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Big West Year In Review 2016-17




• Hawai‘i finished the season ranked No. 17 nationally in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll.  It was the 24th straight year that the ‘Bows landed within the final top-25 rankings.

• UH competed in its 24th straight NCAA Tournament.  The Rainbow Wahine knocked off USC in a five-set first round marathon match before falling to Minnesota in the second round.

• UH senior Nikki Taylor earned AVCA All-America Second Team honors for the second straight year.  The trio of UH sophomore Emily Maglio, Long Beach State senior Nele Barber and UC Santa Barbara freshman Lindsey Ruddins captured AVCA honorable mention All-America accolades.

• Two of the most accomplished and respected head coaches concluded legendary careers.  Hawai‘i mentor Dave Shoji announced his retirement after 42 seasons on the Moana campus.  He finished with 1,202 wins, second-most in NCAA Division I history, and four national championships.  Shoji’s counterpart at Long Beach State, Brian Gimmillaro, and a longtime rival also announced he was retiring after a storied 32-year career at the Beach.  He won three national championships, 13 Big West titles and accumulated 835 victories.


• CSUN represented the Big West in the NCAA Tournament, reaching the postseason for the seventh time in program history and making its first appearance since 2013.

• The Matadors earned the automatic bid to the NCAA’s as a result of winning their second Big West Tournament title – and first since 2012.  CSUN toppled Sacramento State in penalty kicks in the semifinals and defeated two-time defending champion Cal State Fullerton in double overtime in the finals.

• UC Santa Barbara senior Nick DePuy became the first individual in league history to earn three Big West Offensive Player of the Year awards.  He was later taken No. 19 overall by the Montreal Impact in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft.

• The UCSB program recorded its 16th straight season with 10 or more victories, all under the tutelage of head coach Tim Vom Steeg.  The Gauchos posted a 10-7-3 record in 2016.


• Long Beach State reached the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year and sixth time in school history.  The 49ers completed the campaign 10-7-4 overall, marking the ninth time in Mauricio Ingrassia’s head coaching tenure with double-digit wins.

• CSUN notched its first regular season title with a program-best 6-1-1 conference record.  The Matadors secured the No. 1 seed in the Big West Tournament, but fell at home in the semifinals to eventual champion Long Beach State.

• Three programs had immensely successful starts to their seasons.  UC Santa Barbara began 8-0, its best start since 1989.  Hawai‘i went 7-1-1 out of the gate for its best-ever start.  UC Irvine posted a 7-1-0 record for its best eight-game start since 1998.

• CSUN set two Big West single-season records with 15 shutouts and six consecutive conference shutouts.  Additionally, junior goalkeeper Jovani McCaskill set an individual single-season conference record with 14 shutouts, breaking the previous mark of 12 set by Long Beach State’s Kaitlyn Gustaves in 2011.


• Cal Poly returned to the winner’s circle in 2016, claiming the title with 18 points, the fewest at the men’s championship since the 2007 Mustang squad put up a perfect 15 points.  It was the 14th title in program history.

• Cal Poly junior Clayton Hutchins and UC Santa Barbara senior Adam Avila earned All-Region accolades for their performances at the NCAA West Region Championship.  Hutchins finished in 13th place (29:56.4) while Guijarro was 19th in 30:04.6.

• Cal State Fullerton had an outstanding showing at the Big West Championship, finishing third overall for its best performance since 1993.


• Cal Poly notched its fourth women’s title in the last five years, winning the 6K race with 27 points.  That represented the lowest winning score at the event since UC Santa Barbara tallied 26 points in 2006.

• The Mustangs secured their sixth title in school history.

• Sophomore Peyton Bilo, the Big West runner-up in 2015, was the 2016 individual champion as she finished in 21:04.1.  Bilo became the first Mustang since 2003 to earn Big West Athlete of the Year honors.  She continued to rack up accolades, earning All-West Region recognition with a personal-best 19:45.9 for ninth place at the NCAA West Region Championship.  Bilo consummated her outstanding campaign with All-American honors, achieved via a 23rd place showing at the NCAA Championships.  She ran that race in 20:14.4.

