Top Teams Square Off Thursday At The Matadome
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This Week in the Big West - October 21-27, 2013
Big West Women's Volleyball Release - Week 9
Breaking The Streak: Cal Poly hopes to snap its four-match skid this week as it hits the road to visit Cal State Fullerton (9-9/2-4) and UC Riverside (1-17/0-6). The Mustangs’ last victory was a sweep over Long Beach State on September 28.
Leading The ‘Stangs: Senior Chelsea Hardin owns a 3.11 kills per set average that paces the team and earns her the sixth spot in the Big West while freshman Taylor Gruenewald holds the league’s ninth spot in hitting percentage with a .302 clip.
Turnaround Season: So far this year, Cal Poly has already doubled its overall win total from 2012 (4-26) with an 8-11 record. In conference, the Mustangs need just one more victory to match their total from a year ago.
A Helping Hand: In conference-only matches, Maddie Kuber is leading the league with a 10.68 assists per set average.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Titans Return Home In Hopes Of A Win: After dropping back-to-back road contests to Long Beach State and UC Irvine, a first since 2009, last week, Cal State Fullerton returns to the familiar confines of Titan Gym to host central coast foes Cal Poly (10/25) and UC Santa Barbara (10/26). The Titans are 5-2 this season when playing in front of their hometown fans.
Moreland Posts Career-Best Numbers: En route to posting her sixth double-double of the season, Bre Moreland notched a career-best 25 digs. The senior outside hitter blasted 18 kills to complete her double-double.
Can You Dig It?: Cal State Fullerton has been known for stellar defense for several years and this season is no different. The Titans continue to hold the sixth spot in the nation and pace the conference in digs with a 17.72 average. They are led by freshman McKenna Painton, who owns a league-best 4.56 average, while Bre Moreland and Alyse Hensley sit fifth and sixth with marks of 3.50 and 3.44.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
Agony Of Defeat: On Friday, Oct. 18 Cal State Northridge suffered its first Big West loss and first loss to an unranked opponent of the season. UC Santa Barbara swept the Matadors at The Thunderdome. Cal State Northridge rebounded the following night with a 3-2 victory over Cal Poly to improve to 6-1 and maintain the top spot in the Big West.
Hawaiian Showdown: The Matadors play just one match this week but it is an exciting one as they host No. 8 Hawai’i, who is tied for second in the league with a 5-1 mark. The Matadors-Rainbow Wahine showdown at The Matadome on Thursday, Oct. 24 begins at 7:00 p.m.
Team Effort: Cal State Northridge continues to rank second in the Big West in hitting percentage (.272), kills (13.86) and assists (12.62).
1,000 And Counting...: Earlier this season senior Mahina Haina became the ninth player in Matador history to eclipse the 1,000-kill mark and teammate Natalie Allen is approaching the same mark with a career total of 933.
LONG BEACH STATE
Winning Ways: After a three-match slump, the 49ers are back on track having posted three consecutive victories to improve to 4-3 in the Big West, good enough for fourth in the standings. This week Long Beach State closes out a three-match homestand when it battles UC Irvine at the Pyramid Saturday night for its lone contest of the week.
Hitting Machine: Outside hitters Delainey Aigner-Swesey and Alex Reid guide a 49ers team that is collectively hitting .240 and averaging 12.80 kills per set. Aigner-Swesey, who registered a season-high 25 kills in LBSU’s win over CSF, sits third in the Big West with a 3.35 kill average while Reid owns the eighth spot with a 2.97 mark.
Looking Ahead: Long Beach State may be the happiest team in the country to see the month of October come to an end because the month of November has been prosperous for the 49ers. For the last two seasons Long Beach State has been perfect in the month of November, posting back-to-back 7-0 records in the final stretch of the regular season.
Splitting Hairs: For the second straight week the UC Davis Aggies split their weekend series. Last week the Aggies defeated Cal Poly, 3-1, before falling to UC Santa Barbara, 3-2. The Aggies are currently fifth in the league with a 3-4 mark.
