Women's Soccer Picked Seventh in Big West Poll
Aug. 10, 2011
FULLERTON, CA -
The Cal State Fullerton women's soccer team was picked to finish seventh in the Big West Conference this season according to a poll of the league's head coaches released by the conference office on Wednesday afternoon.
The Titans received 34 points to stand ahead of UC Davis (18 points) and UC Riverside (10 points) in eighth and ninth place, respectively. Defending league champion UC Irvine received seven first-place votes and 78 points overall to stand atop the poll followed by last year's conference tournament champion, Long Beach State, in second place with 70 points.
Cal State Northridge (52 points), Pacific (51), UC Santa Barbara (48), and Cal Poly (44) rounded out the poll. Both the Tigers and Mustangs also garnered a first-place vote.
Led by fifth-year head coach Demian Brown, Fullerton returns 16 letter winners and six starters off of last year's squad that finished 6-13 overall and 3-5 in the Big West for a sixth-place tie. Of the Titans 31-woman roster, 22 of those are underclassmen for the 2011 campaign, including 11 newcomers (nine of those being true freshmen).
The Titans will have to overcome the loss of its top two goal scorers from a season ago as Christina Murillo and Casey Volk combined to score 12 of the team's 23 goals and accounted for a combined 28 points on the year. Junior Brisa Gonzalez, sophomore Nikki McCants, and sophomore Lauren Mellano all return after scoring two goals apiece a season ago while redshirt junior defender Jennifer Smith (1 goal, 4 assists) is the leading point-scorer coming back for 2011. Senior midfielder Caitlin Mellano also returns her playmaking ability after finishing tied for fifth in the Big West with five assists in 2010.
Returning to bolster the offense after missing all of 2010 due to injury is redshirt junior Stacey Fox, who scored five goals and finished with 13 points as a freshman in 2008 and added three more scores in 2009.
In net, sophomore Lindsey Maricic is the only returning keeper with Division I experience, posting a 1-3 mark in five appearances for the Titans as a true freshman to go along with 18 saves and a 1.71 goals against average. Her first career victory was a 1-0 shutout of league rival Cal Poly on Oct. 21 and she set a career-high with eight saves at Cal State Northridge in a 3-2 defeat on Oct. 28.
Cal State Fullerton opens the regular season on Aug. 19 as the Titans host one of the newest Pac-12 Conference members in Utah at 7 p.m. in Titan Stadium to kick-off a three-match homestand that also features matches against Long Island (Aug. 21) and Pepperdine (Aug. 26). Five of the team's first seven matches of the regular season will be competed at home before a stretch that sees Fullerton play six of its next seven on the road, including the team's Big West Conference openers at Cal Poly (Sept. 30) and UC Santa Barbara (Oct. 2). The Titans then close out the year with five of six within the friendly confines of Titan Stadium.
Five teams that made the NCAA Tournament last season dot Fullerton's schedule, including NCAA "Sweet 16" participant and preseason No. 17-ranked UC Irvine, BYU, New Mexico, San Diego, and Long Beach State.
2011 BIG WEST CONFERENCE WOMEN'S SOCCER PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. UC Irvine (7) - 78
2. Long Beach State - 70
3. Cal State Northridge - 52
4. Pacific (1) - 51
5. UC Santa Barbara - 48
6. Cal Poly (1) - 44
7. Cal State Fullerton - 34
8. UC Davis - 18
9. UC Riverside - 10