Undefeated Hawai'i Hosts Cal Poly, UCSB
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This Week in the Big West - October 7-13, 2013
Big West Volleyball Release - Week 7
Mustangs Suffer First Conference Loss: With a 3-1 loss to UC Santa Barbara last week, Cal Poly is currently tied with the Gauchos for third in the Big West with a 2-1 mark. The loss at UCSB snapped a four-match win streak for the Mustangs.
Aloha: Up next for the Mustangs is a trip to Hawai’i to battle the fifth-ranked Rainbow Wahine at the Stan Sheriff Center on Oct. 12. Cal Poly is 0-3 against ranked opponents this season, falling to No. 23 California, No. 8 Stanford and No. 18 Arizona State.
Dazzling Duo: Senior Chelsea Hardin and Freshman Taylor Gruenewald own the last two spots in the Big West’s top 10 for hitting percentage with clips of .312 and .310. In conference-only stats, the duo is even more impressive with Gruenewald holding the fifth spot (.400) and Hardin sitting eighth (.348). Hardin also sits second in kills in conference-only matches with a 4.10 average.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Big West Matchups: The Titans split their conference home series last week, toppling UC Davis by a score of 3-2 to improve to 2-2 in five-set matches. The following day they fell to Cal State Northridge, 3-0. Cal State Fullerton, who owns a 1-2 conference record, travels to UC Riverside Saturday, Oct. 12 for its lone match of the week.
Can You Dig It?: Cal State Fullerton has been known for stellar defense for several years and this season is no different. The Titans currently rank ninth in the nation and pace the conference in digs with a 17.51 average. They are lead by freshman McKenna Painton, who owns a league-best 4.44 average, while Bre Moreland and Alyse Hensley are tied for seventh with a 3.34 mark.
Crusin’ Consani: In just her junior year, setter Julie Consani is already leaving a mark in the Cal State Fullerton record book. The Newport Beach, Calif., native has tallied a career assists mark of 1,535 to rank seventh all-time. With another year of eligibility left, Consani is likely to continue to climb up the CSF ranks.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
Get Out The Broom: Cal State Northridge maintained its perfect conference mark through two weeks of Big West play. After a 3-2 opening-week win over UC Irvine, the Matadors swept both UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton to improve to 3-0, their best conference start since winning three straight to open the 2006 Big West campaign. This week CSUN returns to The Matadome to host Long Beach State (10/10) and UC Irvine (10/12).
A Little Love: Continuing to be recognized nationally for its impressive season (13-3/3-0), Cal State Northridge is listed in the receiving votes category of the AVCA Top 25 poll for the sixth straight week, a school record.
1,000 And Counting...: A little over a week ago, senior Mahina Haina became the ninth play in Matador history to eclipse the 1,000-kill mark and teammate Natalie Allen isn’t far from reaching the same milestone. The junior opposite collected 20 kills last weekend to bump her career total to 893.
LONG BEACH STATE
LBSU Hits Road In Search Of Win: Long Beach dropped to 1-2 in the conference after suffering its second straight loss. This week the 49ers, who are 3-1 on the road, pack their bags for a road trip that takes them to Cal State Northridge, currently tied for first in the Big West, on Thursday and UC Davis on Saturday. Last season LBSU swept the series versus the Aggies and dropped both contests versus the Matadors.
Okpala Leads 49ers: Junior Chisom Okpala continues to be a catalyst for the Long Beach State volleyball women’s team, both on offense and defense. While leading the Big West with a 1.14 blocks per set average, she also ranks fourth in hitting percentage with a .357 clip.
Blocking Duo Pushes LBSU To The Top: Long Beach State continues to pace the Big West with an impressive 2.59 block average, which also places the team 41st in the nation. The 49ers are led by Chisom Okpala (1.14) and freshman Joy Miley (1.13).
Home Is Where The Win Is: After a three-match road trip to kick off conference play, UC Davis returns to The Pavilion, where it is 3-0, to host UC Irvine in its first home Big West match of the year. First serve is slated for Thursday, Oct. 10 at 7:00 p.m. Following the showdown with the Anteaters, the Aggies entertain Long Beach State on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7:00 p.m.
The Unlucky Fifth Set: For the fifth time this season, UC Davis dropped a five-set contest over the weekend. This time it was to the hands of the Cal State Fullerton Titans on October 4. The Aggies are now 0-5 in marathon matches this year.
