Sept. 1, 2011
CAL STATE FULLERTON (1-2): The Titans stumbled out of the block last weekend, dropping the first two matches of the year to LMU and No. 11 UCLA before wrapping up the weekend with a sweep of Quinnipiac at the tournament in Westchester. The 1-2 start is similar to the 2010 squad's start. They too lost to a Pac-10/12 team (USC), lost to LMU and beat an east coast team to salvage the weekend.
This week, the Titans have their sites set on Eastern Washington (2-2), Presbyterian (0-2) and host Arizona (2-1) at the 2012 Wildcat Invitational in Tucson, Ariz.
Last weekend, Kayla Neto was the most prominent offensive force, driving home 44 kills in the three matches, and tied her career high with 22 kills on opening night against LMU. Leah Maurer added 26 kills on the weekend and hit a cool .360 in 50 swings.
THIS WEEK IN TITAN VOLLEYBALL:
Friday, Sept. 2 vs. Eastern Washington, 12:30 p.m. (McKale Center, Tucson, Ariz.)
Friday, Sept. 2 at Arizona, 7 p.m. (McKale Center, Tucson, Ariz.)
Saturday, Sept. 3, vs. Presbyterian, 10:30 a.m. (McKale Center, Tucson, Ariz.)
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WATCH: You can watch the video stream of the Titans' and Wildcats' match on Friday night at 7 p.m. at arizonawildcats.com. A subscription is required.
VERSUS EASTERN WASHINGTON: The Titans have a 3-2 lead in the all-time series with the Eagles dating back to 1984. All five meetings have come in tournament play at neutral sites. The last time out, Fullerton upended Eastern Washington 15-9, 11-15, 15-9, 15-11 at the Fresno State Tournament in early September of 1995.
VERSUS ARIZONA: The Titans and Wildcats have met on 12 previous occasions with Arizona dominating the all-time series with 11 victories. The only Titan win came in 1982 when the Titans upset the Wildcats 11-15, 15-10, 16-14, 12-15, 15-8 on Nov. 19, 1982 at Titan Gym in WCAA action. The two teams competed in the same conference form 1980 to 1984 with Arizona holding a 9-1 record. The last meeting between the two programs came in 1984 with the Titans losing at home in three sets.
VERSUS PRESBYTERIAN: This will be the first meeting between the Titans and the Blue Hose.
IN THE AVCA POLL: Only Arizona has a showing in this week's AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll, but only as a team receiving votes. The Titans Have already played UCLA (No. 11 at the time) which is currently ranked No. 12. Hawaii, Fullerton's final opponent, is currently No. 10 in the nation. The Titans will also have five additional matches with teams that are currently receiving votes in the poll - Two with Long Beach State, two with Cal Poly and a lone match with San Diego State.
VERSUS RANKED OPPONENTS: The Titans have beaten nationally ranked opponents just two time in their history, with both wins coming in the last two seasons. The first time the Titans beat a Top 25 team was in 2009 (Sept. 19, 2009) when they defeated No. 7 UCLA in five sets at Titan Gym. Last year, the Titans downed No. 21 San Diego (Sept. 22, 2010) in a three-set sweep in Titan Gym.
THEY'LL BE BACK: The Titans are on the road the first three weekend of the season and will not play in front of the home crowd until Sept. 16/17 against BYU and Utah State. Their entire tournament schedule will be played on the road. They will be playing their first nine games away from Titan Gym for the first time since 2002. That year the Titans played the first 16 matches of the year on the road and didn't get to play their first match at home until October, three matches into conference play.
NETO NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Junior outside hitter Kayla Neto was named to the Four Points by Sheraton Invitational all-tournament team at Loyola Marymount last weekend after providing much of the TItans' offensive fire power. On opening night against the hosting Lions, Neto had a 22-kill, 11-dig double-double in the four-set loss. She finished with 44 kills in the three matches (4.40 kps), and the second-most digs on the team with 28. She also logged a pair of blocks and a service ace on the weekend against LMU, UCLA and Quinnipiac.
MAURER NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Senior Leah Maurer flanked Kayla Neto in the offensive production providing 26 kills and a .360 attack percentage in the three-match Four Points by Sheraton Invitation at Loyola Marymount last weekend and earned herself a spot on the all-tournament team with her performance. At the net she also led the Titans with six blocks (3 solos), and added nine digs and a service ace to her resume. In 50 swings on the weekend, Maurer land 256 kills and committed just 8 errors.
DEBUT FOR SIX: Freshman Amanda Yamate (South Torrance HS), Julie Consani (Cavalry Chapel HS), and Elle Moffatt (St. Mary's HS), sophomores Danika Miller (Mission Viejo HS) and Leah Best (Western Carolina), and Senior Kim Russell (Biola) each made their Titan debut last weekend. All but Best were making their Div. I debut. Russell played three years at the NAIA level with Biola.
