Cal Poly Struggles At Home:
The Mustangs dropped a pair of home contests last weekend, extending its losing skid to three and falling to 2-5 in Big West play. This week Cal Poly crosses the Pacific Ocean to battle the Rainbow Wahine of Hawai’i.
Leading The Mustangs:
Freshman Raeann Greisen continues to be the catalyst for the Mustangs’ offense, owning a team-high 3.39 kills per set average. Defensively, junior Nicole Kessler ranks second in the league with a team-best 4.46 dig average and Caihla Petiprin paces the squad with 0.74 blocks per set mark.
With a 14-member roster that includes nine players who had never played a collegiate match at the start of the year, Cal Poly entered the 2014 season as one of the youngest programs in Division I. Cal Poly’s percentage of freshmen players – 64 percent of its roster – leads the nation while the team’s eight combined seasons of returning collegiate experience rank second in youthfulness to only Chicago State, which possesses just five total years of Division I experience.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Cal State Fullerton Captures First Conference Win:
Cal State Fullerton downed UC Riverside, 3-1, Saturday night, snapping a seven-match losing streak. The win marked the first Big West victory of the season for the Titans, who are now 1-6 in conference play. This week the Titans play a solo match at UC Irvine with first serve slated for 7:00 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 24.
Painton Making Waves On Offense:
Libero McKenna Painton, who moved into the offensive rotation two weeks ago, is a force to be reckoned with as she sported her fourth straight double-double in CSF’s win over UC Riverside. The two-way player tallied 18 kills and 11 digs against the Highlanders and currently ranks ninth in the Big West with a 3.69 dig total.
Leader Of The Pack:
In her 13th season at Cal State Fullerton, Carolyn Zimmerman currently possesses an all-time record of 180-199 (.475). The sixth head coach in Fullerton’s 37-year history; she is the winningest head coach in CSF volleyball program history.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
CSUN Splits Central Coast Matchups:
CSUN struggled during its trip to the Central Coast last week, splitting its road trip to sit 4-2 in the league standings. The Matadors opened the weekend with a 3-1 victory over Cal Poly before falling to UC Santa Barbara, 3-0. They find themselves in a three-way tie for second place with Hawai’i and UC Davis.
To The Matadome We Go:
The Matadors open the three-match homestand Friday evening against UC Davis, which airs live on ESPN3. Friday’s showdown with the Aggies marks just the second home contest of the season for CSUN, who opened the year with a 15-match road trip.
Best Of Both Worlds:
Boasting a .398 hitting percentage, Sam Kaul paces the Matadors and ranks second in the league and 28th in the nation. The middle blocker is also powerful at the net, registering 41 total blocks, second-best on the team.
LONG BEACH STATE
Long Beach State has kept its unbeaten streak intact for another week after sweeping UC Santa Barbara and downing Cal Poly, 3-1, in its recent trip to the central coast. The 49ers sit atop the Big West standings with a percent 6-0 mark. The last time LBSU opened conference play 6-0 was back in 2001 when the 49ers ran the table and posted an unblemished 18-0 mark to claim the conference title.
A Look Ahead:
This week LBSU brings its season-long, six-match win streak back home to The Pyramid to entertain UC Riverside and UC Davis. First serve is scheduled for 7 pm both Friday and Saturday.
The 49ers are holding their opponents to a conference-low .152 hitting percentage to rank 20th in the country.
In the latest RPI ranking released by the NCAA, Long Beach State sits 31st.
UC Davis Tied For Second In Standings:
The Aggies split their series in Orange County last week, downing Cal State Fullerton, 3-2, before falling to UC Irvine, 3-0. UC Davis, with a 4-2 league mark, is now knotted for second place in the Big West with CSUN and Hawai’i.
Against The Best:
On tap for UC Davis this week is a showdown at CSUN Friday evening on ESPN3 and a matchup with league-leading Long Beach State Saturday night.
Squyres Career Night:
In UCD’s win over Cal State Fullerton, junior outside hitter Kaylin Squyres tallied career highs of 25 kills and 20 digs while hitting .420 overall.
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 On A Hot Streak:
After opening conference play on a three-match skid, UC Irvine has turned things around and won four straight to improve to 4-3 in the Big West. This week the Anteaters host Cal State Fullerton Friday at 7:00 p.m. for its lone contest.
Manz Explodes For Career Performance:
Middle blocker Arielle Manz was error free in UC Irvine’s victory over UC Riverside, converting on seven of 10 attempts for a career-high .700 hitting percentage.
When glancing at the Big West standings, UC Irvine can be spotted leading the way in multiple categories, which includes hitting percentage (.256), kills (14.22), assists (13.22) and digs (16.41). Against the nation, the Anteaters rank 17th in kills per set and 20th in assists per set.
Individually, teammates Marisa Bubica and Shelley Anderson sit atop their respective categories as Bubica sports a 4.01 kills average and Anderson owns an 11.21 assists per set mark.
Cox In Control:
Ashley Cox continues to power the Highlanders with a 2.85 kills per set average but in conference-only contests she is even more impressive, posting a 3.12 mark to rank 10th in the Big West Conference.
Led by Maggie Hubbell’s 3.73 dig average, UC Riverside ranks third in the conference with a 15.45 digs per set average. Hubbell is currently eighth in the league.
On The Hunt:
On a 12-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. In order to pick up a win this week, the Highlanders have the tough task of knocking off Long Beach State, who is undefeated in conference play, or CSUN.
UC SANTA BARBARA
UC Santa Barbara Faces Hawai’i:
The Gauchos split a pair of home matches last week, moving to 4-3 in the Big West Conference. Up next for the Gauchos is a quick trip across the Pacific for a solo match at Hawai’i on Saturday. The Rainbow Wahine, 4-2 in the league, are coming off a bye week.
Sophomore middle blocker Phoebe Grunt continues to lead the Gauchos with a .353 hitting percentage, which ranks her third in the league. The double-threat has proven powerful at the net, posting the team’s second-best block average of .91.
Sporting a .30 service ace average, junior Ali Barbeau paces UC Santa Barbara and is tied for seventh in the Big West Conference. In conference-only contest, she also finds herself knotted in seventh with a .35 mark.
After being idle last week, Hawai’i entertains Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara at the Stan Sheriff Center, where they are 10-3 this season. The Rainbow Wahine’s three home losses were all against ranked opponents. Prior to this week’s matchups, the Rainbow Wahine suffered their first two conference losses of the season, both coming on the road at CSUN and Long Beach State.
The Rainbow Wahine lead the Big West in three categories - hitting percentage, service aces and blocks. Proving to be a double-threat, junior Olivia Magill sports a league-leading .400 attacking percentage and 1.49 blocks per set mark, which places her sixth in the country. Tai Manu-Olevao’s service aces average of .59 leads the league and earns her the fourth slot in the nation.
Rainbow Wahine Earn Top 10 Ranking:
Hawai’i owns the seventh-best block average in the county, registering 3.08 blocks per set. The Rainbow Wahine also find themselves sitting ninth in aces per set with a 1.76 mark.