FULLERTON, Calif. -- Cal State Fullerton senior outside hitter/middle blocker Kayla Neto became only the eighth player in the history of the Big West Conference to be named to the All-Big West Conference First Team while teammates Bre Moreland and Lauren Kissell were also recognized on Tuesday morning (Nov. 27) as the league announced its postseason honor roll.
Neto, who became only the 16th first-team All-Big West selection in the history of the program, joins Long Beach State's Misty May (1995-98), Alexis Crimes (2004-07), and Caitlin Ledoux (2008-11), UC Santa Barbara's Roberta Gehlke (1996-99), Pacific's Jennifer Joines (2000-03), Cal Poly's Kylie Atherstone (2005-08), and UC Irvine's Kari Pestolesi (2007-10) as four-time first-team honorees and is one of only three players in school history to earn at least three first-team nods alongside Brittany Moore (2006-08) and Cami Croteau (2008-10).
"Kayla had another amazing year for the Titans," Head Coach Carolyn Zimmerman said. "She recorded some of the highest kill numbers this season in the conference and our team enjoyed a great deal of success as a result. From day one she was a scorer and proved to be one of the most versatile players to date as she developed from a three rotation middle blocker into a six rotation outside hitter. She undoubtedly played a huge role in the program's success during her career at Cal State Fullerton and she will be missed."
The Titans' all-time leader in kills (1,628) and points (1918.5), Neto finished with a team-high 541 kills in her final season, averaging 4.33 kills per set to rank second in the Big West Conference in both categories and one of only two players with 500-plus kills this season, joining UC Santa Barbara's Leah Sully. Neto also finished third in the league in aces (38) and second in points with 5.04 per set, standing behind only conference player of the year Emily Hartong of Hawaii.
Neto also finished with a team-high 21 double-doubles on the season, finishing with double-digit kills in all but two of Fullerton's 31 matches this season (including the final 22 consecutive contests) and set a new career high with 35 kills at UC Santa Barbara on Oct. 19 -- the fourth-highest single-match total in school history.
Moreland was one of 10 players selected to the All-Big West Honorable Mention squad after the junior outside hitter finished ninth in the league with 3.34 kills per set (417 overall) and led the league with 49 aces (0.39 per set). Her 4.01 points per set ranked seventh in the conference and she finished the year with 20 double-doubles, including a career-high 24 kills against Cal Poly on Nov. 17 and 27 digs against UC Irvine on Nov. 11.
"Bre had a fantastic year and I am so proud she is being rewarded for her hard work, perseverance and commitment to her team," Zimmerman said. "Some might have tried to overlook Bre due to her smaller stature, but she ended her season as a top scorer from the endline and recorded 20+ double doubles which is difficult to dismiss, no matter what her size."
Kissell, in her first season with the Titans, was one of seven players named to the league's All-Freshman Team after averaging 1.84 kills per set (199 overall) and hitting .232 on the year while ranking fourth on the team with 68 blocks and 236 points. She became Fullerton's first All-Freshman Team choice since Neto was selected Freshman of the Year in 2009 and the 17th Titan rookie to be so honored.
"Kissell stepped into a big role for us this year," Zimmerman said. "I asked her to be one of our top-three scorers, which is a tall task given her youth and inexperience as a right side hitter. She did that and more, recording the best hitting percentage on the squad. I am thrilled that she was recognized as one of the top freshman in the conference and am excited to oversee her development into a six rotation outside hitter going into the 2013 Big West season."
The Titans finished the regular season at 15-16 overall and tied for fifth in the Big West Conference at 9-9 in league play. The 2012 campaign marked the ninth time in 11 seasons under Zimmerman that Fullerton reached double-digit wins after notching just seven years of 10-or-more wins in the previous 26 campaigns.