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Women's Volleyball

CSUN Carries Perfect Record To No. 23 Arizona


Big West Women's Volleyball Release - Week 2
This Week in the Big West - September 1-7, 2014

• A trio of schools, CSUN, Hawai’i and Cal State Fullerton, wrapped up their season-opening tournaments with a winning record.  The Matadors were a perfect 3-0, while the Rainbow Wahine and Titans tallied a 2-1 mark.

• After falling to No. 25 Arizona State at the Chevron Rainbow Wahine Invitational last week, Hawai’i dropped three spots to No. 20 in the AVCA Top 25 poll.  The Matadors of CSUN are listed in the ‘others receiving votes’ category.

• The Big West struggled against the Top 25 in the opening weekend of the 2014 season, tallying a 0-4 record.

• A handful of Big West teams are displaying a youthful roster this year and the conference stats reflects just that with 14 freshmen holding spots in the conference’s top 10 in a variety of statistical categories.  In fact, the diaper dandies sit one-two in the blocks category with CSF’s Steph Buss first with a 1.40 average and UCD’s Aima Eichie second with a 1.25 mark.

• The Big West Conference announced that 11 women’s volleyball matches will be distributed on ESPN3 this fall, beginning on September 26 when CSUN visits Cal State Fullerton.

Fri., September 26 - CSUN at Cal State Fullerton
Sat., October 4 - CSUN at Long Beach State
Fri., October 10 - UC Santa Barbara at UC Irvine
Sat., October 11 - Hawai‘i at Long Beach State
Fri., October 24 - UC Davis at CSUN
Fri.,, October 31 - Hawai‘i at UC Irvine
Sat., November 1 - Hawai‘i at Cal State Fullerton
Fri., November 14 - Cal Poly at Long Beach State
Sat., November 15 - UC Santa Barbara at Long Beach St.
Thurs., November 20 - CSUN at UC Riverside Wed.,
November 26 - UC Irvine at Long Beach State

Cal Poly Opens With A ‘W’: Cal Poly opened the 2014 season with a 3-1 victory over Montana to kick off the Montana Invitational.  This marked the first time in three years the Mustangs were victorious in their season-opener.

Freshman Hitters Shine: The Cal Poly Mustangs incoming class received a 23rd-ranking in PrepVolleyball’s top 30 recruiting class ranking and they did not disappoint in their college debuts.  Outside Hitter Raeann Greisen registered 49 kills at the Montana Invitational, including two team-high performances of 17 and 18 kills, and outside hitter Hannah Mathiesen tallied 36 kills over the weekend.

Youth At Setter: Freshman Taylor Nelson, 2013 PrepVolleyball.com National Player of the Year and Gatorade Player of the Year, took the reigns as setter, a position up for grabs in the offseason. In the season-opening tournament, she posted 127 assists for a 9.77 average.  Junior setter Maddie Kuber, who’s sophomore campaign was cut short due to an ACL injury suffered midway through the season, saw some playing time as well.

Titans Continue Where They Left Off:  In 2013 the Titans ranked ninth in the nation with a conference-best 17.66 dig average and were led by McKenna Painton’s Big West-leading 4.59 average during her freshman campaign.  After the first weekend of the 2014 season, Cal State Fullerton and Painton are once again sitting atop the Big West Conference.  Painton’s 5.60 average guides the Titans to a team-high 17.60 average.

Look Out Below: Freshman Steph Buss not only leads the Titans after her impressive season-opening performance, she currently paces the Big West Conference with a 1.40 blocks per set average.  The 6-foot-1 middle blocker’s standout performance was in the Titans sweep over Sacred Heart where she tallied one block solo and seven block assists.  As a team, Cal State Fullerton sits second in the league with a 2.20 block average.

CSF Hits The Road: Following a 2-1 performance at their season-opening home tournament, the Titans embark on a seven-match road trip that includes four contests at the SDSU/USD 2014 Classic this weekend.

Stinson Sensational: Junior Cieana Stinson opened the 2014 season with a bang as she tallied a career-high 26 kills in CSUN’s 3-2 victory over UNLV in the final match of the UNLV Invitational.  The tournament MVP’s total was the highest by a Matador hitter since Mahina Haina blasted 28 against Weber State in 2011.

CSUN Up On Top: CSUN, who opened the 2014 season with a 3-0 record, is leading the Big West Conference in multiple categories after the first weekend of play.  The Matadors combined for a .239 hitting percentage and a 15.58 kill average to pace the league, while also owning a conference-best 14.50 assist average.  Individually, middle blocker Sam Kaul (.476 hitting percentage) and setter Steffi Miller  (12.08 APS) hold the top spot in their respective categories.

Perfection: This marks the second straight year CSUN opened the season with a perfect 3-0 mark.  Last year the Matadors extended their win streak to six before suffering their first loss.
Headed To The Pyramid: Long Beach State gears up for an eight-match homestand that includes back-to-back home tournaments.  This week’s Long Beach State Mizuno Invitational pits the 49ers against Idaho, Campbell, Army and San Francisco.  In 2013, the 49ers posted an 11-6 mark at the comfy confines of The Walter Pyramid.

Jackson Scoops Her Way To 1,000: In Long Beach State’s 3-1 victory over Southern Illinois senior libero Tyler Jackson eclipsed the 1,000th career dig mark. With a total of 1,001 scoops, she becomes the 14th player in 49er history to reach the milestone.

