Titans Make Fourth NCAA Tournament Appearance This Weekend at Top-Ranked UCLA
Nov. 14, 2007
FULLERTON, CA - The Cal State Fullerton women's soccer team, which claimed a share of the Big West Conference regular season title and won the league's tournament crown for the third straight season, continues it 2007 season as the Titans take on No. 1-seeded UCLA in the first round of the NCAA Tournament this weekend at Drake Stadium on campus in Westwood, Calif.
The Titans and Bruins will meet on Friday evening (Nov. 16) at 5:30 p.m. before San Diego and Oklahoma State meet in the late game at 8 p.m. The winners of the two matches will meet in the second round on Sunday (Nov. 18) at 1 p.m.
TICKET INFORMATION: Tickets for this weekend's first and second round matches at UCLA are \$9 for adults and \$7 for youth/students.
CAN'T MAKE THE GAME?: Live audio from UCLA will be available for all of Cal State Fullerton's postseason matches beginning on Friday night. Mike Martinez will have the play-by-play from Drake Stadium.
A TRIO OF TROPHIES: Fullerton became the first-ever Big West Conference school to win three consecutive league tournament titles last weekend, defeating Cal Poly on penalty kicks after a scoreless 110 minutes of soccer. The Titans and the Mustangs have combined to win six of the seven tournament crowns and are the only schools to win back-to-back tournament titles. Both Fullerton, which is unbeaten in its last six matches in the tournament (5-0-1) after losing three straight, and Cal Poly have claimed three tournament titles apiece.
IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: Cal State Fullerton will be making its fourth appearance in the NCAA Tournament this weekend, bringing with them a 3-3 all-time record in the event. The Titans lost to UCLA, 3-0, in their first-ever tournament appearance in 2001 before posting wins over UNLV (1-0) and USC (3-1) in 2005 en route to an appearance in the third round where they fell to nationally ranked Virginia (2-1). Last season, Fullerton defeated LMU (3-0) in the first round at UCLA before falling to the Bruins (3-1) in round two.
IN THE POLLS: Cal State Fullerton is ranked No. 12 in the west region according to Soccer Buzz, up three spots from last week... the Titans are receiving votes nationally in the final NSCAA regular season poll and are tied for 10th in the region... UCLA is the consensus No. 1 team in the nation... USD is ranked as high as No. 9 in the nation by Soccer Buzz and stands No. 12 in both the Soccer America and Soccer Times polls and No. 19 by the NSCAA... Oklahoma State is ranked as high as No. 19 by Soccer America, No. 21 by Soccer Buzz, No. 22 by NSCAA, and No. 24 by Soccer Times.
SCOUTING THE FIELD
UCLA (No. 1 Seed)
16-1-2 Overall, 9-0 Pacific-10 Conference
Pac-10 Regular Season Champions
The Bruins ran roughshod through their Pacific-10 Conference schedule to earn league's automatic bid, outscoring the opposition 21-1, allowing their only goal in a 3-1 win over Arizona State on Nov. 2... UCLA has not lost since a season-opening 2-1 defeat to then-No. 9 Texas and has won 13 straight matches... The Bruins are a perfect 10-0 at home this season... The offense is averaging 2.56 goals per match while the defense has combined to post a 0.51 goals against average this season, allowing just 10 goals... The offense runs through sophomore Lauren Cheney, who stands among the nation's best players with 20 goals and nine assists for 49 points, but will miss Friday's match after earning a red card in the Bruins' 3-0 win over Washington... Danesha Adams has scored in double digits with 11 goals to go with eight assists... Six other players have found the back of the net this season... Goalkeeper Val Henderson sports a 0.44 goals against average with 49 saves and eight shutouts.
UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO
15-2-3 Overall, 5-1-1 WCC (2nd Place)
San Diego has won four straight heading into the NCAA Tournament since a 4-0 loss to league champion Portland on the road, including a 1-0 victory over Cal State Fullerton... three of the Toreros final four wins came via the shutout... Junior Amy Epsten, the school's all-time scoring leader, leads the offense with 14 goals and an assist for 29 points... Leigh Ann Robinson is one of three other players with multiple goals (5) and leads the team with seven assists this year... Goalkeeper Brittany Cameron boasts a 0.64 goals against average and 75 saves to go with nine shutouts on the year.
