Tough Test Awaits as Women's Soccer Opens 2013 at No. 6 BYU
FULLERTON, Calif. --
KICK OFF: Coming off its sixth Big West Conference regular season title in 2012, the Cal State Fullerton women's soccer team (10-9-1 overall, 7-2 in the Big West last season) begins its quest for back-to-back crowns this weekend as the Titans open their 2013 season with a pair of matches. Fullerton will kick-off the new year on the road at BYU on Friday (Aug. 23) at 7 p.m. MT and televsied nationally on BYU TV (check your local listings), before returning home for a Sunday afternoon (Aug. 25) clash with Fresno State at Titan Stadium at 4 p.m. in its home opener.
IN THE POLLS: BYU is ranked as high as No. 6 in the nation according to the NSCAA's preseason pundits while also standing at No. 12 according to the first Soccer America poll of 2013... Fresno State and Cal State Fullerton are unranked.
BE A FOLLOWER: Fans can keep up with the latest in Titans athletics by following us on Facebook (CSUF.Athletics) and Twitter (@FullertonTitans). In addition, the women's soccer team has established its own Facebook and Twitter presence. Search for "Cal State Fullerton Women's Soccer" on Facebook or follow them on Twitter at @CSUF_WSoccer.
"CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?": Thanks to a partnership with Arizona-based Stretch Internet, Cal State Fullerton's home matches, as well as selected road contests, can be heard live over the Internet at FullertonTitans.com. Veteran broadcaster Mike Martinez will have the play-by-play. To access the links, click on the headphones icon in the upper right-hand corner of the newly redesigned FullertonTitans.com and enjoy the action.
"CAN YOU SEE ME NOW?": For the sixth consecutive year, institutions will air select matches on BigWest.TV, including all Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara women's soccer contests. For the 2013 season, all BigWest.TV events will air free of charge. Head to www.bigwest.org/thisweek for weekly event schedules.
BigWest.TV brings together live and on-demand video from each of the Big West's nine member institutions. Now in its ninth year, BigWest.TV covers Big West sports, press conferences, interviews and features, including every home and conference contest in women's volleyball as well as men's and women's basketball. Also covered are select contests in men's and women's soccer, baseball, softball and Big West Conference Championships.
I NEED STATS, STAT!: Live stats will be available for all of Cal State Fullerton's home matches and selected road contests throughout the year. Follow along by accessing the links on the women's soccer schedule page at FullertonTitans.com.
"O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN!": Cal State Fullerton junior midfielder Chelsey Patterson has been named team captain for the 2013 season.
STRAIGHT FROM THE COACH'S MOUTH: Listen as Cal State Fullerton Head Coach Demian Brown previews his side's 2013 season in stunning HD via the lens of team videographer Matt Brown. Access the entire interview on Cal State Fullerton's YouTube page at youtube.com/csfathletics.
BYU BRIEFLY: Coming off a season that saw them finish 20-2-2 overall and advance to the "Elite Eight" of the NCAA Tournament, the Cougars return seven starters and 18 players overall for the 2013 campaign... leading scorer Michele Murphy, a sophomore, returns to pace the offense after scoring eight goals and seven assists... junior Jaiden Thornock (6 goals, 6 assists) and senior Cloee Colohan (5 goals, 3 assists) also return... senior goalkeeper Erica Owens returns between the pipes after appearing in all 24 matches last season, posting a 0.53 goals against average and 77 saves to go with 12 shutouts.
FRESNO STATE BRIEFLY: The Bulldogs return nine starters and 13 letter winners overall off of last season's squad that finished 4-11-5 overall and 2-3-2 in their first season in the Mountain West Conference and are picked to finish sixth in 2013... Fresno State opens the season on Friday (Aug. 23) on the road at UC Santa Barbara -- the first of four Big West Conference opponents for the Bulldogs in its first seven matches... senior Morgan Castain is the leading returning scorer for Fresno State after scoring four times and assisting on another... senior Shonice Myers (2 goals, 3 assists) was one of only three 'Dogs to finish with multiple goals on the year (Castain & Callie Hancock with 8 goals and 2 assists)... junior goalkeeper Katie DeVault returns in net after starting all 20 matches, posting a 1.66 goals against average and 122 saves to go with three shutouts.
