Sept. 11, 2009
SERVICE: The Titans travel to Albuquerque seeking their third consecutive strong performance in a tournament, this weekend the Comcast Challenge, which features Pittsburgh, Baylor and host New Mexico.
Fullerton is coming off a second-place showing at the Active Ankle Challenge in Corvallis, where the Titans ran their record to 6-0 before losing in the title match to host Oregon State, 3-0. The 6-0 start is a school record for wins out of the gate.
Prior to the tourney, the Titans beat Montana on Thursday night in Titan Gym, 3-1, by scores of 25-23, 26-28, 25-14 and 38-36. Saddler led the way with a career-high 27 kills. Fullerton opened its season by winning its own Crowne Plaza Titan Classic.
A QUICK LOOK AT CSF: The 2009 Titans return 13 letter winners and six starters (5+libero) from last year's team that posted a 17-15 overall record and their first conference winning record in school history at 9-7. Eighth-year Head Coach Carolyn Zimmerman looks to senior Alex Wolnisty (Sr. MB, Riverside, Calif.) and four returning All-Big West honorees, Cami Croteau (Jr. DS/L, Orange, Calif.), Erin Saddler (Jr., MB, Bellflower, Calif.), Jennifer Edmond (Soph., RS, Torrance, Calif.) and Andrea Ragan (Soph., S, Arroyo Grande, Calif.) to fill the void left by departed conference player of the year Brittany Moore. Fullerton finished the 2008 campaign with a 9-7 conference record (5th place), setting a school record for the most conference wins in a season, as well as posting its first-ever winning record in league play. The Titans are also coming off of their fifth consecutive season with 14-or-more victories and matched their second-best win totals with a 17-15 overall record in 2008.
A HEARTY SCHEDULE: The Titans will face, or will have faced up to six teams that have either graced the AVCA Top 25 or have received votes, accounting for nine matches on Fullerton's 2009 schedule. UCLA, coming in at No. 8, is the highest ranking team the Titans will face this season. The Titans will also face UC Irvine, which comes in at No. 20 in the poll, twice during Big West Conference play. Other opponents Wisconsin, Long Beach State (two matches), UC Santa Barbara (two matches) and Baylor are all receiving votes.
VERSUS NEW MEXICO: The Titans have played the the Comcast Tournament host Lobos twice in their Div. I history, splitting the all-time series 1-1. In their first meeting the TItans, then led by Jim Huffman, dropped the match 4-15, 8-15, 12-15 to conclude the 1989 season. In 2006, at the Comcast tourney, the TItans won 30-16, 30-21, 30-21 under Carolyn Zimmerman.
VERSUS PITTSBURGH: This will be the first meeting between the Panthers and Titans.
VERSUS BAYLOR: The Titans lead the Bears 1-0 in the all-time series. Fullerton beat the Bears 15-5, 15-3, 12-15, 15-4, back in their only other meeting in 1990 in Titan Gym.
OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT: The Titans set a school record by winning its first six matches of the season before dropping last Monday's match to Oregon State. The 1985, 1987, 1996 and 2006 teams all won five matches in a row before losing their first matches.
LEADING BY EXAMPLE: Through the first seven matches, junior Erin Saddler is leading the Big West Conference by more than a kill per set, and has 38 more kills than the second-best hitter in the league (Kari Pestolesi - UC Irvine). Through seven matches, Saddler has accumulated 139 kills (19.8 kills per match and 5.56 per set) and also has four double-doubles (kills/digs). In the Sept. 3 match versus Montana, the Bellflower native had a career-high 27 kills, including 12 in the fourth and final set of the Titans' 3-1 victory.
SADDLER LAST WEEK: Following a very solid opening week that saw her post three consecutive double-doubles and setting and tying her career high in kills, Cal State Fullerton outside hitter Erin Saddler again led her squad to three victories which broke a school win record to open a season and increased her career high in kills in a midweek non-conference tilt. The junior posted a career-high 27 kills, including 12 in the decisive fourth set of the Titans' 3-1 win over Montana at Titan Gym on Thursday night. She also had 13 digs in the win increasing her streak to four straight matches with a double-double. The Titans ventured out on the road on Sunday to play in the Active Ankle Challenge on the campus of Oregon State. The Titans faced Wisconsin in the morning and Seattle in the nightcap with Saddler leading the floor in kills in both wins. In the morning session, Saddler helped the Titans beat Wisconsin, a team receiving votes in this week's AVCA poll. She posted 16 kills and hit .271 while serving up an ace and notching four blocks along the way. In Sunday's night game, Saddler again led all players with 18 kills and led the Titans to their sixth straight victory, a school record for victories to open a season. On the week, the Bellflower native averaged 6.10 kills and 2.30 digs per set and hit .309 on the week. Saddler ended up being named to the Active Ankle Challenge All Tournament team after Monday's loss to Oregon State.
