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Women's Volleyball

Race For Big West Title Begins Friday


7 matches are the on schedule to open conference play, including No. 11 Hawai'i and No. 25 Long Beach State at home.Big West Women's Volleyball Release - Week 5

This Week In The Big West

Race For The Title Begins:
The race for the 2015 Big West Conference crown begins this weekend with defending championship Long Beach State, who captured the 2014 title with a perfect 16-0 mark, hosting UC Davis and UC Irvine live on ESPN3.  CSUN mirrors the 49ers’ lineup, hosting both the Anteaters and Aggies.  Hawai’i, who sits atop the Big West standings with a 10-1 record, entertains UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly at the Stan Sheriff Center.  The final Big West match up  pits Cal State Fullerton against UC Riverside.

Big West In the Top 25:
After receiving votes for the first four weeks of the season, the Long Beach State 49ers cracked the top 25 thanks in part to a 3-2 victory over No. 21 San Diego. Long Beach State sits 25th with 78 points received, while Hawai’i climbed one spot to 11th with 914 points.  The top vote-getter, Penn State, claimed all 64 first-place votes en route to a perfect 1600 point total.

799 And Counting...:
Head coach Brian Gimmillaro has accumulated 799 wins during his 31 years at Long Beach State.  He needs just one more victory to capture his 800th career Division I win to become just the seventh active coach to reach that total all within Division I, and fourth to record each win at the same institution.

Big West On FOX Prime Ticket: 
FOX Sports Prime Ticket and the Big West Conference recently unveiled the fall broadcast schedule on Prime Ticket which features a showdown of CSUN and Long Beach State squaring off in the Walter Pyramid.  The Saturday, October 17 match begins at 7:00 p.m.  The 49ers seek to defend their 2014 championship, accomplished with a unblemished 16-0 record and the 13th overall title in program history.  The Matadors regularly have finished among the upper echelon in the Big West standings, including a share of the championship two seasons ago.

• The Big West  announced that 11 women’s volleyball matches will be distributed on ESPN3 this fall, beginning on September 25.

Fri., September 25 - UC Davis at Long Beach State
Sat., September 26 - UC Irvine at Long Beach State
Fri., October 2 - Hawai’i at Cal State Fullerton
Sat., October 3 - Hawai‘i at UC Riverside
Fri., October 23 - Cal Poly at CSUN
Sat., October 24 - UC Santa Barbara at CSUN
Fri., November 6 - Hawai‘i at Long Beach State
Fri., November 13 - UC Santa Barbara at Cal St. Fullerton
Sat., November 14 - Cal Poly at Cal State Fullerton
Tues., November 17 - Hawai’i at UC Irvine
Sat., November 21 - UC Davis at UC Irvine

Best Outing In Nearly A Decade:
Playing in front of their hometown fans for the first time this season, the Cal Poly Mustangs split their weekend contests to improve to 8-3 on the year.  This marks the best start to the season since the Mustangs went 9-2 to open their 2001 campaign.

Cal Poly Tested In Conference Opener:
The Mustangs begin Big West play this week against their toughest opponent of the season so far - No. 11 Hawai’i.  And they do so on the road.  The showdown at the Stan Sheriff Center marks Cal Poly’s first match against a ranked opponent this year.

Mustangs Offense Captures Wins:
Cal Poly has dominated its contests this season, outscoring its opposition 28 sets to 14, which included four sweeps.  Leading the charge is Adlee Van Winden, who ranks fourth in the Big West with 178.5 total points and holds the league’s fourth-best kill average of 3.81.


In Search Of A ‘W’: Under the helm of first-year head coach Ashley Preston, the Cal State Fullerton Titans are still searching for their first victory of the season after going 0-12 in the first month of play.  The last time the Titans opened the year with an 0-12 mark was back in 1994 when they tallied an overall record of 1-28.  The Titans look to turn things around as they begin Big West play this week.  Cal State Fullerton visits UC Riverside Friday for its lone contest of the week.  First serve is slated for 7:00 p.m. at the SRC.

Smith’s Best Blocking Performance:
Kyra Smith tied a career high with eight blocks and set a new career best with five solo blocks against North Dakota State.

Diaper Dandies On The Bench:
The Cal State Fullerton coaching staff is one of the youngest in the nation as the three full-time coaches are a combined 89 years old. In addition, volunteer assistant Naseri Tumanuvao preps for his first season at Cal State Fullerton at 28 years of age. 

CSUN Opens The Matadome: After a month-long road trip that took the Matadors all over the western United States, CSUN gears up for its first home contests of the 2015 season this weekend when it entertains UC Irvine (9/25) and UC Davis (9/26).

Searching For Success:
CSUN has amassed a 1-11 record over the first month of play with its only win coming against Florida A&M (3-1) on September 4.  The last time the Matadors struggled to open the season was in 2005 when they finished with an overall record of 4-23 and a conference mark of 2-12.

Stinson Eyes Career Mark:
Senior Cieana Stinson is inching closer to the 1,000-kill milestone.  Sitting at 979 career kills, Stinson needs 21 additional kills to become the 12th player in Matador history to reach the career milestone. Both Casey Hinger and Natalie Allen reached 1,000 kills in 2014 with Mahina Haina accomplishing the feat in 2013.  Stinson is currently averaging 3.33 kills per set to sit sixth in the Big West.


49ers Begin Race For Title:
Long Beach State’s quest to defend its conference title begins this week when it welcomes UC Davis (9/25) and UC Irvine (9/26) to The Walter Pyramid.  Both contests air live on ESPN3 at 7:00 p.m.

