Aug. 27, 2008
FULLERTON, CA - Fresh off its first victory of the 2008 campaign in its season opener, the Cal State Fullerton women's soccer team (1-0 overall) is one of four teams heading to Berkeley, Calif., this weekend to compete at the 14th annual California Invitational.
The Titans open tournament play against the host and No. 17-ranked Golden Bears on Friday evening (Aug. 29) at 4:30 p.m., before taking on Saint Mary's on Sunday (Aug. 31) at 2 p.m. St. Joseph's is the fourth team in the fray.
IN THE POLLS: California is ranked No. 17 in the nation and No. 4 in the West Region according to the NSCAA poll released on Tuesday (Aug. 26)... The Golden Bears are also ranked No. 19 by Soccer America, No. 15 by Soccer Times, and No. 24 by Soccer Buzz... Cal State Fullerton is receiving two votes according to the NSCAA national poll and is ranked tied for No. 10 in the region... the Titans are also receiving votes in the Soccer Buzz West Region poll.
BEEN THERE: Fullerton will be competing in the California Invitational for the second time in the last three years after sharing the team title in 2006 with a win over Saint Mary's and battling No. 10 California to a scoreless tie. Karen Bardsley was named the tournament's Co-MVP while Lauryn Welch and Erica Janke were named to the all-tournament team.
SERIES RECORDS: This season will mark the third-straight year that the Titans and Golden Bears will meet on the pitch... Fullerton holds the lead in the all-time series by a 2-0-1 count, including a 2-1 double overtime win over No. 14-ranked California at Titan Stadium in 2007... both of the Titans' wins in the series came at home... Fullerton is 8-20-6 all-time against the Pacific-10 Conference... Cal State Fullerton is 2-0 all-time against Saint Mary's, both coming on neutral fields... The Titans defeated the Gaels, 2-1, at last season's California Invitational and posted a 1-0 victory in 2002 at the UC Irvine Nike Holiday Inn Invitational... Fullerton is 19-30-3 all-time against the West Coast Conference.
CAN'T BE THERE?: Gametracker live stats will be available for both of Cal State Fullerton's matches at the California Invitational this weekend. Please visit the women's soccer schedule page at www.FullertonTitans.com to access the links.
LONG TIME COMING: With their win in Malibu last weekend, the Titans ended a four-match unbeaten streak against Pepperdine, defeating their Southern California rival for the first time since 1996 and winning on the Waves home field for the first time since 1994.
ABOUT THE GOLDEN BEARS: California enters the weekend with a 1-0 record after posting a 3-1 victory over San Jose State in its season opener on Aug. 24... Lisa Kevorkian scored twice while Alex Morgan added a score in the victory... The Golden Bears outshot the Spartans, 33-8, for the match... Led by second-year head coach Neil McGuire, California returns 16 letter winners and six starters off last season's squad that finished 15-5-1 overall and tied for third in the Pac-10 with a 6-3 record... The Golden Bears earned their fourth straight NCAA Tournament bid in 2007, gaining the second round... Picked to finish fourth in the Pac-10 in 2008, California is 8-0-1 in its last nine matches dating back to last season.
ABOUT THE GAELS: Saint Mary's enters the season with a 1-0 mark after a 2-1 victory over UC Davis in overtime on Aug. 22... The Gaels will meet Saint Joseph's in their tournament opener on Friday night before facing the Titans... Reigning West Coast Conference Player of the Week Stefani Rocco scored twice in the win over the Aggies while Tara Larson made two saves in net... Head Coach Kelly Lindsey returns 17 letter winners and eight starters off of last season's squad that finished 6-11-2 overall and an 0-7 mark in WCC play.
SIMPSON RACKS UP THE AWARDS: Sophomore goalkeeper Shannon Simpson is off to a strong start in 2008, earning Big West Conference Player of the Week and Soccer America National Team of the Week honors following the first weekend of play. The honors were the first of Simpson's career as she became the first Titan keeper to be named Big West Player of the Week since Karen Bardsley in 2006 and the first Fullerton player to make the Soccer America honor roll since Kristen Boujos, also in 2006.
ONE SHOT, ONE GOAL: It's only been one game, but senior Tiffany Craig is already having a very efficient season. After taking only one shot in 13 matches off the bench in 2007, Craig made the most of her only shot of the 2008 season thus far, scoring the unassisted game-winner in the 70th minute of the Titans' 1-0 victory.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE TITANS: Nametags may be an important part of the Cal State Fullerton uniform this season as 17 newcomers (including 16 freshmen) join a core group of returners that includes 10 letter winners and six starters from a squad that finished 12-8-2 overall and 6-2 in the Big West Conference a season ago. The Titans lost their top three scorers for the 2007 team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament for a third-straight season and are led offensively by sophomore midfielder Christina Murillo, who scored five times during her rookie season, and senior defender Jenae Gibbens, the 2007 Big West Defensive Player of the Year who also scored four times and added a pair of assists.
TITANS PICKED FOURTH IN BIG WEST RACE: Three-time defending Big West Conference Tournament champion Cal State Fullerton has been forecast to finish fourth in the 2008 standings in the annual pre-season poll of the Big West coaches.
UC Santa Barbara is the favorite to capture the regular-season title. The Gauchos picked up four first-place votes and 74 points to narrowly edge two-time defending league co-champion Long Beach State, which collected three first-place nods and 73 points.
Cal Poly was ranked third but picked up the two remaining first-place votes on its way to 62 points, just two ahead of the Titans with 60. The Mustangs and Titans met in the championship match last year with Fullerton advancing via penalty kicks.
UC Irvine had 40 points to come in fifth, followed by Pacific (30) and Cal State Northridge (26) in sixth and seventh, respectively. Rounding out the poll was UC Riverside with 25 points and UC Davis with 15.
ONE FOR THE PINKIE: Or whatever finger you want to put it on. The defending champion Titans will be looking for their fourth-consecutive Big West Conference Tournament title in 2008 after defeating UC Irvine and Cal Poly in last year's event to claim their third consecutive tournament crown and become only the second school in the history of the conference to advance to the NCAA Tournament in three straight seasons (Cal Poly, 2002-04). Cal State Fullerton is the only school to win three straight league tournament titles in the history of the conference and already has "one for the thumb" after claiming a share of its fifth regular season title in 2007.
FRESH FACES: Cal State Fullerton's 2008 recruiting class was ranked among the nation's top 100 classes according to Soccer Buzz, and the No. 18 class in a stacked West Region that has seven of the top 25 and 11 of the top 50 classes in the country. Taking it further, 25 of the 32 players on the roster are underclassmen and just over two-thirds of those underclassmen will be competing at the Division I level for the first time.
JUST WIN, BABY: The Titans have been one of the Big West Conference's winningest programs in the new millennium, posting 96 overall and 43 conference wins since the 2000 season - the most of any school in the league. Along the same vein, Fullerton's 19 wins en route to the third round of the NCAA Tournament is also a Big West Conference record while the Titans have posted seven-straight winning seasons and four-straight years with double-digit victories.