SETTING THEM UP: Sophomore Andrea Ragan leads the Big West Conference in assists by nearly an assists per set. Her 296 assists is 42 more than second place Carson Lowdon of UC Davis.
GOOD SERVICE: Freshman Kayla Neto (Clarksburg, Calif.) moved in to the Big West Conference Top 10 in service aces with four last week at the Active Ankle Challenge in Corvallis. The freshman is tied for third in the league in total aces (8) and sits 10th with 0.32 aces per set.
MORE ON NETO: The freshman middle blocker from Christian Brother High School cracked the Big West's Top 10 in blocking this week having posted 26.0 total blocks on the season. She ranks 7th in the league in blocks per set (1.04), 3rd in total blocks (26) and 3rd in block assists.
CROTEAU TO CHALLENGE DIG RECORD: Junior libero Cami Croteau (Orange, Calif.) has embarked on a mission to break the Cal State Fullerton career dig mark set by her predecessor Vanessa Vella back in 2006. In her three years in a Titan uniform, Vella posted 1,598 career digs in 316 career sets. Croteau, in her first two seasons, broke into the 1000-dig club and now sits just 466 digs away from the top spot with 1,132 digs already to her credit. Croteau has collected 502 and 505 digs in her first two seasons, respectively, good for third and fourth all-time in the Titans' single-season record book behind Vella's 581 and 538.
CROTEAU LEADS THE LEAGUE: Cami Croteau is leading the Big West Conference with 125 total digs and 5.00 digs per set.
WOLNISTY CHASES BLOCKING RECORD: Senior Alex Wolnisty (Riverside, Calif.) sits 48 block assists away from tying the Cal State Fullerton block assist mark of 294 block assists set last year by Brittany Moore. Wolnisty has had as few as 53 block assists her freshman year and as many as 96 as a sophomore and currently has 246 block assists in seven matches this season. The middle is also just 72 total blocks away from tying the all-time blocking mark set by Stephanie Scofield from 1988-1991. Scofield posted 363 total blocks in her four-year career over 442 sets. Wolnisty currently has 291 total blocks and needs to pass just Alyssa Opeka (304 from 2002-05), Tammy Miller (325, 1986-89), Brittany Moore (360, 2005-08) and Scofield for the record.
WITH ACCURACY: Senior Alex Wolnisty is ranking 10th in the Big West Conference in attack percentage with a .291 percentage. The 6-5 hitter/blocker has 53 kills in 127 swings with just 16 errors.
WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU: Sophomore transfer Torrie Brown (from Georgia State) has been a great addition to the Titan floor posting double figures in kills in three of the seven Fullerton matches including her career high 16 on Aug. 29 against Idaho in the championship game of the Titan Classic. Brown is second on the team in kills and is averaging 2.65 kills per set. Brown is the younger sister of Cal State Fullerton baseball standout, Gary Brown.
LOOKING FOR WIN NO. 100: Cal State Fullerton Head Coach Carolyn Zimmerman sits just 4 wins away from career victory No. 100. Zimmerman is already the winningest coach in the 30-year Cal State Fullerton volleyball history and has amassed a 96-120 overall record (most in victories) and a .444 winning percentage (school record).
PRESEASON POLL: The 2009 Cal State Fullerton volleyball team was picked to finished sixth in the Big West according to the nine conference coaches in the annual preseason poll released on July 28. Long Beach State was favored by the conference coaches to successfully defend its 2008 Big West championship with four first place votes and were followed by UC Irvine (3 first place votes) and Cal Poly (2 first place votes) to round out the top three. Pacific (54 pts), UC Santa Barbara (48 pts) Cal State Fullerton (36 pts), Cal State Northridge, 26 pts), UC Davis (16 pts) and UC Riverside (15 pts) round out the rest of the poll.