CSUN, UCSB Atop Big West Entering Final Stretch
Big West Women's Volleyball Release - Week 13
Cal Poly Collects First November Win: Cal Poly snapped a three-match losing streak Saturday evening with a 3-0 victory over UC Davis. Prior to the win over the Aggies, Cal Poly fell to Cal State Northridge. The Mustangs are now 11-14 overall and 5-7 in Big West play.
Mott Gym Finale: Cal Poly wraps up the home portion of its schedule this week with contests against UC Riverside (11/22) and Cal State Fullerton (11/23). The Mustangs defeated both opponents in their prior matchups with Cal Poly sweeping UCR and downing CSF, 3-1.
Day And Night: With a 5-7 Big West record, Cal Poly has bested last year’s conference win total of three. The Mustangs also improved their overall win total from a year ago with a 11-14 mark. In 2013 Cal Poly tallied a 4-26 record. With four matches remaining on the schedule, Cal Poly has the potential to triple its win total form a year ago.
Leading The Charge: Freshman Taylor Gruenwald paces the Mustangs with a .284 attack percentage, while senior Chelsea Hardin holds the team’s top spot in kills with a 3.02 mark.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Titans Head To The Coast: A trip to the central coast closes out Cal State Fullerton’s road schedule. The Titans tackle UC Santa Barbara Friday and Cal Poly on Saturday with both games slated with 7:00 p.m. starts. Cal State Fullerton has struggled on the road this season, posting a 2-7 mark.
Titans Continue To Rank Among Best In Nation: Cal State Fullerton continues to hold the nation’s fourth spot in digs with an 18.03 average. The Titans are led by freshman McKenna Painton, who owns a league-best 4.59 average, and senior Bre Moreland who sits eighth with a mark of 3.59.
Moreland Seeing Double: Senior Bre Moreland notched a pair of double-doubles last week. In Friday’s match versus UC Irvine, the Mission Viejo, Calif., native blasted 23 kills and recorded 22 scoops. She followed up that performance with a 20-kill, 19-dig night against Long Beach State.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
CSUN Suffers Second Loss To UCSB: Apparently UC Santa Barbara has Cal State Northridge’s number this season. For the second time this year, the Gauchos defeated the Matadors, who entered last week’s contest ranked 21st in the country.
CSUN Two Wins Away From Historic Finish: With last week’s loss, Cal State Northridge and UC Santa Barbara both have two conference losses but the Gauchos own the head-to-head tiebreaker. So if both teams win out, CSUN has two more contests and UCSB has four, they will share the conference title but the Gauchos will receive the conference’s automatic qualifier into the NCAA Tournament. Cal State Northridge is two wins away from capturing at least of share of its first-ever Big West volleyball championship.
Northridge Visits Hawai’i Saturday: In order to get one-step closer to its first-ever conference championship, the Matadors need to get past No. 12 Hawai’i on its home turf. The Rainbow Wahine are 13-2 at the Stan Sheriff Center this season. It may seem like a tough task, but Cal State Northridge did hand Hawai’i one of its three conference losses earlier this season.
LONG BEACH STATE
LBSU Secures Two Wins To Guarantee A Winning Season: Long Beach State tallied back-to-back 3-1 wins over UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton last weekend to improve to 8-5 in Big West play. The two victories guarantees the 49ers of securing a .500 or better record for the 28th time under Gimmillaro’s tenure. That streak reaches all the way back to the 1987 season - only the third under Gimmillaro. His only season spent under .500 was 1986 when the 49ers finished 15-17.
Pressure Is On For 49er Win: The 49ers, 8-5 in the Big West, close out a three-match road trip this week with a visit to UC Irvine Saturday night. Long Beach State needs a victory so it doesn’t become the first 49er team to record more than five Big West losses since the 2003 season when the team tied for second in the league with a 12-6 record. The 49ers follow up the UC Irvine matchup hosting central coast foes UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly Thanksgiving weekend.
Dominate At The Net: With two players in the Big West’s top 10 in blocks, Long Beach State paces the league with a 2.61 blocks per set average. Teammates junior Haleigh Hampton and junior Chisom Okpala sit third and fourth with marks of 1.15 and 1.10.
