Aug. 28, 2009
FULLERTON, CA -
KICK-OFF: Still in search of its first victory of the season, the Cal State Fullerton women's soccer team closes out a season-opening three-match homestand by hosting a pair of teams for the 2009 Under Armour Tournament at Titan Stadium this weekend. The Titans open the weekend against St. John's on Friday night (Aug. 28) at 6 p.m. before welcoming in the Mexican Women's National Team for a friendly exhibition on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 30) at 1 p.m.
IN THE POLLS: Neither Cal State Fullerton nor St. John's are listed among the nation's top 25 this week. Mexico is ranked as the No. 22 side in the world according to the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings released in June, 2009.
SERIES RECORDS: Friday's match-up with St. John's will be the first between the two schools in women's soccer... Sunday's exhibition meeting with Mexico will be the second in the history of the program... the Titans defeated Mexico in an exhibition on Aug. 28, 2003, by the score of 2-1 on goals by Kandace Wilson and Kellie Cox.
CAN'T MAKE THE MATCH?: For those fans who will be unable to make the trip to Titan Stadium this weekend, both matches will be broadcast live over the Internet at FullertonTitans.com. Free live streaming audio of both games will be available with veteran broadcaster Mike Martinez providing the play-by-play (click here). Streaming video (on a subscription basis) will also be available for almost all Fullerton home matches and select road contests via the Big West TV platform by logging on to BigWest.org. Friday's match against St. John's will not be broadcast, but Sunday's contest with Mexico will be available to fans free of charge (click here).
ABOUT THE RED STORM: St. John's will officially open its regular season on Friday night against the Titans after battling Maryland (2-2) and Stony Brook (0-0) to exhibition draws... the Red Storm finished 8-6-5 overall (4-4-3 in the Big East for fourth place) a season ago... picked to finish fourth in the league's eight-team American Division, St. John's returns 17 letter winners and all 11 starters off of last season's squad that set school records with 10 shutouts and a 0.59 goals against average...sophomore forward Jen Leaverton (3 goals, 1 assist) and senior C.J. Ludemann (2 goals, 3 assists) are the leading returning scorers... sophomore goalkeeper Kristin Russell also returns after starting all 18 matches as a rookie, making 78 saves and posting a 0.44 GAA in 1,630 minutes, accounting for all 10 of the team's shutouts.
ABOUT MEXICO: The Mexican Women's National Team is currently 2-1 on its United States collegiate tour, defeating TCU in its last outing, 4-1, on Tuesday night. Mexico, which previously defeated Kennesaw State (5-0) on Aug. 23 and fell to South Carolina (2-0) on Aug. 21, faces Southern California on Friday afternoon (Aug. 28) at 3 p.m. in Los Angeles before taking on the Titans.
VS. BIG EAST: Friday's intersectional match-up against St. John's will be only the second meeting with a current member of the Big East Conference and the first since the Titans defeating Louisville, 3-1, at the FILA Classic at Titan Stadium on Sept. 2, 2000.
TITAN ALL-AMERICAN RETURNS WITH MEXICO: Former Cal State Fullerton All-American defender Marlene Sandoval (2002-05) will make her return to the Titan Stadium pitch this weekend as a member of the Mexican Women's National Team as they take on the Titans on Sunday afternoon. Sandoval was the Big West Conference's Defensive Player of the Year as a senior and was a four-time All-Big West honoree, including first-team laurels in her final two seasons. In 2004, she started three matches for the Mexican squad that advanced to the quarterfinal round at the Summer Olympic Games in Athens and also represented the Mexico at the 2003 Pan-American Games in the Dominican Republic, earning a bronze medal. Sandoval, also a member of the program's 2007 Pan-American Games team in Brazil (fourth-place), also scored goals in a Women's World Cup qualifer for Mexico against Japan in 2003 and in a 5-1 win over Panama at the 2002 Gold Cup.
OTRAS CONEXIONES: Two other former Titans have also made significant contributions to the Mexican Women's National Team program. Former midfielder Leslie Munoz (2004, 2006-07) was an alternate on the 2004 Olympic Games squad and a member of the 2007 Pan-American Games team that competed in Brazil, helping her side to a fourth-place finish and starting four of the team's six matches. Former Head Coach Ali Khosroshahin, now the head coach at USC, was also an assistant coach with the 1999 Women's World Cup squad and assisted both the 2004 national team and the U-19 squads in preparation for the Olympic Games and the Youth World Cup in Thailand.
DEWEY DOES IT AGAIN: Got penalty kicks? Junior defender Tamara Dewey remained perfect for her career from the spot as her penalty kick goal against Utah last weekend improved the Murrieta native to 3-for-3 in PK's in her career after she converted a pair last season. The goal was also the fifth of Dewey's career and her 11th career point - the second-most of any active Titan behind Christina Murillo's nine career strikes and 21 points.
