Volleyball Embarks On Final Week Of Tournament Action
Big West Women's Volleyball Release - Week 4
This Week in the Big West - September 15-21, 2014
• After three weeks of play, six Big West schools own a .500-or-better winning percentage. CSUN leads the way with a .778 mark and is followed by Long Beach State (.727) and Hawai’i (.667). UC Irvine sits fourth at .600 and Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton both hold an even .500 mark.
• CSUN senior middle blocker Casey Hinger has been selected as a candidate for the Senior CLASS Award, the nation’s premier award for NCAA senior student-athletes. Hinger joins men’s soccer player Sagi Lev-Ari as Matador student-athlete candidates for 2014. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2014 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship in December.
• 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.
Mustangs Dominate In Home Tourney: Cal Poly snapped a four-match skid in fine fashion last week at its home event, the Cal Poly ShareSLO Tournament. The Mustangs swept the competition, going 3-0 to boost their overall record to 4-4. They opened the two-day event with a 3-1 win over CSU Bakersfield and followed that up with sweeps over San Jose State and Sacramento State. Cal Poly continues its homestand this weekend entertaining Northern Illinois and Santa Clara as part of the Cal Poly/UC Santa Barbara Tournament.
Greisen Headlines Cal Poly Offense: Freshman Raeann Greisen paces the Mustangs with a 3.60 kills per set average, good enough for fourth in the league. She is also hitting a team-high .271 mark.
Another Scoop: Pacing the Mustangs defense is junior Nicole Kessler, who has registered 129 digs in 30 sets for a 4.30 dig average, ranking her second in the Big West Conference.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
CSF Opens Road Contests With A 2-2 Mark: Cal State Fullerton struggled on the road last week, posting a 1-2 record at the College of Charleston Classic. The Titans opened the tournament with a 3-1 victory over Stetson before falling to Wake Forest and the Cougars. Luckily for the Titans, they return home to Titan Gym for the Fullerton Classic, where they are 2-1 this season.
Buss Stop: In Cal State Fullerton’s match against Wake Forest, Stephanie Buss notched a .609 hitting percentage, the highest by a Titans player with at least 15 kills in a match this season.
Titan Leaders: Freshman Niki Withers paces the Titans with a 3.73 kills per set average, while Holland Crenshaw holds the ranks in hitting percentage (.357). Defensively, McKenna Painton leads the way for Cal State Fullerton with a 4.05 dig per set average and freshman Stephanie Buss owns a team-best 1.05 block average.
Senior Strong: Senior Sam Kaul holds a league-leading .438 hitting percentage, which ranks 17th in the country. As a team, the Matadors are second in the league with a .247 mark.
Hinger Near Perfection: In the Matadors sweep over Arkansas-Little Rock, Casey Hinger blasted an impressive .857 clip, converting 13 kills in 15 errorless attacks. For the season, she sits second on the team with a .281 hitting percentage.
CSUN Faces Top Competition: CSUN fell out of the others receiving votes category in the latest AVCA Top 25 poll. The Matadors have an opportunity to prove itself against the Top 25 this week when it battles No. 1 Stanford and No. 19 San Diego as part of the USD Tournament. Earlier this season CSUN fell to 22nd-ranked Arizona, 3-0. The Matadors, who are in the midst of a 15-match, season-opening road trip, enter the three-day event with a 7-2 overall record.
LONG BEACH STATE
Going No Where: The 49ers’ defense has put up some great numbers so far this season as it currently sports a conference-low .142 opponent hitting percentage. They also pace the league in digs (15.59 DPS) and rank second in blocks (2.77 BPS).
Home Is Where The Win Is: Last week’s tournament wrapped up an eight-match homestand for Long Beach State where it tallied an impressive 7-1 record. Bags are packed for the 49ers who leave the comfy confines of The Pyramid to battle a trio of schools at the Roadrunner Classic Volleyball Tournament. The 49ers are 1-3 on the road this season.
A Look Back: Long Beach State opened the LBSU/LMU Volleyball Tournament with a 3-1 loss to co-host Loyola Marymount, snapping a five-match win streak for the 49ers. They rebounded the following match and went on to sweep their next three opponents - Northern Colorado, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Saint Mary’s - to improve to 8-3 on the season.
