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Women's Volleyball

Long Beach State Claims 2011 Big West Crown

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11 VB Release-Week 13


Long Beach State Claims 2011 Big West Crown
Long Beach State entered the 2011 women's volleyball season as the preseason favorite, as selected by the nine Big West coaches, and will finish the year as the 2011 Big West women's volleyball champion. On Nov. 11, the 49ers swept the Pacific Tigers to clinch their 12th title and earn their 25th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, joining Penn State, Stanford, and Nebraska as the only programs with that distinction. They entered the week guaranteed at least a share of the title, but the 3-0 victory over the Tigers handed them the title outright.

With one week remaining in conference play, Long Beach State owns a 13-2 mark, while UC Santa Barbara sits in a distant second place with a 9-5 record. Rounding out the top three is Cal State Northridge with an 8-6 mark.

NCAA Selection Show
The field of 64 teams for the 2011 NCAA Volleyball Tournament will be unveiled on ESPNews at 3:00 p.m. (Pacific) on Sunday, Nov. 27. The first and second round host sites will also be announced during the selection show while the Regional and Final sites are predetermined. This years 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.

49ers Extend Win Streak; Vault Into Top 25
Long Beach State (19-6, 13-2) registered a 2-0 record last week to extend its win streak to a season-best 11 matches. The last LBSU loss was a 3-2 defeat to UC Riverside on October 1. The 49ers recent success has also helped bumped them from the receiving votes category to the Top 25 of the AVCA Coaches Poll. They currently sit in 24th place with 96 votes.

The Year Of The Matador
The Cal State Northridge Matadors are showcasing one of their best performances if recent memory. The Matadors currently own a conference mark of 8-6, which is their highest league win total since 2004 when the squad tallied an 11-7 record. With their 3-1 victory over UC Irvine last weekend, the Matadors improved to 14-12, notching their highest overall win total since 2004. The win also gave Northridge the season sweep over the Anteaters for the first time since the 2001 season, the Matadors' first in the Big West.

Up next for Cal State Northridge is a season-ending, three-match homestand that includes UC Santa Barbara (11/18), Cal Poly (11/19) and nonconference for Air Force on Friday, Nov. 25.

All Good Things Must Come To An End
Up until this weekend, the UC Davis Aggies have been unbeatable when playing at home this season. But like the saying goes, all good things must come to end and unfortunately for the Aggies, that sentiment rang true last week. UC Davis fell to both Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State at The Pavilion, ending their eight-match home win streak. The Aggies entered the week as the only Big West team with an unblemished home record. UC Davis split its playing time between Hickey Gym and The Pavilion.

Riverside Making History
On Wednesday, Nov. 9, the UC Riverside Highlanders collected their second straight win with a 3-1 victory at UC Irvine. With the win, the Highlanders tied the program record for most wins in Big West play with four, held by the 2003 and 2005 squads. It also marked the first time UC Riverside claimed back-to-back Big West Conference victories since October 4 and 10, 2008, against Cal State Northridge and UC Davis respectively.

UC Davis First To 20
On October 29, UC Davis registered its 20th victory with a 3-2 win over Cal Poly. The Aggies, who clinched their second 20-win season in head coach Jamie Holmes' young career, were the first Big West Conference team to acquire 20 overall wins this season. Long Beach State is inching its way to the milestone as the 49ers have 19 wins.

Neto's Night
Cal State Fullerton's Kayla Neto posted back-to-back 21-kill double-doubles this past weekend against Big West opponents UC Davis and Pacific. The junior reached the 20-kill plateau for the sixth and seventh time of the season and also had her first career 20/20 night (21 kills/20 digs) against the Aggies. The next night she nearly matched her previous performance, scooping up 19 Tiger attack attempts. On the weekend, the outside hitter averaged 4.20 kills and 3.90 digs per set in a pair of five-set matches.

Over the weekend, UC Santa Barbara libero Chelsey Lowe notched 51 digs to add to her career total and surpassing Brooke Niles (1999-2002) for the No. 8 spot in school history. Currently leading the conference with 586 digs this season, Lowe owns a career total of 1,340 digs during her three years donning the blue and gold. Her 2011 total represents the fourth highest single-season dig total in the UC Santa Barbara annals, and she only trails third place Maria Reyes by five digs.

Lowe isn't the only one leaving her mark on her school's program. Senior Lauren Minkel collected 19 digs in Long Beach State's victory over UC Davis Saturday evening, lifting her above Tara Cross for second place in the LBSU record book for career digs. Cross finished her career with 1,578, and Minkel now has 1,584 with four matches to go plus the NCAA Tournament. Minkel is only 35 digs away from cracking the Big West's career digs top ten list.

Ledoux Joins 1,000-1,000 Club
On, October 22 against UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach States Caitlin Ledoux registered her fifth double-double of the season with 15 kills and 10 digs. The senior outside hitters 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. Ledouxs career totals currently sit at 1,534 kills and 1,058 digs.

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 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 Polys 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.

California Girls
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 States 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.