THE SERIES: Cal State Fullerton has never defeated BYU in five tries, including a 2-1 loss in Provo in 2012... this will be the second-straight meeting in Utah -- and the third-straight year overall that these two programs have met -- after the first four matches were played in Fullerton... four of the Titans' five losses in the series with the Cougars have been by a single goal ••• Fullerton is 4-3 all-time against Fresno State, winning the last two by a combined 6-3 score... the two haven't met since 2007 (a 3-2 win in Fresno)... four of the seven meetings have come in Orange County, with the Titans last posting a 3-1 win at Titan Stadium in 2004... the Bulldogs won three-straight in 1996, 1997, and 2002, after Fullerton swept a home-and-home in 1995 by a combined 9-2 count.
TO BE THE BEST YOU HAVE TO PLAY THE BEST: Cal State Fullerton's non-conference schedule will be a solid test to prepare for the Big West Conference season as five of the Titans' opponents are either ranked or receiving votes among the NSCAA's preseason top 25. Including Fullerton's exhibition against No. 11 San Diego State, the Titans will also face off against No. 6 BYU, No. 24 Texas Tech, and vote-getters Pepperdine and USC.
FOR STARTERS: Friday night's match at BYU will mark only the fourth time in 21 seasons that the Titans will open a regular season on the road, looking to improve on a 6-13-1 overall record in season openers and a 1-2 record when opening away from the friendly confines of Titan Stadium. Fullerton is winless in its last four regular season starters (0-3-1), having not won since a 1-0 shutout at Pepperdine on Aug. 23, 2008.
TITANS PICKED TO DEFEND TITLE: The defending Big West Conference champion Cal State Fullerton women's soccer team was picked to defend its league crown in 2013 according to a vote of the conference's head coaches released by the Big West office on Aug. 15.
It is the first time since 2002 that the Titans have been the preseason pick to win the league, finishing second in the voting twice, and third on three other occasions. Fullerton received five first-place votes and 72 points overall to edge out both Long Beach State and UC Irvine, which tied for second place with a first-place vote and 62 points overall.
Cal Poly (2 first-place votes and 59 points) and defending Big West Tournament champion Cal State Northridge (54 points) round out the top five, followed by UC Santa Barbara (30), Hawaii (27), UC Davis (22), and UC Riverside (17).
PATTERSON EARNS PRESEASON ALL-BIG WEST NOD: Junior midfielder Chelsey Patterson was the lone member of the Titan squad named as one of 12 players to the preseason All-Conference Team as voted on by the coaches. Patterson, an All-Big West Honorable Mention honoree in 2012, made 18 starts as a sophomore, scoring her lone goal of the season in the semifinal match of the conference tournament semifinal against UC Irvine -- a match the Titans would win in penalty kicks to advance after a 1-1 draw.
STIRRING UP THE BEEHIVE (STATE): Friday will mark the the fourth time in the last five years that the Titans will open the season with a school from the State of Utah and the second time in that span that BYU will be the opponent. Fullerton fell, 3-0, to the No. 14-ranked Cougars at home in the 2010 season opener while losing to Utah in 2009 (3-1) and drawing with the Utes in 2011 (0-0 in double overtime). The Titans also opened the 1997 season against BYU in Orange County, falling to the Cougars by a single goal, 3-2.
TITANS CLAIM 2012 BIG WEST TITLE: Defending conference champion Cal State Fullerton is out to claim back-to-back crowns in 2013 after the Titans clinched their sixth regular season title in school history a season ago -- tied with Cal Poly for the most in the history of the league. It was the school's fourth solo crown after sharing the top spot in 2004 and 2007, the program's fifth in the last 12 seasons, and the second under Head Coach Demian Brown (2007, 2012).
DEFENSE RULES THE DAY IN EXHIBITION WITH AZTECS: Cal State Fullerton junior midfielder Lauren Stupin took a match-high six shots and three Titan goalkeepers combined on the shutout as the home side held No. 11 San Diego State to just five shots in a scoreless regulation draw on Aug. 16 at Titan Stadium.
In an exhibition match for both teams, Fullerton held a 16-5 advantage in shots overall for the match -- including a 12-2 lead in the second half -- but could not find the back of the net despite playing the final 64 minutes a man up after an Aztec was sent off with a red card in the 27th minute.
