Conference Contests Intensify With Three Weeks Until Tourney Time
Big West Women's Water Polo Weekly Release No. 12
Three conference matchups are on the docket this weekend as the league's women's water polo clubs look to take another step toward solidifying Tournament seeding. League-leading Hawai'i hosts Long Beach State in the marquee matchup of the weekend as the 'Bows can take another step toward the regular season title.
UC Irvine looks to continue its winning ways with a road contest against UC Davis in a battle of top 10 teams, while CSUN heads to the Central Coast to battle UC Santa Barbara.
AROUND THE BIG WEST
BEACH PROTECTS ITS HOUSE
Long Beach State has shown to be unbeatable at home so far this season, posting a 5-0 record at Lindgren Athletics Center. After playing its first 15 games away from home, the Beach has taken advantage of familiar surroundings as they have won five of their last seven outings including two matchups against conference opposition.
BATTLE FOR THE STAT QUEEN
Hawai’i’s Irene Gonzalez and CSUN’s Madeleine Sanchez are engaged in a battle for supremacy atop the league leaderboard. Gonzalez leads the league in goals (46) and points (77) while ranking second in assists (31). Sanchez is currently ranked second in goals (45) and points (75) and is third in assists (30). Not surpringly, the duo also ranks 1-2 in goals per game, assists per game and points per game.
Hawai’i has flashed its offensive prowess all season, recording a Big West-leading 11.76 goals per game. That figure is currently the best in single season conference history, just ahead of the 2014 CSUN squad that put up 11.44 goals per contest. If the ‘Bows can maintain their lofty number, they would join that Matador club as the only two to average 11.0 goals or more in a season in Big West history.
CSUN has shown an ability to put up big steal numbers as the team has four players ranked in the top 10 on the league leaderboard, including the top three slots. Katelyn Fairchild leads the league with 44 steals, while her teammates Shannon Hovanesian (41) and Madeleine Sanchez (40) are right behind her. The trio are the only players in the league to record 40+ steals to this point in the season.
The current rankings haven’t changed too much for Big West clubs but all six remain ranked in the top 25, with three in the top 10. Hawai’i leads the way at #5 with UC Irvine at #7. UC Davis sits at #10, Long Beach State #14, UC Santa Barbara is #17 and CSUN sits at #20.
This season has seen a pair of coaches reach career milestones. UC Irvine’s Dan Klatt became the first coach in league history to reach the 200 win plateau when the Anteaters downed CSUN in conference action. UCI was also involved in the other coaching milestone in a loss to Hawai’i. The Rainbow Wahine victory gave coach Maureen Cole win No. 100 for her career.