UCSB In Driver's Seat Entering Final Week Of Play
Big West Women's Volleyball Release - Week 14
Final Road Trip: Cal Poly visits UC Irvine (11/29) and Long Beach State (11/30) for its final contests of the season. The Mustangs opened conference play earlier this season sweeping both the Anteaters and 49ers.
Day And Night: With a 5-9 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 11-16 mark. In 2012 Cal Poly tallied a 4-26 record. With two matches remaining on the schedule, Cal Poly has the potential to triple its win total from a year ago.
Swan Song: Despite losing to Cal State Fullerton, 3-1, on Saturday, the Titans had something to celebrate - senior night. The group of Kate Walters, Megan McConnell, Jennifer Keddy, Chelsea Hardin, Steffi Sooter and Marianne Gera were honored for their time and dedication while donning the green and gold in the Mustangs’ final home contest of the season.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Titans Snap Skid With Cal Poly Victory: Cal State Fullerton split its weekend series at the central Coast. The Titans fell to UC Santa Barbara before defeating Cal Poly, snapping a three-match skid. Seniors Bre Moreland and Alyse Hensley led the way for the Titans, tallying 19 kills apiece. Hensley also hit .415 while Moreland posted a .400 attack percentage. The Titans are currently 11-16 overall and 4-11 in conference play.
Titans Continue To Rank Among Best In Nation: Cal State Fullerton is tied for fourth in the nation in digs with a 17.78 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 3.51.
Cal State Fullerton Say Aloha To 2013: Cal State Fullerton concludes the 2013 season hosting the University of Hawai’i at Titan Gym, where it is 6-6 this season. The Rainbow Wahine won the previous meeting between the two teams by a score of 3-0.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
Northridge Slips To Second In Standings: A 3-0 loss to No. 12 Hawai’i in a pivotal match last week dropped the Matadors to 12-3 in conference play, moving them to second place in the conference for the first time all season. UC Santa Barbara claimed the top spot after posting a 2-0 record last week to improve to 12-2 in league play.
CSUN Needs A Win And A Little Luck: With the final week of the regular season upon us, Cal State Northridge needs a little help to secure its first-ever Big West volleyball championship. The Matadors need to win their final contest against UC Davis and hope UC Santa Barbara slips up in one of its final two matches of the year to give CSUN at least a share of the Big West title. Hawai’i is also in the hunt for a piece of the crown with an 11-3 Big West record.
National Recognition: Despite dropping out of the top 25 two weeks ago, Cal State Northridge continues to hold a spot in the receiving votes category.
Allen Reaches Milestone: Junior Natalie Allen became the second Matador in 2013 and 10th player all-time to reach 1,000 career kills in CSUN history last week with an 11-kill performance against Hawai’i. Allen currently owns 1,007 career kills.
LONG BEACH STATE
And The Wins Keep Coming: Long Beach State extended its win streak to three after registering a sweep over UC Irvine Saturday night. The 49ers are now 16-11 overall and 9-5 in the Big West. With only two contests remaining in the 2013 season, Long Beach State will post 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.
49ers Close Out Season At The Pyramid: Long Beach State wraps up the 2013 season in front of its hometown fans this week when it entertains central coast foes league-leading UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly at the Pyramid. The 49ers win a five-set marathon against the Gauchos earlier this season before being swept by Cal Poly.
Dominate At The Net: With two players in the Big West’s top 10 in blocks, Long Beach State paces the league with a 2.64 blocks per set average. Teammates junior Haleigh Hampton and junior Chisom Okpala sit second and fifth with marks of 1.23 and 1.09.
UC Davis Woes Continue: The UC Davis Aggies continued their skid last week, falling to No. 12 Hawai’i 3-0. UC Davis has now dropped five straight contests, three of which were by a score of 3-0, and owns an overall mark of 14-14 and a 6-9 conference record. Prior to their five-match losing streak, the Aggies won three straight, including a 3-2 win over nationally-ranked Hawai’i.
Season Ends At Home: The Aggies close out the 2013 season hosting second-place Cal State Northridge at the Pavilion, where they are 7-3 this season, Saturday at 7:00 p.m. UC Davis suffered a 3-2 loss to the Matadors back on Sept. 28.