Eight different Titans finished with shots on the night, but were thwarted by San Diego State's goalkeeping trio of Melanie Vaughn, Sophia Trujillo, and Elise Nord, who each made three saves on the night.
QUICK LOOK AT THE TITANS: Cal State Fullerton returns five starters and 17 letter winners from last season's Big West Conference championship squad that finished 10-9-1 overall and 7-2 in league play, missing out on a fifth NCAA Tournament trip by only an overtime goal in the championship match of the conference tournament. The Titans, who finished with a 7-2-1 mark in their final 10 games of the season, lost their top two scorers from a season ago in Stacey Fox (7 goals, 2 assists) and Ann Marie Tangorra (6 goals, 3 assists) to graduation, but return a quartet of All-Big West Honorable Mention selections in sophomore Christina Burkenroad (5 goals, 12 points), junior Rebecca Wilson (1 goal, 2 assists, 51 shots), junior Chelsey Patterson (18 starts, 1 goal, 15 shots), and senior goalkeeper Lindsey Maricic (0.98 GAA, 54 saves, 5 shutouts), as well as senior playmaker Erica Mazeau (1 goal, 7 assists, 21 shots).
BY THE NUMBERS: Cal State Fullerton returns just under half (15) of the team's 31 goals scored, 20 of the 29 assists, and just over half (162) of the team's 296 shots taken a season ago. What does it all mean? Probably only that numbers are fun.
NEW FACE, SAME PLACE: Fullerton's coaching staff remains largely intact for 2013 with one exception as a familiar face slides over a few seats with the addition of Stacey Fox as an assistant coach. Fox, who completed her eligibility in 2012, takes for the now-departed Lauryn Pehanich, who became the head coach of the women's program at Division III University of La Verne. Fox was a two-time All-West Region selection by the NSCAA during her Titan career -- one of only 10 Fullerton players to make an all-region squad since 1996 and only the third to earn multiple honors (Karen Bardsley and Jenae Gibbens). Fox led the team in scoring with a team-high seven goals and 16 points as a senior last season and ranks among the career top 10 in points (9th - 45), goals (6th -20), goals per game (9th - 0.29), game-winning goals (t3rd - 6), and shots (7th - 110).
AND, BOY, WERE HER ARMS TIRED: No Titan will have travelled further to join her teammates than freshman Tatyana Ungacta, who hails from Hagatna, Guam -- a mere 7,806 miles (as Google Maps flies) from her new home in North Orange County. She edged out former Titans Emma Humphries (6,730 miles from her home in Wellington, New Zealand), Darcy Frenzel (2,359 miles from her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska), and Kristen Boujos (2,185 miles from her home in Whitby, Ontario, Canada). Ungacta joins Humphries and Boujos as the only three players in the history of the program not from one of the 50 States to don a Titan uniform.
SPEAKING OF "FOREIGNERS": A little closer to home, but nonetheless significant, incoming freshman Tara LeBaron is only the 13th player (out of 578 overall in the history of the program) from outside the state of California (not counting the aforementioned "international" trio) to join the Fullerton program. A native of Las Vegas, Nevada, LeBaron is the third "foreigner" to come from "The Silver State" -- tied with with the state of Colorado for the most. Other states to be represented on a Titan roster: Washington, Alaska, Montana, Kansas, Idaho, Indiana, and Arizona.
"STATE" OF THE ROSTER: Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Jennifer Stuart (Arizona), redshirt junior goalkeeper Savannah Wood (Washington), and LeBaron (Nevada), give the Titans three non-native Californians (not counting international players) for the 2013 season -- the most since 2005 when Colorado natives Lisa Kosena and Randa Helmers joined Montana's Rebekah Patrick.
WELCOME TO THE "U": Ungacta and fellow freshman Nicole Ulrich have the honor of becoming only the second and third Titans with a surname that begins with the letter "U," joining trailblazer Tennli Ulicny (1998-2001).
A TRADITION UNLIKE ANY OTHER: Freshman Nicole Ulrich and senior Erica Mazeau will be carrying on a tradition of sorts in 2013 as their No. 2 and No. 5 jerseys are the only two numbers in the history of the Fullerton program to be worn every season since the program began in 1993.
THAT'S FRESH... MAN: The 2013 crop of 10 true freshmen are the most for a Cal State Fullerton squad since the 2009 team featured the same number to start the season.