'Runners, Big West Opener on Tap for Soccer

Sept. 29, 2009

FULLERTON, CA -

LOOKING AHEAD...
10/1 vs. Cal State Bakersfield (Fullerton, CA) &\#149; 7 p.m.
10/4 at UC Riverside* (Riverside, CA) &\#149; 6 p.m.

KICK-OFF: The Cal State Fullerton women's soccer team (2-5-2 overall, 0-0 in the Big West Conference) faces its penultimate non-conference opponent this week before opening Big West Conference play this weekend on the road. The Titans will welcome Cal State Bakersfield to Titan Stadium on Thursday night (Oct. 1) for a 7 p.m. kick-off before heading to the Inland Empire to take on UC Riverside for their league opener on Sunday night (Oct. 4) at 6 p.m.

IN THE POLLS: Neither Cal State Bakersfield, UC Riverside, nor Cal State Fullerton is ranked entering this week's matches.

SERIES RECORDS: Thursday night's meeting with the Roadrunners will be the first official contest between the two schools... Cal State Bakersfield defeated Cal State Fullerton, 2-1, in overtime in an exhibition contest prior to the 2008 season... the series with UC Riverside is all tied up at 4-4-1 after the Highlanders won last season's meeting, 3-2, in Fullerton... the Titans are 2-2 all-time against UCR on the Highlanders' home field, last posting a win in 2007 by the score of 2-1.

CAN'T MAKE THE MATCH: Thursday's match against Cal State Bakersfield will be broadcast live over the Internet at FullertonTitans.com. A free live audio stream will be available with veteran Fullerton broadcaster Mike Martinez carrying the play-by-play. Links to the broadcast are available by clicking on the microphone logo on the front page of FullertonTitans.com. Live streaming video will also be available via Big West TV on a subscription basis. Fans can log on to http://all-access.cbssports.com/player.html?code=bigw to access all the action.

ABOUT THE ROADRUNNERS: Cal State Bakersfield enters the week with a 4-7 overall record, having lost its last four consecutive matches by a combined tally of 9-1... the Roadrunners were shutout in their only match last week, falling 3-0 on the road at Loyola Marymount... Sam Pena is the team's leading scorer, netting three goals on the year - two of those game-winners... Kassi Massey and Raquel Gervas have also found the net multiple times this season, netting two goals apiece... Kym Gause has started all 11 matches in net for CSUB this season, posting a 1.81 goals against average and 62 saves in 945 minutes to go along with a pair of shutouts... the Roadrunners have been outscored 20-8 overall this season and outshot 157-97.

ABOUT THE HIGHLANDERS: UC Riverside enters the week with a 5-3-3 overall mark, including a 3-1-2 record on its home turf... Sunday's meeting with the Titans will also be the Highlanders' conference opener... UCR had been unbeaten in eight straight contests (5-0-3) until a 1-0 loss at Wyoming on Sept. 27... seven of the Highlanders' 11 contests have been decided by a single goal with a pair of scoreless ties and a 1-1 draw to their name... Denise Thomas, Ashley Parks, and Kayla Troesh all lead the team with four points while Thomas has found the back of the net twice to lead the team... seven different UCR players have scored goals this season... Jessica White leads the Highlanders in net, posting a 0.43 GAA (five goals allowed overall) and 58 saves in 11 starts to go along with six shutouts.

FOR OPENERS (BIG WEST STYLE): Cal State Fullerton is 7-5-1 all-time in Big West Conference openers since 1996, winning two of its last three... Sunday's 2009 opener at UC Riverside will mark the fourth time in the last six years that the two school's will open conference play against one another with that series tied 1-1-1... Fullerton opens the league schedule on the road for the eighth time in 14 seasons, posting a 4-3 record in the previous seven matches... the Titans have outscored the opposition, 23-18, in their 13 previous league openers combined... Cal State Fullerton has played overtime in a conference opener just three times - two of those coming at Titan Stadium against UC Riverside in 2004 (T, 0-0) and 2006 (W, 1-0).

FLAIR FOR THE DRAMATIC: Sophomore Stacey Fox, who co-led the team in scoring last season as a freshman, picked a fine time to score her first goal of the year Sunday night against Washington. Fox, who had been held to just five shots in six previous matches, scored the game-tying goal against the Huskies on her second shot of the night with just eight seconds remaining in regulation as the Titans battled to a 1-1 draw. Fox's strike came just 86 seconds after Washington had taken the lead in the 89th minute.

