A Look At Big West Volleyball
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This Week in the Big West - October 10-16, 2011
A Look At The Big West
UC Santa Barbara finds itself in sole possession of first place in the Big West Conference standings after downing UC Irvine to improve to 4-1. The Aggies of UC Davis and preseason favorite Long Beach State are tied for second with a 4-2 mark and are followed by defending champion Cal State Fullerton in fourth at 3-2 after dropping two straight matches. The fifth-place Pacific Tigers collected back-to-back conference victories to even their record to 3-3.
Six of the nine Big West matches contested last week resulted in sweeps for the victor. Long Beach State kicked off the trend with a 3-0 win over UC Irvine. Friday witnessed two more three-set matches and Saturday showcased sweeps in three of its four contests. The Long Beach State-Cal State Fullerton face-off was the only contest to extend to a fourth match that day with the 49ers coming out on top, 3-1.
UC Davis and Long Beach State are both hitting .231 to pace the Big West Conference, however, in league-only matches the 49ers hold a slight edge over the Aggies with a .217 clip versus a .213 percentage. UC Davis is led by seniors Betsy Sedlak and Katie Denny, who sit second and fifth with .336 and .323 hitting percentages, respectively. Long Beach State's headliner is sophomore Haleigh Hampton, who ranks sixth at .321.
Matadors Strength In The Big West
Cal State Northridge continues to own the top spot in the majority of the Big West's conference-only stats. The Matadors are first in kills (14.53 K/S), digs (18.88 D/S) and assists (13.71 A/S) and second in service aces (1.24 SA/S). Individually, Sydney Gedryn is the lone Matador to hold a first-place position and she does so in assists with an 11.57 average. However, Cal State Northridge does have multiple players listed in the top 10 in kills and digs.
Irvine Gets A 'W'
With a 3-0 victory over Cal Poly on Friday, Oct. 7, UC Irvine snapped a five-match skid and captured its first Big West win of the 2011 season. Unfortunately the Anteaters couldn't carry their momentum into Saturday, where they were swept by league-leading UC Santa Barbara. Owning a 1-4 conference mark, UC Irvine is currently knotted for eighth place with UC Riverside. The Anteaters return to action Thursday with a trip to UC Riverside. Start time is slated for 7:00 p.m.
After a minor hiccup two weeks ago where UC Davis recorded its second and third losses of the season on its visit to the central coast, the Aggies rebounded last week and picked up two Big West victories to improve to 18-3 on the season. All three of UC Davis' losses have come on the road and starting this week the Aggies embark on a three-game road trip. First up is a trip to The Walter Pyramid to battle preseason favorite Long Beach State Friday evening, which is then followed by a showdown against defending Big West champion Cal State Fullerton on Saturday.
Ledoux Dominates With Return To The Court
After six matches out of the lineup due to injury, Long Beach State's Caitlin Ledoux returned to the lineup on Saturday, Oct. 8 sparking the 49ers with a double-double as Long Beach State defeated Cal State Fullerton 25-20, 25-21, 21-25, 25-11. The 49ers got a big night from Ledoux in her return to the lineup, as the senior recorded 17 kills and 11 digs for her third double-double of the season. With the victory, the 49ers' win streak over Cal State Fullerton reached 58 straight matches, extending Long Beach State's longest win streak over any opponent.
Home Is Where The Win Is
Three Big West teams currently hold an unblemished home record. UC Davis has tallied six victories in front of its hometown fans and UC Santa Barbara, who played its first pair of matches at The Thunderdome two weeks ago, are 2-0. Completing the trio is Cal Poly, who has won three straight for a 3-0 mark at Mott Gym. The Mustangs look to extend their home win streak this week as they begin a four-match homestand Wednesday against central coast foe UC Santa Barbara.
A trio of Big West athletes are excelling both offensively and defensively. Cal Poly's Jennifer Keddy, Long Beach State's Haleigh Hampton and UC Davis' Betsy Sedlak all rank in the Big West's top ten in both hitting percentage and blocks. Sedlak (.336) and Keddy (.332) sit two-three in hitting percentage and Hampton holds the sixth spot with a .321 clip. In block average, Hampton earned the top spot with a 1.63 average and is followed by Keddy in second (1.35). Seldak owns a .120 average for fourth place. Of the three players listed, Keddy is the lone individual that also ranks among the best in kill average (7th - 3.50), completing a trifecta of domination.
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.
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.
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 on Sept. 9. 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.
Caroline Walters Named Cal Poly's Interim Head Volleyball Coach
Caroline Walters has been named interim head coach of Cal Poly's 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.