Aggies Suffer First Sweeps Of The Season: UC Davis, who had not lost a 3-0 match since a home loss to Hawai’i back on November 17, 2012, suffered back-to-back sweeps to UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly last week. With the loses, the Aggies fall to 14-13 overall and 6-8 in conference play.
UC Davis Eyes Sweep Of Hawai’i: This week the Aggies, riding a four-match skid, travel across the Pacific Ocean to take on nationally-ranked Hawai’i in their final road contest of the year. UC Davis upset Hawai’i, 3-2, at the Pavilion back on Oct. 26 for its lone win against a nationally-ranked opponent.
Lee Hitting Her Way To The Top: Victoria Lee’s explosive .404 hitting percentage places her first in the Big West and 24th in the nation. The junior middle blocker is the lone Big West athlete hitting above .400.
Back On Track: UC Irvine went 2-0 last week to extend its win streak to three, the longest since the Anteaters opened the 2013 season with a five-match win streak. Competing on in its final road contests of the year, UC Irvine swept UC Riverside and downed Cal State Fullerton, 3-2.
UC Irvine Battles Long Beach State In Back And Blue Series: The Anteaters kick off their final, three-match homestand this week with a battle against Long Beach State Saturday, Nov. 23 at Crawford Court. First serve is slated for 7:00 p.m. The 49ers swept the Anteaters at the Pyramid back on Oct. 26.
Pickrell Registers Career-High Numbers: In UC Irvine’s 3-2 victory over Cal State Fullerton last week, freshman Cassidy Pickrell notched a career-high 25 kills and hit .447.
Untouchable: Guided by senior Shannon Fleming’s 0.41 service aces per set average, UC Irvine continues to lead the Big West Conference with a 1.52 mark.
Final Road Series For Highlanders: UC Riverside, looking for its first conference win of the season, travels to the central coast for its final road contests of the season. The Highlanders battle Cal Poly Friday night and UC Santa Barbara Saturday evening.
Blue And Gold Digger: Freshman Maddie Hubbell continues to hover around the top of the Big West Conference in the digs category. She currently owns the third spot with a 3.88 average. In conference-only contests she has an even better average of 3.95.
Patton Closes Out First Year At UC Riverside: In 2013, UC Riverside competed in its first season with Michelle Patton at the helm of the program. Prior to joining the UCR family, Patton spent five years 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
Gauchos Post Huge Win Over Matadors: UC Santa Barbara knocked off Cal State Northridge for the second time this season causing the Matadors to drop to 12-2 in league play. The victory was significant because it now puts the Gauchos (10-2) in control of their own destiny. With the Gauchos and Matadors each posting two losses this season, the Gauchos will claim at least a share of the Big West title if they win their final four contests. They would also secure the conference’s automatic qualifier because they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Matadors. The last time UC Santa Barbara won a conference championship was back in 2004.
UC Santa Barbara Plays Final Contests At The Thunderdome: The Gauchos close out the home portion of their schedule this week when they welcome Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside to the Thunderdome. The Gauchos swept both opponents earlier this season.
New Kids On The Block: Freshmen Allie Sullberg and Phoebe Grunt sit one-two in the Big West’s conference-only stats with 1.44 and 1.40 blocks per set averages.
Hawai’i Closes Out Home Schedule With Pressure-Filled Matchups: Hawai’i, who was idle last week, plays its final home contests of the regular season this week when it entertains UC Davis and league-leading Cal State Northridge. The Aggies and Matadors defeated the Rainbow Wahine during their trip to the mainland. With one loss back in third place, Hawai’i needs a 2-0 performance this week to stay in the hunt for the Big West title. The last time Hawai’i did not win its respective conference title, it competed in the Western Athletic Conference from 1996-2011, was in 1994 when it finished second in the Big West with a 15-3 record.
Offensive Prowess: The Rainbow Wahine continue to pace the Big West Conference in both kills and hitting percentage. Hawai’i currently averages 14.29 kills per set while hitting .278 on the season. They are led by Emily Hartong’s 4.61 average and Jade Vorster’s .394 attack percentage.
Hartong Senior CLASS Award Finalist: The women’s volleyball finalists for the 2013 Senior CLASS award were announced and Hawai’i’s Emily Hartong was among the 10 student-athletes who excel both on and off the court.