A Trio of Matadors Named to Big West All-Conference Team


A Trio of Matadors Named to Big West All-Conference Team

2007 Big West Women's Volleyball All-Conference Team



IRVINE, Calif. - Junior Val Kepler and sophomore Angela Hupp were both named Honorable Mention while Brittany Williams was named to the All-Freshman Team as part of the 2007 All-Big West Women's Volleyball Team as announced by the conference office on Tuesday.

Kepler (Simi Valley/Royal HS) earned All-Big West honors for the first time in her Northridge career by being named Honorable Mention. The junior middle blocker led the Matadors in hitting percentage (.278) and was second in blocks (135) and aces (23) and third in kills (251). She also finished eighth in the Big West in hitting percentage and was sixth in blocks per game as Northridge proved to be one of the best blocking teams in the Big West.

Hupp (Acton/Paraclete HS), the 2006 Big West Freshman of the Year, was the second Matador to earn Honorable Mention accolades in 2007. She led the Big West with five triple-doubles this season and now has nine in her Northridge career. Hupp, who ranked 10th in the Big West in assists per game (5.86), was fourth on the Matadors in kills per game (2.24) third in blocks (87) and fourth in digs (207).

Williams (Chino Hills/Ayala HS) was the fourth Northridge player in as many years to be named to the seven-member All-Freshman Team. She joins Kelly Zabielski (2004), Harmony Burdine (2005) and Hupp (2006) who received the honor in the last four seasons. Williams leads the Matadors in kills per game (2.73) and ranks second on the team in kills (257). She's also chipped in 54 total blocks, 39 digs and 16 assists heading into the final two matches of her freshman season.

"I'm proud of all our players," said head coach Jeff Stork. "Any recognition our individual players receive is well deserved."

From the Big West Conference

This year's Big West Volleyball All-Conference honors has a deja v theme with Cal Poly's Kylie Atherstone and head coach Jon Stevenson earning top honors for the second straight season. Atherstone picked up her second Big West Player of the Year award a season after receiving Cal Poly's first honor in school history. In just his third season at the helm of the Mustang program, Stevenson received the nod for 2007 Big West Coach of the Year. Also added to the mix of distinguished honors is Kari Pestolesi, who earned UC Irvine's first-ever 2007 Big West Volleyball Freshman of the Year accolade.

A conference-record six Big West Player of the Week honors showcases Atherstone's dominance throughout the 2007 season. The Chico, Calif., native leads the conference with a 4.75 kills per game average and ranks second in service aces (.48 APG). With the addition of her six conference weekly honors this season, Atherstone now owns nine weekly awards in her career, tying her for the top spot in the Big West record book. The 6-1 junior becomes the first player to earn back-to-back player of the year honors since Long Beach State's Cheryl Weaver (2000, 01) accomplished the feat.

In her first season as an Anteater, Pestolesi leads UC Irvine with an average of 4.17 kills and .35 services ace per game. Starting all but one UC Irvine game this season, Pestolesi ranks fifth in the conference in both categories. Earlier in the season the Huntington Beach, Calif., native earned Big West Player of the Week honors after outstanding performances against then-ranked No. 4 USC and conference foes Pacific and UC Davis.

After a 22-year drought, Stevenson has guided the Mustangs to two consecutive Big West titles. In his three-year stint competing in the Big West, he has compiled a 38-6 record (.863) in conference play and an overall record of 63-19 (.768). Under the guidance of Stevenson, the Mustangs gained nationally recognition last season when the team reached top 25 status for the first time in seven years. Cal Poly, who is currently ranked 17th in the country in the AVCA/CSTV poll, has maintained that success over the past two seasons.

Seven teams were represented on the first team with Cal Poly leading the way with five representatives, a mirror-image of last year's squad that received five first-team honors for the first time in the Big West since Long Beach State in 1998. Long Beach State picked up three selections, followed by Pacific, UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara each receiving two nods. Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside each garnered one All-Big West First Team member.

Claiming a spot on the first team is Long Beach State's Alexis Crimes, who becomes the fourth four-time All-Big West First Team selection in the league. Crimes ranks second in the conference in both hitting percentage (.367) and kills (4.66), while also reaching the top 10 in blocks. Mustangs Kylie Atherstone and Chelsea Hayes and Gaucho Brett Quirarte are making their third appearance as an All-Big West First Team member.

Of the 12 players on the Honorable Mention Team, Pacific and UC Irvine lead the way with three selections apiece, followed by Long Beach State and Cal State Northridge receiving a pair of nods. First-year member UC Davis and Cal State Fullerton each picked up one award.

Individuals from seven different schools make up the seven-player 2007 Big West All-Freshman Team, including Pacific's Svenja Engelhardt, who ranks in the nation's top five in service aces.

- GO MATADORS -