In With The New:  The veterans have additional help by the 10th-ranked recruiting class, according to PrepVolleyball, and two international players - Sophie Bukovec and Anete Brinke - who were not included on PrepVolleyball’s ranking but have the potential to make an immediate impact.  Providing some assistance at setter is Iowa State transfer Jenelle Hudson, who ranked second in the Big 12 conference last season with an 11.06 assist average.  In all, eight newcomers will be donning  black and gold this season.

Home Sweet Home:  Following a road contest at Saint Mary’s on Wednesday, the Aggies open the home portion of their schedule at The Pavilion with a pair of contests against San Jose State and Portland.  Last season UC Davis registered a 7-4 mark in front of its hometown fans.

Squryes Earns All-Tournament Honors:  At last week’s Rice Invitational, junior outside hitter Kaylin Squyres compiled a total of 47 kills in nine sets to earn a spot on the all-tournament team.

Freshman Power: Redshirt freshman Aima Eichie recorded a conference-high 15 blocks in her first week donning blue and gold.  Her 1.25 blocks per set average ranks second in the Big West.

New Face At The Helm: UC Davis welcomes Dan Conners, most recently the top assistant at the Illinois, as the new head coach for the Aggies.  His appointment marks a return to the Golden State, who spent three years as an assistant coach with the CSUN men’s volleyball team. He also served on the staffs at three elite women’s programs during the past eight seasons: Illinois, Nebraska and UCLA.

Anteaters Take Hit To Roster:
UC Irvine is one of many Big West schools that opens the home portion of its schedule this week.  The Anteaters, looking to rebound from a 1-2 start at the Cincinnati Tournament, host the UC Irvine Invitational this week where it is slated to entertain Idaho, Pepperdine, Utah State and Army. 

UCI Continues To Ace The Competition: Some names and faces may be different but the expertise of the team remains the same as UC Irvine is pacing the Big West Conference in service aces once again.  In the first week of action, the Anteaters combined for 24 aces, giving them an average of 2.18 aces per set.  Individually, UC Irvine owns three of the four top spots with Cassidy Pickrell holding the top spot with a .64 average.  She is followed by Allison Lee in second with a .55 mark and Arden Davis holding the fourth slot with a .45 average.

Keep On Moving: Despite losing two of their power hitters in the offseason, Shannon Fleming and Aly Squires, UC Irvine’s offense didn’t miss a beat as it concluded the first week of action ranked second in the Big West in hitting percentage (.235) and third in kills (13.36).

Road To Success:
Head coach Michelle Patton enters her second season at the helm of the UC Riverside Highlanders.  Prior to joining the UCR family, Michelle 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.
Career-Best Performance Secures All-Tournament Honors: Senior Middle Blocker Tyler Dorsey was named to the UNLV Invitational All-Tournament Team following a 2.67 kills per set performance over the weekend.  In Saturday’s contest against host UNLV, the La Puente, Calif. native recorded a career-high 15 kills.

To The Beehive State: The Highlanders embark on their first of two Utah tournaments this week as they travel to Cedar City, Utah, for the SUU Tournament where they are scheduled to face host Southern Utah, Savannah State and Albany.

Determining The Defense:  The Gauchos returned a majority of their lineup for 2014 but the libero position after the loss of outside hitter turned libero Leah Sully, who concluded her career with a school record 1,742 digs.  UC Santa Barbara has three freshmen liberos joining two players returning to set up a  battle for the libero position.   After the first week of play it looks like sophomore outside hitter Ali Spindt, playing the libero position for the first time,  took over the defensive role, averaging four digs a set to tie for third in the Big West Conference.

A First For Everything: UC Santa Barbara struggled in its season-opening tournament where it battled two nationally recognized teams as part of the Rams Volleyball Classic.  The Gauchos opened the new season with a 0-3 record for the first time in school history.

California Love:  UC Santa Barbara continues its nine-match, season-opening road trip this week with a trip to Sacramento for the Sacramento State Invitational that features an all-California lineup.  The Gauchos battle Loyola Marymount Friday and Fresno State and the Hornets Saturday.

Dandy Of A Recruiting Class:
With the loss of such a talented quartet of players, the Rainbow Wahine will definitely benefit from the 12th-best recruiting class in 2014, according to PrepVolleyball.  The freshmen class includes Kalei Greeley, Savannah Kahakai, Emily Maglio, and Megan Huff.  Greeley was named 2012 CIF Southern Section Division II Player of the Year and was ranked No. 35 on PrepVolleyball.com’s Senior Aces list and Huff helped her PSVBA squad win gold in the Patriot Division of the 2013 Girls Junior National Championships.  Joining the diaper dandies is junior transfer Olivia Magill, a two-year starter at middle blocker for the University of Arizona who led the Wildcats with 119 total blocks and a .335 hitting percentage while registering 202 kills in 2013. 

Mendoza Opens 2014 With A Bang:  In Hawai’i’s season-opening sweep over Ohio, senior Sarah Mendoza posted a career-best 24 digs.  She currently ranks second in the league with a 5.30 dig average.

Hawai’i Continues Homestand:  The Rainbow Wahine continue their 11-match homestand this week hosting New Mexico, No. 23 Oregon and St. John’s for the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Classic.