Regular Season Champion Titans Defend Big West Tournament Title at Home This Weekend
Nov. 7, 2007
FULLERTON, CA - Champions of the Big West Conference for the fourth time in the last seven years, the Cal State Fullerton women's soccer team (11-7-1 overall, 6-2 in the Big West) plays host to three other teams this weekend for the 2007 Big West Conference Women's Soccer Tournament at Titan Stadium.
By virtue of their victory over Long Beach State on Oct. 19, the Titans are the top seed and will meet No. 4 UC Irvine on Friday night (Nov. 9) at 7:30 p.m. No. 2 seed Long Beach State will battle third-seeded Cal Poly earlier in the afternoon at 5 p.m.
The tournament championship and automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament will be contested on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.
TICKET INFORMATION: Ticket prices for this weekend's event will be as follows: \$18 for an adult all-tournament pass, \$12 for a youth/senior/student all-tournament pass, \$10 for a single-day adult pass, \$7 for a youth/senior single-day pass, and a special \$5 pass for students from the four participating schools. Single-day tickets can be purchased at the gate, at the athletic ticket office at the Titan House on campus, or via the Internet at www.FullertonTitans.com. All-tournament passes will be available on a presale basis until noon on Friday through the ticket office or online.
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS: Streaming audio and Big West TV video will be available for all three of this weekend's tournament match-ups at Titan Stadium. Links are available via Cal State Fullerton's official website at www.FullertonTitans.com or www.BigWest.org/tv for the live streaming video links.
IN THE POLLS: None of this weekend's participants are ranked nationally... Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton are both receiving votes in the NSCAA national poll while the 49ers are getting votes in the Soccer Times poll... Long Beach State is ranked No. 11 in the Soccer Buzz West Region poll while Cal State Fullerton is No. 15, and UC Irvine is receiving votes... Fullerton is tied for 10th in the west according to the NSCAA and Long Beach State is receiving votes.
SERIES RECORDS: Cal State Fullerton is 8-4-1 all-time against its semifinal opponent UC Irvine, winning the last seven consecutive meetings with the Anteaters, including a 1-0 victory on Nov. 1 at Titan Stadium... the two schools have never met in the Big West Conference Tournament... The Titans are 6-4 against Long Beach State (including a 1-0 win in Long Beach on Oct. 19 this season), but the two have never met in the Big West Conference Tournament... Fullerton is 5-9-3 all-time against Cal Poly, having had its three-match unbeaten string against the Mustangs snapped earlier this year with a 1-0 loss in double overtime on Oct. 7 in San Luis Obispo... The Titans are 1-3 against Cal Poly in the Big West Tournament, snapping a three-match losing streak to the Mustangs with a 2-1 championship game victory in 2006.
TOURNEY TIME: Cal State Fullerton is 4-3 all-time in the Big West Tournament, having won four straight matches dating back to its first tournament crown in 2005. Prior to that run, the Titans had lost in the semifinal round to Cal Poly in 1996, 1997, and 2004 while failing to qualify for the tournament in 2003 after finishing tied seventh with a 3-5-1 league record. The 2007 season will be the third time that Titan Stadium has played host to the Big West Tournament after Fullerton welcomed the league's best to Orange County in 1996 and 2005.
THREE IN A ROW?: Cal State Fullerton will be looking for its third straight Big West Conference Tournament championship in 2007, trying to become the first school in the history of the conference to do so. The Titans, who took home the trophy for the first time in 2005 and repeated in 2006, and Cal Poly (2003 & 2004) are the only two programs who have won back-to-back conference tournament titles in the history of the event.
A SWEET QUARTET: The Titans clinched a share of their fifth regular season Big West Conference title on Nov. 1 against UC Irvine, finishing league play with a 6-2 overall record and splitting the crown with Long Beach State. Fullerton has also won regular season crowns in 1996 (5-0-1), 2001 (8-1), 2004 (7-1-1), and 2005 (6-1).
TITANS CLINCH WINNING YEAR: With it's win over UC Irvine last Thursday night, Cal State Fullerton clinched its seventh consecutive winning season dating back to 2001 and the ninth winning campaign overall since the program's inception in 1993.