Among The Best: Junior Victoria Lee, who ranks second in the league with a .426 hitting percentage, holds the 16th spot in the NCAA’s Top 25. She is one of three Big West student-athletes to register an above-.400 clip.
Career Night For Quinn: In UC Davis’ 3-1 victory over UC Riverside, junior middle blocker Katie Quinn hit .467 with a career-high 10 blocks.
Anteaters On Quest To Break Losing Streak: UC Irvine, one of two teams winless in Big West play, looks to snap a four-match skid this week when it travels to UC Davis (10/10) and Cal State Northridge (10/5), who is tied for first in the conference with a 3-0 record. Last season, the Anteaters swept the series with the Matadors, but dropped both contests to the Aggies. The Anteaters are 2-5 on the road this season.
Ace In The Hole: Guided by four players ranked in the Big West’s Top 10 in services aces, UC Irvine leads the conference with a 1.80 service ace average. Shannon Fleming paces UCI and sits second in the league with a .50 average and is followed by Shelley Anderson and Aly Squires, who are tied for fifth (.40). Rounding out the quartet is Cassidy Pickrell, who’s tied for the eighth spot with a mark of .38.
Fleming Blocking Her Way To The Top: Senior Shannon Fleming is continuing to climb the ranks in the UC Irvine annals. Last week she surpassed Sami Cash’s career block assists marks with a total of 313. She needs just three more to move into third.
Hunt For Big West Victory Continues: In search of their first Big West victory, the Highlanders close out a three-match homestand this week when they entertain Cal State Fullerton Saturday night at the Student Recreation Center. UC Riverside, who is playing just its third home match of the season, enters the week riding a six-match losing streak.
Leading The Way: Sophomore Ashley Cox paces UC Riverside with a 2.89 kills per set average. She is closely followed by freshman Cristina Maietta’s 2.81 average.
Dig-tastic: Freshman libero Maddie Hubbell continues to find herself ranked among the top in the conference as she holds the third spot in digs with a 3.80 average.
A New Look: UC Riverside is competing in its first season with Michelle Patton at the helm of the program. Prior to joining the UCR family, Patton spent five year reviving a San Francisco State program that lay dormant from 2004-07. In 2012, the Gators posted the second best winning percentage in the history of the program going 21-9 on the year including a 16-6 mark in California Collegiate Athletic Association play and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Big West Play: After weeks of conference play, which included back-to-back victories, UC Santa Barbara finds itself tied for third with a 2-1 mark. This week the Gauchos jet-set to Hawai’i for a Friday-night showdown with the fifth-ranked Rainbow Wahine, who own a perfect 4-0 Big West mark. First serve is slated for 10:00 p.m. (pacific)
Stepping It Up For Conference: UC Santa Barbara can find themselves ranked in the middle of the pack in most of the conference’s overall stats but when you glance at the conference-only stats the Gauchos are eyeing the top spot. UC Santa Barbara currently ranks second in hitting percentage (.280), kills (14.83) and assists (13.67). The team that sits first in all three of those categories - Hawai’i - making this week’s matchup even more exciting.
Against The Top 10: So far this season UC Santa Barbara has been unsuccessful in its three contests against Top 25 teams (No. 3 Stanford, No. 1 USC and No. 9 San Diego). This week they hope to turn things around when the Gauchos take on their fourth Top 10 opponent of the year - No. 5 Hawai’i.
22 And Counting: Wins over Long Beach State and UC Irvine last week improved Hawai’i’s Big West win streak to 22. The Rainbow Wahine captured the 2012 Big West title with a perfect 18-0 mark and currently hold an unblemished 4-0 record for 2013.
Hawai’i Returns Home: Riding a 13-match win streak, Hawai’i returns home to host UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly. Both teams are currently knotted in third place with a 2-1 conference mark.
Movin’ On Up: Boosted by an overall mark of 15-1 and a pair of road wins last week, the Rainbow Wahine cracked the AVCA’s Top 5. After holding on to the sixth spot for two weeks, Hawai’i is now ranked fifth in the nation.
Offensive Power: Hawai’i continues to pace the Big West with the nation’s eighth-best hitting percentage (.311) and ninth-best kills average (14.70). Leading the charge for the Rainbow Wahine are Jade Vorster and Emily Hartong. Vorster tops the charts with a .435 hitting percentage while Hartong sits first with a blistering 4.62 kills average, good enough for ninth in the nation.