Mustangs Crowned Big West Champs:
Cal Poly, who posted its best start in program history at 19-1, was crowned Big West champion for the second straight year after posting a 15-1 conference record. It’s also the second time the Mustangs have earned back-to-back titles, as they did so back in 2006 and 2007. Hawai’i finished second after registering a 14-2 mark and was followed by UC Irvine (10-6). UC Santa Barbara (9-7) finished fourth, while UC Davis and Long Beach State tied for fifth with an even 8-8 record. CSUN and UC Riverside were knotted in seventh with a 4-12 and Cal State Fullerton (0-16) rounded out the nine-team field.
Cal Poly, Hawai’i Close Season In NCAA Tournament:
Cal Poly, the 2018 Big West Conference Champion, and the University of Hawai’i both advanced to the 2018 NCAA Division I NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship. The Mustangs, making their second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, and 16th overall, after earning the league’s automatic bid, battled San Diego in first round action. Playing at the Galen Center and without Big West Player of the Year Torrey Van Winden, the Mustangs fell to the Toreros, 3-1.
Earning an at-large berth in the tournament for its 37th overall appearance, 26th straight, the University of Hawai’i faced Baylor in a first round match up in Eugene, Ore. The Rainbow Wahine found themselves on the losing end of a tightly-contested, five-set marathon to conclude their 2018 season.
UCI, UCSB Participate NIVC:
UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara accepted invitations to the second annual National Invitational Volleyball Championship, which was revived in 2017 after its six-year run from 1989-1995. Both teams traveled to Las Vegas, Nev., for first round action. The Anteaters, competing in the NIVC for the second straight year, suffered a sweep to host UNLV. The Gauchos, making their first postseason appearance since 2013, battled Fresno State but fell short in a five-set battle.
Big West Announces Top Award Winners:
Back-to-back Big West Conference champions Cal Poly secured at least a share of all three top awards. Junior Torrey Van Winden was name Big West Player of the Year and Sam Crosson secured his second straight Big West Coach of the Year accolade. Cal Poly’s Avalon DeNecochea, along with UC Irvine’s Abby Marjama, received Big West Co-Freshman of the Year honors.
Seven teams were represented on the first team with UC Irvine and Hawai’i leading the way with four selections apiece. Cal Poly nabbed three spots, UC Santa Barbara secured two and CSUN, Long Beach State and UC Davis each earned one honor.
Collecting their third All-Big West First Team selection are Cal Poly’s Adlee Van Winden, CSUN’s Aeryn Owens, Hawai’i’s Norene Iosia and UC Santa Barbara’s Lindsey Ruddins. Also repeating as first teamers for a second year are UC Irvine’s Idara Akpakpa and Haley DeSales, Cal Poly’s Torrey Van Winden and Hawai’i’s McKenna Granato.
Cal Poly’s Home Win Streak In Tact:
Cal Poly, who was ranked in the AVCA Top 25 poll the entire season, concluded the 2018 regular season with an active 21-match home win streak.
Big West Trio Earn All-America Recognition:
A week after being named American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Region, a trio of Big West Conference women’s volleyball players were tabbed AVCA All-America Honorable Mention. Torrey and Adlee Van Winden, from Cal Poly, were named to the AVCA All-Pacific North Region Team last week, with Torrey earning her third accolade and Adlee picking up her first all-region honor. Last year Adlee was selected for the All-Pacific North Regional Honorable Mention team. This is the second year in a row both were named All-Americans, becoming just the second and third Mustangs to do so and the first time since Jennifer Keddy did so in 2010-11.
Representing the Big West on the 2018 AVCA All-Pacific South Region Team, UC Santa Barbara’s Lindsey Ruddins collected her third consecutive AVCA All-America Honorable Mention honor.
Davis Duo Reach Milestones:
UC Davis’ senior libero Malia Bolko became the school’s all-time career digs leader, while senior outside hitter Emily Allen achieved both her 1,000th career kill and 1,000th career dig this season. Bolko concluded her career at UCD as the school’s all-time leader with a career total of 1,855, which places her sixth all-time in the Big West annals. She also ranks seventh in the Big West’s career dig average with a 4.34 clip. Allen ends her collegiate career with totals of totals 1,014 kills and 1,014 digs. She is the 10th member of the 1,000 club in each category, and just the fourth player in UC Davis history to reach both thresholds. She joins the ranks of Candy Lench (1989-92), Jill Changaris (1993-96) and Kelly Gaudino (2000-03).
Petrachi Crushes UCSB Digs Record:
Senior libero Emilia Petrachi closed out her career with 1,977 scoops to own the top spot in UCSB history and the fourth spot in the Big West record book. She also owns the fifth spot in the in the Big West in career dig average with a 4.80 average. This is the second time in six years that head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch has witnessed this record being broken. It was in UCSB’s 2013 regular season finale, during her first year at the helm of the Gauchos, when she watched Leah Sully leapfrog past Kristin Nelson for the most in program history at the time.
Owens Ends Career Second In CSUN’s Annals:
Senior Aeryn Owens concludes her career as a Matador ranked second on the CSUN career kills list with 1,555. Owens opened the 2018 season ranked 11th in school history.
Ruddins Leaves Mark In Record Book:
UC Santa Barbara’s Lindsey Ruddins ranked among the top in the country in kills for two years straight. Her impressive showing on the court over the years earned her nine Big West Player of the Week award to tie for third in the conference. Five of those honors were collected during the 2018 season.