Sept. 4, 2008
FULLERTON, CA - After three straight road matches to begin the season, the Cal State Fullerton women's soccer team (3-0 overall) competes in front of the hometown faithful for the first time in 2008, hosting a pair of matches at Titan Stadium this weekend. Fullerton welcomes Southeastern Conference power Alabama to Southern California for a Friday night (Sept. 5) kick-off under the lights at 7:30 p.m., before nationally ranked Santa Clara comes calling on Sunday afternoon (Sept. 7) at 1 p.m.
IN THE POLLS: Cal State Fullerton is ranked as high as No. 21 in the Soccer America national top 25 and stands at No. 24 in both the Soccer Buzz and National Soccer Coaches Association of America's national polls... Santa Clara is ranked as high as No. 12 in the Soccer America poll and is ranked No. 16 by the NSCAA and No. 13 by Soccer Buzz... Alabama is unranked.
FULLERTON BACK IN THE NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT: Cal State Fullerton made its return to the national polls this week for the first time since September of 2006, debuting in the top 25 in three major polls this week.
CATCH IT LIVE: Can't make the trip to Titan Stadium this weekend? If you're near your computer, fans can log on to www.FullertonTitans.com and catch the live play-by-play from veteran Titan soccer broadcaster Michael Martinez, who will have the call of both matches. Live streaming video will also be available (on a subscription basis) via the Big West TV platform. Fans can log on and sign up to catch all the action by visiting www.BigWest.org/TV. The 2008 season marks the second straight year that Cal State Fullerton men's and women's soccer home matches will be broadcast on Big West TV.
DOUBLE OR NOTHING ON THE VIDEO BONUS: For this week only (Sept. 1-7), all live streaming video on Big West TV will be available free of charge, though a no cost registration with CBS College Sports will be required. Now in its third year, BigWest.TV covers every home and conference contest in women's volleyball, men's and women's basketball, and baseball as well as select softball games, men's and women's soccer contests, and Big West Conference Championships. A monthly subscription of \$9.95 or an annual subscription of \$79.95 gets you all the exclusive coverage.
SCOUTING THE CRIMSON TIDE: Alabama enters the weekend with a 1-0-1 overall record, forging a 1-1 tie with Memphis in its season opener and defeating Jacksonville State, 3-0, in its home opener... The Crimson Tide will also take on No. 1 USC during their West Coast road trip... Sophomore Victoria Frederick, an SEC All-Freshman Team member in 2007 after tying for the team lead with five goals and 13 points, leads the team in scoring again, netting a pair of goals and two assists thus far... Kailey Corken and Callie Pike have also found the back of the net for the Crimson Tide... In net, senior Kara Gudmens has posted a 0.48 goals against average in two starts allowing one goal to go along with 14 saves.
VERSUS ALABAMA: Cal State Fullerton has won the only meeting with Alabama, posting a 3-1 victory at the 1997 Reebok Classic at Titan Stadium.
SCOUTING THE BRONCOS: Nationally ranked Santa Clara has opened the season with a 2-1 record after wins over San Jose State (3-0) and No. 11 West Virginia (2-1 in 2 OT) before falling to No. 4 Notre Dame (2-0)... Sophomore Kendra Perry has scored two of the team's five goals to lead the squad in scoring... Senior goalkeeper Meagan McCray has posted a 1.03 goals against average in three starts, making 12 saves.
VERSUS SANTA CLARA: The Titans are winless in five meetings with perennial power Santa Clara, going 0-4-1 in the all-time series... Fullerton's only result against the Broncos came in 2003 as the Titans forged a 2-2 double overtime tie at Titan Stadium... Santa Clara defeated Fullerton, 3-2, in overtime at Titan Stadium in the last meeting between the two teams in 2007.
TITANS MAKE IT 2-FOR-2: Senior defender Jenae Gibbens was named the Big West Conference Player of the Week on Monday morning following her MVP performance at the California Invitational last weekend, giving the Titans two players of the week in the first two weekends of the 2008 season. Sophomore goalkeeper Shannon Simpson was named the league's first player of the week back on Aug. 25 following her shutout of Pepperdine in the Titans' season-opening victory.
GIBBENS HONORED NATIONALLY: Gibbens was also honored by a pair of national publications following her MVP performance, earning spots on both the Soccer America and Soccer Buzz National Teams of the Week. It was Gibbens' first appearance on the Soccer America honor roll while the senior makes her second appearance on the Soccer Buzz national team of the week - the first for a Titan since Gibbens made the list on Sept. 19, 2007
MAKING THE ADJUSTMENT: Stacey Fox's goal in the first half on Sunday against Saint Mary's was not only just the first goal of her collegiate career, but the first Titan goal before halftime in almost a year. Heading into the contest, each of Fullerton's last 10 goals had been scored in the second half or later dating back to a 3-0 win over Cal State Northridge on Oct. 21, 2007. Lest everyone think the Titans now like to jump out early, senior Tiffany Craig added a second-half goal later in the game against the Gaels for the final 2-0 victory.
GOT THEIR NUMBER: Cal State Fullerton may not see California on its schedule in the future if this trend continues. The Titans remained unbeaten against the Golden Bears in four all-time meetings with the Pacific-10 Conference power (3-0-1), including posting two wins and a tie over the last three years when California has been ranked nationally in the top 25.