THROWN INTO THE FIRE: Cal State Fullerton Head Coach Demian Brown decided to put his new recruits to the test in the Titans' season opener against Utah last week, starting three true freshmen alongside a pair of redshirt freshmen (JeAnne Mazeau and Jennifer Smith) and a sophomore (Katie Gibson) who appeared in only one match a season ago. Brisa Gonzalez (who drew a foul in the box that led to the Titans' goal), Felicia Franco (who also took her first career shot), and Jessica Luevano all got a start while true freshman Kirsten Marony and redshirt freshman Kimi Cece came off the bench.
A DAUNTING TASK: The task of returning the squad to the top of the Big West Conference table in 2009 will be difficult as third-year head coach Demian Brown has assembled a difficult slate of matches for the upcoming season. The Titans will meet five teams that reached the NCAA Tournament a season ago in USC (3rd round), San Diego (2nd round), Washington (2nd round), Long Beach State (1st round), and UC Santa Barbara (1st round). In addition, Fullerton will also host an exhibition against the Mexican Women's National Team on Aug. 30.
HOME, SWEET HOME: However tough the schedule may be, the Titans will have the backing of the hometown faithful for most of the year as Cal State Fullerton will contest 12 of its 19 regular season matches within the friendly confines of Titan Stadium where it has posted a 47-21-4 (.681) mark over the last eight seasons.
TRAVELIN' TITANS: A couple of former Cal State Fullerton standouts will be racking up the frequent flyer miles this year as Karen Bardsley (2002-06) and Jenae Gibbens (2006-08) take their games across the pond to compete in Europe. Bardsley will rejoin the England Women's National Team for the 2009 UEFA European Championships in Finland beginning on Aug. 25 after spending most of the summer competing with Sky Blue FC of Women's Professional Soccer. Gibbens is also in Finland after signing on to compete with PK-35 Vantaa in the Finnish First Division. She has already made an impact, scoring a goal in her debut and playing all 90 minutes while earning a card in her second appearance with the team.
WPS UPDATE: Two former Titans shined on the professional stage this past summer as part of the Women's Professional Soccer league's inaugural season. Kandace Wilson (2002-05) appeared in eight matches (starting six) for FC Gold Pride before an injury put her on the sidelines for the rest of the season. She had taken six shots and posted an assist in a 4-3 loss to the Washington Freedom on April 26. Karen Bardsley appeared in four matches for Sky Blue FC, making three starts, and posted a 0.57 goals against average with eight saves and a shutout while helping her side to a WPS playoff berth and, eventually, the inaugural league championship before leaving to join the England Women's National Team.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE TITANS: The 2009 Titans return 12 letter winners and eight starters off of last season's young squad that finished 7-11-1 overall and 2-6 in the Big West Conference (9th place).
Offensively, four of the team's top six scorers return for Fullerton, led by sophomore All-Big West Honorable Mention forward Stacey Fox (5 goals, 3 assists) and junior Christina Murillo (4 goals, 3 assists).
Overall, the Titans return 19 of their 28 goals scored last season (68 percent) and 52 of the team's 79 points (66 percent) from a year ago.
TITANS PICKED SIXTH IN BIG WEST RACE: The Cal State Fullerton women's soccer team was picked to finish sixth in the Big West Conference for the 2009 season according to a vote of the league's coaches released on Aug. 4.
The Titans finished with 32 points in a bunched middle-of-the-pack, finishing just one point shy of Cal State Northridge (33 points) for fifth and one point ahead of UC Irvine (31 points) in seventh position. Defending tournament champion UC Santa Barbara was selected to win the regular season crown, garnering five of the nine first-place votes and finishing with 75 points overall to claim the favorite's position.
Three-time defending regular season champion Long Beach State was picked second with two first-place votes and 67 points overall and was followed by Cal Poly (one first-place vote, 65 points), and Pacific (one first-place vote, 53 points) in the top four.
Northridge, Fullerton, UC Irvine, UC Davis (28 points), and UC Riverside (21) round out the coach's selections.
HEAD COACH Demian Brown: Former Cal State Fullerton letter winner Demian Brown returns to his alma mater for his third season at the helm of the Titans' women's program, continuing to develop the Fullerton side into a national contender. Brown, the 2007 Big West Conference Coach of the Year, sports a 19-20-3 overall mark as head coach of the Titans after spending three seasons as an assistant and helping Cal State Fullerton to three conference tournament crowns, three regular season titles, and back-to-back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament (2005-07). He has coached three Titans to Big West Defensive Player of the Year honors (Marlene Sandoval in 2005, Erica Janke in 2006, and Jenae Gibbens in 2007), 18 players to All-Big West First-Team laurels, and 11 more named to the all-conference second team and honorable mention squads.
ALSO ON THE SIDELINES: Joining the staff for his first season on the Titan Stadium sidelines is Diego Bocanegra, who spent the previous two years as the head coach of the women's program at Cal State San Bernardino where he was 18-13-9 with the Coyotes. Returning from a season playing overseas is former Titan letter winner Lauryn Welch, a three-time All-Big West Conference selection and the MVP of the 2005 Big West Conference Tournament. Assisting with the Titans' goalkeeping corps is volunteer assistant Brian Mason, a standout keeper at Saint Mary's where he set school records for goals against average (1.27) and shutouts (13.5) while standing third with 5,013 minutes played and fourth with 246 saves. final 2-1 tally.