Tournament Filled Opening Weekend For Volleyball
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13 VB Release - Week 1
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This Week in the Big West - August 26-September 1, 2013
The 2013 women's volleyball season kicks off with a jam-packed weekend of tournaments that include top caliber opponents such as No. 1 Texas, No. 3 Stanford, No. 17 Kentucky and No. 18 Florida State.
On The Road Again: The Cal Poly women’s volleyball team opens the 2013 season with a 13-match road trip, tying UC Riverside for the longest road trip of the year. The Mustangs do not step foot in Mott Gym until Sept. 27 when they open conference play hosting the UC Irvine Anteaters.
Tournament Action: This week Cal Poly heads to the Rockies for the Colorado State/Northern Colorado Tournament. The Mustangs open the two-day event at Northern Colorado before traveling to Fort Collins Saturday to battle Baylor and host Colorado State.
Welcome Back Keddy: The Mustangs return 12 letterwinners, included in the mix is two-time All-American senior Jennifer Keddy who missed last season due to injury. The 2011 Big West Player of the Year averaged 4.06 kills, 1.22 blocks and 1.76 digs during her award-winning season.On The Road Again: The Cal Poly women’s volleyball team opens the 2013 season with a 13-match road trip, tying UC Riverside for the longest road trip of the year. The Mustangs do not step foot in Mott Gym until Sept. 27 when they open conference play hosting the UC Irvine Anteaters.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Sin City Or Bust: Cal State Fullerton is hoping Lady Luck is in its favor this weekend when the Titans travel to Las Vegas to compete in the UNLV Invitational. The Titans open the event against host UNLV Friday at 6:00 p.m. They follow that up with a pair of matches on Saturday against Kansas State and Portland.
A New Look In 2013: Cal State Fullerton is set to showcase a mix of veteran players and fresh faces this season as they welcome back six lettermen, four of which were starters. All-Big West Honorable Mention outside hitter/middle blocker Bre Moreland will lead the talented core of players that is joined by nine newcomers.
Up Next For The Titans: Next week the Titans are hosting their lone tournament of the year at Titan Gym with the Fullerton Classic Presented by the Holiday Inn of La Mirada. Cal State Fullerton welcomes Kent State, William & Mary, Gardner-Webb and Wake Forest for the two-day event running Sept. 6-7.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
Future Looks Bright: In 2012, Cal State Northridge finished third in the Big West for the second straight season with a 12-6 mark. The Matadors also posted their first 20-plus win season since 1996 with a 21-10 record. Under the guidance of Head Coach Jeff Stork, the Matadors look to continue their success this season as they return their entire starting lineup which includes All-Big West First Team members juniors Casey Hinger and Natalie Allen and senior Sydney Gedryn. Hinger led the conference in blocks last season with a 1.33 average, while Gedryn finished seventh with a .284 hitting percentage.
CSUN Travels To Fresno For Season-Opening Tournament: The Matadors battle the Santa Clara Broncos in the opening match of the Bulldog Classic at Fresno State Friday at 7:30 p.m. Cal State Northridge also takes on Rice and host Fresno State on Saturday. The two-day tournament kicks off a season-opening, nine-match road trip for the Matadors.
LONG BEACH STATE
LBSU Leaders: Leading the way for the 49ers in 2013 are juniors Haleigh Hampton and Chisom Okpala and senior Delainey Aigner-Sweesey. Okpala concluded last season third in hitting percentage with a .328 clip and fifth in blocks with a 1.17 average. Hampton, who missed last season due to an injury, earned All-America status in 2011 after pacing the league and ranking third in the nation with a 1.50 block average.
Home Sweet Home: Long Beach State opens the 2013 season hosting the talent-rich Long Beach State Mizuno Invitational. The 49ers welcome nationally-ranked Kentucky (No. 17) and Florida State (No. 18), along with Illinois, who is receiving votes in the AVCA poll, to The Walter Pyramid for the three-day event. Long Beach State is slated to host two additional tournaments later in the year - LBSU/LMU Tournament and LBSU Baden Classic.
Feeling The Love: The 49ers found themselves in the receiving votes category of the 2013 AVCA preseason volleyball poll. Long Beach State was one of two Big West schools to receive national recognition with Hawai’i (ranked No. 11) being the second.
