Baseball's NCAA Run Caps Big Year
June 22, 2007
Fullerton, Calif. - Cal State Fullerton's 2006-07 athletic year may have topped the highly successful 2005-06 effort. The highlights were three teams advancing deep into NCAA championship playoffs, both basketball teams gaining the semifinals of the same Big West Conference Tournament for the first time since 1986 and the women's volleyball team having arguably its best season ever.
The baseball team advanced to the College World Series for the 15th time in 33 years of Div. I competition. The Titans won their sixth Super Regional to qualify, beating UCLA. No other school has won more than five. The softball team won its first NCAA Regional Tournament since 1995 and became the first Big West team to gain the Super Regionals after handing host Ohio State its first two home losses of the season. The Titans were eliminated in Tucson by Arizona, which went on to win the national championship. And the women's soccer team won the Big West Tournament to qualify for the NCAA playoffs, where they beat Loyola Marymount before losing to UCLA, which would advance to the Final Four.
The men's basketball team won 20 games for the second time in three years and tied for second in the Big West with a 9-5 mark led by two-time All-Big West point guard Bobby Brown, who broke Leon Wood's CSF career scoring record. The women's basketball team had its best record since its 1990-91 NCAA Tournament team, finishing at 16-16. Women's volleyball had its best winning percentages ever at .596 overall (17-12) and .429 (6-8) in the Big West. The Titans beat UC Santa Barbara for the first time in 53 matches and swept Pacific for the first time.
Both the wrestling and women's gymnastics teams, coached by husband and wife Dan and Jill Hicks, had winning seasons. Heavyweight Wade Sauer placed sixth at the NCAA Championships to earn All-American honors and Morgan Atkinson was the Pac-10 champ at 149 pounds. The fencing team sent two competitors to the NCAA finals in senior Rachel Liebing-Allen in sabre and freshman Jake Jennings in epee, giving the team a 22nd place showing. Track and field saw 16 athletes qualify for Regionals and Dinah Clark (100 hurdles), Kandace Wilson (400 meters), Roberto Archibold (400 hurdles), Chris Epstein (men's 400 meters) and the women's 4x400 relay team (Wilson, Nancy Blake, Brittany McClelland and Kimiah Hudson) won Big West titles. Eight women's and four men's school records were improved.
In men's soccer, former Titan goalkeeper Bob Ammann replaced the retired Al Mistri as head coach and the Titans improved by 3 wins over the previous season. Senior forward Eugene Brooks led the Big West in scoring and earned first-team Academic All-American honors from ESPN The Magazine. Pitcher Brooke Weekley earned second-team academic honors in softball.
The Titan dance team won the national championship for the seventh time in eight years by winning the Universal Dance Association and United Spirit Association titles for 2007. Brian Quinn was selected West Region Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.
Former Titans also had a good year. Forward Bruce Bowen picked up his third NBA Championship ring with the San Antonio Spurs after helping throttle Cleveland's LeBron James in the finals. He even made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Guard Ralphy Holmes was the MVP of the CBA All-Star Game and his Yakama Sun Kings won the CBA championship.
Two more former Titans made their major league debuts as pitcher Jordan DeJong (Toronto) and catcher Kurt Suzuki (Oakland) were called up in June bringing to 45 the number of former Titans to make "The Show." Former quarterback Damon Allen became the leading passer in the history of pro football as he continued to star in the Canadian Football League. And pole vaulter Giovanni Lanaro finished fourth in the World Championships competing for Mexico.
Sadly, three former Titan basketball standouts passed away. Kisa Hughes and Kevin Henderson succumbed to natural causes and Ozell Jones was fatally shot.