Trio Of Big West Schools Host Nonconference Tournaments
Big West Women's Volleyball Release - Week 3
• After two weeks of play five teams own an above .500 winning percentage with CSUN leading the charge after tallying a 5-1 record for an .833 mark.
• Tournament play continues this week with a majority of the teams hitting the road for nonconference competition. Cal Poly, Long Beach State and Hawai’i remain home to host their respective events.
• In the most recent AVCA Top 25 poll, Hawai’i slid to No. 22, while CSUN remained in the receiving votes category.
• The Big West is 0-6 against the Top 25.
• 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
• The Hawai’i at CSUN match on October 10 will broadcast live from The Matadome on FOX Prime Ticket with first serve slated for 7 p.m.
Cal Poly Hosts First Matches Of 2014 Season: Cal Poly kicks off the home portion of its schedule this week with the Cal Poly Share SLO Tournament where the Mustangs host CSU Bakersfield, San Jose State and Sacramento State. In all, Cal Poly is slated to play 13 home contests over the course of the year, the most since 2008. The Mustangs enter this week’s event on a four-game skid.
Freshmen Domination: A trio of freshman are leading the way for the Mustangs, representing Cal Poly in a variety of statistical categories within the Big West. Raeann Greisen and Hannah Mathiesen sit ninth and 10th in kills, averaging 3.20 and 3.00 per set. Taylor Nelson owns the fifth spot in hitting percentage with a .333 mark, she also sits sixth with a 8.15 assist average. Cal Poly entered the 2014 season with the 23rd-best incoming class according to PrepVolleyball.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
CSF Opens Road Contests With A 2-2 Mark: Following a 2-1 record to open the 2014 season, Cal State Fullerton posted a 2-2 mark at the Aztec Invitational last weekend. The Titans (4-3) earned victories over Villanova and Brown.
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 two weeks of play, Cal State Fullerton and Painton are once again sitting atop the Big West Conference. Painton’s 4.51 average guides the Titans to a team-high 15.08 average.
WIthers Leads The Way: Freshman Niki Withers, who earned back-to-back Big West Fresman of the Week honors to open the season, paces the Titans and ranks third in the Big West with a 4.00 kills per set average. Her 100 kill-total also ties her for third.
Matadors Among Best In The Nation: In six contests, CSUN has averaged a league-leading 14.68 kills per set to rank 12th in the nation. Leading the charge for the Matadors is junior Cienna Stinson, who owns a 3.77 average. Senior middle blocker Sam Kaul is among the best in the nation when it comes to hitting percentage as her .456 mark places her 17th.
Up On Top: With a 5-1 mark to open the season, the Matadors find themselves atop the Big West standings. CSUN’s only loss came by way of the 23rd-ranked Arizona Wildcats at the Arizona Invitational last week.
The Travelin’ Matadors: In the midst of a season-opening, 15-match road trip, the Matadors travel to Norman, Okla., to compete in the Nike Invitational where they will face the Sooners, Portland State and Arkansas-Little Rock. CSUN’s first home contest doesn’t appear on its schedule until Oct. 10 when it entertains Hawai’i at The Matadome live on FOX Prime Ticket.
LONG BEACH STATE
Headed In The Right Direction: Long Beach State opened the 2014 season with back-to-back losses against ranked teams, but since then it has strung together five victories, including a 4-0 performance at their home tournament last week for a 5-2 mark. This week the 49ers continue their eight-match homestand with the Long Beach State/LMU Tournament.
49ers Block Their Way To Victory: In the 49ers 3-1 win over San Francisco, they notched 32 block assists to rank seventh all-time in the Long Beach State annals. They were led by freshman Ashley Murray, who registered 10 block assists and 1 solo block. Her 11 total blocks was paired with 11 kills to complete her first career double-double. Murray currently paces the 49ers and ranks second in the league with a .423 hitting percentage.
Keeping The Enemy At Bay: Long Beach State is currently holding its opponents to a miniscule .144 hitting percentage to rank atop the Big West Conference.
