Sept. 10, 2008
FULLERTON, CA - With victories in four of its first five matches to begin the 2008 season, the Cal State Fullerton women's soccer team (4-1 overall) racks up the frequent flier miles this weekend as the Titans head east to Winston-Salem, N.C., for the Wake Forest Nike Tournament.
Fullerton opens tournament play on Friday (Sept. 12) at 2 p.m., against Virginia Tech before taking on the host Demon Deacons on Sunday (Sept. 14) morning at 10:30 a.m. UNC-Charlotte will be the fourth team in the fray.
IN THE POLLS: Despite suffering their first loss of the season to No. 12 Santa Clara, the Titans remain in the top 25 in the nation's three major polls, ranking as high as No. 21 in the nation according to the NSCAA and ranked No. 25 in the country by both Soccer America and Soccer Buzz... Host Wake Forest is the highest ranked team in the tournament, standing No. 14 according to Soccer Buzz, No. 16 according to Soccer America, and No. 19 according to the NSCAA... Virginia Tech and UNC-Charlotte are both unranked this week.
"WATCH" FROM AFAR: Wake Forest will be running Gametracker for all of this weekend's games in Winston-Salem. Fans can access the links for Cal State Fullerton's matches by visiting the women's soccer page at www.FullertonTitans.com.
SCOUTING THE HOKIES: Virginia Tech enters the weekend with a 3-2 overall record, splitting its two matches at its own Hawthorne Suites Invitational last week in Blacksburg... The Hokies fell to No. 11 Texas A&M (3-1) and defeated George Washington (2-0)... Marika Gray leads the team with four goals and 10 points overall in five matches this season while Emily Jukich has found the back of the net three times... Ashley Owens has amassed a 1.84 goals against average in four starts, allowing seven goals and making six saves... Kristin Carden hasn't allowed a goal in 107 minutes, making two saves.
VS. VIRGINIA TECH: Friday afternoon's meeting will be the first with the Hokies in the history of the program.
SCOUTING THE DEMON DEACONS: Wake Forest enters the week with a 4-1 record after having its four-match winning streak to start the season snapped by No. 11 Texas A&M (2-1)... The Demon Deacons have posted wins over Utah, Francis Marion, UNC Wilmington, and George Washington... Wake Forest will meet UNC-Charlotte on Friday before taking on Cal State Fullerton... The Demon Deacons have scored 13 goals in five matches, holding the opposition to just three scores... Four players have accounted for all the team's goals led by Jill Hutchinson's five scores and 12 points overall... Allie Sadow (four goals, nine points) and Sarah Winslow (three goals, seven points) have added to the scoring punch... Amanda Barasha has seen the majority of action in net, posting a 0.72 goals against average and 11 saves.
VS. WAKE FOREST: Sunday's meeting with the Demon Deacons will be the first in the history of the program.
I ACC YOU: This weekend will make only the third and fourth meetings ever against members of the ACC as the Titans look to build on a 1-1 record against the conference as a whole. Fullerton is 1-0 against Clemson (a 1-0 win on Sept. 19, 2003) and 0-1 against Virginia (a 2-1 loss in the 2005 NCAA Tournament).
IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY: Cal State Fullerton's cross-country trip this week will be the longest regular-season trek and the second-longest overall in the history of the program. The Titans will take the 2,421.10-mile (as Mapquest calculates it) jaunt to Winston-Salem that surpasses the previous long of 2,088.38 miles traveled by Fullerton in 2005 during a tournament trip to Auburn, AL. The longest trip in the history of the program also came in 2005 as the Titans flew to Charlottesville, VA, to take on the University of Virginia in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
ON YOUR MARK: Cal State Fullerton had four different players account for its scoring load last weekend against Alabama and No. 12 Santa Clara, giving opposing defenses fits on who to cover. The Titans have had seven different players account for their 10 goals overall this season while nine different players have notched points on the year.
YOU CAN PUT IT ON THE BOARD...: Fullerton freshmen Janae Deas and Casey Volk each got into the scoring swing of things last weekend against the Crimson Tide, joining fellow freshman Stacey Fox as rookie goal scorers in 2008. Deas put the Titans on the scoreboard first against Alabama with her 30th minute strike with Volk added a second-half insurance tally in the 76th minute.
SAVE YOUR STUB... THIS IS HISTORICAL: Well, kind of. A huge "thank you" to the 839 fans in attendance for last Friday night's victory over Alabama in the home opener for Cal State Fullerton - the eighth-largest crowd to see a women's soccer match at Titan Stadium in the history of the program. It was the largest crowd to watch the women's team play since 1,187 fans packed Titan Stadium for Cal State Fullerton's debut on national television (Fox Soccer Channel) against Long Beach State on Oct. 25, 2006.
PUTTING HER ON THE SPOT: Redshirt sophomore defender Tamara Dewey has been put on the spot on more than one occasion this season, serving as the go-to player when it comes to penalty kicks. Both of Dewey's scores in 2008 have come from the penalty spot and both have served as game-tying goals in matches against nationally ranked opposition. Her first career goal came on a second-half penalty kick against then-No. 15 California, tying the match in the 79th minute as the Titans rallied from a two-goal halftime deficit. Her second goal came last Sunday against No. 12 Santa Clara, tying the match in the 27th minute after the Broncos had jumped out to the early lead.
QUICK OUT OF THE GATES: Fullerton's win over Alabama last Friday gave the Titans their first 4-0 start since the 1995 season - matching the best start in school history. If history is any indication, the start bodes well for Cal State Fullerton as the 1995 squad finished the year 14-5 overall.
COMEBACK KIDS: Cal State Fullerton has continued its mastery after halftime as the Titans have scored 13 of their last 16 goals in the second half or later dating back to a 3-0 win over Cal State Northridge on Oct. 21, 2007. This season, Fullerton is outscoring its opponents, 7-1, after the break while trailing 4-3 in the scoring column in the first 45 minutes.
THE BEST OFFENSE...: Is a good defense. But what if your defense is providing a nice chuck of your offense? That's even better. That has been the case for the Titans thus far in 2008 as senior Jenae Gibbens and sophomores Tamara Dewey and Geminesse Martinez have been producing on both ends of the field. Dewey leads the team in scoring with two goals and five points while 2007 Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Year Jenae Gibbens stands second on the team with a pair of goals. Not to be outdone, Martinez has assisted on a pair of goals - including Gibbens' game-winner against No. 15 California.
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. The 17 newcomers to the program marks the second-largest incoming class in the history of the program behind only the 19 new faces that joined the 2000 squad.
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.