU Battles The Best
Long Beach State will soon be battle-tested as it tackles three nationally-ranked programs at the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Classic this week. The 49ers open the multi-day tournament facing No. 12 UCLA on Thursday, Sept. 1 and follow that up with a showdown against host and future Big West member No. 10 Hawaii Friday evening. Their final matchup against the 22nd-ranked Buckeyes of Ohio State is slated for Sunday afternoon. Long Beach State is 0-1 against Top 25 opponents this season after falling to No. 7 Washington, 3-1, in its home tournament last weekend.
Tigers Homeward Bound
Following a 3-0 performance to kick off the 2011 season, the Pacific Tigers return home to host the 33rd Annual Community Bankers Classic Sept. 2-3. Pacific opens the two-day event versus Mississippi State Friday night and then faces Army and Duquesne Saturday. Prior to the start of the tournament, the Tigers welcome the 19th-ranked Duke Blue Devils to the Alex G. Spanos Center Thursday, Sept. 1.
Anteaters Eye East Coast
Following on the heels of Hurricane Irene are the UC Irvine Anteaters who travel to the east coast this week to participate in the Delaware Invitational. The Anteaters hope to leave their own path of destruction as they take on host Delaware, Northern Iowa and No. 25 Florida State as part of the Delaware Invitational Sept. 2-3. The Anteaters, who are led by Aly Squires (5.45 K/S, 1.00 B/S), enter this weekend's event with a 2-1 mark.
Week one is in the record books and Long Beach State and Pacific are already dominating the Big West Conference in nearly every statistical category. The 49ers own the top spot in hitting percentage (.294) and opponent hitting percentage (.061) and guess who sits number two in both categories...thats right, the Tigers. The 49ers also own a 3.20 block average to lead the league. Pacific can claim the top spot in assists (14.09), kills (15.09) and digs (18.18). The only category not overtaken by the Tigers or 49ers is service ace average, as UC Irvine and Cal State Northridge are tied for first with a 1.45 average.
Get Out the Brooms
Pacific and UC Davis swept their opponents in their respective season-opening tournaments over the weekend. The Tigers took down the Mountain West Conference's newest member Boise State, Utah State and Southern Utah at the Crystal Inn Thunderbird Invitational to post a 3-0 record. The Aggies also recorded three straight victories after downing new Pac-12 member Colorado, UNLV and Northern Colorado at the Northern Colorado Classic in Greeley, Colo. The 3-0 start is the program's first of the Division I era. The last time UC Davis began the year with such a record was in August of 2002, when the team beat NYU, Massachusetts-Lowell and Humboldt State at the Verducci Warrior Classic.
Both teams look to keep their win streaks intact this weekend when they continue tournament play. UC Davis heads to Tulsa, Okla., for the Golden Hurricane Classic, while Pacific kicks off the home portion of its schedule with the 33rd Annual Community Bankers Classic.
In Long Beach State's first match of the 2011 season, the 49ers were a force to be reckoned with. The team combined for a .588 hitting percentage in the 3-0 win over Prairie View A&M. The impressive number was the teams highest hitting percentage since 1998. Long Beach State recorded 46 kills on 68 attempts with just six errors. Over the course of the three-match tournament last weekend, the 49ers averaged a league-leading .294 clip.
Haina Guides CSUN To Win
Cal State Northridge picked up its first win of the 2011 season on Saturday, Aug. 27 with a 3-2 victory over Weber State. The Matadors success was largely due to sophomore Mahina Haina, who pounded a career-high 28 kills. Haina not only set a personal high, she bested her previous performance by nine kills, a mark she set against Loyola Marymount in 2010. Haina currently ranks fifth in the league with a 3.91 kill average.
First Win Of Season
UC Riverside closed out the Cal Molten Classic with a 3-2 victory over Fairfield to record its first victory of the 2011 season. The Highlanders were led by Amanda Vialpando, who tallied a career-high 26 kills, en route to her second double-double in three games as she added 14 digs. The Highlanders improved to 1-2 with the win.
Long Beach State Favorite To Claim 2011 Title
The Big West Conference head coaches selected Long Beach State to claim the 2011 women's volleyball title after earning seven first-place votes and 78 total points, according to the volleyball preseason poll.
Looking to capture their 11th conference championship, Long Beach State is coming off a season where the 49ers found themselves knotted in second place with Cal Poly after recording a 12-4 conference mark. Long Beach State earned an at-large selection to its 24th consecutive NCAA Tournament, 25th overall. The 49ers welcome back 2010 All-Big West First Team members sophomore Haleigh Hampton and senior Caitlin Ledoux.
The Cal Poly Mustangs received two first-place votes en route to a point total of 72 to grab the second spot. Cal Poly, who tied Long Beach State for second place in the Big West standings a season ago, will be led by 2010 All-Big West First Team selections junior Jennifer Keddy and sophomore Kristina Graven, who was also named 2010 Big West Freshman of the Year and AVCA West Region Freshman of the Year.
For the second consecutive year UC Santa Barbara narrowly grabbed the third spot with 53 overall points. The Gauchos return five starters and nine letterwinners from a 2010 roster that finished fourth in the league with a 10-6 mark while registering an overall record of 16-13.
Defending champion Cal State Fullerton was selected fourth after picking up 52 points and is followed by Pacific who sits one point back with 51. UC Davis secured sixth place with 38 points, UC Irvine nabbed the seventh slot with 30 points and Cal State Northridge finished eighth after capturing 20 points. UC Riverside rounds out the nine-team field with 11 points.
As the Big West Conference enters its final year as a California-only league, two schools have followed suit with their 2011 lineups. For the third consecutive year UC Davis has showcased rosters composed entirely of players from the Golden State. Joining the Aggies this season with a California-filled roster are the UC Irvine Anteaters.
Not only does UC Santa Barbara face some tough competition to open the 2011 season, six teams are either ranked or receiving votes in the AVCA preseason poll, the Gauchos must play their way to victory on the road. UC Santa Barbara plays 13 straight road contests before hosting its first match at The Thunderdome on Sept. 30. In fact, UC Santa Barbara only hosts the eight Big West schools this season as its home schedule.
Cal Poly and UC Davis aren't far behind as both teams open the season with an 11-match journey around the United States.
Crowning The Champion
Of the nine current members in the Big West Conference, five of them have captured at least one Big West title - Cal Poly, Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara, Pacific and newest member to the club Cal State Fullerton, who claimed its first championship last season. Long Beach State leads the quintet with nine conference championships, followed by UC Santa Barbara and Pacific with five apiece.