Titans Prep For Final Pre-Conference Tourney

Sept. 15, 2009

SERVICE: After a disappointing 1-3 schedule last week, the Titans return home to host the Brea Embassy Suites Fullerton Classic this weekend at Titan Gym. The Tourney will bring in Fordham, nationally-ranked UCLA and national contender and Big West rival Long Beach State.

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The TItans started the week by dropping the championship game of the Active Ankle Challenge in Corvallis to host Oregon State, 20-25, 19-25, 14-25. It was the Titans first loss of the year snapping a seven-match winning streak dating back to last season.

The team then traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to participate in the Friday-Saturday Comcast Challenge at New Mexico. Fullerton dropped its first match to the host Lobos (19-25, 17-25, 22-25) as the Titan offense stalled. Freshman Kayla Neto provided the offensive spark with her first 12-kill match of her young career.

The Titans picked up their only win of the week over Pittsburgh (25-22, 25-19, 25-22) on Friday night behind 11 kills each from Alex Wolnisty and Erin Saddler. Wolnisty hit .667 on the night and eventually was rewarded with all-tournament honors after Saturday's match with Baylor.

The Bears finished off the Challenge with a perfect record, and kept their season-long (11-0) perfect record intact with a 3-0 (11-25, 17-25, 24-26) sweep of the Titans to wrap up the tournament. Junior Jonny Hart had her first career 10-kill match and she and Saddler (13 kills) did their best to offset the 30 Titan attack errors on the afternoon.

COMPLETE TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE:
Friday, September 18, 2009
4:00 pm (H) Fordham vs. Long Beach State
7:00 pm (H) Cal State Fullerton vs. UCLA

Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009
1:30 pm (H) UCLA vs. Fordham
5:00 pm (H) Long Beach State vs. UCLA
7:00 pm (H) Cal State Fullerton vs. Fordham

IF YOU CAN'T MAKE THE MATCHES: Both of Fullerton's matches will be broadcast live over the Internet at FullertonTitans.com. A free live audio stream will be available with Patrick Alog and Crysania Salcedo carrying the play-by-play for both contests. 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 the Big West TV platform on a subscription basis.

TITANS AND TOURNAMENTS: In eight seasons, Coach Zimmerman's teams have posted eight pre-season tournament championships, (two in 2004, one in 2005, a school-record three in 2006, one in 2007 and one in 2009) and seven second-place finishes (two in 2003, one in 2005, one in 2007, two in 2008 and one in 2009) en route to a 57-35 non-conference record since 2003.

VERSUS FORDHAM: The Titans are 3-0 all-time against the Rams dating back to their first meeting in 2000. The Titans lost their first set against the Rams, but have since won nine straight sets (in matches in 2000, 2002 and 2003). Fullerton has beaten Fordham twice at Titan Gym and once in Bronx, New York.

VERSUS UCLA: This meeting with UCLA will be the 15th all-time match-up between the Southern California teams in their Div. I histories. The Titans have lost all 14 prior meetings. Their first meeting came in 1980 and their most recent came last season. The Bruins are currently the highest ranking team the Titans will face this season. UCLA comes into the weaken as the AVCA's No. 7 team in the nation.

THE 49ERS WILL WAIT: Despite its participation in the Embassy Suites Fullerton Classic, Long Beach State will not face Cal State Fullerton in the tournament this weekend. The two teams will open up Big West Conference play on Sept. 26 at Titan Gym, and will again meet up at the Pyramid on Oct. 24.

A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION: The Titans set a school record by winning its first six matches of the season before dropping their Sept. 7 match to Oregon State. The 1985, 1987, 1996 and 2006 teams all won five matches in a row before losing their first matches.

NEARING THE CENTURY MARK: Eighth-year Head Coach Carolyn Zimmerman sits just 3 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 97-122 overall record (most in victories) and a .443 winning percentage (school record).

LEADING BY EXAMPLE: Junior Erin Saddler is leading the Big West Conference by three-quarters of a kill per set, and has 32 more kills than the second-best hitter in the league (Dominique Cowling - UC Riverside). Her 5.03 kills per set is 4th in the nation according to the NCAA, and her 5.6 points per set also ranks fourth nationally. Saddler has accumulated 171 kills (17.1 kills per match) and also has four double-doubles (kills/digs). In the Titans' 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.

SETTING WITH ANDREA: Sophomore Andrea Ragan leads the Big West Conference in assists and ranks ninth in the nation with 398 total assists and 11.7 per set. Dana Vargas of UC Santa Barbara is next in the Big West with 11.39 per set.

BLOCKING WITH KAYLA: Freshman middle blocker Kayla Neto (Christian Brother High School) cracked the Big West's Top 10 in blocking last week and remains there again this week after hang posted 34.0 total blocks on the season. She ranks 7th in the league in blocks per set (1.00), tied for fourth in both total blocks and block assists (30).

DIGGING WITH CAMI: Junior Cami Croteau is leading the Big West Conference with 169 total digs and 4.97 digs per set. The libero also ranks 21st in the nation with 4.97 digs per set. NJIT's Sabrina Baby is digging 6.50 attack attempts per set to lead the nation.

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, in her third year, sits just 422 digs away from the top spot with 1,176 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.

WOLNISTY CHASES BLOCKING RECORD: Senior Alex Wolnisty (Riverside, Calif.) sits 45 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 249 block assists in her career through 10 matches this season. The middle is also just 67 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 296 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 jumped six spots in the Big West's Top 10 to No. 4 with her .345 attack percentage. The senior has 77 kills in 168 swings with just 19 errors. The Riverside native's best percentage came last year when she hit a career-best .291, and is currently hitting .265 in her four-year career.