Titans Open League Play with No. 25 Mustangs and Gauchos
Sept. 25, 2008
LET'S GET IT STARTED: The Titans venture into Big West Conference play this week, hosting defending conference champion Cal Poly and perennial power UC Santa Barbara. Fullerton is coming off a 2-2 week that saw it sweep San Diego State and go 1-2 in its own Crowne Plaza Volleyball Classic won by nationally ranked (No. 9) California.
In the tourney, the Titans won the opening set vs. San Francisco before falling, 3-1. Sarah Mandala had 22 kills for the victorious visitors. Fullerton swept Central Connecticut State, 3-0, behind 21 combined kills from Erin Saddler and Alex Wolnisty. Cami Croteau led a defensive charge with 11 digs.
The Titans didn't have much success against No. 9-ranked California, falling in 3 sets.
Friday, Sept. 26 vs. No. 25 Cal Poly, 7 p.m. (Titan Gym)
Saturday, Sept. 27 vs. UC Santa Barbara, 7 p.m. (Titan Gym)
LISTEN LIVE: All the matches this week from Titan Gym will be broadcast live on fullertontitans.com. Patrick Alog will bring you all the action from courtside as the Titans host No. 25 Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara. Visit fullertontitans.com and click the banner on the right with the microphone to listen in.
VIDEO STREAMS: The Titans in conjunction with the Big West Conference will provide a live video stream all of their home games and all Big West road games via bigwest.tv. It is subscription based, so get set up early so you will not miss any spikes, digs, or blocks this coming season. It's easy, just got to bigwest.tv and get set up today!
ABOUT THE MUSTANGS: Cal Poly comes to Fullerton on the verge of slipping out of the AVCA Top 25, holding on in the polls bottom slot with an overall record of just 5-6. The Mustangs are losers of their last four matches (three vs. ranked opponents), and five of their last seven. The Mustang offense is led by reigning Big West Player of the Week, Kylie Atherstone, who has posted 164 kills on the year (3.73 kps) and a .269 attack percentage. Atherstone also leads the Mustangs with 21 service aces and collects 2.48 digs per set and just over a half block per game. Jaclyn Houston is one of two Big West players with over 1 block per set, and leads the squad with 48 total blocks, and 10 of them solos. Cal Poly hits .208 as a team, and has held their opponents to a .188 average.
VS CAL POLY: The Titans have been victorious just three times in 44 tries against the Mustangs dating back to 1981. Fullerton's last win over Cal Poly came in 2004 when the Titans beat them at Titan Gym in three straight sets (30-21, 30-28, 30-18) on Sept. 24. The Titans have lost seven straight since then, and their only other wins against the Mustangs came in 1996 and 1997.
ABOUT THE GAUCHOS: UC Santa Barbara snapped a five-match losing streak in their last mach against Texas State. The Gauchos come to Fullerton with a 4-7 overall record, with all four of their wins coming against teams from outside California. Charlene DeHoog is leading the Gaucho offensive, with 116 total kills and a .230 attack percentage. Dana Vargas and Rebecca Saraceno have combined for 226 of the team's 52 service aces on the year while Kasey Kipp has doubled the next best Gaucho in the blocking department, stuffing at least a share of 32 blocks. Leigh Stephenson has collected 153 digs (4.14 dps) in the first 11 matches to lead UCSB in the back row.
VS UC SANTA BARBARA: The Titans won their first match against UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 4, 2006 (the second meeting of the year) at Titan Gym, snapping a 52-match winless streak that dated back to their first meeting in 1982. Last year, the Titans and Gauchos split the series, with each winning on the road. The All-time series record now stands at 53-2 in the favor of the Gauchos.
TOUGH SCHEDULE: The Titans are 0-4 on the year in games against ranked opponents, and have another in No. 25 Cal Poly visiting Titan Gym this weekend. Seven 2008 Titan opponents are currently gracing the AVCA Top 25 poll (No. 4 UCLA, No. 8 Cal, No. 18 Wisconsin, No. 15 San Diego, No. 25 Cal Poly, No. 22 Long Beach State and No. 16 Pepperdine, which has moved into the poll since playing Fullerton).
QUICK HITS: &\#149; For the first time in the program's existence, the Titans posted seven conference victories, and finished tied for fifth place in the league in 2007, matching their best ever finish. It was just the fourth time that the Titans accumulated at least six conference victories.
&\#149; Cal State Fullerton 74-420 all-time in conference play, an average of just over 2 wins a season in league action. Over the last four seasons though, the Titans are averaging 6 wins in league play, the best four seasons in the programs history.
&\#149; The Titans 2008 roster is heavy on the under classmen with 11 of the 15 members being freshman (6) and sophomores (5). Brittany Moore is the lone senior on the squad, with juniors Alex Wolnisty (Riverside, Calif.), Deven Bukoski (Kula, Haw.) and transfer Ashley Collier (Huntington Beach, Calif., Belmont University) filling out the upper class.
HITTING GOING INTO LEAGUE: Sophomore Erin Saddler sits atop the Titan offense with a team-leading 147 total kills and a .273 attack percentage. She has blasted 3.13 kills per set heading into Big West Conference play, and ranks seventh among all league players in hitting percentage and kills per set. Senior Brittany Moore has posted 139 kills (2.96 kps) but is hitting just .164, .113 below her career average. Moore's kill numbers place her 10th in the league with 2.96 per set.
BLOCKING GOING INTO LEAGUE: Junior Alex Wolnisty is leading Cal State Fullerton's defense at the net posting a team-leading 43.0 total blocks, averaging 0.91 blocks per set. Freshman Sydney McDowell, who has played in just 21 of the Titans 47 sets thus far, has posted 0.76 blocks per set, good for second on the team. Brittany Moore and Erin Saddler have 24 total blocks, with Moore leading the squad with eight solos.
DIGGING GOING INTO LEAGUE: Cami Croteau is leading the squad with 3.72 pigs per set, (175 total digs), which ranks the sophomore fourth in the conference behind Devon Sutherland (UCI), Leigh Stephenson (UCSB) and Avreeta Singh (UCD). Brittany Moore has also put up decent numbers form the back row, also ranking 8th in the league's top 10 in digs with 3.09 dps (145 total digs).
MOORE TO COME: Senior Brittany Moore moved up in the all-time blocking ranks last weekend, maintaining her No. 3 spot with 319 total blocks in her career. With 10 blocks in the past three Titan matches, she sits just 44 away from the all-time leader Stephanie Scofield (1988-91). The Orange-native also ranks No. 3 in all-time block assists with 265 (22 away from the top spot), and 5th all-time in solos with 54.
SHE'S A KILLER QUEEN: Senior Brittany Moore (Orange, Calif.) became the 5th person to reach the Titans' 1000-kill club in 2007. In her fourth season in a Titan uniform she sits at 1194 career kills, just six away from the 1200-kill plateau, and 340 away from the top spot held by Susan Herman (1534 kills from1986-89).
SHE'S BEEN AROUND THE BLOCK: In just two years, junior blocker Alex Wolnisty has made her presence felt in the Titan history books having posted the 4th-best block assist season in the program's history with 96 in 2007. She also picked up 115 total blocks in `07, good for 7th on the single-season list. She has accumulated 227 total blocks in her three seasons in a Titan uniform and currently sits alone in 5th place all-time in Fullerton's total block record book and 4th in block assists with 188.