• Long Beach State continues to dominate the Big West Conference this season with an unblemished 10-0 record. Hawai’i can be found in the second spot with a 9-3 mark and is followed by UC Davis (8-3). The Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara moved up to the fourth spot with a 7-5 record, while UC Irvine (6-5) holds steady in fifth. CSUN drops to sixth place with a 5-5 mark, Cal Poly is seventh at 4-8 and Cal State Fullerton (1-10) and UC Riverside (0-11) own the final two spots.
• In the latest RPI there is a trio of Big West schools among the top with Long Beach State leap-frogging Hawai’i to lead all nine members with a 26th ranking. The Rainbow Wahine sit 30th and CSUN rounds out the trio with a 38th ranking.
• The Big West Conference owns a 60-51 mark (.541) against nonconference opponents.
• Casey Hinger of the CSUN women’s volleyball team has been named one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award, given annually to the sport’s top senior both on and off the court.
The final 10 were chosen by a media committee from the list of 30 candidates announced in September. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website through December 8. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches’ votes to determine the winner. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2014 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship in December.
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 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
Mustangs Split Pair Of Road Contests:
For the second straight week the Mustangs split a pair of conference matches, falling to UC Irvine before downing the Titans of Cal State Fullerton. Cal Poly moves to 9-13 overall and 4-8 in the Big West Conference.
Cal Poly’s 2014 roster included nine players who had never played a collegiate match at the start of the year, making it 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. So far this season the freshmen have combined for 952.5 of Cal Poly’s 1326 points ( 72%).
Freshman Continues To Dominate:
In Cal Poly’s 3-1 victory over Cal State Fullerton Saturday night, freshman middle blocker Raeann Greisen blasted a career-high 24 kills, upping her season total to 301, fifth best in the conference. She also sits fifth in the league with a 3.46 kills per set average.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Cal State Fullerton continued its struggles in conference play last weekend, dropping a pair of central coast contests to fall to 7-17 overall and 1-10 in the conference. This week Cal State Fullerton wraps up a three-match homestand with a Thursday-night showdown at UC Riverside.
One shining light in the loss to UC Santa Barbara was freshman Niki Withers, who led the offense with 12 kills and flirted with a double-double of her own, setting a new career high with eight digs. The following night at Cal Poly, the outside hitter tied a career high with 25 kills. Withers continues to be the driving force for the Titans’ offense, posting a team-best 3.72 kill average which ranks third in the Big West.
Leader Of The Pack:
In her 13th season at Cal State Fullerton, Carolyn Zimmerman currently possesses an all-time record of 180-203 (.470). 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 Returns Home In Search Of A Win:
Following a loss at Hawai’i last week to fall to 5-5 in the league, CSUN returns to the Matadome to host central coast foes UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly. Friday’s contest against the Gauchos marks just the fifth home match for the Matadors this season. They are 2-2 in front of their hometown fans.
Trio Of Power:
A trio of Matadors averaging over 3 kills per set is the catalyst for the Matadors’ dominating offense that paces the Big West with a 14.04 kill average. Cieana Stinson leads the threesome with a 3.31 mark and is followed by Casey Hinger (3.18) and Danetta Boykin (3.05).
Blocking Her Way To The Top:
Sporting 454 total career blocks, senior Casey Hinger currently ranks second all-time in CSUN’s annals. Former Matador Lynda Morales (2007-10) owns the top spot with 492 blocks.
LONG BEACH STATE
Long Beach State continues to be nothing but perfect in conference play as it improved to 10-0 after a five-set victory at Hawai’i. The 49ers sit atop the Big West standings with an unblemished 10-0 mark. The last time LBSU opened conference play 10-0 was back in 2001 when the 49ers ran the table and posted an 18-0 mark to claim the conference title.
The victory over Hawai’i vaulted Long Beach State to 20th in this week’s AVCA Top 25 poll while also moving up six spots in the RPI to the 26th slot.
Live And In Your Home:
This week the 49ers return home to the Pyramid to entertain Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara, both of which will air live on ESPN3. In the previous battle with the central coast opponents, Long Beach State swept the Gauchos and downed the Mustangs 3-1.
Long Beach Leaders:
Senior middle blocker Chisom Okpala and freshman middle blocker Ashley Murray own the third and fourth spots in the Big West standings with hitting percentages of .347 and .327.
