Nov. 25, 2009
Irvine, Calif. - Kayla Neto (Fr., MB/OH, Clarksburg, Calif.), Cami Croteau (Jr., L, Orange, Calif.) and Erin Saddler (Jr., OH, Bellflower, Calif.) became the first trio of Titans to be selected to the All-Big West Conference First Team as the league office announced its annual postseason volleyball awards Tuesday afternoon.
Prior to 2008, the Titans had never had more than two players selected to any conference First Team.
In addition to her first-team selection, Neto was also selected to the all-freshman team and named the Big West's Freshman of the Year. The Clarksburg native became just the second Titan to garner freshman of the year honors, and the first since Becky Howlett did it in 1990.
Neto, playing her first season at the Div. I level, is the only rookie in the league's Top 10 in attack percentage, hitting .328 through 29 of the Titans' 30 scheduled matches. The .328 average currently ranks as the best single season attack percentage in TItan volleyball histoy. She has posted 294 kills in 653 swings and committed just 80 mistakes. She also blew away the competition in league action, hitting a whopping .374 against Big West competitors.
The 6-foot-2 blocker/hitter also leads the Titans in blocking with 92 total blocks (15 solos), and 0.91 blocks per set, and was recognized multiple times by the league during the year, picking up a pair of Player of the Week Awards.
Croteau, the Titan libero, is making her second career appearance on the Big West's first team. The 5-foot-6 junior is leading the conference in digs per set (5.44 dps) and ranks 10th in the nation in the same category. Her 549 total digs has not only set a personal career high, but also ranks as the second best single-season total in Fullerton history. The Orange native has posted 10-or-more digs in all 29 of the Titans matches with more than half of them resulting in 20-plus dig performances.
With one match yet to play in 2009, Croteau is just 42 digs off the school record for career digs. She currently has 1,556 career scoops.
A two-time All-Big West honorable mention, Saddler makes her first appearance on the First Team in 2009. She led the Big West in kills and kills per set for the first half of the season and currently ranks second behind the league's Player of the Year from UC Santa Barbara, Rebecca Saraceno. The junior from Bellflower has accumulated 436 kills which works out to be the eighth best single season performance in Fullerton history. Her 4.31 kills per set rank her 6th all-time in Fullerton history and 24th in the nation in 2009. She set a career high with 27 blasts against Montana back on Sept. 3.
The 6-foot-3 outside hitter also showed strong performances as a server and defender in the back row. Her 30 service aces (0.30 aps) ranks sixth in the Big West through Nov. 23 and her 259 digs ranks second on the team this year behind Croteau. Saddler has posted 12 double-doubles, and collected her career high in digs in the Titans' season opener on Aug. 28 with a 24-kill, 16-dig effort against Lamar.
You can read Big West Conference's complete release and see all of the league's honorees by clicking here.