Pacing The League: While junior Kaylin Squyres continues to lead the Big West Conference with a 4.00 kills per set average, teammate Megan Lancaster has dug her way to the top as well. The senior libero is averaging a conference-best 4.48 digs per set.
Road Work: Back on the road last week, UC Davis struggled in its opening match against No. 5 Washington and versus UNLV but managed to pick up a 3-0 victory over Seattle to improve to 3-6 overall. The Aggies continue their road trip this week with a rare midweek showdown at Sacramento State before heading to Colorado for the Northern Colorado Classic.
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.
‘Eater Leader: Led by Marisa Bubica’s 3.97 kill average, the UC Irvine Anteaters find themselves ranked 19th in the nation with a Big West-leading 14.23 kills per set average. The Anteaters are also pacing the league in hitting percentage (.264) and assists (13.15). Individually, Bubica sits second in the conference in kills and fifth in hitting percentage (.322), while setter Shelley Anderson tops the charts with a 10.83 assist average.
Anteaters Continue To Collect Wins: UC Irvine picked up a pair of victories last week at the New Mexico Tournament to improve to 6-3. The Anteaters swept both Bethune-Cookman and Montana State and lost to the Lobos.
Powerhouse: UC Irvine posted a season-high .390 hitting percentage in its sweep over Montana State last weekend. The Anteaters were led by senior outside hitter Allison Lee’s .444 clip.
Looking For Win No. 3: After a 2-1 performance at the SUU Tournament Sept. 5-6, the Highlanders struggled at the Northern Arizona Tournament last week, posting an 0-3 mark. UC Riverside, 2-7 on the season, closes out a 12-match road trip this week at the La Quinta Inn & Suites Invitational where it will face host Utah Valley, Portland and Idaho State. Led by second-year coach Michelle Patton, the Highlanders need just one more win to best their win total from a season ago. Patton joined UCR after spending five years reviving a San Francisco State program that lay dormant from 2004-07.
Leading The Way: Ashley Cox continues to lead the Highlanders in kills with a 2.45 kills per set average, while Alex Greshman’s .247 hitting percentage paces the team. Defensively Megan Reza holds a team-best .84 block average and Maddie Hubbell scooped a 4.03 digs per set average to rank sixth in the Big West Conference.
Career Night For Rosas: In UC Riverside’s 3-2 loss to Albany last week, Fabiana Rosas recorded a double-double in impressive fashion, registering a career-high 15 kills and 15 digs.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Gauchos Play First Match At Thunderdome: 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. Northern Illinois is slated to face the Gauchos the following night at 7:00 p.m. The Gauchos home tournament kicks off a season-long, five-match homestand.
One-Two Punch: Sophomore middle blockers Phoebe Grunt and Allie Sullberg sit sixth and seventh in the league in hitting percentage with marks of .299 and .296. Sullberg has also dominated at the net, tallying a 1.00 blocks per set average to grab the sixth spot in the conference.
Freshman Standout: Outside Hitter Chanel Hoffman is the lone freshman on the UC Santa Barbara roster that has played in every Gauchos set this year. The Corona, Calif., native is averaging 2.33 kills and 1.93 digs per set. Her 2.9 points per set average ties her for second on the team.
UH Closes Out Homestand: The Rainbow Whaine close out an 11-match, season-opening homestand this weekend with a pair of contests against Northern Arizona. They entertain the Lumberjacks on Friday and Saturday with first serve slated for 10:00 p.m. (Pacific) both days.
Hawai’i Falls From National Ranking: After struggling against the Top 25 for the second straight week, the University of Hawai’i dropped out of the AVCA Top 25 rankings for the first time this season. Last week the Rainbow Wahine, who are listed first in the others receiving votes category, were swept by 25th-ranked UCLA at the Stan Sheriff Stadium.
Magill Holds Top10 Spot: Owning a league-best 1.67 blocks per set average places Olivia Magill fifth in the nation. Her 55 total blocks also currently secures the ninth spot in the county. As a team, the Rainbow Wahine rank third in the nation with a 3.20 block average.