TITANS REACH DOUBLE DIGITS: Fullerton's win over UC Riverside on Oct. 28 gave the Titans their 10th victory of the season, marking the fourth straight year that the program has reached 10-or-more wins and accomplishing the feat for the sixth time in the last seven seasons.
ABOUT THE ANTEATERS (\#4 SEED): UC Irvine enters the tournament with an 11-6-2 overall record and a 5-2-1 Big West record to tie with Cal Poly for third place. The Anteaters have won six of their last seven matches with the lone loss coming to the Titans on Nov. 1. UCI split its two matches last weekend, falling to Fullerton (1-0) before shutting out UC Riverside (2-0). Kim Horn (four goals, five assists) leads a very diverse offense that features five players with 10-or-more points. Kate Berrini, Frankee Kelly, and Tanya Taylor lead the team with five goals while Caty Cope leads the Big West Conference with 10 assists. Goalkeeper Danielle de Seriere boasts a 0.56 goals against average to go with 81 saves and nine shutouts.
ABOUT THE 49ERS (\#2 SEED): Long Beach State enters the tournament with a 13-6 overall record and a 6-2 mark in league play to tie for first place. The 49ers won both of their matches last weekend against Cal Poly (3-1) and UC Santa Barbara (2-1) to close out the regular season. Kim Silos leads the Big West Conference with 23 points, scoring seven goals and assisting on nine others. Goalkeeper Liz Ramos sports a 0.73 goals against average to go with 39 saves and five shutouts.
ABOUT THE MUSTANGS (\#3 SEED): Cal Poly, which was in contention for the regular season title and host role until the final weekend, enters the tournament with a 7-9-2 overall record and a 5-2-1 mark in league play to tie for third. The Mustangs had won six straight until they fell to Long Beach State (3-1) and battled to a 1-1 double overtime tie with Cal State Northridge last weekend. Sharon Day leads the team with three goals and is tied for the team lead with Carrie Andrews with six points. Alli Tramel boasts a 1.16 GAA, 76 saves, and seven shutouts.
GIBBENS GARNERS ACADEMIC HONOR: Cal State Fullerton junior defender Jenae Gibbens was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 8 First Team by the College Sports Information Directors of America on Nov. 2.
Gibbens, a marketing major at Cal State Fullerton, was a second-team All-Big West Conference selection as a sophomore and also was named to the Big West All-Academic team in 2006.
On the field, Gibbens has been the centerpiece of a stingy Fullerton defense that has allowed only 19 goals this season (fourth in the Big West) and a 0.96 goals against average (fifth in the league).
Offensively, Gibbens ranks tied for second on the team with four goals scored and is tied for third on the team with nine points. She was named the Big West Player of the Week on Sept. 17 after leading the Titans' defense to wins over nationally ranked California and Oklahoma at home.
Gibbens is one of two Big West players on the First Team, joining Long Beach State defender Amanda Perry, and one of six players from the league selected overall.
By virtue of her first-team honor, Gibbens is now eligible to be named to ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Team which will be released on Nov. 20.
To be elgible for the Academic All-District Team, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at her current institution and be nominated by her sports information director.
OFFENSE COMES TO TOWN: This weekend's Big West Tournament could see some high-scoring contests as the league's top three offenses come to Titan Stadium. Long Beach State leads the league in every major category (shots, goals, points, and assists) while UC Irvine is second in points, goals and assists, followed by Cal State Fullerton, which ranks third in each of those categories. Cal Poly, which has been outscored 22-15 this year despite outshooting opponents, 247-201, ranks tied for fourth in shots, but last in points, goals, and assists.
FIRST CLASS SECOND HALF: Of the Titans' last 14 goals scored, 12 of those have come in the second period or later dating back to the Titans' win over Fresno State on Sept. 30, and over two-thirds of Fullerton's goals this season have come after halftime (19-of-28), outscoring opponents 17-8 in the second half (plus two goals in overtime) as compared to just a 9-8 advantage in the first 45 minutes of play.
OFFENSE STIFLED: After outscoring the opposition, 10-1, during their recent five-match winning streak, Fullerton's offense was held in check in Sunday night's 1-0 loss to San Diego despite outshooting the Toreros, 11-7. It was the Titans' first shutout loss since a 1-0 double-overtime defeat to Cal Poly on the road on Oct. 7. Of Fullerton's seven losses, four have been via a shutout.