QUICK OUT OF THE GATES: Fullerton's win over Saint Mary's on Sunday gave the Titans three straight wins to start the season - the program's best start since the 2003 squad began the year with the same mark. Fullerton now stands just one win away from tying the program's best start ever - a 4-0 record out of the gate to start the 1995 campaign en route to a 14-win season.
THROWN INTO THE FIRE: After coming off the bench in the team's season opener at Pepperdine, the Titans' freshman class got into the mix in a big way this past weekend in Berkeley, playing key roles in Fullerton's tournament victories. Janea Deas became the first freshman to get a start this season while Casey Volk notched her first career point with an assist on a goal by Christina Murillo that got the Titans on the board. Stacey Fox became the first Titans' rookie to score a goal, netting the game-winner against Saint Mary's.
TITANS PULL RANK: Fullerton's win over nationally ranked California snapped a three-match losing streak against ranked squads for the Titans dating back to last season. It was a rare win over a ranked squad for Fullerton, which improved to 6-17-3 against ranked teams since 2001.
I JUST WANT YOUR EXTRA TIME: After playing in a school-record eight overtime matches last season, last Friday's extra time contest against California was nothing new for the Titans. Fullerton, now unbeaten in its last three overtime contests, evened its record at 4-4-2 in its last 10 OT matches and 16-19-19 all time in overtime in the history of the program.
DEWEY DOES IT: Redshirt sophomore Tamara Dewey came up big this past weekend in helping the Titans to the California Invitational crown, scoring a goal and adding an assist to earn a spot on the all-tournament team. Dewey's penalty kick strike in the 79th minute on Friday night tied the match against the nationally ranked Golden Bears, setting up Jenae Gibbens' game-winner with six seconds remaining in overtime. On Sunday against Saint Mary's, Dewey set up Stacey Fox's game-winning goal as the Titans' shutout the Gaels, 2-0. Both were firsts for the sophomore, who took only three shots in 22 matches (20 starts) for the Titans on defense a season ago.
HOME SWEET HOME: Cal State Fullerton will compete in front of the hometown faithful for the first time this season at Titan Stadium - a place that portends good things for the Titans. Fullerton is 86-59-8 (.588) all-time on their home field - including winning 73 percent of its contests (44-15-4 overall) since 2001. Fullerton is 6-9 all-time in home openers, including wins in each of the last two seasons against California and Idaho.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE TITANS: Nametags may be an important part of the Cal State Fullerton uniform this season as 17 newcomers (including 16 freshmen) join a core group of returners that includes 10 letter winners and six starters from a squad that finished 12-8-2 overall and 6-2 in the Big West Conference a season ago. The Titans lost their top three scorers for the 2007 team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament for a third-straight season and are led offensively by sophomore midfielder Christina Murillo, who scored five times during her rookie season, and senior defender Jenae Gibbens, the 2007 Big West Defensive Player of the Year who also scored four times and added a pair of assists.
TITANS PICKED FOURTH IN BIG WEST RACE: Three-time defending Big West Conference Tournament champion Cal State Fullerton has been forecast to finish fourth in the 2008 standings in the annual pre-season poll of the Big West coaches.
UC Santa Barbara is the favorite to capture the regular-season title. The Gauchos picked up four first-place votes and 74 points to narrowly edge two-time defending league co-champion Long Beach State, which collected three first-place nods and 73 points.
Cal Poly was ranked third but picked up the two remaining first-place votes on its way to 62 points, just two ahead of the Titans with 60. The Mustangs and Titans met in the championship match last year with Fullerton advancing via penalty kicks.
UC Irvine had 40 points to come in fifth, followed by Pacific (30) and Cal State Northridge (26) in sixth and seventh, respectively. Rounding out the poll was UC Riverside with 25 points and UC Davis with 15.
ONE FOR THE PINKIE: Or whatever finger you want to put it on. The defending champion Titans will be looking for their fourth-consecutive Big West Conference Tournament title in 2008 after defeating UC Irvine and Cal Poly in last year's event to claim their third consecutive tournament crown and become only the second school in the history of the conference to advance to the NCAA Tournament in three straight seasons (Cal Poly, 2002-04). Cal State Fullerton is the only school to win three straight league tournament titles in the history of the conference and already has "one for the thumb" after claiming a share of its fifth regular season title in 2007.
FRESH FACES: Cal State Fullerton's 2008 recruiting class was ranked among the nation's top 100 classes according to Soccer Buzz, and the No. 18 class in a stacked West Region that has seven of the top 25 and 11 of the top 50 classes in the country. Taking it further, 25 of the 32 players on the roster are underclassmen and just over two-thirds of those underclassmen will be competing at the Division I level for the first time.
JUST WIN, BABY: The Titans have been one of the Big West Conference's winningest programs in the new millennium, posting 96 overall and 43 conference wins since the 2000 season - the most of any school in the league. Along the same vein, Fullerton's 19 wins en route to the third round of the NCAA Tournament is also a Big West Conference record while the Titans have posted seven-straight winning seasons and four-straight years with double-digit victories.