Aug. 25, 2011
FULLERTON, CA -
KICK OFF: Following a successful opening weekend, the Cal State Fullerton women's soccer team (1-0-1 overall) closes out a three-match season-opening homestand on Friday night (Aug. 26) at approximately 7 p.m. as the Titans welcome Pepperdine to Titan Stadium for a non-conference clash. The match will follow the Fullerton men's soccer team's 2011 debut against cross-Nutwood rival Hope International University that kicks-off at 5 p.m.
CH-CH-CH-CHANGES: Break out your calendars, there are changes on the horizon. For those making plans to travel south for Fullerton's match at San Diego, please note that the match against the Toreros originally scheduled for Sept. 23 has been moved up to Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m.
IN THE POLLS: Neither Pepperdine nor Cal State Fullerton are ranked entering this week's match; however, the Waves are among those receiving votes in this week's NSCAA (18) and Soccer Times (5) polls.
BE A FOLLOWER: Fans can keep up with the latest in Titans athletics by following us on Facebook (CSUF Athletics), Twitter (@CSUFAthletics) and Vimeo.com (vimeo.com/fullertontitans). In addition, the women's soccer team has its own Twitter; get the inside scoop at @CSUF_WSoccer.
"CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?": Cal State Fullerton's lone match this weekend can be heard live over the Internet at www.FullertonTitans.com thanks to a partnership with Arizona-based Stretch Internet. Veteran soccer broadcaster Mike Martinez will have the call live from Titan Stadium. To access the links, click on the headphones icon in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage at FullertonTitans.com.
"CAN YOU SEE ME NOW?": Thanks to a partnership between the Big West Conference and the CBS College Sports Network, live video of select Cal State Fullerton women's soccer home and road contests will be streamed live over the Internet via the BigWestTV platform. A monthly subscription of \$9.95 or an annual subscription of \$79.95 delivers exclusive coverage to you. For more information, please visit www.BigWest.org/TV or access the video player at www.fansonly.com/schools/bigw/allaccess/index.html.
FROM THE COACHES MOUTH: Take an inside look at the Cal State Fullerton women's soccer program with FullertonTitansTV on Vimeo.com. Thanks to the talented eye of team photographer Matt Brown, the Cal State Fullerton sports information office has produced several videos that give fans a chance to see the Titans like never before! Our first offering this season features Head Coach Demian Brown along with student-athletes Caitlin Mellano and Stacey Fox for the 2011 season preview. View the video by clicking here.
PEPPERDINE BRIEFLY: Pepperdine opened its season with a pair of victories, claiming a 2-1 win at California before shutting out Arizona, 2-0, in its home opener... the Waves return 15 letter winners and nine starters off of last season's squad that finished 9-6-5 overall and 2-3-2 in the West Coast Conference for a fifth-place tie... junior Anisa Guajardo scored two of the four goals for Pepperdine over the weekend while junior Michelle Manning and freshman Lynn Williams also found the back of the net... junior Roxanne Barker made 12 saves and allowed just one goal in a pair of starts... Head Coach Tim Ward is in his 14th season at the helm, posting a 144-81-35 in his previous 13 years.
FOR THE RECORD: Pepperdine leads the all-time series with Fullerton, 7-4-1, but the Titans ended a four-match losing streak in the series with a 1-0 victory in Malibu in the last meeting between the two sides on Aug. 23, 2008... the last three matches have been 1-0 decisions, with the Waves winning two of the three... Fullerton's last win at home came in 1996 by a 1-0 score.
"O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN!": Senior Caitlin Mellano along with redshirt juniors Jennifer Smith, JeAnne Mazeau, and Stacey Fox have been selected by the coaching staff as team captains for the 2011 season.
O-O-O-OVERTIME: Fullerton's double-overtime draw with Utah in its season opener marked the first time that the Titans have played extra time in their first match of the year in the history of the program. The draw moved Cal State Fullerton to 8-4-14 (.577) in double overtime matches and 16-20-21 (.465) in overtime overall.
WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' GOALS!: The Titans and Utes finished their season opener in a scoreless draw - only the seventh time that has happened in the 358-match history of the Fullerton program dating back to 1993. It was the first scoreless draw for the Titans since they battled New Mexico to that same result on Oct. 25, 2009, and the fourth during Head Coach Demian Brown's tenure in Orange County.
THERE WENT THAT STREAK: Fullerton's 3-1 victory over Long Island on Aug. 21 snapped a four-match winless streak for the Titans dating back to the 2010 season - a year that saw them lose their final three regular season matches following a 1-0 shutout of Cal Poly on Oct. 21. Fullerton's unbeaten 1-0-1 weekend marked its best start since the 2008 squad opened with four consecutive wins.
QUICK STEPS: While good in performing some dances, being a little too quick isn't always best on the pitch. Fullerton's offense applied pressure to the opposing back lines all weekend long against Utah and Long Island, especially against the Utes, as the Titans were whistled for nine offsides on the weekend - seven of those against Utah. The seven offsides were the most since Fullerton was whistled 11 times in a 1-0 win over Hawaii on Sept. 16, 2009.
MCCANTS MC-"CAN": Sophomore Nikki McCants earned the honor of scoring the Titans' first goal of the 2011 season in her side's 3-1 win over Long Island, but she wasn't satisfied with just the first. The Corona native came back midway through the second half to head home her second of the match - and the eventual game-winner - in the 77th minute, breaking a 1-1 tie and helping lift Fullerton to the win. McCants, who put four of her six shots on frame for the weekend, matched her entire scoring output from all of her 2010 freshman season in the process and set a career high with five shots against the Blackbirds.
BRISA ALSO ON THE BOARD: Sophomore Brisa Gonzalez added the third Titans goal in the win over LIU, her first of the season and the fifth of her career - the second most among active Titans behind junior Stacey Fox's eight scores.
MARICIC UP TO THE TASK: As the only returning goalkeeper with Division I experience under her belt, the pressure was on sophomore Lindsey Maricic, but the Alta Loma native handled it like a pro, making four saves and posting a goals against average of 0.45 for the weekend in only the fourth and fifth starts of her career. The Titans' scoreless draw against Utah marked Maricic's second career shutout while the win over Long Island was also the second of her career.
AWW, SHOOT!: After outshooting the opposition only seven times out of a possible 19 matches a season ago, the Titans seem focused on leaving it all on the field offensively thus far in 2011, outshooting the opposition in both of their contests thus far by a 28-11 count. The 17 shots against Long Island were the most in a single match for Fullerton since it finished with 22 shots against Cal State Northridge on Oct. 28, 2010, and the pair of double-digit shot totals this season are already the same amount the Titans compiled through their first 11 matches of last year combined.
DE-FENSE (CLAP, CLAP)... DE-FENSE: On the flip side, the Titans' defense has been stingy thus far, allowing just five shots to Utah in the season-opener - the fewest for a Fullerton opponent since UC Riverside was stymied to the tune of four shots in a 2-1 Titan victory on Oct. 14, 2010. Already this season the Titans have held Long Island to no shots in the first half of their clash and frustrated Utah into only one shot in each of the first two period of their scoreless tie in the season opener.
THANK YOU, FANS: Cal State Fullerton's crowd of 770 fans for Sunday night's win over Long Island stands as the 12th-largest in the history of the program, and the highest since a Titans' 3-1 victory over San Diego State on Sept. 26, 2008, that drew 779 fans.
WOMEN'S SOCCER PICKED SEVENTH: 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.
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.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE TITANS: Cal State 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 Conference for a sixth-place tie. The Titans, led by fifth-year head coach Demian Brown, will have to offset the loss of the team's top two goal scorers (Christina Murillo and Casey Volk) from a season ago, who 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.
BY THE NUMBERS: Fullerton returns just 35 percent of its goals (8 of 23), 71 percent of its assists (12 of 17), 44 percent of its points (28 for 63), and 61 percent of its shots (119 of 195). What does that mean? Probably only that numbers are fun.
