In a battle between possibly the two most improved teams in the Big West Conference, Cal State Fullerton remained unbeaten in conference by defeating UC Riverside 3-1 (21-30, 30-14, 30-24, 30-28) in front of a lively crowd at the Student Recreational Center on the campus of UC Riverside Wednesday night. Senior Sarah Morrison had a career night leading all players in kills with a career-high 23 (hitting .426), collecting 23.5 total points in the victory.
The Titans continue their best-ever conference start and improve to 10-5 overall and 3-0 in conference, becoming just the eighth team in the school's history to win ten games. Riverside falls to 11-3, 1-2.
The Titans came out very sluggish in the first game tallying 10 errors as UC Riverside outscored Fullerton 30-21. The Titans were out-hit .323 to .000, but that was not all the bad news. A tough blow came as senior Alyssa Opeka sprained her ankle on a play at the net, not to return to the rest of the match. She will be listed day-to-day, and will make the upcoming road trip to Davis. No titans had more than two kills in game one while Riverside's Valerie Bueno blasted six.
The Titans bounced right back taking game two 30-14 as the Fullerton hitters found holes on the floor for their kills while committing no attacking errors in the game. Morrison led the way with five kills as the Titans out-hit the Highlanders .472 to .089 to even the match up a one game a piece.
Game three was a hard-fought match with the Titans prevailing 30-24. Morrison again led all players with nine kills in the third frame alone. Again the Titan air attack was dominant as they out-hit UCR .406 to .200 increasing to a .288 overall percentage on the night. UCR's Bueno continued as the Highlander's best hitter collecting four kills.
The fourth and final game proved to be the most exciting of the night, with the lead constantly changing, eventually going Fullerton's way 30-28. The Titans, again hit better than their opponent, connecting for a .314 percentage in the final frame and upping their overall percentage to .296.
A trio of Titans collected 14 or more digs with Julie Geissert leading all players with a career-high 18 digs while collecting 54 assists, breaking the 50 plateau for the fourth time this season. Geissert and Amanda Pfielschiefter also added a team-leading 6 blocks apiece, as the Titans out-blocked the Highlanders 13-6.
UCR's Jaime DeKiewiet followed Bueno's 16 kills with 15 of her own in the losing effort while CSF's freshman Brittany Moore blasted 12 without an error for a .632 percentage, picking up 5 blocks along the way.
Cal State Fullerton is back in action Friday night as they travel north to face the Aggies of UC Davis. Game time Friday night will be 7:00 p.m.