Titans Look For First Road Win in SLO and Santa Barbara

Oct. 30, 2009

SERVICE: Cal State Fullerton swept UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly in Titan Gym the first weekend of October and now the Titans will try their luck against the same two teams on the last weekend of the month but on the road, where they are winless in 2009. The Titans will take on the Gauchos on Friday night (Oct. 30) and the Mustangs on Saturday night (Oct. 31) with both matches beginning at 7 p.m.

The Titans are coming off a 3-0 (25-17, 28-26, 25-17) loss at Long Beach State on Saturday night. Fullerton was its own worst enemy, committing 23 attack errors, 12 service errors and 6 receiving errors. Sophomore Torrie Brown led the team in kills with nine.

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VERSUS CAL POLY: Fullerton is just 4-43 all-time against Cal Poly dating back to 1981. The Titans snapped a nine-match losing steak to the Mustangs (dating back to 2004) on Oct. 2 with a 25-11, 25-14, 2517 sweep at Titan Gym. Prior to that, the Titans' last win against the Mustangs came back in Sept. of 2004, when they swept the Mustangs in Titan Gym, 30-21, 30-28, 30-18. Fullerton has beat Cal Poly just twice in their last 24 meetings.

VERSUS UC SANTA BARBARA: The Gauchos enjoyed 25 years of dominance over the Titans, beating them in all 52 matches they had played from 1980-2006. But on Nov. 4, 2006, the Titans beat the Gauchos in Titan Gym (23-30, 30-25, 30-22, 19-30, 15-1), snapping the winless streak. Since Nov. 4, 2006, the Titans hold a 4-2 advantage over the Gauchos, including Oct. 3's 25-23, 25-22, 25-21 sweep and a pair of wins in Santa Barbara. The all-time record between the two teams stands at 54-4 (in favor of UCSB).

CONFERENCE ACTION: In 29 previous seasons, the Titans have just ONE winning conference schedule and that was produced by the 2008 squad. The Titans finished in fifth place with a 9-7 record - the most wins in league by and Fullerton volleyball team. Fullerton has never finished higher than fifth place in their conference and have accumulated an 86-396 (.178) all-time record dating back to 1980.

100 IN THE BOOKS: Eighth Year Head Coach Carolyn Zimmerman reached the century mark in career victories on Oct. 2, when the Titans swept the Cal Poly Mustangs for their first Big West Conference win of the year. It only took her three shots to get No. 100, but she got it and win No. 101 as the Titans went on to also beat UC Santa Barbara the next night. Zimmerman is already the winningest coach in Cal State Fullerton volleyball history and has amassed a 102-128 overall record (most in victories) and a .443 winning percentage (also a school record).

QUICK HITS:
&\#149; With their win over Cal Poly on Oct. 2, the Titans have now one 12-or-more games in each of the last six seasons.

&\#149; The program has notched at least 14 wins in each of the last five season, the best stretch in terms of victories in the program's history. The next closest run was from 1995 to 1997 where the Titans posted 12, 16 and 12 wins in three straight years.

&\#149; The Titans have recorded 16-or-more wins just four times in the program's history (1981, 1996, 2006, 2008), 17-or-more twice (1981, 2006), and 18 once (1981).

&\#149; The Titans set a school record early this year 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.

&\#149; Fullerton is a 9-2 at home in 2009 and 3-1 in matches at neutral sites. Conversely, the Titans are winless in six true road games (New Mexico, Oregon State, San Diego State, Pacific, UC Santa Barbara and Long Beach State).

&\#149; The Titans have not won more than two consecutive games since they opened the season with six straight victories.

&\#149; The Titans received six votes in the AVCA Top 25 Poll on Oct. 5 after defeating Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara in Big West conference action. It was the first time in program history that the team had been recognized at that level. The team's stay in the "receiving votes" section was brief after falling to both Pacific and UC Davis the following weekend.

&\#149; After cracking the top 100 for the first time in the sport's history in 2008, the Cal State Fullerton volleyball team jumped 26 spots to No. 67 on the NCAA's first RPI report in 2009, their highest mark ever. Since then, the Titans have gone 1-2 and have dropped to No. 90 in the most recent RPI report.

&\#149; The Titans have played two in the NCAA's Top 25 (Baylor - 25, UCLA - 13), three in the Top 30 (Long Beach State - 26), four in the Top 40 (UC Santa Barbara - 36) and 7 in the Top 50 (New Mexico - 50, Pittsburgh - 41, Wisconsin - 43). Fullerton is 4-4 against those schools in the RPI Top 50.

&\#149;The Titans are 24th in the nation in assists per set with 13.00 assists per set as a team. Texas A&M leads the nation with 14.28 assists per frame.

&\#149;Fullerton ranks 40th in the nation in kills per set. Its 13.65 kills per set is ultimately trailing Texas A&M's 15.08 kills per set national lead.

&\#149; Setter Andrea Ragan posted a career high 5 service aces on Sept. 19 against Fordham including three consecutive strikes within the first 10 points of the match.

