Long Beach State Claims 2011 Big West Crown
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11 VB Release-Week 14
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 finished 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. Long Beach State owns a 14-2 Big West mark and is followed by UC Santa Barbara in second place at 11-5, while Cal State Northridge rounds out the top three with a 9-7 conference 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 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.
Glimpse Of Future Big West
Takes Center Stage On ESPN3
In collaboration with ESPN and the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the Big West Conference will launch a new ten-game distribution package on ESPN3 beginning Friday, November 25 with the third-ranked University of Hawaii at Cal State Fullerton women's volleyball match at 7:00 p.m. (Pacific). The game will mark the final regular season match for both the Titans and Rainbow Wahine and will become the first volleyball match to be broadcast by ESPN from Titan Gym. It will also serve as a preview of what is to come in a new-look Big West, with Hawaii set to make the conference a 10-team league beginning in July 2012.
In addition to the opening women's volleyball match, this year's package will include two baseball, two men's basketball, two women's basketball, one MPSF men's volleyball and two softball games. The addition of games on ESPN3 extends ESPN's current five-year deal with the Big West, which continues through the 2012-13 season.
ESPN3 is currently available in more than 70 million households through computers, tablets and smart phones and in 25 million households via Xbox gaming consoles.
49ers Extend Win Streak;
Vault Into Top 25
Long Beach State (20-6, 14-2) closed out the Big West portion of its schedule with a 3-1 win over UC Irvine Saturday evening to extend its win streak to a season-best 12 matches. The last LBSU loss was a 3-2 defeat to UC Riverside on October 1. The 49ers' recent success has also helped bump them from the receiving votes category to the Top 25 of the AVCA Coaches Poll. They currently sit in 23rd place.
This week the 49ers wrap up the 2011 regular season with a three-match homestand versus nonconference opponents Loyola Marymount, Central Michigan and New Mexico.
The Year Of The Matador
The Cal State Northridge Matadors are showcasing one of their best performances if recent memory. The Matadors concluded the 2011 Big West Conference season with a 9-7 mark, which is their highest league win total since 2004 when the squad tallied an 11-7 record. The Matadors, which were picked to finish eighth in the Big West in the Coaches Preseason Poll, ends the conference season with sole possession of third place, the highest for a Matador team since the 2003 squad finished tied for second. With their sweep over Cal Poly on Saturday, the Matadors not only improved to 15-13, notching their highest overall win total since 2004, it snapped a 12-match losing skid against the Mustangs. The Matadors close out the regular season with a nonconference showdown against Air Force on Friday, Nov. 25.
UC Davis, Long Beach State
Eclipse 20 Wins
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, was the first Big West Conference team to acquire 20 overall wins this season. Just this past weekend, with a 3-1 victory over UC Irvine, Long Beach State improved to 20-6 to join the Aggies with their own 20-win milestone. This marks the 49ers 15th 20-plus win season.
Minkel Eyes Big West Top 10
Senior Lauren Minkel collected 11 digs in Long Beach State's victory over UC Irvine Saturday evening, continuing her climb up the LBSU record books. She recently surpassed Tara Cross, who finished her career with 1,578. Minkel currently owns 1,595 scoops with three matches to go plus the NCAA Tournament. Minkel can reach the top of the list by passing Heather Laudato, who recorded 1,686 career digs from 2002-05. Minkel is also only 24 digs away from cracking the Big West's career digs top ten list.
Riverside Makes 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. The Highlanders were unable to keep their winning ways alive and concluded the 2011 season with a 7-23 overall, 4-12 conference record.
Duo Blocks Its Way Into UC Davis
Betsy Sedlak and Katie Denny finish at No. 2 and No. 3 on UC Davis' career blocks list. Sedlaks five stuffs in the Aggies' season finale brought her total to 393, while Denny's block assist lifted her tally to 361. Sedlak also finished with a career hitting average of .336, well ahead of Candy Lench's previous Aggie benchmark of .309.
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.