SCORE FIRST, WIN OFTEN: Fullerton has scored first 10 times in 19 matches this season, posting a 9-1 record in those contests. Senior Stacey Thompson has accounted for three of those goals while teammates Lauren Cram and Brianna Buffington have accounted for two apiece.
SABIN SETS UP FINE SEASON: After having not played for almost two years, junior goalkeeper Shayla Sabin has embraced the passing of the goalkeeper torch from all-time great Karen Bardsley, setting herself up for a fine junior year. If the season ended today, Sabin would rank third on the school's single-season goals against list, eighth on the wins list, post the third-lowest goals allowed total, and tied for third on the shutouts chart.
WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER: Senior Stacey Thompson netted her third game-winning goal of the season last Thursday (Nov. 1) against UC Irvine, as her 80th minute strike lifted the Titans to a 1-0 victory over the Anteaters. With the winner, Thompson moved into a three-way tie with teammate Lauren Cram and UC Davis' Dayna Dumont for the Big West lead in game-winning goals.
NO SHOT FOR YOU: Cal State Fullerton allowed a combined 13 shots last weekend against UC Irvine and No. 20 San Diego, marking the third and fourth consecutive matches that the Titans' defense has allowed fewer than 10 shots in a match. Overall, Fullerton has held an opponent to single-digit shots in eight of its 19 matches this season.
OFFENSE THE BEST DEFENSE?: Junior Jenae Gibbens has become the latest "offensive" defender in Titans' history, scoring her fourth goal and ninth point of the year against Long Beach State on Oct. 19, giving her the best offensive numbers for a Fullerton defensive player since Marlene Sandoval had four goals and three assists (11 points) as a senior in 2005.
AWWW, SHOOT!: Cal State Fullerton outshot its fourth consecutive opponent on Sunday night against San Diego marking the 11th time in 19 matches that the Titans have held the advantage in the shot category. Fullerton has eclipsed the 20-shot plateau three times this season, including a season-high 27 shots in a double OT win over San Jose State on Sept. 28.
SENIOR SLUMP: Cal State Fullerton fell in its second straight "Senior Night" match with its 1-0 loss to No. 20 San Diego, falling to 5-9-1 all-time in its final home match of the regular season.
I'M HERE TO HELP: A lot is made about the person who scores the game-winning goal, but little is often said about those who help that person find the back of the net. We're here to change that. Eight different Titans have posted game-winning assists in Fullerton's 10 wins, including two each from seniors Nicole Scheid, Stacey Thompson, and Lauren Cram. Casey Schostag, Kristen Boujos, Candice Byler, Tanya Slusser and, most recently, Geminesse Martinez, have also had a hand (or foot, rather) in helping the Titans to victory with one each.
CRAM SESSION: After notching only one goal in her three previous seasons as a Titan, senior Lauren Cram is experiencing her finest season in a Fullerton uniform, leading the team with six goals and a pair of assists for 14 points. She ranks fourth in the Big West in points and points per game and is tied for third in the conference in goals.
SHE'S A GAMER: Seniors Lauren Cram and Stacey Thompson have been mainstays in the Fullerton lineup since they first donned the uniform in 2004. Cram, who has played in 80 of the possible 84 matches in that span, ranks tied for third on the school's career games played list - just three shy of Erica Janke's school record of 83 set from 2003-06. Thompson has also been a constant, appearing in 77 career matches to rank tied for ninth on the all-time list.
CORNERED: Fullerton took a season-high 12 corner kicks against Riverside on Oct. 28, the most for a Titans' squad since they had 12 against Idaho in the 2006 season opener at Titan Stadium.
A DIFFERENT TALLY: Senior Brianna Buffington has made a career out of scoring goals for Cal State Fullerton (she has 12 in the last two seasons), but on Oct. 28 against UC Riverside, she assumed a different role. Buffington was credited with her first career assist as a Titan on teammate Lauren Cram's game-winning goal in Fullerton's 2-1 victory over the Highlanders. The San Diego native hadn't logged an assist since her freshman season at Tulane when she tied for third on the team in scoring with five points.
