Final Week Of Nonconference Play
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11 VB Release-Week 4
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This Week in the Big West - September 12-18, 2011
In The Standings
UC Davis sits atop the Big West standings with a 10-1 nonconference mark and is followed by Pacific at 7-3. Cal State Northridge is third with a 6-4 record, while Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara are knotted for fourth with a 5-4 mark. In all, six teams have accumulated a .500-or-better nonconference mark.
West Coast Roundup
As tournament play winds down, all nine of the Big West schools are staying close to home this week. Only one school, Cal Poly, is leaving the Golden State but still remains on the west coast as it visits nationally-ranked Oregon Tuesday evening. UC Davis, UC Irvine and Pacific are all hosting tournaments, and the rest of the conference is either participating in local tournaments or playing single matches over the course of the week. After the conclusion of this weekends event, conference play is in full swing.
'Eaters Host Tournament
For Home Opener
UC Irvine kicks off the home portion of its schedule welcoming two former Big West members this weekend. As part of the Active Ankle Challenge, UCI hosts Utah State Friday (Sept. 16) at the Bren Events Center at 7:00 p.m. and then battles Idaho Saturday at Crawford Court at 7:00 p.m. UC Irvine opened the 2011 season with an eight-match road trip in which it tallied a 4-4 mark.
Long Beach State is a force to be reckoned with at the net once again this season as it averages nearly three blocks per set to pace the Big West Conference. Helping the 49ers reach the 2.97 block average are sophomore Haleigh Hampton and freshman Alma Serna, who sit first and third in the league with averages of 1.50 and 1.30. In her freshman season (2010), Hampton led the conference with a 1.58 average, vaulting the 49ers to the top of the league.
Can You Dig It
UC Santa Barbara's Chelsey Lowe has been quite impressive in the early stages of the season. After three weeks of competition, the Yorba Linda, Calif., native, is averaging 5.15 digs per set. The next closest player is UC Irvine's Kristin Winkler, who finds herself a distant second with a 4.76 average. Competing in her third season as a Gaucho, Lowe has already registered 929 digs.
Aggies On Rampage
The UC Davis Aggies are taking no mercy on their opponents as they have tallied a 10-1 mark, making them the first Big West team to capture its 10th win. Their only loss was to North Dakota State on Sept. 3. UC Davis, who is off to its best start since going 12-1 to open the 1993 season, closes out a season-opening 12-match road trip on Tuesday when it visits Sacramento State. UC Davis follows up its battle with the Hornets with the Aggie Invitational, where it hosts Air Force, Hofstra and Seattle.
Winkler Digs Into History
In UC Irvine's match versus New Mexico, junior libero Kristin Winkler tied the third-best single-match mark in UCI history with 31 digs. Winkler fell just shy of her career-high 32 digs, which tied for the top spot in the annals. The next day, she claimed the record that eluded her the previous day as she scooped a UCI single-match high of 34 digs, breaking her old record of 32 set in 2010.
Titan Gym Open For Business
After three weeks of road matches, Cal State Fullerton finally gets the luxury of playing in the familiar confines of Titan Gym. This weekend the Titans entertain BYU on Friday night and Utah State Saturday evening. In 2010, Cal State Fullerton was an impressive 16-1 at home. Both matches are slated for 7:00 p.m.
Gregory Claims 850th Win
UC Santa Barbara head coach Kathy Gregory, captured her 850th career victory after defeating North Dakota, 3-0, in the first game of the Santa Clara Tournament. She now ranks third all-time among active Division I coaches. Gregory also ranks 10th in all-time victories across all divisions, according to the NCAA. Twenty-eight of her 36 years coaching the Gauchos was while UC Santa Barbara has competed in the Big West. During that time she has amassed a 627-283 mark.
Gauchos Find Winning Way
UC Santa Barbara kicked off the year with a win but success was short-lived after the Gauchos dropped four straight contests. Since then, UC Santa Barbara has strung together four consecutive victories, which includes a 3-0 record at the Santa Clara Tournament. The Gauchos continue their 14-game road trip with the USD Invitational this weekend when they face host nationally-ranked San Diego, Indiana and George Washington.
Mustangs Notch Victory
In the final match of the Middle Tennessee Tournament, Cal Poly swept the host team to snap a five-match skid. All five losses were away from Mott Gym and two of the contests were against Top 25 opponents. Next up for the Mustangs are back-to-back road games against Oregon (9/13) and San Francisco (9/14), followed by their first home match of the season - a Sunday evening showdown against Cal State Bakersfield.
After back-to-back tournament titles, the Pacific Tigers were unable to keep the streak alive after posting a 1-2 record at the Verizon Wireless Volleyball Challenge in Honolulu, Hawaii. Pacific's two losses were to the hands of No. 12 Hawaii and Cincinnati, who is receiving votes in the latest AVP Top 25 poll. In fact, Pacific has only suffered three losses so far this season, all of which were against those ranked in the AVP Top 25 or receiving votes.
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. The Cal Poly Mustangs received two first-place votes en route to a point total of 72 to grab the second spot. For the second consecutive year UC Santa Barbara narrowly grabbed the third spot with 53 overall points. 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.
Caroline Walters Named Cal Poly's Interim Head Volleyball Coach
Caroline Walters has been named interim head coach of Cal Polys womens volleyball team. Walters, who is in her third year as assistant coach, replaces Jon Stevenson, who was relieved of his coaching duties last week. Stevenson had been Cal Poly's head coach since the 2005 season. Walters, who was a standout collegiate player at Santa Clara University, was the Broncos' career leader in assists per game and was a three-time All West Coast Conference honorable mention.
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.
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.