Sept. 6, 2009
SERVICE: The Titans continue their unique schedule this week with Sunday-Monday holiday tournament at Oregon State. Joining the Titans and Beavers (3-1) will be Seattle (1-3) and Wisconsin (1-2).
Fullerton continues to ride the momentum of a season-opening championship of its Holiday Inn Buena Park Titan Classic, secured with a 3-0 run over Lamar, Appalachian State and Idaho and a four-set win over visiting Montana on Thursday. Erin Saddler earned tourney most valuable player honors last weekend and was joined on the all-tournament list by teammates Alex Wolnisty and Andrea Ragan.
Fullerton beat Lamar, 3-1 (22-25, 25-17, 25-22 and 25-20) on Friday night and then swept Appalachian State, 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-18) to set up a title match with Idaho, which had beaten the same teams. The two squads twice exchanged victories by identical scores (23-25, 25-23, 14-25, 25-14) before the Titans rallied late in the decisive fifth set, 16-14.
Saddler had another big night on Thursday night as the Titans outlasted Montana in a tight four-set non-conference match at Titan Gym. Saddler's 27 kills, including 12 in the match-winning set, led the Titans to a 25-23, 26-28, 25-14, 38-36 victory.
IF YOU CAN'T BE WITH THE TITANS... Follow all the matches this weekend on GameTracker. Just follow the provided links and keep tabs on all the action right from your computer. And for Monday's match with host Oregon State, there will be a free live video stream also at the link provided. Just search under "live events" and see the match play-by-play.
Sun., Sept. 6, 2009 vs. Wisconsin (at Active Ankle Challenge, Corvallis, OR), 10 am &\#149; GameTracker
Sun., Sept. 6, 2009 vs. Seattle (at Active Ankle Challenge, Corvallis, OR), 5 pm &\#149; Gametracker
Mon., Sept. 7, 2009 vs. Oregon State (at Active Ankle Challenge, Corvallis, OR), Noon GameTracker / Video
A QUICK LOOK AT CSF: The 2009 Titans return 13 letter winners and six starters (5+libero) from last year's team that posted a 17-15 overall record and their first conference winning record in school history at 9-7. Eighth-year Head Coach Carolyn Zimmerman will look to Senior Alex Wolnisty (Sr. MB, Riverside, Calif.) and four returning All-Big West honorees, Cami Croteau (Jr. DS/L, Orange, Calif.), Erin Saddler (Jr., MB, Bellflower, Calif.), Jennifer Edmond (Soph., RS, Torrance, Calif.) and Andrea Ragan (Soph., S, Arroyo Grande, Calif.) to fill the void left by departed conference player of the year Brittany Moore. Fullerton finished the 2008 campaign with a 9-7 conference record (5th place), setting a school record for the most conference wins in a season, as well as posting its first-ever winning record in league play. The Titans are also coming off of their fifth consecutive season with 14-or-more victories and matched their second-best win totals with a 17-15 overall record in 2008.
A HEARTY SCHEDULE: The Titans will face six teams that are either in the AVCA Top 25 or receiving votes, accounting for nine matches on Fullerton's 2009 schedule. UCLA, coming in at No. 9, is the highest ranking team the Titans will face to begin the season. The Titans will also face Long Beach State, which comes in at No. 23 in the poll, twice during Big West Conference play. Other opponents Wisconsin, UC Irvine (two matches), Cal Poly (two matches) and Baylor are all receiving votes.
VERSUS WISCONSIN: The Titans and Badgers met last season for the first time at the UNLV Tournament with the Titans dropping the match in three sets (16-25, 21-25, 22-25) to the then-No. 10 Wisconsin squad.
VERSUS SEATTLE: This weekend's meeting will be the first meeting between the Titans and Redhawks.
VERSUS OREGON STATE: The Titans and Beavers have met twice in the past once in tournament play in Fullerton (1991) and once in tourney play in Corvallis (1994) with Oregon State winning both meetings. Under former Head Coach Jim Huffman, the Titans lost 0-3 (3-15, 13-15, 6-15) in 1991, and under Mary Ellen Murchison, the Titans dropped their only match in Corvallis, 6-15, 2-15, 3-15.
OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT: The Titans 4-0 start is the best since the 2006 season. The 2006 squad won five matches in a row to tie the school record for most victories to begin a season. The 1985, 1987, and 1996 teams also won five matched to begin their seasons.
LEADING BY EXAMPLE: Through the first four matches, junior Erin Saddler is leading the Big West Conference by more than a kill and a half per set, and has 35 more kills than the second-best hitter in the league. Through four matches, Saddler has accumulated 92 kills (23 kills per match and 5.75 per set) and also has four double-doubles (kills/digs). In Thursday night's match versus Montana, the Bellflower native had a career-high 27 kills, including 12 in the fourth and final set of the Titans' 3-1 victory.
