• Long Beach State’s Bre Mackie was named AVCA National Player of the Week Tuesday after a career performance against No. 21 Hawai’i. Mackie’s career-highs of 20 kills and nine total blocks helped the 49ers snap a seven-match losing streak to UH and defeat the Rainbow Wahine for the first time since 2000. She produced a .327 hitting percentage with just four errors on a team-high 49 swings. The victory solidified first place for the 49ers in the Big West at 4-0.
• Three Big West teams are receiving votes in the AVCA Top 25 poll. Long Beach State collected 40 votes, followed by CSUN with 21 and Hawai’i is the third listed conference school with 17 points.
• 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. 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.
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
A Little Deja Vu:
For the second straight week Cal Poly split its weekend conference series, this time downing Cal State Fullerton, 3-1, before being swept by UC Irvine. The Mustangs are now 7-8 overall and 2-3 in league play.
Greisen Continues To Dominate:
Freshman Raeann Greisen continue to be the catalyst for the Mustangs’ offense. Last week in Cal Poly’s victory 3-1 over Fullerton, she posted a match-high 16 kills. Greisen averages 3.58 kills per set to rank fourth in the Big West, but is even more impressive in conference-only contests with a league-best 4.00 average.
Home Is Where The Victory Is:
This week the Mustangs return to Mott Gym to host CSUN and Long Beach, who both are coming off impressive wins over No. 21 Hawai’i’. Cal Poly is 5-2 when playing in front of its home town fans.
Another Scoop, Please:
When looking at the Big West statistics, you will find junior Nicole Kassler sitting atop the digs category with a 4.44 average.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Cal State Fullerton Continues Skid:
The Titans’ losing streak stretched to six last week after dropping a pair of home matches to central coast foes Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara. Cal State Fullerton in now 0-5 in the Big West and 6-12 overall.
Career Night For Painton:
Libero McKenna Painton took a night off from the libero position to add some depth to the offense and she shined in her role, setting career highs in kills, total attempts, hitting percentage and blocks. The sophomore sported a team-high 15 kills on 41 attempts while hitting .171. She added 15 digs to complete her first career double-double, along with three blocks and two assists.
The Nikki Show:
Freshman Nikki Withers has established herself as one of the top attacking players in the league. Withers currently sits third in the Big West in total kills (244), second in kills per set (3.70) and sixth in points per set (3.98).
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
CSUN Sweeps League-Leading Hawai’i:
The Matadors rebounded from their loss to Long Beach State with a huge sweep over No. 21 Hawai’i last week in their home opener at The Matadome that was aired live on FOX Prime Ticket. Handing the Rainbow Wahine their first loss of the season bumped CSUN to 3-1 in Big West play.
In the 3-0 victory over Hawai’i, Lauren Conati made her first collegiate start at setter in place of injured Steffi Miller and she did not disappoint. The freshman handed out 38 assists while leading the Matadors to a .267 hitting clip. Prior to her injury, Miller ranked second in the league with a 10.58 assist average.
CSUN Eyes Top 25:
CSUN is back in the national spotlight after its impressive win over Hawai’i last week as the Matadors find themselves back in the others receiving votes category in the AVCA Top 25 poll.
LONG BEACH STATE
Up On Top:
Long Beach State has been untouchable since the start of Big West play, posting four consecutive wins against its league foes to sit atop the standings with its perfect record. Their win streak included back-to-back wins over two of the three tri-defending champions - CSUN and Hawai’i. The 49ers are now 4-0 in conference play and 14-4 overall.
LBSU Hits The Road:
Long Beach State takes its perfect conference record on the road this week as the 49ers travel to the central coast to battle UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly. The 49ers are 3-1 on the road this season with their only loss coming in the season-opener contest against No. 11 Illinois.
In conference-only contests, senior Chisom Okpala paces both the 49ers and the Big West Conference with a .378 hitting percentage. Defensively senior Tyler Jackson leads LBSU with a 4.31 digs per set average against conference foes, placing her second in the league.
Aggies’ Hot Streak Continues:
After opening conference play with a loss to nationally-ranked Hawai’i, the UC Davis Aggies have won three-straight to improve to 3-1 in league play and are currently tied for second in the Big West. This week UC Davis hits the road to battle Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine.