Blocking Their Way To Victory:
The 49ers ended the nonconference tournament portion of their schedule in dominating fashion.  In its 3-2 upset victory over No. 21 San Diego, LBSU set a season high 15 blocks against the Toreros and out-blocked an opponent for just the second time in 2015.

Home Sweet Home:
Long Beach State owns a 7-2 record when playing in front of its hometown fans with its only loses coming to No. 14 UCLA (3-1) and Saint Mary’s (3-0).

Gimmillaro Approaches New Milestone:
Head Coach Brian Gimmillaro is just one victory away from claiming his 800th career Division I win.  Gimmillaro, currently in his 31st season, would become just the seventh active coach to reach that total all within Division I, and fourth to record each win at the same institution.


The End Is Near: UC Davis has just two more matches ahead of them before they can  unpack their bags and spend a little time in the familiar confines of The Pavilion.  The Aggies opened the 2015 season playing 15 of their 16 contests on the road with their lone home contest taking pace Sept. 15 again Sacramento State.  This week UC Davis opens Big West play with visits to Long Beach State for a ESPN3 showdown and CSUN.  The Aggies finished the 2014 season knotted in third place with a 10-6 Big West record.

Aggie Leaders: Senior outside hitter Kaylin Squyres continues to pace the Aggies and rank second in the Big West with a 4.38 kills per set average.  She is also tied for fourth in digs with teammate Malia Bolko with a 3.87 mark.  Sophomore Aima Eichie sits fourth with a 1.21 blocks per set average. 

Coming Soon To The Pavilion:
Following this week’s SoCal trip, the Aggies returns home for a four-match homestand that kicks off with UC Riverside on Wednesday, September 30.


Anteaters Even Record: A dominating 3-1 over No. 21 San Diego, paired with a win over Oregon State at the LBSU/UCI Mizuno Invitational, elevated the Anteaters to 6-6 as they approach league play.  UC Irvine kicks off Big West action at CSUN (9/25) and Long Beach State (9/26) on ESPN3.

Power Trio: Ella Rosenfeld continues to dominate in hitting percentage with a .350 clipping, placing her second in the league, while teammate Victoria Dennis owns the fifth slot in kills with a 3.33 average.  Harlee Kekauoha isn’t far behind, sitting eighth with a 3.22 mark.

Tsujimoto’s Career Performance:
In UCI’s 3-1 victory over Oregon State, sophomore Luna Tsujimoto scooped a career-best 26 digs.  She currently owns a dig average of 3.78 to sit sixth in the Big West.

Hain At The Helm:
Ashlie Hain, starting setter on UC Irvine’s 2003 and 2004 NCAA Tournament teams, returned UCI as head coach this season after coaching at American River College.  There, she took over a program that had won just three matches and led the Beavers to consecutive Big 8 Conference titles in 2013 and 2014.


UC Riverside’s Best Season In Three Years:
The Highlanders enter Big West Conference play with a 5-8 record, the most victories in a season since 2012 when UC Riverside finished the season 8-24.  The previous two seasons the Highlanders only tallied two victories.

Let The Home Games Begin:
UC Riverside kicks off the home portion of its schedule this weekend with its first Big West Conference contest of the season.  The Cal State Fullerton Titans are slated to battle the Highlanders at the SRC Friday with first serve at 6 pm.  In all, UC Riverside will only play eight contests on their home court this season.

Can You Dig It?:
Ever since Maddie Hubbell began her career at UC Riverside three years ago, she has excelled on defense and this year is no difference.  The junior libero currently paces the league with a 4.77 digs per set average.  In 2014 she finished the year ranked eighth in the league and during her freshman campaign she ended her year in fourth.


Gauchos’ Topsy-Turvy Start:  After a strong 4-1 start to the season, UC Santa Barbara has struggled down the stretch dropping the next six contests for a 4-7 record.  This week the road doesn’t get any easier as the Gauchos travel to No. 11 Hawai’i to open Big West play.  UC Santa Barbara is 0-2 against the Top 25 this season.

Bast Sets New Career Mark:
Against San Diego State last week, sophomore Sydney Bast notched a career-high with 18 digs, which also led the match.  So far this season she is averaging 3.10 digs per set.

Gaucho Toppers:
Elizabeth Sheffield currently ranks fourth in the conference with a .350 hitting percentage while owning the 10th spot in service aces with a .27 mark.  Teammate Phoebe Grunt continues to dominate at the net, posting a 1.10 blocks per set average to tie for fifth in the Big West Conference.

UH Opens League Play At Home:
Eleventh-ranked Hawai’i wraps up a season-opening, 13-match homestand this week with the start of Big West play.  Looking to reclaim the Big West title it lost a season ago to Long Beach State, the Rainbow Wahine entertain UC Santa Barbara Friday evening and Cal Poly  Saturday night.

Near Perfection:
The Rainbow Wahine begin league play atop the standings with an impressive 10-1 mark.  Their lone loss came on Sept. 6 against to No. 25 UCLA (3-1).

Big West Dominance:
Hawai’i is dominating the Big West Conference in nearly every category including hitting percentage (.276), kills (14.27), assists (13.05), blocks (3.15), service aces (1.58) and opponent hitting percentage (.163).  The only category they are not leading in is digs, where they sit eighth with a 13.32 average.  Individually, the results are pretty similar with Olivia Magill owning the top ranks in both hitting percentage (.389) and blocks (1.59), while teammate Nikki Taylor is first in kills (4.82) and service aces (.52).