Lone Ranger: This week UC Davis entertains No. 8 Hawai’i, who is currently tied for second in the league, at the Pavilion Saturday evening for its lone match of the week. First serve is slated for 7:00 p.m.
Coach Eyes Milestone: Head Coach Jamie Holmes is just three wins away from eclipsing the 100-win threshold during her six-year stint at the helm of the UC Davis women’s volleyball program.
Climbing The Ranks: Opposite Devon Damelio continues her trek towards her 1,000th career kill. She needs 71 kills to become the eighth Aggie to reach the milestone.
Victory Dance: UC Irvine collected its first two Big West Conference wins of the season last week while snapping a six-match losing streak in the process. The Anteaters kicked off the weekend with a 3-1 victory over UC Riverside and followed that up with a sweep of Cal State Fullerton. The two wins push UC Irvine over the .500 winning percentage threshold with an overall record of 11-10.
A Night To Remember: In UC Irvine’s 3-1 win over UC Riverside, senior Shannon Fleming showcased a career-high performance. The middle blocker recorded a personal-best .636 hitting percentage and tied a career-high with a match-leading four aces. She also led the effort at the net, leading all players with six block assists.
Ace In The Hole: When glancing over the Big West stats, one will find UC Irvine sitting atop the leaderboard for service aces with a 1.51 average. The Anteaters are led by Shannon Fleming and Cassidy Pickrell, who sit tied for first and third in the league with marks of .39 and .34.
Hunt For Big West Victory Continues: In order to capture its first conference win of the season, UC Riverside must defeat either UC Santa Barbara, currently tied for second in the Big West with 5-1 record, or Cal Poly. The Highlanders’ trip to the central coast begins Friday, Oct. 25 at the Thunderdome.
Diaper Dandy: When facing Big West competition, freshman Cristina Maietta tallies a 3.26 kills per set average to rank fourth in the conference. Overall, the Los Alamitos, Calif., native sits second on the squad with a 2.82 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
Upset City: For the second straight week the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos toppled the top team in the conference. Two weeks ago they outlasted nationally-ranked Hawai’i in a 3-2 victory and then last week the Gauchos swept the Cal State Northridge Matadors, handing them their first conference loss of the 2013 season. The Gauchos find themselves knotted in second place with Hawai’i with a 5-1 league record.
Night And Day: Competing in its first year under the guidance of Head Coach Nicole Lantagne Welch, UC Santa Barbara has had an up and down season. The Gauchos started a little rocky, posting a 3-7 record in their first 10 matches. Since then, the Gauchos have won seven of their last nine contests, which included the impressive 3-2 victory over No. 5 Hawai’i. The Gauchos put their current five-match win streak on the line this week when they visit UC Riverside (10/25) and Cal State Fullerton (10/26).
Senior Strength: Senior opposite Katey Thompson paces the Gauchos and sits second in the Big West with a 3.45 kills average and 4.21 points per set average.
Rainbow Wahine Return To Action: Following an 11-day hiatus, the eighth-ranked University of Hawai’i returns to the court Thursday, Oct. 24 to battle first place Cal State Northridge (16-4/6-1) at the Matadome. The Matadors suffered their first loss of the season last week to the Gauchos, the same team Hawai’i fell too earlier this month. Hawai’i visits UC Davis (11-9/3-4) Saturday for its second match of the week.
Against The Rest: Hawai’i is putting up some impressive numbers this season. It is currently tied for 14th in the nation with a 14.47 kill average and 19th with a 13.31 assists per set mark. The Rainbow Wahine also own the sixth-best hitting percentage (2.97).
King Of The Hill: Head Coach Dave Shoji became the NCAA’s career leader in wins on September 6 when UH defeated Santa Clara in four sets. The victory was his 1,107th, which pushed him past former UCLA coach Andy Banachowski. He currently has 1,115 victories.