Titans Up North for Matches with Davis and Pacific

Nov. 5, 2010

Fullerton, Calif. - Volleyball has a pair of road matches at UC Davis and Pacific this weekend as it continues its historic run in the Big West Conference. Each of the Titans' matches continue to remain crucial as they hold a slim Big West Conference lead.

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The Titans are winners of 15 of their last 17 and have a one-game lead atop the Big West Conference standings after wins over UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly last weekend in Titan Gym. Their Saturday night win over the Mustangs set a new school record for wins in a season, and also extended their incredible home record to 13-1.

On Friday the Titans knocked off the then-first place Gauchos in three sets (26-24, 25-17, 25-18) behind 17 kills from Erin Saddler, 10 from Kayla Neto and 5 blocks from Torrie Brown. It was the 16th time this season the Titans had beat their opponent by way of the 3-0 sweep.

On Saturday, the Titans had to battle back from a first set loss, to win 20-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-20. It was a situation the Titans had encountered just twice before, but were unsuccessful in the previous two matches. Leah Maurer was instrumental in the comeback, posting a tie for the team-high in kills with 15, while also adding a match-high 6 blocks.

The Titans went into the weekend a combined 11-98 against both Santa Barbara and Cal Poly, but came out having swept the season series from both opponents for the first time in school history.

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TITANS MAKING A DIFFERENCE: The Cal State Fullerton women's volleyball team spent a Sunday on Oct. 10, teaching volleyball to youngsters participating at the OC Parks Sports Day at Craig Regional Park in Fullerton. Go check out the video of Head Coach Carolyn Zimmerman and defensive specialist Genie Francisco as they talk from the event. (http://vimeo.com/15722052)

VS. PACIFIC: The Titans are 9-44 all-time against the Tigers dating back to their first meeting in 1984. Up until 2004, the Titans were 0-41 all-time against the Tigers, but since the second match of 2004, they have gone 8-3. The Titans and Tigers split the 2009 series, each winning on their home court. The Titans swept the Tigers in Fullerton back on Oct. 8.

VS. UC DAVIS: Since their first meeting back in 2004, the Titans are 8-4 against the Aggies. Last season, they two teams each won on their home court. The two team played five sets in Fullerton back on Oct. 9, with the Titans coming out on top.

THE ZIMMERMAN FILE: Carolyn Zimmerman (127-136, .483) is in her ninth season as the Titans head coach after taking over for Mary Ellen Murchison in 2002. Zimmerman's 127 wins and .483 winning percentage are the best numbers by any Titan volleyball head coach dating back to 1976. She has guided the Titans to its most prosperous times, winning 14-or-more game in each of the last seven seasons, and 17-or-more in four of the last five years, and set a new school record with 19 wins so far in 2010. She has also guided the Titans to their first first back-to-back-to-back winning seasons in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Over the last seven seasons, the Titans are a combined 22 games over .500, significant because they had only been above .500 twice in the previous 24 seasons. Last season, the team posted 9 conference wins (the most by any Fullerton team) as well as its first winning record in league (9-7). This year, the Titans posted a six-match winnings streak (tied old school record) and set a new school record with a seven match winning streak. They also started off the 2010 season with a school record 11-match unbeaten streak at home and have extended to a a school record 13-1 record in Titan Gym. Over the last two seasons, Zimmerman has coached the only two Titans to ever be named All-Americans (Brittany Moore in 2008, Kayla Neto in 2009) as well as the program's only Big West Player of the Year in Brittany Moore.

