Big West Men's Volleyball Undefeated In February
2019 Men's Volleyball Release No. 7
The Big West posted a 8-0 record last week in non-conference action. The six members have not lost a match in the month of February, going 20-0 overall.
Counting Long Beach State’s victory over Lindenwood on Jan. 31, the league has won 21 consecutive contests. The last loss by any squad occurred on Jan. 30.
Long Beach State (12-0) and Hawai‘i (8-0) are the nation’s only remaining undefeated teams. The Big West owns an outstanding combined non-conference record of 54-16. That includes a winning record against every other conference, including the MPSF (21-10), EIVA (13-1) and MIVA (13-5).
Top Tests This Week
The unbeaten February streak will be put to a stiff test this week with three marquee matches on tap. No. 4 UCLA visits a pair of Big West heavyweights with No. 6 UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday and No. 1 Long Beach State on Saturday. The Gauchos have reeled off eight straight wins since their last loss on Jan. 16 to UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. The Beach knocked off the Bruins at their place on Jan. 19, and now seek the season sweep. LBSU enters the showdown riding a 32-match win streak inside the Walter Pyramid, which is tied for the program record initially set from 1998-2001. LBSU’s last loss inside the ‘Mid came on March 26, 2016 against then-No. 2 UCLA.
No. 5 Pepperdine also travels to No. 11 CSUN on Wednesday with the Matadors looking to knock off their second top five foe this season. CSUN upset then-No. 2 UCLA at the Matadome on Jan. 9.
Big West Battles Await
UC Irvine and UC San Diego kicked off the Big West schedule last week in La Jolla with the ‘Eaters taking the win in four sets. The two teams meet again on Thursday in Irvine to complete the home-and-home conference series. The Tritons host UC Santa Barbara on Friday on ESPN3.
Hawai‘i Perfect So Far
Hawai‘i has not dropped a set in any of its eight victories to start the 2019 season. The ‘Bows have been dominant in all areas, leading the nation in hitting percentage (.472), kills per set (14.58) and assists per set (13.17), while ranking No. 2 in aces per set (2.04) and blocks per set (2.75). The UH defense is averaging 9.42 digs per set – No. 7 in the country - and led by sophomore libero Gage Worsley, who is tops in the NCAA at 2.71 per set.
The Big West boasts the nation’s top three teams according to the Feb. 11 American Volleyball Coaches Association poll. No. 1 Long Beach State, No. 2 Hawai‘i and No. 3 UC Irvine are a combined 32-2 this season. The ‘Eaters have played seven nationally ranked teams and posted a 6-1 record against that competition. UC Santa Barbara is ranked No. 6 nationally while CSUN is No. 11 this week. UCSB is 8-3 against nationally ranked opponents.