Lee Hitting Her Way To The Top: Victoria Lee’s explosive .406 hitting percentage places her first in the Big West and 21st in the nation. The junior middle blocker is the lone Big West athlete hitting above .400. With one match remaining, Lee is on target to post the Big West’s highest single-season hitting percentage since UC Irvine’s Sami Cash blasted a .442 clip in 2004.
Bren Center Showdown: UC Irvine has divided its home matches between its two home courts this season - Crawford Court and the Bren Center. Last week the Anteaters hosted Long Beach State for the final match at Crawford Court and this week they close out the Bren Center with showdowns with Cal Poly (11/29) and UC Santa Barbara (11/30). UC Irvine is 4-1 at the Bren Center this year, while posting a 1-3 mark at Crawford Court.
UC Irvine Loses Black And Blue Series: Last week at Crawford Court Long Beach State swept UC Irvine for the second time this season. Aly Squires was a standout for the Anteaters in last week’s matchup, notching a double-double with 11 kills and 11 digs.
Night And Day: UC Irvine opened the 2013 season with a 9-5 record in nonconference play but once the Anteaters hit conference play they ran into trouble. Since the start of Big West action on September 27, UC Irvine has registered a 5-9 record. The Anteaters need to pick up at least one victory in their final two contests to best their conference win total from a season ago (5-13).
Highlanders Victorious In Central Coast: UC Riverside posted its first Big West win of the season last week, downing Cal Poly, 3-2, at Mott Gym. The five-set win was Riverside’s first victory since the Highlanders downed Winthrop on Sept. 14. Sophomore Ashley Cox led the charge with a game-high 22 kills while Annishia McKoy added 13. The Highlanders host No. 12 Hawai’i at the Student Recreation Center Friday evening for their final match of the 2013 season.
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 fourth spot with a 3.89 average. In conference-only contests she has an even better average of 3.96.
Patton Closes Out First Year At UC Riverside: In 2013, 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 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
A Win And Your In: UC Santa Barbara collected two more wins last weekend to improve to 12-2 in Big West play to sit atop of the leaderboard, putting the Gauchos in the driver seat entering the final week of the regular season. With two matches remaining, and a one-loss advantage over Cal State Northridge (12-3) and Hawai’i (11-3), the Gauchos need just one victory to guarantee a least a share of their first Big West championship since 2005. If UC Santa Barbara wins out, it would gain sole possession of the Big West title. A 1-1 result this week could potential place UCSB in a tie with either Hawai’i, Cal State Northridge or both for the title but the Gauchos would win the head-to-head tiebreaker in all situations to earn the conference’s automatic qualifier into the NCAA Tournament.
Sully Cracks Big West Top 10: Last week senior Leah Sully added 33 scoops to her impressive career total. The outside hitter from Irvine, Calif., currently owns 1,685 career digs, placing her eighth in the Big West annals. With two regular season contest remaining, and a potential postseason run on the horizon, Sully is likely to continue to climb up the rankings.
A Rare Occurrence: Entering the final week of the regular season, the University of Hawai’i finds itself sitting in third place in the Big West Conference. In order to clinch at least a share of the Big West title, the Rainbow Wahine need to win their final two contests against UC Riverside (11/29) and Cal State Fullerton (11/30) and hope UC Santa Barbara falters in one of its final two contests. If they are unsuccessful, this will mark the first time Hawai’i does not win its respective conference title since 1994 when it finished second in the Big West with a 15-3 record. Hawai’i competed in the Western Athletic Conference from 1996-2011 and won the championship all 16 years.
Statistically Speaking: The Rainbow Wahine are ranked in the nation’s top 25 in three categories. Hitting .279 on the season places them 12th, while their 14.38 kills per set average ranks them 16th. They also sit 20th in assists with a 13.37 average.
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.
The field of 64 teams for the 2013 NCAA Volleyball Tournament will be unveiled on ESPNU at 6:30 p.m. (Pacific) on Sunday, Dec. 1. 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 Los Angeles, Calif.; Lexington, Ky.; Champaign, Ill. and Lincoln, Neb., with the finals taking place at the Key Arena in Seattle, Wash., December 19 & 21.