THERE'S ANOTHER ONE: Redshirt freshman Danielle Bitonti became the 10th different player to score a goal for the Titans, and the fifth to log her first career goal this season, on Oct. 21 against Cal State Northridge. The 10 different goal-scorers rank third in the Big West behind Long Beach State's 12 and UC Riverside's 11 different scorers.
THANK YOU, FANS: Fullerton's attendance of 739 for the Titans' game against No. 6 Santa Clara was a season-high at home this season and the 11th-largest crowd to see a women's soccer match at Titan Stadium since 1993. That attendance, coupled with the 575 fans in the seats against Cal State Northridge, gives Cal State Fullerton two of the top 10 attendance marks in the Big West this season.
QUICKLY: Fans had little time to settle in against LMU on Sept. 20 as Lauren Cram's goal just 51 seconds into the match gave the Titans the early lead. It was the third fastest goal scored and the third scored in less than a minute in the history of the program. Jenny Mescher holds the school record at 28 seconds, netting Fullerton's first score against Southern Utah on Sept. 23, 2001, in an 8-0 win.
TITANS PICKED FOURTH IN BIG WEST PRESEASON POLL: The Cal State Fullerton women's soccer team was selected to finish fourth in the 2007 Big West Conference race according to a vote of the league's coaches released on Thursday afternoon by the conference office.
Defending regular season champion Long Beach State was picked to repeat as conference champs, receiving five first-place votes and 77 points overall to outdistance the field.
Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara each received two first-place votes and tied for second place overall with 63 points, just four points ahead of the Titans in fourth with 59 points. UC Riverside and Cal State Northridge follow with 41 and 37 points, respectively, while Pacific (32 points), UC Davis (20), and UC Irvine (13) round out the poll.
HEAD COACH Demian Brown: After spending the last three seasons as the top assistant, Demian Brown takes the reigns of the Fullerton program for his first season as head coach in 2007. In his three previous seasons as an assistant, Brown has helped the Titans to a 42-20-3 (.669) overall record, a 17-4-2 (.783) mark in Big West Conference play, two regular season conference crowns, a pair of Big West Tournament titles, and two trips to the NCAA Tournament. He has had a huge impact on the defensive side of the ball for Fullerton, which set numerous defensive single-season records in 2004 and improved on those efforts in 2005, setting new marks for fewest goals allowed, fewest shots allowed, and shutouts.
ASSISTANT COACH Scott Alexander: Former Cal State Fullerton goalkeeper Scott Alexander returns to the bench for his second season as a full-time assistant coach after spending four years as a volunteer assistant under former head coach Ali Khosroshahin. Alexander's duties will continue to focus on training the Titans' goalkeepers after helping coach record-setting netminder Karen Bardsley to three-straight Big West Conference Goalkeeper of the Year trophies and four All-Big West awards.
ALSO NEW ON THE BENCH: Two former Fullerton greats will return to the sidelines for the Titans in 2007 as three-time All-Big West honoree Lauryn Welch will be an assistant coach with the team while three-time Big West Conference Goalkeeper of the Year Karen Bardsley will be a volunteer assistant.
CLASS ACT: Cal State Fullerton's incoming class for the 2007 season was ranked among the nation's top 100 teams (No. 89) for the second-straight season according to Soccer Buzz and among the West Region's top 25 (No. 21). The Titans have been listed among the nation's best recruiting classes in five of the last six years - posting their highest ranking in 2002 with the No. 22-ranked class in the country and have been among the region's best recruiting programs for each of the last six years.
SUCCESS AFTER THE TITANS: Former Fullerton stars Karen Bardsley, Kandace Wilson, and Erica Janke have all seen significant success after their Titan careers. Bardsley and Wilson helped Ajax America of the Women's Premier Soccer League to the league's "Final Four" and an Open Cup title at the 2007 USASA National Cup Finals in Seattle, Wash., this past summer. Janke, meanwhile, has taken the longest trip of any Titan, signing on with FC Gutersloh of the German 2nd Bundesliga. Fans can follow her travels with the team through her online blog set up by the club at http://blog.fcg-frauen.de/.