Big West Women's Volleyball Release
Race For The Title:
Hawai’i continued its undefeated streak last week with a 3-1 win over UC Davis to improve to 13-0 in Big West play. With three games remaining and Cal Poly and Long Beach State knotted in second place with an 11-3 mark, the Rainbow Wahine are guaranteed at least a share of the conference title. Hawai’i can capture sole possession of its eighth Big West championship as early as Tuesday when it battles UC Irvine on ESPN3.
UC Davis sits fourth with an 8-6 mark and is followed by UC Irvine at 6-7. UC Riverside and CSUN are knotted in sixth with a record of 5-9, UC Santa Barbara (3-11) owns the eighth spot and Cal State Fullerton (0-14) rounds out the nine-team field.
Big West In the Top 25:
Hawai’i, 23-1 overall, slipped one spot to eighth in this week’s AVCA Top 25 poll while Long Beach State continues to receive votes.
800 And Counting...:
Head coach Brian Gimmillaro opened Big West play with a 2-0 mark to reach the 800-career win threshold during his 31 years at Long Beach State. Gimmillaro, who now holds 810 wins, became just the fourth active coach to reach 800 wins at one institution, and is only the 14th coach ever to record 800 wins at the Division I level.
We’re Number One:
The Rainbow Wahine lead the nation with an impressive 3.37 blocks per set average. Olivia Magill is the catalyst for the team, sporting the country’s fifth-best average of 1.59. Magill paces the Big West while teammates Emily Maglio and Nikki Taylor sit second (1.25 BPS) and third (1.23 BPS).
Stinson Eclipses 1,000-Kill Mark:
Senior Cieana Stinson reached the 1,000-kill threshold the final weekend of September 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 owns 1,186 career kills and currently ranks eighth in school history and is just 36 kills from grabbing the seventh slot.
Squyres Reaches Milestone:
Senior Kaylin Squyres lifted her career kill total to 1,163 last week and currently sits in the sixth spot in school history. Devon Damelio (1,058 in 2010-13) was the most recent Aggie to finish her career above that milestone. Squyres, who needs 46 kills to move to the fifth slot, is averaging a league-best 4.35 kills per set to rank 20th in the nation.
Big West On ESPN3:
The Big West Conference announced that 11 women’s volleyball matches will be distributed on ESPN3 during the 2015. Games remaining:
Tues., November 17 - Hawai’i at UC Irvine
Sat., November 21 - UC Davis at UC Irvine
Cal Poly may just have one match this week but it is a challenging one as it hosts No. 8 Hawai’i, who enters the week having claimed at least a share of the 2015 Big West Conference title. The Mustangs fell to the Rainbow Wahine earlier this year, 3-0.
A Clean Sweep:
The Mustangs picked up two more victories last week by virtue of sweeps, bumping their three-set victories to 11 this season. It’s the most sweep victories the program has recorded since 2007.
In The Big West:
Cal Poly continues to pace the Big West in both assists (12.97) and digs (16.32). Individually, Adlee Van Winden is tied for third with a 4.00 kills per set average with teammate Raeann Greisen holding the seventh slot with a 3.29 mark. Another pair of Mustangs rank in the top 10 in hitting percentage with Savannah Niemen (.312) in eighth and Taylor Gruenewald (.291) in 10th. Taylor Nelson continues to dominate the league with a conference-best 11.00 assists per set average. Nelson and Niemen are also occupying spots in service aces at third and seventh, respectively.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
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 with a 0-26 mark thus far. The Titans have never gone winless in program history but they did produce a 1-28 record in 1994. Cal State Fullerton has two final opportunities to capture a victory this week when it visits Long Beach State (11/20) before hosting CSUN (11/21) for senior night.
Another Scoop Please:
Junior Paige Reed currently sports a 3.93 digs average to sit fifth in the Big West.
Sophomore Kyra Hill paces the Titans with a 2.55 kill average and Kandace Thomas owns a team-high .259 hitting percentage.
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.
Season Comes To An End:
CSUN, dropping five of its last six contests, closes out the 2015 season this weekend with a pair of contests. The Matadors host UC Riverside Friday evening before traveling to Titan Gym Saturday to take on Cal State Fullerton. The Matadors defeated the Titans just last week by a score of 3-0, but fell to the Highlanders, 3-2, back on November 3.
Big West Rankings:
Senior Cieana Stinson currently ranks fifth in the Big West Conference with a 3.76 average, while sophomore Katie Sato owns a 3.50 dig average to sit eighth.
Home Is Where The Victory Is:
Four of CSUN’s five victories have occurred in front of its hometown fans at The Matadome. The Matadors’ lone road victory was a 3-1 win over Florida A&M as part of the Arizona Invitational. Luckily for the Matadors, one of their final two contests is set to be played at The Matadome.
LONG BEACH STATE
LBSU Ends Big West Play:
Winning seven of the last eight contests, Long Beach State wraps up conference play this week with a home match against Cal State Fullerton (11/20) and a road trip to UC Riverside (11/21). The 49ers swept both opponents earlier this season.
