Long Beach State Extends Lead In Big West Race
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11 VB Release-Week 10
Long Beach State Extends Lead
Preseason favorite Long Beach State posted a 2-0 mark in its most recent trip to the central coast, while the trio of teams knotted in second place tallied either a 1-1 or 1-0 record, extending its lead atop the Big West Conference standings. The 49ers, who stretched their win streak to six, sit in first place with a 6-2 record and are followed by Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara and Pacific, who are tied for second with a 5-4 mark.
Long Beach State is slated to host UC Riverside and Cal State Northridge this week. The 49ers-Highlanders showdown is scheduled for Friday night at 7:00 p.m. and the Matadors visits The Walter Pyramid Saturday evening.
Tigers Finding Traction
The Pacific Tigers opened conference play with a 1-3 record, but have since found their footing and won four of the last five contests, including a sweep over defending champion Cal State Fullerton. The Titans aren't the only team that Pacific was able to handle rather easily as Pacific swept its opponents in three of its last four wins. The recent successful run has lifted Pacific to a second-place tie with Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara - two teams Pacific entertains at the Alex G. Spanos Center this week - making it at crucial weekend for all three programs as they jockey for position in the Big West race.
Home Is Where The Win Is
Cal Poly (1012/5-4) and UC Davis (18-6/4-5) entered the week with an unblemished home record but the Mustangs fell to Long Beach State Friday evening to snap its five-match home win streak. They rebounded on Saturday downing Cal State Fullerton, 3-1, to improve their home record to 6-1.
The Aggies' home mark remained unscathed last week at 6-0 due to the fact they were visiting UC Irvine. Good news for UC Davis, who has dropped its last five road contests, this week the Aggies return home for a two-match home stint against central coast foes Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara. UC Davis, who has the opportunity to become the first Big West school to reach the elusive 20th win this weekend, splits its playing time between Hickey Gym and The Pavilion.
CSF's Ragan Reaches Milestone
In Friday's match versus UC Santa Barbara, setter Andrea Ragan became the first Titan to surpass the 4,000 assist plateau. After tallying 71 assists over the weekend, 35 against UC Santa Barbara and 36 versus Cal Poly, the all-time leader in Cal State Fullerton history now sits at 4,041 career assists. Prior to this week's matchups, Ragan had surpassed former record holder Julie Geissert, who registered 3,907 assists in 361 sets.
Ledoux Joins 1,000-1,000 Club
On, October 22 against UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State's Caitlin Ledoux registered her fifth double-double of the season with 15 kills and 10 digs. The senior outside hitter's nightly scoop total pushed her over the 1,000-dig threshold, giving her the accomplishment of becoming just the third 49er to record both 1,000 career digs and 1,000 career kills. Former 49ers Tara Cross and Antoinnette White also posted impressive numbers during their tenure at Long Beach State.
In Cal Poly's 3-2 loss to league-leading Long Beach State, two Mustangs put their best on display with career-high performances. Juniors Jennifer Keddy set a new career-high of 27 kills came on 45 swings with just three errors. Junior Molly Pon also set a career-best in kills with 16.
Keddy currently ranks fifth in the Big West Conference in kill average, while leading the way in hitting percentage with a .348 clip.
Also making a name for herself this weekend was UC Irvine sophomore Shaina Olsen, who blasted a personal-best 19 kills to lead UC Irvine to a 3-1 win over UC Davis. En route to a victory over the Aggies, Olsen tallied her second double-double match of the season with 12 digs.
In the latest NCAA rankings, Long Beach State maintains it fourth-place status in blocks with a 3.09 average. The 49ers are led by sophomore Haleigh Hampton, who dropped to second in the nation this week, after being tied for first for one week, with a 1.59 block average. Led by Hannah Clancy's 18th-best assist average of 11.36, Pacific continues to remain in the top 20 in assists (13.19), while cracking the top 25 in kills this week. A 14.05 kills per set average places them 24th. Also making a splash in the top 25 this week are the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, who sit 24th with a 17.40 dig average.
Long Beach State Picked
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 Polys Interim Head Volleyball Coach
Caroline Walters has been named interim head coach of Cal Poly's women's 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.
49ers' Diaper Dandies
Long Beach State has one of the youngest teams in the nation in 2011. Seniors Lauren Minkel and Caitlin Ledoux are the only two members of Long Beach State's current rotation that has more than one full year of experience on the floor, and five freshman have had more than 20 sets played this season. Long Beach State ranks in a tie for fourth in the nation in the number of freshman and sophomores on the team with 13 in total.
NCAA Selection Show
The field of 64 teams for the 2010 NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament will be unveiled on ESPNews at 3:00 p.m. (Pacific) on Sunday, Nov. 27. The 2011 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 Gainesville, Fla., Honolulu, Hawaii, Lexington, Ky., and Minneapolis, Minn., with the finals taking place at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, December 15 &17.