&\#149; If the season ended today, the Titans' .210 team attack percentage would rank as the third-best attack percentage in school history, just .013 off the top spot.

&\#149; If the Season ended today, the Titans' 13.00 assists per set would rank as the seventh-best mark in school history.

&\#149; The Titans are averaging nearly 21 attack errors per match, over 8 service errors and over 1 blocking error per match through 21 contests in 2009. They committed as many as 33 attack errors and as many as 17 service errors in a match.

&\#149; The Titan blocking numbers though 21matches (143.5 total team blocks) are on pace to be the fewest number of total blocks since 2002 (127.0). They are on pace to collect 205 over 30 matches.

A SMALL STEP AND A GIANT LEAP: 2009 has been the year for key wins for the Fullerton volleyball program. Wins over UC Santa Barbara (receiving votes - On Oct. 3), Wisconsin (receiving votes on Sept. 6) and UCLA (No. 7 on Sept. 18) have got the Titan program noticed on Oct. 5 as their received six votes in the AVCA poll for the first time ever. The Titans are 3-3 against teams either ranked or mentioned by the AVCA, but they still have a few roadblocks in the way as far as the season goes. The Titans still have two matches with No. 21 UC Irvine, another with UC Santa Barbara (receiving votes) still on their conference schedule. Here are the big wins for Fullerton in 2009:

1. Sept. 6 vs. Wisconcin: The Badgers were a Top 10 team in 2008 when they beat up on the Titans in three straight games... but Fullerton came back and avenged last year's loss with a sweep of their own in Corvallis in early September. Wisconsin was not ranked at that point, but they were receiving votes. It was the highest "ranking" team the Titans had ever beaten to date.

2. Sept. 18 vs. No. 7 UCLA: The Titans played amazing defense against the Top 10 Bruin squad keeping them in the match and giving them the opportunity to bring down the mighty Bruins. It was not only the Titans' first win over a ranked opponent, but their first win over UCLA in the program's history (28 matches total, 14 since 1980).

3. Oct. 2 vs. Cal Poly: The Titans have not fared well with Cal Poly over the years, going just 4-43 all-time against them dating back to 1980. In fact, the Titans had lost 22 of their last 23 meetings with their last win coming back in 2004. The win on Oct. 3, not only snapped the five-year winless streak, but also handed the Titans their head coach her 100th career victory.

4. Oct. 3 vs. UC Santa Barbara: The Gauchos have enjoyed dominance over the Titans since 1980. In fact, the Titans were 0-52 against the Gauchos until their first win in 2006. This year, the Gauchos were receiving votes, just shy of Top 25 status, coming into Titan Gym, where they were stopped in their tracks by the Titans in the three-set sweep. The Titans have now won four of the last six meetings with UCSB and are now 4-54 all-time.

BRIEFLY: 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. 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.

LEADING BY EXAMPLE: Junior Erin Saddler dropped to No. 2 on the Big West Conference leader board in kills with 329 total kills and 4.45 kills per set. Her 4.45 kills per set coming into the week ranks her 17th in the nation according to the NCAA, and her 5.10 points per set also ranked her 13th nationally. Saddler has accumulated 329 kills (15.67 kills per match) and also has 8 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. The junior also ranks 5th in the Big West in service aces hitting 24 total strikes (0.32 per set) trailing the league leader, Svenja Engelhardt (Pacific) by 11 aces.

SETTING THEM UP: Sophomore Andrea Ragan remains atop of the Big West Conference standings and is ranking 16th in the nation with 11.39 assists per set. The league-leading setter now has amassed 843 total assists and has six double-doubles (assists/digs) to her credit.

CROTEAU CHALLENGING 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 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 210 digs away from the top spot with 1,388 career 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: Libero Cami Croteau came into the week leading the Big West Conference and ranking 20th in the nation with 5.15 digs per set and 381 total digs. She is tailing the dig machine from NJIT Sabrina Baby who is scooping 6.49 attack attempts per set to lead the nation.

WOLNISTY CHASES BLOCKING RECORD: Senior Alex Wolnisty (Riverside, Calif.) sits 28 block assists away from tying the Cal State Fullerton block assist mark of 294 block assists set last year by former teammate 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 266 block assists in her career through 21 matches this season. The middle is also just 46 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 317 total blocks, and still needs to pass Tammy Miller (325, 1986-89), Brittany Moore (360, 2005-08) and Scofield for the record.

WITH ACCURACY: Senior Alex Wolnisty stayed in the No. 6 slot in the Big West Conference despite dropping to a .306 overall attack percentage. The senior currently has 164 kills in 366 swings with just 52 errors. The Riverside native's best total attack percentage came last year when she hit a career-best .291, and is currently hitting .266 in her four-year career, ranking her second all time at Cal State Fullerton. Freshman Kayla Neto, who has come on strong the second half of the season, has also found her way into the Top 10 in attack percentage. The Middle from Clarksburg, Calif., is now hitting .288, good for ninth in the league. She has 186 kills in 438 chances with 60 errors to her credit.

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.