June 30, 2008
Fullerton, Calif. -
Three conference championships, two post-season tournament titles and another NCAA Regional baseball trophy were the top prizes captured by Cal State Fullerton student-athletes during the 2007-08 academic year.
Post-season play has become old hat for baseball and women's soccer, but men's basketball returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 30 years -- ironically, competing in Omaha, Nebraska, the site of so many memorable CSF baseball moments. Coach Bob Burton's team compiled a 24-9 record, the school's best at the Div. I level, and won a share of the Big West Conference title, the first since 1976. A victory at the post-season tournament at the Anaheim Convention Center sent the Titans "dancing" against Big Ten champion Wisconsin, which pulled away in the second half for a 71-56 first-round victory.
Senior forward Scott Cutley earned Associated Press honorable mention All-American honors to go with his Co-Player of the Year Award from the Big West. Coach Burton was selected NABC Coach of the Year for District 15 and earned a new 5-year contract. The Titans were seventh in the nation in scoring at 81.8 points per game and set school records for points, 3-point field goals and steals in a season.
The baseball team didn't miss a beat despite a change in coaching staffs. Dave Serrano, who pitched for the Titans in 1986 and served as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator for George Horton from 1997 through 2004, returned to campus as head coach after Horton signed a big contract to re-start the program at the University of Oregon. Unranked in Baseball America's pre-season poll, a young Titan team gradually found its personality and eventually reached No. 6 in the national rankings. They shared the Big West title with Long Beach State and hosted their seventh NCAA Regional. They won it for the sixth time, coming out of the losers' bracket to defeat Virginia once and UCLA twice to qualify for the Super Regionals, where they were denied a return trip to Omaha by post-season nemesis Stanford, which swept two games. The final record was 41-22, the 35th consecutive winning season. Sophomore Josh Fellhauer and freshman Christian Colon made the U.S. national team during the summer.
An imposing non-conference schedule paid off for the women's soccer team when it finished the season strong. First-year Head Coach Demian Brown's squad tied for the regular season Big West title at 6-2 but captured the automatic NCAA playoff berth with a dramatic win in the post-season tourney. It took a come-from-behind overtime victory over UC Irvine and a 4-3 shootout victory over Cal Poly to get the Titans back into the playoffs for a third year in a row. They were beaten in the first round for the second year in a row by UCLA, again by a score of 3-1. Jenae Gibbens, who would later be selected the Titans' Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year, was named Defender of the Year in the Big West and earned All-West Region honors as well as third-team academic All-American status. Brown was chosen Big West coach of the year, Shayla Sabin was the top goalkeepr and Stacey Thomspon was selected midfielder of the year. The team finished 12-8-2.
Another strong schedule earned the Titan softball team its 26th post-season berth in the program's 29th season. Fullerton finished fifth in the Big West standings with an 11-10 mark and two NCAA losses to UCLA and Purdue left the Titans with a losing overall record (27-28-1) for only the second time in the program's history. Senior Kiki Munoz made the first-team all-region as a utility player and second-team All-American, the Titans' 37th honoree but first since 2004.
Two programs on the upswing continued their improvement in 2007-08.
The women's volleyball team won a program-best seven conference matches to tie for fifth place in the rugged Big West Conference. By winning their final two matches, the Titans reached the .500 mark for the season at 15-15. Brittany Moore became the first Titan to repeat as a first-team all-conference pick.
Wrestling was one late injury away from a second-place showing at the Pac-10 championships. The Titans, who tied with Boise State for the conference's best dual mark at 8-1, had to settle for fifth place at the conference championships after All-American heavyweight Wade Sauer suffered a career-ending injury in the final bout of the final regular season match. Morgan Atkinson repeated as Pac-10 champion at 149 pounds to become the first Titan to defend his title since 1980. He and Sauer made the Pac-10 all-academic second team.
Women's basketball finished at .500 in conference play for the second year in a row and captured an opening round win in the post-season tournament. Junior forward Toni Thomas became only the third Titan to earn consecutive first-team All-Big West berths after leading the conference in scoring two years in a row. Teammates Lauren Chow and Ashley Richie both made both the all-freshman team and honorable mention all-conference with Chow being tabbed freshman of the year.
The track and field program had 13 qualifiers for the NCAA Outdoor Regional meet and sent two men --high jumper Jonathan Golden and triple jumper Garrett Myers -- to the national finals in Iowa. The women broke seven school records during the course of the season, primarily in the distances. Pole vaulter Andrew Little was the Titans' male scholar-athlete of the year and he and a dozen teammates made the Big West Academic All-Conference team.
And, for the eighth time in nine years, the Titans' dance team captured the national championship by winning the Universal Dance Association competition in Florida among Div. I schools without football programs.