13-5-3 Overall, 5-4-1 Big 12 Conference (t5th Place)
Oklahoma State was the No. 6 seed into the Big 12 Conference Tournament, upsetting third-seeded Kansas, 3-0, in the opening round before falling to eventual tournament champion and No. 2-seeded Texas in penalty kicks, 5-3, after the two teams played to a 1-1 draw through regulation and two overtimes... The Cowgirls are in the tournament for the second consecutive season as an at-large team and are making their third NCAA Tournament appearance in the program's 12-year history (1-1-1 overall)... Oklahoma State's offense, which racked up 392 shots on the season, is led by Kasey Langdon, who has scored four goals and assisted on nine others for 17 points... Yolanda Odenyo and Siera Strawser lead the team with seven goals apiece as seven players have scored 10 or more points on the year... In net, Erin Stigler has allowed just 15 goals in 21 starts (0.72 goals against average) to go with 78 saves and seven shutouts.
NOT BAD FOR A ROOKIE: Cal State Fullerton Head Coach Demian Brown became the first-ever first-year, first-time head coach in the history of the conference to win both the Big West regular season and tournament titles in his first year as a head coach and only the second first-year head coach to win a conference regular season crown after former Titans coach Ali Khosroshahin accomplished the feat in 2001. Cal Poly's Alex Crozier won the Big West tournament title in 1996 in the Mustangs first year in the league, but it was his fifth year overall as head coach in San Luis Obispo. In another resume builder, Brown needs only one more win in Friday's first round NCAA Tournament game to match Khosroshahin for the most wins as a first-year head coach in the history of the program. Khosroshahin finished 13-7 overall in 2001, leading the Titans to a regular season conference title and their first-ever NCAA Tournament berth.
BEST OF THE BEST: Cal State Fullerton will be meeting the No. 1-ranked team in the nation for a second time this season as the Titans and Bruins clash on Friday evening. Fullerton also met then-No. 1 Portland back on Sept. 7 at the Husky Nike Invitational, falling to the Pilots, 2-1, in what is thought to be the Titans' first-ever match against a No. 1-ranked team.
REMATCHES REAR THEIR UGLY HEAD AGAIN: Fullerton will face yet another former postseason foe when the Titans take on UCLA on Friday evening. It will be the sixth such "rematch" game of the season for Fullerton as the Titans look to snap a five-match winless streak in such games. The Titans fell to 2005 NCAA Tournament opponent UNLV (2-0) in its season opener on Aug. 31 and 2006 NCAA first round opponent LMU (2-1 in OT) on Sept. 20 at Titan Stadium. Fullerton also lost to UC Santa Barbara (2-0) and Cal Poly (1-0 in 2OT) during the regular season and tied the Mustangs through 110 minutes in the 2007 Big West Championship on Sunday before prevailing in PK's after defeating the two during the 2006 Big West Tournament.
TIME AND A HALF?: Cal State Fullerton set a school record with its eight overtime matches in 2007 - leading the Big West Conference in that category. The Titans finished 3-3-2 overall in those matches and played at least one overtime match every weekend of the regular season but two.
KRISTEN IN THE CLUTCH: Senior Kristin Boujos, who finished third on the team in scoring last season with five goals and 11 points, was limited to just two goals this season, but those two scores were huge for the Titans. Her first goal of the year came in the second overtime to beat then-No. 14 California while her second came 15 matches later as her double-OT strike with just under six minutes remaining defeated UC Irvine in the Big West Conference Tournament semifinals.
M-V-P!: Junior goalkeeper Shayla Sabin was named Most Valuable Player of the 2007 Big West Conference Tournament, becoming the third straight tournament MVP from Cal State Fullerton along with Lauryn Welch (2005) and Kristen Boujos (2006).
SUPER SABIN: Sabin is currently enjoying one of the finest seasons by a goalkeeper in the history of the program as her 0.77 goals against average and seven shutouts would rank third for a single-season.
SERIES NOTES: UCLA - Cal State Fullerton has never defeated UCLA in women's soccer, going 0-10 against the Bruins in the all-time series, including an 0-6 record in matches played in Westwood... UCLA has outscored Fullerton by a 23-5 count in the all-time series... Five of the matches have been decided by a single goal, including a double-overtime 2-1 loss in Westwood in 1998... the two teams have met twice in the NCAA Tournament in 2001 and 2006... SAN DIEGO - The Titans are 4-7 all-time against San Diego, including a 1-0 loss to the Toreros in the regular season finale at Titan Stadium on Nov. 4, and have lost the last two straight meetings in the series... The two schools have never met in the NCAA Tournament nor on neutral ground... OKLAHOMA STATE - Fullerton and Oklahoma State have never met in women's soccer.