ELDER MELLANO AMONG BIG WEST'S RETURNING BEST: Senior Caitlin Mellano will enter her final collegiate season looking to put her name into the Fullerton record books as her seven career assists put her five helpers shy of breaking into the school's top 10 list and places her in a tie for seventh among active players in the Big West Conference entering this season. Mellano, who had at least a share of the team lead in the category for the second straight season, posted the most assists by a Titan in a single season since Jenae Gibbens finished with seven assists in 2008.
YOUTH MOVEMENT: Fullerton may enter the season as one of the youngest teams in the Big West Conference for 2011 as, of the Titans 31-woman roster, 22 of those are underclassmen for this year's campaign, including 11 newcomers (nine of those being true freshmen).
STIFF COMPETITION: Five teams that made the NCAA Tournament in 2010 dot Cal State Fullerton's schedule this season, including NCAA "Sweet 16" participant and preseason No. 17-ranked UC Irvine, BYU, New Mexico, San Diego, and Long Beach State.
WE ARE FAMILY: It will be a family affair of sorts on the pitch once again this season for the Titans, who will feature two sets of sisters on their 2011 roster in the Mellano's (senior Caitlin and sophomore Lauren) and the Mazeau's (redshirt junior JeAnne and sophomore Erica). Extending that thought to the "Titan Family," there are numerous family connections: redshirt freshman Brianna Chapman had two cousins that played football for Fullerton, freshman Adriana Gjonovich's mother, Yvette (nee Hernandez), played softball for the Titans from 1988-91, and the Mellano sister's father, Bob, was a member of the Titans' baseball team for two seasons (1985-86)
ALUMNAE NEWS: A pair of Titans competed on the world's biggest stage this past summer as Karen Bardsley (2002, 2004-06) and Marlene Sandoval (2002-05) battled in Group B at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany. Bardsley was in net for all four of England's matches, helping the Three Lions finish atop the group and advance to the knockout stage before falling to France in the quarterfinals. Sandoval was on the back line for Mexico, which finished 0-1-2 in group play to finish third, including helping her side to a 1-1 draw against Bardsley and England.
In Finland, former Big West Defensive Player of the Year Jenae Gibbens (2006-08) has helped her Finnsh club, PK-35 Vantaa to the knockout stage of the 2011 UEFA Women's Champions League in the club's inaugural appearance in the event. PK-35 won its qualifying group with seven points and now awaits the draw for the next round, which begins on Sept. 28.
Meanwhile, in the United States, Kandace Wilson (2002-05) and her Western New York Flash teammates claimed the WPS regular season title and will host the WPS Championship on August 27 looking for her second league title after scoring a goal and helping FC Gold Pride to the 2010 WPS title.
TITANS PARTICIPATE IN "SOCCER FOR HOPE" CLINIC: The Cal State Fullerton women's soccer team set aside its busy training schedule, joining up with "Soccer for Hope" for a special clinic in Mission Viejo on Tuesday morning (Aug. 16).
"Soccer for Hope is an event that we have participated in for the last nine years," fifth-year head coach Demian Brown said. "It is a great cause and for our women to have an opportunity to help children and share in their lives is something amazing. As a program, we feel that supporting these types of events is a great way to ground ourselves and truly help us to see what sport is all about."
The Titans' players and coaches ran kids ages 6-to-14 through a variety of drills and games, providing one-on-one instruction about the finer points of the game. After the clinic, the players and coaches talked with the campers and participated in a post-clinic autograph session.
"Soccer for Hope is a great opportunity for our team to give back to the youth in our community and support an amazing cause that we pray continues to grow and change children's lives," senior midfielder Caitlin Mellano said.
"Soccer for Hope" is a non-profit organization founded in 1998 by Oliver Wyss, a former professional soccer player and survivor of Aplastic Anemia whose goal was to give back to the many caretakers who saved his life while raising awareness in the soccer community about the needs of children with life threatening diseases. For more information on the organization, please visit their website at soccerforhope.org.