Long Beach Continues Its Winning Ways
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11 VB Release-Week 11
The Big West Race
When taking a look at the most current Big West standings, the battle seems to be for second place as preseason favorite Long Beach State has a huge lead over the rest of the field with a first-place record of 10-2. The 49ers, who have won eight straight, need just one more victory in its final four conference matchups to secure at least a share of the Big West title. UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara and Pacific, who are knotted in second place with a 6-5 mark, are still in the hunt but need to string together multiple victories over the next few weeks. Cal State Northridge sits fifth with an even 5-5 record and is followed by Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton, who are tied for sixth at 5-6. UC Irvine (306) sits eighth and UC Riverside (2-8) rounds out the nine-team field.
UC Davis First To 20
A 2-0 record over the weekend bumped the UC Davis Aggies to the coveted 20-win plateau. The Aggies, who clinched their second 20-win season in head coach Jamie Holmes' young career, are the first conference team to acquire 20 overall wins this season. Long Beach State and Pacific are inching their way to the milestone as the 49ers have 16 wins and the Tigers own 15 victories thus far.
Home Is Where The Win Is
UC Davis (20-6/6-5) was perfect yet again in front of its hometown fans to improve its unblemished home record to 8-0. The only team in the Big West to own a perfect home mark, the Aggies hit the road this weekend to battle both Cal State Northridge (11/4) and UC Riverside (11/5) before closing out the regular season with a three-match homestand. UC Davis splits its playing time between Hickey Gym and The Pavilion.
Pacific's Unusual Sighting
After winning five of the last six contests, four by sweeps, the Pacific Tigers stumbled against UC Santa Barbara Saturday evening, dropping the contest, 3-2. This was the first five-set loss of the season for the Tigers. Pacific looks to rebound this week with visits to UC Riverside (11/4) and Cal State Northridge (11/5).
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. Ledoux's career totals currently sit at 1,492 kills and 1,022 digs.
Lowe On The Move
In Saturday's 3-2 win over Pacific, UC Santa Barbara libero Chelsey Lowe moved into 10th place all-time in career digs in the Gauchos annals. She recorded 19 scoops to pass Liz Towne (1985-88) for the No. 10 spot in school history. Currently leading the conference with 517 digs this season, Lowe owns a career total of 1,271 digs during her three years donning the blue and gold.
Spreading The Love
The balance of talent among the Big West teams this year isn't just reflected in the team standings, it is on display in the Big West statistics as well. In the six individual statistical categories, five different schools are represented in the top spots. Pacific's Gabby Cowden holds a league-high .351 hitting percentage, Cal State Fullertons Kayla Neto leads the pack with a 4.03 kill average and UC Santa Barbara's Chelsey Lowe sits first in digs with a 5.22 average. Long Beach State's Haleigh Hampton continues to dominate in the blocks category with a 1.59 average that ranks her in the top five in the nation. The repeat offender comes from Pacific as Cowden finds herself tied for first with UC Irvines Alexandra Hauser in service aces (0.40). Pacific also shows its dominance in the assists category as Hannah Clancy owns the top spot with an 11.28 set average.
Schmidt's Tasty Double-Double
Despite the fact the UC Santa Barbara was only able to come away from its trip to northern California with a 1-1 mark, senior Stacey Schmidt shined in both contests. In the Gauchos' 3-1 loss to UC Davis Friday evening, Schmidt notched a career-best 24 kills to go with 10 digs, securing a double-double. Schmidt's 24 kills is the fifth highest mark by a Big West player this year. The next night in the 3-2 victory over Pacific, the middle blocker posted her second consecutive double-double with 13 kills and 13 digs.
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 Poly's 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.