Squyres Paces The Aggies: Junior Kaylin Squyres, who has posted five consecutive double-doubles this season, currently ranks 30th in the nation after blasting a league-leading 4.27 kills per set average. She is also hitting .259 to pace the Aggie hitters.
Success At The Pavilion: In front of their hometown fans, the Aggies recorded back-to-back sweeps against San Jose State and Portland to improve to 2-4 on the season. Unfortunately for the Aggies they are back on the road for the Washington/Seattle Tournament where UC Davis tackles No. 5 Washington, UNLV and Seattle.
New Face At The Helm: UC Davis welcomes Dan Conners, most recently the top assistant at 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.
Sea Of Blue And Yellow: When looking at the national rankings, UC Irvine can be found at the top of the listings in multiple categories. The Anteaters currently rank second in kills with 417, third in assists (386), ninth in service aces with (50) and 37th in both aces per set (1.72) and hitting percentage (.271). Individually, Cassidy Pickrell sits 17th with .62 aces per set average while Shelley Anderson holds the 22nd slot after averaging 11.21 assists per contest. Pickrell and Marisa Bubica are tied for 25th in the nation with a 101 total kills.
UC Irvine Finds Success At Home: UC Irvine improved to 4-3 after an impressive 3-1 performance in their home tournament last weekend. The Anteaters knocked off Idaho, Pepperdine and Army and fell to Utah State in a 3-2 marathon. This week the Anteaters, winning four of its last five contests, are back on the road for the New Mexico Tournament.
Bubica’s Personal Best: In UC Irvine’s 3-2 victory over the Pepperdine Waves, junior outside hitter Marisa Bubica recorded a career-high 24 kills. Bubica currently ranks second in the Big West with an explosive 4.04 kills per set average.
Off On The Right Foot: UC Riverside picked up its first two wins of the seasons last week at the SUU Tournament, downing both Maryland-Eastern Shore and Savannah State. The two wins ties the Highlanders’ win total from a season ago.
Leader Of The Pack: Sophomore outside hitter Fabiana Rosas is averaging 2.50 kills per set to pace the Highlanders. She also ranks second on the team in digs with a 2.00 scoops per set average.
UC Riverside’s New Leader: 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.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Gauchos Turn Things Around: After a lack-luster 0-4 start to the season, UC Santa Barbara seems to be back in sync with back-to-back victories to close out the Sacramento State Tournament last weekend. The Gauchos defeated Fresno State 3-1 before sweeping host Sacramento State. Opposite Britton Taylor and setter Ali Santi were named to the all-tournament team for their efforts.
UCSB Closes Out Extensive Road Trip: The Gauchos gear up for their final road tournament of the season, wrapping up a nine-match, season-opening tournament. They will battle Nevada, Pacific and California as part of the Cal Tournament Sept. 12-13.
Freshman Debut: Making her debut as a Gaucho, freshman Sydney Bast tallied a team-leading seven digs against Loyola Marymount.
Looking Ahead: The Gauchos kick off the home portion of their schedule Friday, Sept. 19 hosting Santa Clara in game one of the Cal Poly/UCSB Tournament.
Higgins’ record performance: In the 3-1 victory over New Mexico, sophomore setter Tayler Higgins recorded eight aces on the night, setting a new Rainbow Wahine rally scoring record for aces in a four-set match.
Against The Best: For the second straight week Hawai’i has struggled against Top 25 teams. Opening weekended the Rainbow Wahine were swept by No. 25 Arizona State and just last week they dropped a 3-2 match to No. 23 Oregon. Hawai’i, who opened the season ranked No. 17 has dropped to No. 22 in this week’s AVCA Top 25 poll. The stiff competition continues this week as the Rainbow Wahine face 25th-ranked UCLA as part of the Outrigger Resorts Challenge.
The Buck Stops Here: Hawai’i sits atop the Big West with a 2.96 blocks per set average thanks in part to junior middle blocker Olivia Magill. In the first two weeks of the season, Magill has tallied 36 blocks (1 solo, 35 assists) for a conference-high 1.57 average. Teammate Kalei Adolpho sits seventh in the league with a 1.00 average.