• Hawai‘i sophomore Camille Campos led her team in placing in each race she entered, setting a PR in each competition and the program record in the 6K (20:03.4).  Her seventh place finish at the Big West meet was the highest for a UH runner at a conference championship since the WAC Championship in 2003.


• UC Davis, the seventh different Big West program in the last seven years to advance to the NCAA Tournament, won its first Division I NCAA game with a victory over North Carolina Central in the First Four.  The Aggies provided the Big West their third NCAA Tournament victory in the last four years, joining Cal Poly (2014) and Hawai‘i (2016).

• UC Davis head coach Jim Les is the only current Big West coach to win an NCAA Tournament game with two Division I programs – Bradley being the other.

• UC Irvine won the Big West regular season title – either shared or outright – for the third time in the last four seasons.  The team’s three seniors – Luke Nelson, Jaron Martin and Ioannis Dimakopoulos – contributed to a conference regular season or tournament championship in each of their four years with the program.

• UCI participated in a postseason tournament for the fifth straight year, reaching the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.  Under head coach Russell Turner, the Anteaters also competed in the CIT (2013), NIT (2014), NCAA (2015) and CIT (2016).

• Cal State Fullerton fourth-year head coach Dedrique Taylor returned the program to the postseason for the first time since 2012.  The Titans hosted Weber State in the first round of the College Insider.com Tournament.


• Long Beach State returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1992, and nearly pulled off a mammoth upset of No. 2 seed Oregon State in the first round, losing 56-55 in Corvallis.   The Beach captured their first Big West Tournament title since 1991 to gain the conference’s automatic bid into the NCAA bracket.

• UC Davis established program firsts by winning the first two postseason games of its Division I history in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.  The Aggies defeated Utah and Colorado State on the road during the first two rounds of the WNIT, en route to a school record 25 victories.

• CSUN sophomore Channon Fluker joined an exclusive Big West club, as just the second player ever to lead the conference in scoring (18.0), rebounding (12.0) and blocks (2.3) per game.  Cal State Fullerton’s Genia Miller was the only other player to accomplish the feat, doing so in 1990-91 with averages of 29.4 points, 12.3 rebounds and 4.4 blocks.

• The Beach finished 23-11 overall, the third straight season with 20 wins and the longest string of success for the school since a seven-year run of 20-win campaigns from 1985-86 to 1991-92.

• Two coaches reached milestones as Jennifer Gross of UC Davis collected career win No. 100.  UC Riverside’s John Margaritis earned his 200th career win with a triumph in the first round of the Big West Tournament, making him one of only 14 coaches in league history to reach that number.


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• The Big West had a school advance to the College World Series for the fourth straight year as Cal State Fullerton represented the conference in Omaha.  The Titans won the Stanford Regional and the Long Beach Super Regional to reach Omaha for the second time in three years.

• Conference rivals Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton squared off in the postseason for the first time in an epic showdown at Blair Field.  The Titans won the best-of-three series to deny the Dirtbags their first trip to Omaha since 1998.

• Long Beach State finished 20-4 in Big West play to capture its ninth conference title – and first since 2008.

• The Titans and Dirtbags finished in the top-10 of all five major polls – Baseball America, NCBWA, D1Baseball, Collegiate Baseball and USA Today.  CSF was No. 7 in all five polls.  LBSU earned a ranking as high as No. 8 by Baseball America.

• UC Irvine junior Keston Hiura was crowned Big West and national batting champion with a .442 average.  He broke the school’s single-season record with that mark and ended up as the ninth overall pick in the 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Draft to the Milwaukee Brewers.

• A total of 38 Big West players were selected in the MLB Draft, tying for the sixth-highest total in conference history.


• Cal State Fullerton repeated as Big West champion, marking the program’s first consecutive titles since a four-year run from 2000-03.