AGAINST THE FIELD: Fullerton is 1-3 against teams in the NCAA Tournament field this year as all four top-25 programs the Titans have faced this season made the 64-team field: California (Titans won, 2-1, in double OT on Sept. 14 at home), Santa Clara (Titans lost, 3-2, in OT on Oct. 12 at Titan Stadium), Portland (Titans lost, 2-1, on Sept. 7 in Seattle, Wash.), and San Diego.
SHOOT ME - TOURNAMENT STYLE: Cal State Fullerton's 19 shots against UC Irvine in the Big West Tournament are tied for the second most in the program's tournament history while the one shot allowed to the Anteaters in the first half was a school record. The eight corner kicks against UCI were the second most in the history of the program while Shayla Sabin's 110 minutes in net against Cal Poly set a new school record.
LOOKING AHEAD: The winner of this weekend's matches will meet the "winner" of the first and second round matches hosted by No. 4 national seed Virginia in Charlottesville. The Cavaliers play host to Georgetown, William & Mary, and Loyola (Md.).
A SWEET QUINTET: The Titans clinched a share of their fifth regular season Big West title in 2007, finishing league play with a 6-2 record and splitting the crown with Long Beach State. Fullerton also won regular season crowns in 1996 (5-0-1), 2001 (8-1), 2004 (7-1-1), and 2005 (6-1).
TITANS MATCH WIN TOTAL: Cal State Fullerton's 12 victories this season marked the fourth straight season for double-digit wins and matched the victory total for all of last year (12-8-2).
YET ANOTHER WINNING SEASON: With their win over UC Irvine on Nov. 1, the Titans clinched its seventh consecutive winning season dating back to 2001 and the ninth winning campaign overall since the program's inception in 1993.
NO SHOT FOR YOU: Cal State Fullerton allowed a combined 13 shots to UC Irvine and Cal Poly this past weekend at the Big West Tournament, marking the fifth and sixth consecutive matches that the Titans' defense has allowed fewer than 10 shots in a match. Overall, Fullerton has held an opponent to single-digit shots in 10 of its 21 matches this season.
AWWW, SHOOT!: Fullerton has outshot its last six straight opponents and 13 of 21 overall this season. The Titans unleashed 19 shots in their double-overtime win against UC Irvine in the Big West semifinals on Friday, the most since they took 19 shots in a win at UC Riverside on Oct. 28.
CLOSE CALLS: Cal State Fullerton has played 12 matches this season decided by a single goal, posting a 7-5 record in those contests, and standing one match short of matching the school record for the second straight year.
DEFENSE HOLDS: The Titans' defense has been extremely stingy this season and it has turned out to be a tremendous help to Fullerton's chances. The Titans are 11-2-2 this season when allowing one goal or less in 21 matches this season.
GIBBENS GARNERS ACADEMIC HONOR: Cal State Fullerton junior defender Jenae Gibbens was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District 8 First Team by the CoSIDA on Nov. 2.
Gibbens, a marketing major at Cal State Fullerton, was a second-team All-Big West Conference selection as a sophomore and also was named to the Big West All-Academic team in 2006.
On the field, Gibbens has been the centerpiece of a stingy Fullerton defense that has allowed only 19 goals this season (fourth in the Big West) and a 0.96 goals against average (fifth in the league).
Offensively, Gibbens ranks tied for second on the team with four goals scored and is tied for third on the team with nine points. She was named the Big West Player of the Week on Sept. 17 after leading the Titans' defense to wins over nationally ranked California and Oklahoma at home. Gibbens is one of two Big West players on the First Team, joining Long Beach State defender Amanda Perry, and one of six players from the league selected overall.
By virtue of her first-team honor, Gibbens is now eligible to be named to ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Team which will be released on Nov. 20.
To be eligible for the Academic All-District Team, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at her current institution and be nominated by her sports information director.
ROUSING SPEECH COACH: Only the coaching staff and players know what Head Coach Demian Brown says in the lockerroom at halftime to fire up the troops, but whatever it is, it seems to be working wonders. Of Cal State Fullerton's last 17 goals, 14 of those have come in the second half or later - including the Titans' last six straight scoring strikes - dating back to a 3-2 win over Fresno State on Sept. 30 at Bulldog Stadium. Overall this season, 21 of the team's 30 goals have come after the break - 18 in the second period and three in the second overtime.