Walbrecht Error Free:
UC Davis swept UC Riverside last week to extend its win streak to three, they were able to be so dominate thanks to sophomore Kendall Walbrecht who was error-free on her 10-for-16 performance.
Since entering conference play, UC Davis has been powerful at the net, registering a league-best 3.35 average against Big West foes.
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.
UC Irvine Captured First Victories:
The Anteaters finally found their rhythm last week against UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly, notching its first two Big West victories of the season. UC Irvine, who won a five-set marathon against the Gauchos before sweeping the Mustangs, improves to 12-7 overall and 2-3 in league play.
When glancing at the Big West standings, UC Irvine can be spotted leading the way in multiple categories, which includes hitting percentage (.254), kills (14.15), assists (13.11) and digs (15.83). Individually, teammates Marisa Bubica and Shelley Anderson sit atop their respective categories as Bubica sports a 4.08 kills average and Anderson owns an 11.05 assists per set mark.
Climbing The Charts:
Junior Marisa Bubica is eyeing UC Irvine’s career kills Top 10 list as she sits 14th with 893 kills. Having recorded 261 kills so far this season, she needs just five more kills to move up to the 13th slot. Also in search of a Top 10 mark is senior Arielle Manz, who ranks 12th in school history with 214 block assists. She needs just eight more to secure a Top10 finish.
Cox In Control:
Ashley Cox continues to power the Highlanders with a 2.98 kills per set average but in conference-only contests she is even more impressive, posting a 3.73 mark to rank third in the Big West Conference. The junior from Irvine, Calif., sports a 3.91 points per set average against league foes, which is good enough for the seventh spot in the conference.
On The Hunt:
On a 10-match skid, the Highlanders are in need of a victory to turn things around. Their last win was a sweep over Savannah State on Saturday, Sept. 6. Hopefully home court advantage can turn things around as the Highlanders welcome UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton to the Student Recreation Center on Friday and Saturday evening. UC Riverside is 2-14 overall and 0-4 in Big West play.
Led by Maggie Hubbell’s 3.77 dig average, UC Riverside ranks second in the conference with a 15.60 digs per set average. Hubbell is currently eighth in the league.
UC SANTA BARBARA
UCSB Set To Host League Leading LBSU:
Following a split on the road last week, UC Santa Barbara returns home to The Thunderdome where it owns a 4-1 record. The Gauchos are slated to host Long Beach State, who is undefeated in Big West Play, and CSUN. Both teams are coming off wins over then-ranked No. 21 Hawai’i.
Switch-a-roo at Libero:
The Gauchos played without libero Ali Spindt, who ranks third in the league in digs, in Saturday’s contest against Cal State Fullerton but it didn’t seem to faze them as they posted a 3-2 victory to improve to 3-2 in conference play. Filling the defensive void was Shauna Klein, who posted a career-best performance with 17 digs.
Look Out Below:
Defense at the net was also key in UC Santa Barbara’s win over Cal State Fullerton as the Gauchos registered a season-high 32 total blocks. Leading the way were Allie Sullberg and Phoebe Grunt, who tallied seven and six block assists, respectively.
Hawai’i Suffers First Big West Loss:
Hawai’i suffered its first conference losses of the season last week, falling to both CSUN and Long Beach State. On Friday the Matadors handed the Rainbow Wahine their first sweep by a conference opponent since 2010 and LBSU was the victor in a five-set marathon. The Rainbow Wahine drop to 4-2 in league play while holding a 12-5 overall mark.
Against The Rest:
Despite falling to fourth place in the Big West standings after back-to-back losses, Hawai’i still remains atop in the standings in aces and blocks. The Rainbow Wahine rank sixth in the nation in blocks with a 3.08 average while their conference-best 1.76 aces per set average places them 12th in the country. Individually, Tai Manu-Olevao owns the nation’s third-best aces average with a .59 mark and teammate Olivia Magil sits ninth in blocks with a 1.49 average.
Hawai’i returns home to the Stan Sheriff Center, where they are 10-3 this season, to entertain Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara. The Rainbow Wahine’s three losses were all against ranked opponents.