BRONCOS GET JUST ENOUGH... AGAIN: Missed it by that much. No. 9 Santa Clara handed Cal State Fullerton a 1-0 loss last Friday to improve to 6-0-1 all-time against the Titans. The result was the fifth one-goal loss in the seven meetings between Fullerton and the perennial national contender with the only exceptions being a 2-2 tie in 2003 and a 2-0 defeat in 2006.

SETTLING IN: Fullerton's offense is beginning to come together as five of its six goals scored this season have come in the last five contests, helping the Titans to a 2-1-2 record in those matches. Cal State Fullerton has scored in four of its last five contests after finding the back of the net just once in its first four matches of the season.

MAKING THEM COUNT: The stat sheet may say that the Titans have been outshot by a 107-61 margin this season, but Cal State Fullerton is making the most of the shots they have taken. The Titans, who rank last in the league in shots taken and have had 10 or more shots in a match only once this year (10 vs. Hawaii), have put better than 40 percent of their chances on frame with 25 shots on goal this season.

TITANS HOPE PAYDAY CONTINUES TO PAYOFF: For most people, the first of the month means paychecks. For the Titans, as of late, the first day of the month has meant victories, as they are unbeaten in their last five contests when playing on the first (4-0-1). Overall, however, it has been a struggle as Fullerton has posted a 7-11-1 mark on the first since 1993.

SANTOS CONTINUES TO SHINE: Sophomore keeper Jordan-Michelle Santos continues her strong play in net since making her Cal State Fullerton debut on Sept. 16 against Hawaii, making 16 saves and allowing just two goals in three starts. She ranks third in the Big West in goals against average (0.62), third in save percentage (.889), and third in saves per game (5.33).

MY HERO ZERO: Both of Cal State Fullerton's victories this season have come via the shutout putting the Titans just one clean sheet shy of matching last year's total of three.

BRISA ON THE BOARD: Freshman Brisa Gonzalez netted the first goal of her young collegiate career on Sept. 11, netting the second goal of the match in a 2-0 shutout win over Michigan that gave the Titans their first win of the season. She is one of two freshmen (Jennifer Smith has an assist) to tally points this season and one of three Titans (Smith and sophomore Caitlin Mellano) to record their first collegiate points.

A REAL "GEM": Junior Geminesse Martinez was credited with an assist on teammate Danielle Bitonti's game-tying goal against San Francisco on Sept. 13, giving her eight for her career - just four away from the all-time top 10 list.

ON THE SPOT: Junior defender Tamara Dewey made it 2-for-2 in 2009 as she converted on her second penalty kick attempt of the season to tally the game-winner in a victory over Michigan. With the goal, Dewey remained perfect for her career from the spot as her PK goal improved the Murrieta native to 4-for-4 in that category overall after she converted both of her chances in 2008. The goal was the sixth of Dewey's career and her 13th career point - the second-most of any active Titan behind Christina Murillo's nine career goals and 21 points.

BARDSLEY, ENGLAND TAKE SILVER AT '09 EUROS: Former Cal State Fullerton goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and the England Women's National Team fell to Germany, 6-2, in the 2009 UEFA European Championships in Finland, claiming the silver medal after reaching their first Euro final since 1984. England finished third in group play, but advanced to the knock-out round as one of the top two third-place teams in the tournament. The Three Lions then ousted the host Finns with a 3-2 win in the quarterfinals and defeated the Netherlands, 2-1, in extra time to punch their ticket to the final.

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 49-23-6 (.667) mark over the last eight-plus 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 has spent the better part of the month of August with the England Women's National Team for the 2009 UEFA European Championships in Finland 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. Since her professional debut, Gibbens has scored three times and has had another of her dangerous throw-ins headed in for an own goal.

TITANS SHINE IN WPS: 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 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.

Defensively, junior defender Tamara Dewey (4 goals, 1 assist) and junior goalkeeper Shannon Simpson (1.56 GAA, 58 saves) return to anchor the back.

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 19-19-3 overall mark as head coach of the Titans entering 2009 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.