• The Titans advanced to the regional championship game of the UCLA Regional against the host Bruins.  CSF finished the 2017 season with a 35-23 record.

• Two Big West schools competed in the inaugural National Invitational Softball Championship.  Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara were placed in the Stockton Regional hosted by former Big West member Pacific.  The Mustangs advanced to the championship round in Lynchburg, Va., after going unbeaten in the Stockton Regional.  Cal Poly went 1-2 in the six-team finals bracket.

• Cal Poly senior Sierra Hyland finished her career as one of the most decorated players in Big West history. In the conference record book, the pitcher finished first in strikeouts (965), tied for sixth in wins (82) and was third in innings pitched (942.0).  Going 24-14 with a 1.10 ERA with 275 strikeouts in 2017, Hyland was named a second team All-American by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.

• Hyland finished with 16 career Big West Pitcher of the Week honors for first all-time.

• CSUN senior Taylor Glover finished her illustrious career ranked No. 3 in Big West history in batting average (.397), while UC Santa Barbara senior Kristen Clark fell just four hits shy (296) of becoming only the second player in league annals to collect 300 in a career.


• UC Irvine earned its seventh regular season championship since 2009, continuing a streak of dominance that has witnessed the Anteaters win the title seven times (two shared, five outright) in nine years.  UCI also won the title with a perfect 5-0 record for the fourth time in that nine-year span.

• The Anteaters continued their mastery at the Big West Tournament, hoisting the championship trophy for the sixth time in nine seasons.  UCI knocked off tournament host UC Davis in the semifinals before outlasting Long Beach State in a sudden victory showdown, 8-7, in the championship match.

• UCI’s season ended in the NCAA Tournament, the program’s fifth appearance all-time, in a narrow 9-7 loss to Cal.  The Anteaters concluded the campaign ranked No. 5 in the country.

• UCI junior Mary Brooks, who scored a Big West Tournament record 10 goals over two games, notched second team All-American honors for the second straight year from the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches.


• Hawai‘i won its second straight tournament title, traveling to Pismo Beach to take down host Cal Poly and Long Beach State twice.  The second-seeded Rainbow Wahine defeated the Beach in the championship match for the second year in a row.

• Multiple teams earned at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament as No. 5 Hawai‘i and No. 6 Long Beach State descended on the shores of Gulf Shores, Ala.  The Rainbow Wahine reached the semifinals, posting a pair of wins over Florida State and one victory against LSU around losses to top-seeded USC and Pepperdine.  The Beach fell to Pepperdine and LSU to conclude their tournament stay.

• The UH tandem of Amy Ozee and Hannah Zalopany were selected to the NCAA All-Tournament team.

• Two pairs captured All-American honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association in LBSU No. 1 tandem Nele Barber and Rachel Nieto, and Hawai‘i top flight duo Mikayla Tucker and Morgan Martin.


• UC Santa Barbara won its third consecutive Big West Tournament title, and the eighth in 14 years at Indian Wells Tennis Garden.  The Gauchos lifted the trophy as the No. 1 seed for the second straight year.

• The Gauchos finished 19-6 overall and No. 37 nationally in the final Oracle/ITA rankings.  UCSB won a program-record 12 straight matches at one juncture.  The 19 victories tied for the second-most in the Big West history book dating back to 2006.  UCSB also made its 13th trip to the NCAA Tournament.

• UCSB completed conference play with an unblemished 5-0 record for the second straight season.  Counting regular season and tournament contests, the Gauchos have notched 18 straight wins against Big West opponents going back to the 2015 season.

• Seniors Alec Adamson of UC Davis and Ben Donovan of Cal Poly became just the fourth and fifth players in Big West history to earn a spot on the All-Big West First Team four times.


• After waiting 20 years to win a Big West Tournament championship a year ago, UC Santa Barbara wasted no time in reasserting superiority.  The Gauchos claimed back-to-back tourney titles as the No. 2 seed and reached the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year.