HEADING TOWARD THE TOP: Senior Andrea Ragan (Arroyo Grande, Calif.) sits just 592 total assists away from being Cal State Fullerton's all-time leader. Ragan, in her fourth season now, has tallied 3,315 total assists in 295 sets and sits in fourth place in the Titan record book behind No. 3 Stephanie Schrieve (3,388, 461 sets), No. 2 Kim Levey (3,621, 389 sets) and all-time assists leader Julie Geissert (3,907, 252 sets). Ragan could set a new school record somewhere around midseason. In 2009, the Arroyo Grande, Calif. native tallied 1,199 assists (sixth best single-season in CSF history) and 1,295 (thread best single-season totals in CSF history) a year ago.
ACCURACY COUNTS: Junior Kayla Neto has posted back-to-back single-season attack percentages of .319 (2009) and .320 (2010) in he first two years in a Titan uniform, ranking her fourth and third, respectively, in the Titans' single-season record book. Only Katie Crawford (.328 in 2001) and Amanda Phielschiefter (pronounced PHIL-shifter, .322 in 2006) rank above her. Her career .319 mark heading into this season would by far set a new school record, but she has yet to reach the minimum in total attempts. Currently Alex Wolnisty's .271 career attack percentage leads the way. Wolnisty was a Titan from 2006-09.
PRESEASON COACHES POLL: The defending Big West Conference champion Cal State Fullerton volleyball team was been picked to finish fourth in the conference according to a poll conducted with the nine league coaches. The Titans received 52 of the 81 possible votes and finished behind Long Beach State (78 pts.), Cal Poly (72 pts.) and UC Santa Barbara (53 pts.). The Titans were also picked to finish fourth in 2010 and then proceeded to have the best season in the history of the program going 26-6 overall and 14-2 in the Big West en route to the school's first league title and appearance in the NCAA postseason. The only two losses of the year in conference play came at the hands of the 49ers. Before 2010, the Titans had never finished or been picked to finish higher than fifth place in league. Long Beach and Cal Poly finished two games behind Fullerton in the standings, but tallied seven and two first place votes in the 2011 poll, respectively. Pacific (51 pts.), UC Davis (38 pts.), UC Irvine (30 pts.), Cal State Northridge (20 pts.) and UC Riverside (11 pts.) finished 5th through 9th to round out the preseason poll results.
THE ZIMMERMAN FILE: Head Coach Carolyn Zimmerman is in her 10th season at the helm of the Cal State Fullerton volleyball program. In the nine previous season, she has transformed the Titans - a team that won just five times in her first season in 2002 - into Big West Conference champions and postseason contenders in 2010.
Zimmerman goes into the 2011 season as the winningest coach in Cal State Fullerton history in both number of wins and winning percentage. The head coach has compiled a 135-139 overall record and a .493 winning percentage and is now tied with Mary Ellen Murchison (10 years) for the longest tenure as a Titan volleyball head coach.
Zimmerman, 40, was named the 2010 Big West Coach of the Year and was a CVU.com national coach of the year honorable mention after guiding the Titans - picked to finish fifth in the Big West - to a miraculous 26-6 overall record and a dominant 14-2 league mark. The Cinderella season resulted in the school's first league title and NCAA postseason appearance.
Zimmerman's 2010 Titans lost three times over the first seven matches of the year, then turned things around, winning 16 of their last 18 heading into their NCAA first round game against Colorado State in Palo Alto, Calif.
With the help of Cal State Northridge, the Titans earned their first postseason berth by winning its share of the Big West crown on Nov. 12, 2010. The Titans gave Zimmerman a great 40th birthday present, beating UC Irvine in three straight sets to clinch a share of the league championship in Irvine's Crawford Gym. But moments later, Northridge continued the gift giving, upsetting second place Long Beach State to secure the Titans' first automatic bid to the NCAA postseason.
That win against the Anteaters not only ended Long Beach State's two-year reign as conference champs, but earned the Titans the L.A. Sports Council's Greatest Div. I Sports Moment of 2010, an award Zimmerman accepted at the council's annual gala in Beverly Hills in February, 2011.
For the second straight year, The Titans beat a ranked opponent (No. 21 San Diego on Sept. 22) and eventually broke into the AVCA Top 25 the final two weeks of their season. It was the first time any Titan team had been recognized in a national poll. Fullerton beat its first ranked opponent in 2009, when they beat No. 7 UCLA in five games on Sept. 8, 2009 in Titan Gym.
Under Zimmerman's watch, the Titans have won at least 15 matches a season since 2006, produced their first four winning seasons (2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010) since 1996, celebrated their first winning conference record (9-7) in 2008, and registered their winningest league record (14-2) and set a school benchmark for overall wins (26) in 2010.
In producing the program's best teams over the last decade, she has also mentored the most decorated group of players in the program's history. Her teams have produced a trio of AVCA All-American honorable mentions (Erin Saddler - 2010, Kayla Neto - 2009, Brittany Moore - 2008), a pair of Big West Players of the Year (Saddler - 2010 and Moore - 2008), a Big West Freshman of the Year ( Neto - 2009), 26 All-Big West Conference selections and 16 of Fullerton's 20 Big West Players of the Week honorees.