Familiar Faces: The UC Davis women’s volleyball team returns 11 letterwinners, four of which are starters, for the 2013 season. Top returners include All-Big West First Team member Devon Damelio and All-Big West Honorable Mention member Victoria Lee. Damelio finished second on the team with 368 kills and 1,033 attempts, led the team with 22 aces and paced all Aggie hitters with 97 blocks (0.84 per set). Lee finished the 2012 season ranked fourth in hitting at .315 while finishing third among blocking leaders with a 1.22 average in her first year as a starter.
Deep In The Bayou: The Aggies head to Baton Rouge, La., this week to battle San Diego State, UTSA and host LSU in the Tiger Classic. They kick off the event against the Aztecs Friday afternoon and battle the Tigers and Roadrunners Saturday.
A Look Back At The 2012 Season: The Aggies come off a 2012 season in which they won seven of their last nine to finish at 17-14 overall. UC Davis placed fourth in the Big West with an 11-7 mark.
A Trio Of Leaders: The 2013 UC Irvine women’s volleyball program led by head coach Paula Weishoff, who enters her fifth season at the helm, is headlined by three all-conference members - Aly Squires, Shannon Fleming and Marisa Bubica. Last season Squires registered 443 kills for an average of 3.72 kills per set to finish sixth in the conference, while Fleming was third among the Anteaters with 210 kills and was second in aces (24) and total blocks (103). As a freshman, Bubica tallied 341 kills and averaged 3.13 kills per set.
Cross Country Trek: The Anteaters embark on an 11-match road trip that begins with a stop in Denver, Colo., for the Pioneer Classic. UC Irvine faces Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Friday in its first match of the tournament and then battles Air Force and host Denver the following day.
Tournament Time: UC Irvine competes in four tournaments this season with the final event taking place in the familiar confines of Crawford Court. The Anteaters host American, Xavier and Fresno State in the two-day event that takes place Sept. 20-21.
UC Riverside Welcomes New Head Coach: UC Riverside fans will notice a new face sitting on the bench this year as Michelle Patton was named head coach of the women’s volleyball program in the offseason after a five-year stint at San Francisco State. Patton guided the Gators to an 83-61 record (.576).
Road Warriors: UC Riverside joins Cal Poly with a 13-match, season-opening road trip. The Highlanders, participating in four straight tournaments, battle in the Wildcat Invitational this weekend where they are set to face Texas Tech, Seattle and host Weber State.
Cox To The Rescue: The 2013 Highlanders will be led by sophomore Ashley Cox, who nabbed a spot on the All-Big West Honorable Mention team last year. The outside hitter ranked seventh in kills (3.61) and eighth in points (3.95) per set in the league, while leading the Highlanders in kills and kills per set.
UC SANTA BARBARA
New Era For The Gauchos: For the first time in 38 years, there is a new face at the helm of the UC Santa Barbara women’s volleyball program as Nicole Lantagne Welch takes over the reigns as Gaucho head coach following the retirement of the only coach the Gauchos have ever known - Kathy Gregory. Lantagne Welch spent the previous 12 years at the University of Miami where she compiled a record of 243-120 (.669).
UCSB Up Against The Best: The 2013 season opens with a bang as the Gauchos clash with No. 3 Stanford at The Thunderdome Friday evening. First serve of the Gauchos-Cardinal battle is slated for 6:00 p.m. Following their home-opener, the Gauchos travel to Berkeley, Calif., to take on Nevada and New Mexico State Saturday.
Veterans Fill 2013 Roster: UC Santa Barbara returns five starters and 10 letterwinners from a roster that posted a 9-9 Big West mark to tie for fifth in the conference in 2012. Leading the charge are Leah Sully (OH), Katey Thompson (OPP) and Britton Taylor (MB).
Preseason Favorite: Hawai’i was selected as the Big West Conference’s top pick in the women’s volleyball preseason poll. The Rainbow Wahine were a unanimous favorite, collecting all nine first-place votes en route to an 81-point total.
Hawai’i Opens Season Against No. 1 Texas: Hawai’i, who is ranked 11th in the AVCA Top 25 Preseason Poll, opens the 2013 season hosting No. 1 Texas in the first match of the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational.
Shoji Eyes National Mark: Hawai’i Head Coach Dave Shoji currently owns 1,103 career wins and three more victories tie him with UCLA’s Andy Banachowski for first in the nation in career wins with a minimum 10 years as a Division I head coach since 1982.
Hawai’i Welcomes Back Top Talent: Two-time All-American and reigning Big West Player of the Year Emily Hartong leads a team that features seven seniors and three members of last season’s all-conference team. That list includes all-region setter Mita Uiato and the Big West’s most efficient hitter in Jade Vorster.