SCORE FIRST, WIN OFTEN: Fullerton has scored first in 10 of its 21 matches this season, posting a 9-1 record in those contests. Senior Stacey Thompson has accounted for three of those "first goals" while teammates Lauren Cram and Brianna Buffington have accounted for two apiece.
I'M HERE TO HELP: A lot is made about the person who scores the game-winning goal, but little is often said about those who help that person find the back of the net. We're here to change that. Eight different Titans have posted game-winning assists in Fullerton's 10 wins, including three from senior Nicole Scheid and two each from seniors Stacey Thompson and Lauren Cram. Casey Schostag, Kristen Boujos, Candice Byler, Tanya Slusser and Geminesse Martinez, have also had a hand (or foot, rather) in helping the Titans to victory with one each.
CRAM SESSION: After notching only one goal in her three previous seasons as a Titan, senior Lauren Cram is experiencing her finest season in a Fullerton uniform, leading the team with six goals and a pair of assists for 14 points. She ranks tied for fourth in the Big West in points and seventh in points per game and is tied for third in goals.
SHE'S A GAMER: Seniors Lauren Cram and Stacey Thompson have been mainstays in the Fullerton lineup since they first donned the uniform in 2004. Cram, who has played in 82 of the possible 86 matches in that span, ranks second on the school's career games played list - just one shy of Erica Janke's school record of 83 set from 2003-06. Thompson has also been a constant, appearing in 79 career matches to rank tied for eighth on the all-time list.
TITANS PICKED FOURTH IN BIG WEST PRESEASON POLL: The Cal State Fullerton women's soccer team was selected to finish fourth in the 2007 Big West Conference race according to a vote of the league's coaches released on Thursday afternoon by the conference office.
Defending regular season champion Long Beach State was picked to repeat as conference champs, receiving five first-place votes and 77 points overall to outdistance the field.
Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara each received two first-place votes and tied for second place overall with 63 points, just four points ahead of the Titans in fourth with 59 points. UC Riverside and Cal State Northridge follow with 41 and 37 points, respectively, while Pacific (32 points), UC Davis (20), and UC Irvine (13) round out the poll.
HEAD COACH Demian Brown: After spending the last three seasons as the top assistant, Demian Brown takes the reigns of the Fullerton program for his first season as head coach in 2007. In his three previous seasons as an assistant, Brown has helped the Titans to a 42-20-3 (.669) overall record, a 17-4-2 (.783) mark in Big West Conference play, two regular season conference crowns, a pair of Big West Tournament titles, and two trips to the NCAA Tournament. He has had a huge impact on the defensive side of the ball for Fullerton, which set numerous defensive single-season records in 2004 and improved on those efforts in 2005, setting new marks for fewest goals allowed, fewest shots allowed, and shutouts.
ASSISTANT COACH Scott Alexander: Former Cal State Fullerton goalkeeper Scott Alexander returns to the bench for his second season as a full-time assistant coach after spending four years as a volunteer assistant under former head coach Ali Khosroshahin. Alexander's duties will continue to focus on training the Titans' goalkeepers after helping coach record-setting netminder Karen Bardsley to three-straight Big West Conference Goalkeeper of the Year trophies and four All-Big West awards.
ALSO NEW ON THE BENCH: Two former Fullerton greats will return to the sidelines for the Titans in 2007 as three-time All-Big West honoree Lauryn Welch will be an assistant coach with the team while three-time Big West Conference Goalkeeper of the Year Karen Bardsley will be a volunteer assistant.
CLASS ACT: Cal State Fullerton's incoming class for the 2007 season was ranked among the nation's top 100 teams (No. 89) for the second-straight season according to Soccer Buzz and among the West Region's top 25 (No. 21). The Titans have been listed among the nation's best recruiting classes in five of the last six years - posting their highest ranking in 2002 with the No. 22-ranked class in the country and have been among the region's best recruiting programs for each of the last six years.
SUCCESS AFTER THE TITANS: Former Fullerton stars Karen Bardsley, Kandace Wilson, and Erica Janke have all seen significant success after their Titan careers. Bardsley and Wilson helped Ajax America of the Women's Premier Soccer League to the league's "Final Four" and an Open Cup title at the 2007 USASA National Cup Finals in Seattle, Wash., this past summer. Janke, meanwhile, has taken the longest trip of any Titan, signing on with FC Gutersloh of the German 2nd Bundesliga. Fans can follow her travels with the team through her online blog set up by the club at http://blog.fcg-frauen.de/.