• UCSB finished with a final national ranking of No. 46 according to the Oracle/ITA poll.

• Hawai‘i completed an undefeated run through the Big West regular season with an 8-0 record.  It was the first Big West title for the Rainbow Wahine.

• Cal State Fullerton set a program record for victories for the second straight year after collecting 19 in 2017.  The Titans also notched their best winning percentage (.826) and reached the semifinals of the Big West Tournament for the first time.

• Cindy Nguyen (Hawai‘i), Maeva Razakasoa (Long Beach State) and Alexis Valenzuela (Cal State Fullerton) joined an exclusive club as four-time honorees on the All-Big West First Team.  Only six other women had made that list prior to the 2017 season.


• UC Santa Barbara won its first tournament championship in nearly 20 years.  The Gauchos held off a charging CSUN squad to capture their first title since 1998.  In an exciting finish, UCSB sophomore Nick Swanson sank a short putt for par on the 18th hole for a one-shot victory over the Matadors.

• UC Santa Barbara’s conference title earned the squad a bid to the NCAA Tournament, the program’s first since 1999.  The Gauchos finished in 11th place at the Stanford Regional with a final score of 874.

• Three individuals also competed at the Stanford Regional – Felix More of CSUN, David Kim of UC Irvine and Andres Gonzalez of Long Beach State.  Kim had the best finish of the trio – 20th place – as he finished with a three-day total of 2-over 212.


• Cal Poly held off defending champion UC Riverside by one stroke to capture its first Big West Championship.  The Mustangs won for the second time this season at the Oak Quarry Golf Club after taking the title at the Battle at the Rock in February.

• Cal State Fullerton senior Martina Edberg claimed Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) Second Team All-American accolades.  She posted a Titan single-season record 71.86 scoring average, and had top-three finishes in 10 of 12 tournaments, including six individual titles.  Edberg also won a conference-record five consecutive Golfer of the Month awards.  She culminated her year by participating in the NCAA Championship as an individual invitee.

• Edberg qualified for the NCAA Championship on the basis of finishing second at the Albuquerque Regional.  She carded a 3-under-par 213 at The Championship Golf Course.  Paige Lee of UC Davis joined Edberg at the Albuquerque Regional, while Jakeishya Le of UC Riverside also competed as an individual at the Lubbock Regional.


• Cal State Fullerton secured the program’s first title on its home turf at Titan Track Complex, doing so for 29th-year head coach John Elders.  The Titans accomplished the feat in dramatic fashion.  Holding a one-point advantage – 125 to 124 – on Cal Poly with the 4x400 relay to be contested, the Titans outpaced the Mustangs with a season-best time to win by a final margin of 133 to 128.

• UC Irvine senior Lloyd Sicard concluded an outstanding career as just the third individual in history to win the 110-meter hurdles three consecutive years at the conference meet.  The Big West champion qualified for the NCAA Championships in the event for the third year in a row.

• Long Beach State sophomore Kemonie Briggs owned the highest national ranking of any Big West athlete, as he produced the eighth-longest long jump at a distance of 26 feet, 2.75 inches at the season-opening Beach vs. UCLA Dual.  

• Four athletes earned USTFCCCA All-American accolades as a result of competing at the NCAA Championships.  UC Irvine’s Lloyd Sicard (110 meter hurdles) and Isaiah Jewett (800 meters), and UC Santa Barbara’s Matthew Kuskey (javelin) were named second team All-Americans, while Long Beach State’s Vincent Calhoun (high jump) earned an honorable mention selection.


• CSUN snatched its conference record 10th championship with the second-smallest margin of victory in the 34-year history of the Big West meet.  The Matadors clung to a minuscule 0.7 point lead on defending champion UC Davis going into the final event – the 4x400 relay.  On the anchor leg, CSUN’s Lexis Lambert nipped Rochelle Nadreau of UC Davis at the finish line by a thrilling .9 seconds – 3:39.45 to 3:39.54 – giving the Matadors a 144 to 142.7 victory.

