FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton's two-set lead wasn't enough as American surged back after the break, winning the next three games to clinch a 3-2 victory (17-25, 9-25, 25-23, 25-20, 17-15) over the Titans on Sunday afternoon at Titan Gym.
The loss drops the Titans to 7-5 in 2013, as Fullerton completed the non-conference portion of its schedule. The Titans open Big West Conference play at No. 7 Hawai'i on Friday in Honolulu.
Fullerton's Bre Moreland led all players with 23 kills – one short of the senior's career high – while also adding 13 digs to record her third double-double of the season.
American's rally started in the third set as the Eagles took the first point of the game and their first lead of the match courtesy of a Morgan Hendrix kill.
The Eagles were led by the trio of Juilana Crum (15 kills, 17 digs), Hendrix (12 kills, 5 blocks) and Kristyna Lindovska (12 kills).
After attacking at rates of .133 (first set) and -.037 (second set), American recovered to hit above .200 in the third (.333) and fourth (.225) sets, respectively. Fullerton was held to a .098 attacking percentage in the fourth set and .062 in the fifth and final game as American totaled a match-high 13 total blocks.
Despite American's early lead, Fullerton had amassed an eight-point (17-9) advantage in the third set and looked well on its way to a sweep until the Eagles' crucial 11-3 run evened the game at 20-20. During that run, the Titans committed five errors and Hendrix and Allison Cappellino totaled two kills apiece.
Fullerton again pulled ahead to claim a 23-21 lead, but American won the next four consecutive points to foil Fullerton's attempt at a sweep and start their comeback.
In the fifth and final set, Fullerton once again squandered an advantage at 10-7. Following a timeout by American, the Eagles took a 12-11 lead as Hendrix racked up one of her 12 kills. Crum was responsible for American's final two points to clinch the comeback.
American never led in the first two sets as Fullerton hit .509 (33-6-53) combined in the first two games led by Hensley's nine kills and .727 hitting percentage. The Titans held American to a cold attacking percentage of .053 (14-11-57) in the first two sets.
Cal State Fullerton completes the non-conference portion of its schedule with a record of 7-5. The Titans open Big West Conference play at Hawai'i on Friday in Honolulu.
Notes: Fullerton's 25-9 win in the second set marked the program's largest margin of victory in a set this season, and the largest since a 25-5 win over Presbyterian College on Sept. 3, 2011…Fullerton last blew a two-set lead in a five-set loss at Pacific on Nov. 12, 2011…Bre Moreland's 23 kills marked her third career match of 20 kills or more, and her first 20-plus kill performance of 2013…Julie Consani totaled 54 assists in the match, marking her third match of the year compiling 50-plus assists…Bre Moreland also recorded her third double-double of the year, and Julie Consani contributed her fourth double-double of the year with 16 digs.