MORE ON SADDLER: Hitter Erin Saddler led the Titan to 3 non-conference victories with three consecutive double-doubles over Lamar, Appalachian State and Idaho in week one of the season and earned the Crowne Plaza Titan Classic Most Valuable Player Award for her efforts. Friday night versus Lamar (a 2008 NCAA tournament team), Saddler blasted a then-career high 24 kills, and scooped a career-best 16 digs to lead the floor offensively while also providing an ace and four blocks in the Titans' season opener. In the Titans' sweep of Appalachian State Saturday afternoon, the Bellflower native once again provided the offensive spark with 17 kills, and the defensive skill to tally 11 digs and four block assists. In Saturday night's championship game against Idaho, Saddler again took the reins and matched her Friday night effort with 24 kills and found the floor with a pair of service aces in the five-set thriller. Saddler accounted for four of the Titans' final eight points with three kills and a service ace down the stretch en route to the Titans' championship win and her tourney MVP honors. Saddler had recorded just one double-double prior to this season, posting 14 kills and 11 digs last year, Nov. 15 at Pacific.
SETTING THEM UP: Sophomore Andrea Ragan leads the Big West Conference in assists by more than assists per set. Her 207 assists is 54 more than second place Olivia Riley of Pacific.
CROTEAU TO CHALLENGE DIG RECORD: Junior libero Cami Croteau (Orange, Calif.) has embarked on a mission to break the Cal State Fullerton career dig mark set by her predecessor Vanessa Vella back in 2006. In her three years in a Titan uniform, Vella posted 1,598 career digs in 316 career sets. Croteau, in her first two seasons, broke into the 1000-dig club and now sits just 515 digs away from the top spot with 1,083 digs already to her credit. Croteau has collected 502 and 505 digs in her first two seasons, respectively, good for third and fourth all-time in the Titans' single-season record book behind Vella's 581 and 538.
CROTEAU LEADS THE LEAGUE: Despite ranking third with 4.75 digs per set, junior libero Cami Croteau is leading the Big West Conference with 76 digs on the year.
WOLNISTY CHASES BLOCKING RECORD: Senior Alex Wolnisty (Riverside, Calif.) sits 56 block assists away from tying the Cal State Fullerton block assist mark of 294 block assists set last year by Brittany Moore. Wolnisty has had as few as 53 block assists her freshman year and as many as 96 as a sophomore and currently has 238 block assists four matched into the 2009 season. The middle is also just 81 total blocks away from tying the all-time blocking mark set by Stephanie Scofield from 1988-1991. Scofield posted 363 total blocks in her four-year career over 442 sets. Wolnisty currently has 282 total blocks and needs to pass just Alyssa Opeka (304 from 2002-05), Tammy Miller (325, 1986-89), Brittany Moore (360, 2005-08) and Scofield for the record.
WITH ACCURACY: Senior Alex Wolnisty is ranking third in the Big West Conference in attack percentage with a .345 percentage. The 6-5 hitter/blocker has 42 kills in 87 swings with just 12 errors. Wolnisty is joined by sophomore Jennifer Edmond, who finds herself in the Top 10, ranking 6th with a .306 percentage.
WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU? Sophomore transfer Torrie Brown (from Georgia State) has been a great addition to the Titan floor posting double figures in kills in three of the four Fullerton matches including her career high 16 on Aug. 29 against Idaho in the Championship game of the Titan Classic. Brown is averaging 3.29 kills per set and is tied for 8th in the Big West Conference with UC Davis' Allison Whitson. Brown is the younger sister of Cal State Fullerton baseball standout, Gary Brown.
LOOKING FOR WIN NO. 100: Cal State Fullerton Head Coach Carolyn Zimmerman sits just 6 wins away from career victory No. 100. Zimmerman is already the winningest coach in the 30-year Cal State Fullerton volleyball history and has amassed a 94-119 overall record (most in victories) and a .430 winnings percentage (school record).
PRESEASON POLL: The 2009 Cal State Fullerton volleyball team was picked to finished sixth in the Big West according to the nine conference coaches in the annual preseason poll released on July 28. Long Beach State was favored by the conference coaches to successfully defend its 2008 Big West championship with four first place votes and were followed by UC Irvine (3 first place votes) and Cal Poly (2 first place votes) to round out the top three. Pacific (54 pts), UC Santa Barbara (48 pts) Cal State Fullerton (36 pts), Cal State Northridge, 26 pts), UC Davis (16 pts) and UC Riverside (15 pts) round out the rest of the poll.