• Three CSUN standouts redshirted the 2016 season, giving way to a last place finish at the Big West meet.  But the return of Lexis Lambert, Marie Veale and Monique Griffiths impacted this year’s title run significantly.  Lambert won gold in the 200 and 400 meters, Veale captured first place in the 100 meter dash, and Griffiths was the victor in the hammer.

• The lone record-breaking performance at the Big West meet came from the CSUN senior Monique Griffiths.  She unleashed a mammoth throw of 215 feet, 11 inches (65.82m) in the hammer, which eclipsed the previous meet record (206-03) and overall Big West record (213-10) held by UC Santa Barbara’s Amy Happened from 2007.

• UC Davis senior Rianna Goins highlighted the list of 12 Big West All-American recipients as she was the lone first team recipient from the USTFCCCA.  Goins finished in sixth place in the 800-meter finals with a personal-best time of two minutes, 3.86 seconds.  She improved on her previous PR, the 2:05.42 set at the NCAA West Preliminary in Austin, Texas.

NCAA Postseason Teams
WVB – Hawai‘i
WSOC – Long Beach State
MBB – UC Davis
WBB – Long Beach State
MTEN – UC Santa Barbara
WTEN – UC Santa Barbara
WWP – UC Irvine
BVB – Hawai‘i, Long Beach State
SFT – Cal State Fullerton
BASE – Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State

NCAA Postseason Individuals
WXC – Peyton Bilo (CP)
MTEN – Morgan Mays (UCSB), Simon Freund (UCSB)
WTEN – Palina Dubavets (UCSB), Melissa Baker (UCSB), Petra Melounova (UH)
WGOLF – Martina Edberg (CSF)
MTRK – Lloyd Sicard (UCI), Isaiah Jewett (UCI), Matthew Kuskey (UCSB), Vincent Calhoun (LBSU)
WTRK – Rianna Goins (UCD), Asheley Bamberg (CSUN), Peyton Bilo (CP), Riley Cooks (LBSU), Monique Griffiths (CSUN), Lexis Lambert (CSUN), Courtney Robinson (CSUN), Tori Usgaard (UCSB), Marie Veale (CSUN), Erinn Beattie (UCD), Tayler Fleming (UCR), Jenna Hinkle (UCSB)

WVB – Nikki Taylor (UH), Emily Maglio (UH), Nele Barber (LBSU), Lindsey Ruddins (UCSB)
WXC – Peyton Bilo (CP)
MBB – Luke Nelson (UCI)
WWP – Mary Brooks (UCI), Christina Kotsia (LBSU), Chloe Barr (UH), Erin Patras (LBSU), Madeleine Sanchez (CSUN), Greta Kohlmoos (UCD), McKenna Mitchell (UCI), Irene Gonzalez (UH)
BVB – Mikayla Tucker (UH), Morgan Martin (UH), Nele Barber (LBSU), Rachel Nieto (LBSU)
MTRK – Lloyd Sicard (UCI), Isaiah Jewett (UCI), Matthew Kuskey (UCSB), Vincent Calhoun (LBSU)
WTRK – Rianna Goins (UCD), Asheley Bamberg (CSUN), Peyton Bilo (CP), Riley Cooks (LBSU), Monique Griffiths (CSUN), Lexis Lambert (CSUN), Courtney Robinson (CSUN), Tori Usgaard (UCSB), Marie Veale (CSUN), Erinn Beattie (UCD), Tayler Fleming (UCR), Jenna Hinkle (UCSB)
WGLF – Martina Edberg (CSF)
SFT – Sierra Hyland (CP)
BASE – Keston Hiura (UCI), David Banuelos (LBSU), Scott Hurst (CSF), Spencer Howard (CP), Darren McCaughan (LBSU), Connor Seabold (CSF), Brett Conine (CSF), Scott Hurst (CSF)