Aggies Bring Win Streak Home:
UC Davis swept UC Riverside last week to improve to 13-11 overall and 8-3 in the Big West to sit third in the standings. The Aggies, winners of three straight, return to the Pavilion for a four-match homestand that kicks off with Cal State Fullerton for a rare Thursday-night showdown.
The 16 total blocks recorded in the victory over UC Riverside last week was the most by a UC Davis team since setting a school record 18 against Sonoma State at the end of the 2000 season — the last year before college volleyball switched from side-out scoring to a 30-point, rally-scoring format.
Squyres Leads The Way:
Junior Kaylin Squyres paces the Big West with a 4.12 kills per set average. In conference-only contests, she bettered her average with a 4.62 mark.
New Face At The Helm:
UC Davis welcomed Dan Conners, most recently the top assistant at Illinois, as the new head coach for the Aggies over the summer. He 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 Splits Central Coast Series:
Last week the Anteaters split their road series to move to 16-10 overall and 6-5 in the league to sit fifth in the league standings. The Anteaters downed Cal Poly for the second time this season, while falling to the Gauchos, 3-1, after defeating them 3-2 earlier this season.
‘Eaters Wrap Up Home Schedule:
UC Irvine, 7-4 at home this season, is slated to entertain UC Riverside Thursday at 7:00 p.m. in its final home contest of the 2014 season. The Anteaters follow that up with a season-ending, four-match road trip.
Arden Davis has scooped 435 digs so far this season, ranking her 11th all-time in UC Irvine’s annals. She needs just four more digs to crack the top 10. Arielle Manz currently holds the school’s 10th spot in career block assists with 235 and Marisa Bubica is working her way towards the top 10 in career kills. She currently ranks 13th in school history with 962 kills.
On The Hunt:
On a 17-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. This week UC Riverside battles Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine on the road.
Sophomore Bri Holmes continues to own the top spot on the Highlanders’ squad, sporting a 2.70 digs per set average and Ashley Cox sits second with a 2.66 mark. Defensively, freshman Meg Graham owns the school’s top spot with a .85 block average and sophomore Maddie Hubbell leads the way with a 3.64 dig average.
At The Helm:
Head coach Michelle Patton is in her second season at the helm of the UC Riverside Highlanders. Prior to joining the UCR family, 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 Post Back-TO-Back Wins:
A pair of home wins last week bumped the Gauchos to 7-5 in conference play to sit fourth in the standings and extended its win streak to three. This week they hit the road to take on Cal State Fullerton and league-leader Long Beach State, who is undefeated in conference play. The Gauchos-49ers showdown is slated to air live on ESPN3.
Leading The Way:
Powering the Gauchos’ offense is sophomore Phoebe Grunt, who ranks seventh in the Big West with a .322 hitting percentage. On defense, Ali Spindt is dominating both UCSB and the Big West with league’s second-best dig total of 4.32.
Can They Do It:
The Gauchos, who currently sit fourth in the Big West with a 7-5 mark, need to win three of their final four contests in order to reach double-digit conference victories. Over the past five seasons UCSB only missed that mark once, back in 2012 when the Gauchos tallied a 9-9 Big West record.
Hawai’i Faces Crucial Road Matchups:
The Rainbow Wahine are headed to the mainland for their final road trip of the regular season to UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly in two crucial matchups. Hawai’i, currently in second place with a 9-3 mark, needs to win both contests in order to remain in the hunt for the conference title. Long Beach State is in the driver’s seat with a 10-0 record. Hawai’i downed both central coast opponents earlier this year at the Stan Sheriff department.
The Big 1-0:
Kalei Adolpho registered 10 blocks in UH’s 3-1 victory over CSUN, tying for the fourth highest block total in the Big West this season. The senior middle blocker owns the conference’s second-best block average of 1.29.
Against The Best:
Hawai’i currently ranks fourth in the nation with a 3.09 blocks per set average. Olivia Magill is leading the charge with the country’s 15th-best average of 1.44. Magill is also dominating on offense with a .422 hitting percentage to rank 10th in the nation. Averaging 0.45 services aces per set, Rainbow Wahine Tai Manu-Olevao sits 18th in the country.