SADDLER AND POWs: Cal State Fullerton's Erin Saddler was named the Big West Conference Volleyball Player of the Week for the week ending Oct. 31, after leading the Titans to wins over UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly last weekend at Titan Gym. It was Saddler's fourth weekly honor of the year and sixth of her career setting new school records in both categories. The six career player of the week nods ties her with former Long Beach State superstar Misty May for ninth-most in a Big West Conference career. Saddler is just two wins shy of tying former Cal Poly athlete Kylie Atherstone for most weekly honors in a season. Atherstone racked up a conference-best six weekly awards in 2007. The outside hitter from Bellflower racked up 4.57 kills per set and 32 totals kills in the two wins on the weekend. She also added 12 digs, a pair of service aces and 3 blocks to help lift the Titans to their first-ever season series sweep of both the Gauchos and Mustangs. Last Friday, Saddler posted a match-high 17 kills and hit .273 as the Titans knocked the Gauchos out of first place. She also added 5 digs and three blocks (2 solos) in the win. Last Saturday, the senior posted a tie for the team-high in kills with 15 as the Titans had to come back to win three straight after dropping the first set to the Mustangs. Saturday night's win, the Titans' 19th of the year, set a new school record for victories in a season and put the Titans into sole possession of first place in league. Saddler ranks 17th in the nation in kills per set (4.85 cps).

SWEEPS: Sixteen of the Titans' 19 victories thus far have come by way of 3-0 sweeps of their opponents. The only three Fullerton wins that were not sweeps were five set victories over Big West competitors Cal Poly (Oct. 1) and UC Davis (Oct. 9), and a four set win over Cal Poly on Oct. 30 at home. The Titans have been swept just once. Long Beach State downed them in three back on Sept. 25.

THIS WEEK IN THE POLLS: The Titans are receiving school record 28 votes in this week's AVCA poll. It is the fourth time this season and third consecutive week the Titans have been recognized (also a school record). Only Fullerton and Long Beach State (44 votes) are being recognized by the national coaches.

RPI REPORT: This week in the RPI rankings released by the NCAA have the Titans up six spots to No. 30 after an 2-0 week against against UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly. The 49ers are up one spot to No. 23 this week as the only other Big West School in the Top 30. with their win over the Titans. This week's opponents UC Davis and Pacific are ranked 108 and 92, respectively.

SETTING NEW STANDARDS: The Titans won their 19th match of the year last Saturday to set a new school record for wins in a season. The worst the Titans can do in the regular season would be 19-12, which would also give them a .613 winning percentage, also a school record. This year's team has a legitimate chance of making the postseason for the first time in school history. The Titans have a one-match lead with six conference matches to play. The Titans play four of their final six matches against the bottom three teams in the league. They have already finished their season with Cal POly, UC Santa Barbra and Long Beach State, at the top of the conference. Fullerton has never finished higher than fifth in the league.

SETTING UP WHAT THEY'RE LAYING DOWN: Junior Andrea Ragan (S, Arroyo Grande, Calif. ) sits atop the Big West Conference and 7th in the nation in assists per game, supplying 11.85 of them every set. Her 2,888 career assists ranks 4th all time in Cal State Fullerton history. She is 500 away from tying Stephanie Shrieve (1988-91) in third place. Ragan has accumulated 40-plus assists 14 times this year, 50-plus three times and 60 twice. Her career high is 65 last accomplished Nov. 7, 2009 vs. Pacific.

SERVING UP ACES: Both Cami Croteau (7th, 22 sa, 0.27 saps) and Genie Francisco (8th, 21 sa, 0.26 saps) rank in the Big West's Top 10 in service acres per set. Croteau has had one match with a career-high 5 aces (Oct. 9 vs. UC Davis), while Francisco had a season high for the Titans and a career-best 6 on Sept. 3 vs. Montana.

TOP 10 IN THE NATION: Fullerton ranks, as a team, among the country's Top 10s in both kills per set (8th, 14.54) and assists per set (8th, 13.61). They lead the Big West Conference in both categories, as well as attack percentage (.261).

HITTING THEIR MARK: Both Kayla Neto (So., MB/OH, Clarksburg, Calif.) and Torrie Brown (Jr., OH, Diamond Bar, Calif.) rank among the Big West Conference's Top 10 in attack percentage. Neto has 254 kills in 554 swings and ranks 5th in the league with a .341 landing rate. Brown ranks 10th with a .277 mark, posting 275 kills in 628 attacks. If the season ended today, Neto's percentage would be the best single-season average in school history. She had the third highest in program history last season.