Senior Hayley Benson and sophomore Ashley Murray sit sixth and ninth in the Big West in hitting percentage. Benson is registering .322, while Murray owns a .300 clip. Benson also holds the sixth-best blocks average of 1.00.
Against The Big West:
Long Beach State currently owns the conference’s third-best kill average of 13.82, but in league-only contests the 49ers are sporting a conference-best 14.31 mark. Individually, Nele Barber is knotted in third place with a 4.00 kills mark and holds the 10th spot in digs with a 3.29 average. In Big West outings, she betters her averages with 4.15 kills and 3.42 digs per set.
Facing The Best:
Long Beach State has posted six losses this season, three of which were against ranked opponents - No. 14 UCLA, No. 8 Hawai’i and No. 6 Hawai’i.
Another Light Week:
For the second straight week UC Davis, who has won four of its last six contests, plays just one match, this time it is against UC Irvine on ESPN3 Saturday night. The Aggies, who have their last three road contests, downed the Anteaters earlier this season by a score of 3-1.
Against The Best:
Senior Kaylin Squyres paces the Big West Conference with a 4.35 kills per set average, while ranking 20th in the country. She is also sporting the country’s 21st-best point total of 510.5.
Ohiri Leaving Mark On Program:
Freshman Kelechi Ohiri is making waves in just her first season as an Aggie. She currently sports a .335 hitting percentage, putting her on pace to possibly grab one of the top five spots in program history.
UC Davis currently sits second in the Big West with a 2.29 blocks per set mark of 2.29. The Aggies are led by Aima Eichie and Kelechi Ohiri, who hold the fourth (1.09) and fifth (1.05) spots.
Double Dose On ESPN3:
After being idle last week, UC Irvine hosts a pair of contests on ESPN3 this week which features No. 8 Hawai’i, who already secured at least a share of the 2015 Big West Conference title, and UC Davis. The Anteaters and Rainbow Wahine face off Tuesday evening while the Aggies visit Orange County Saturday. UC Irvine is looking for revenge after falling to both teams earlier in the year.
Senior Ella Rosenfeld and freshman Harlee Kekauoha sit fifth and seventh in the league in hitting percentage with marks of .331 and .314. You can also find Kekauoha’s name in the kills category with the sixth-best mark of 3.34 and service aces with a .32 average to tie for second.
Hain At The Helm:
Ashlie Hain, starting setter on UC Irvine’s 2003 and 2004 NCAA Tournament teams, returned to 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.
Highlanders Set School Record:
With a sweep over UC Santa Barbara Saturday evening, UC Riverside secured its fifth Big West Conference match of the season, breaking the program record for most conference wins in a season since the Highlanders made the move to Division I fifteen years ago. They are currently tied for sixth in the standings with CSUN at 5-9. Also worth noting, the Highlanders’ 10 overall victories is the highest total since the 2005 squad registered a 16-11 mark.
End Of The Road:
UC Riverside closes out the 2015 season with a trip to The Matadome Friday night to take on CSUN before hosting Long Beach State Saturday evening. First serve is slated for 7:00 p.m. for both contests.
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 4.93 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.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Sporting a 7-18 record with only two games remaining on their schedule, the Gauchos are unable to reach double-digit wins for the first time in school history. Prior to this season, the lowest win total dates back to 2008 when the squad went 11-16 overall. UC Santa Barbara, who currently owns a 3-11 Big West mark, tallied a program-low four conference victories back in 1984 when it played just eight conference matches.
In The Big West:
Junior Phoebe Grunt is hitting .337 to sit third in the Big West Conference. Her teammate Ali Barbeau sits 10th in kills with a 2.72 average. Jaylen Villanueva is knotted in eighth place with a .28 service aces per set average, while Elizabeth Sheffield sits 10th with a .27 mark. Emilia Petrachi, this week’s Big West Freshman of the Week recipient, continues to dig her way towards the top as she currently ranks second with a 4.73 mark.
A Look Ahead:
Following this week’s showdown with No. 8 Hawai’i, UC Santa Barbara travels to UC Irvine Tuesday, November 24 to close out the 2015 season.
Hawai’i, who wraps up a six-match, regular season-ending road trip with three contests this week, is riding an 18-match win streak - its longest win streak since UH won 19 in a row in 2012. The Rainbow Wahine own an impressive 23-1 overall mark to rank third in the country with a .958 win-loss percentage. The lone defeat came on Sept. 6 against No. 25 UCLA (3-1). The Rainbow Wahine may be one win away from a perfect overall record, but the Rainbow Wahine do own an unblemished 13-0 record in Big West play and have already captured a share of the 2015 Big West title.
Cramping Their Style:
The ‘Bows are holding their opponents to a miniscule .143 hitting percentage to rank sixth in the country.
Hawai’i has swept 13 of its opponents this season, including a streak of six consecutive 3-0 victories from Sept. 20 - Oct. 9.
Leading The Pack:
Hawai’i currently leads the league in hitting percentage (.287), blocks (3.36), kills (14.05), service aces (1.52) and opponent hitting percentage (.145).