Sept. 24, 2010
Fullerton, Calif. - The Titans (11-3, 0-0) are on a historic winning streak and are headed to face a team that has traditionally been their biggest road block in No. 23 Long Beach State (9-3 0-0) as Big West Conference action opens at The Pyramid on Saturday night.
The Titans are riding a seven-match, 21-set winning streak and are coming off their second-ever win over a ranked opponent with a sweep of No. 21 San Diego on Wednesday night at home. The seven-match streak ties the program record consecutive wins set in 2006 and the 21-set streak is by far the best run of victories in the program's history.
Torrie Brown (12), Kayla Neto (11) and Erin Saddler (10) combined for 33 of the Titans' 46 kills on the night and paced the squad to a .258 attack percentage as the Titans beat the Toreros, 27-25, 25-21, 25-20, snapping a 14-match losing streak to San Diego.
Brown, Leah Maurer and Andrea Ragan were named to the Fullerton Classic all-tournament team last weekend, with Brown earning MVP honors as the Titans swept through their final tournament of the year by beating Penn (25-17, 25-13, 25-11), West Virginia (25-18, 25-13, 26-24), Liberty (25-14, 25-17, 25-12) and Yale (27-25, 25-14, 25-22).
Brown made just four errors in 97 swings and connected for 48 total kills, and also posted the second most blocks on the team (4 solos, 3 assists). Her 16-kill, 0-error performance against West Virginia was her best effort of the weekend. She hit .500 or better in the first three matches, .381 in her final match and a combined .478 attack percentage on the weekend.
LISTEN IN: Patrick Alog will again be on the air in Long Beach this weekend with free audio broadcasts on fullertontitans.com. Click here to listen in.
MIDSEASON REPORT: Check out a video interview with Carolyn Zimmerman, Andrea Ragan and Erin Saddler by clicking here. The three talk about the Titans' pre-conference play and the prospects of their Big West schedule.
VERSUS THE 49ERS: Long Beach State has dominated the all-time series with Fullerton, posting a 56-4 record since 1980 and have won the last 55 matches in a row. The last three matches have been won by the 49ers via the 3-set sweep.
THREE IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: The Titans have won all of their 11 victories by a score of 3-0. Overall the Titans have won 38 of their 47 (38-9) sets this year and heading into the match with Long Beach State have won 21 consecutive sets.
WINNING STREAK: With a win against the 49ers, the Titans would put themselves in uncharted territory. Their current 7 match winning streak is the longest in the program's history. The Titans have won seven in a row just once, back in 2006, but have never put together a streak of eight matches before. Even better, the Titans have won all of their last seven matches by way of a sweep, totaling 21 consecutive set wins, by far a school record. The Titans had won15 sets in a row, but never 21. The Titans' last set loss came on Sept. 10, when they lost to Pepperdine in the fifth and deciding set, 11-15.
ONES THAT GOT AWAY: The Titans had a 2-0 set lead on Aug. 28 against Loyola Marymount at the USC Tournament, and wound up dropping three straight sets for their first loss of the year. The Titans also dropped a five-setter to Pepperdine after clawing back to take a 2-1 lead going into the fourth set. Pepperdine stormed back for 25-23 and 15-11 victories to secure the win on Sept. 10 in Las Vegas.
TITANS 4TH IN PRESEASON POLL: Cal State Fullerton volleyball was picked to finish fourth in the Big West Conference according the the annual preseason coaches poll released on Aug. 9. The nine Big West head coaches picked Long Beach State to win its third consecutive Big West crown with UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara coming in at No. 2 and 3, respectively. Behind Fullerton is Cal Poly and UC Davis (tied for 5th), Pacific (7th), Cal State Northridge and UC Riverside (tied for 8th). Since 1980, the Titans have never finished a season higher than 5th place in league action. This is marks the highest preseason vote for Fullerton in the history of the coaches poll.
STAY ON TARGET... Titan sophomore Kayla Neto (OH/MB, Clarksburg, Calif.) came into the week ranked 3rd in the Big West Conference with a .404 overall attack percentage. Overall (including Wednesday's match), the hitter has connected for 159 kills (the third most on the Titan squad) with just 35 errors in 312 swings and ranks 22nd in the country in hitting percentage. Though she is nowhere near the career minimums, Neto's current career attack percentage would rank her first all-time in Cal State Fullerton history, a good 60 points above Alex Wolnisty's (2006-09) .271 career total.
YOUR KILLIN' ME! Senior Erin Saddler (OH, Bellflower, Calif.), junior Torrie Brown (OH, Diamond Bar, Calif.) and sophomore Kayla Neto all came intuit the week ranked among the Big West Conference's Top 10 in kills. Saddler leads the league in total kills (209) and is in the top two in kills per set at 4.45 cps. Saddler came into the week ranked 11th in the nation in kills per set. Brown (161, 3.43 cps) and Neto (159, 3.38 kps) ranked 6th and 7th in the Big West, respectively. Saddler, with 1,227 kills, now ranks 5th all time in a Titan career.
A LITTLE HELP... As of Sept. 20, Titan junior Andrea Ragan (S, Arroyo Grand, Calif.) is leading the Big West Conference with 12.04 assists and ranks 6th in the nation in assists per set through the first four weeks of the season. Ragan is 3rd in the league in total assists and leads the league in assist per set. In the UNLV Invitation opener, Ragan posted a season high 60 assists in the Titans' 5-set loss to Pepperdine, missing her career best effort by five assists.
DIGGING IN HER HEELS: Cal State Fullerton dig queen senior Cami Croteau came into the week as the leader in the Big West in both total digs (246) and digs per set (5.23). Croteau is Cal State Fullerton's all-time leader in career digs and has surpassed the 1,800 dig mark (1,834). She is just one of just three Big West volleyballers to have reached that plateau. Croteau's season high came in Vegas against Pepperdine (Sept. 10), where she scooped 32 attacks, missing her career high by just 3 digs. In her career the libero has collected 31-or-more digs five times. Only Vanessa Vella (2004-06) has reached 30-digs more times (6).
CAREER HIGH NIGHTS: Senior Erin Saddler (Bellflower, Calif. / Downey HS) landed a career best 28 kills on Aug. 28 against Loyola Marymount, breaking her previous career high of 27 set a year ago (Sept. 3, 2009) against the Montana Grizzlies. Junior Torrie Brown (Diamond Bar, Calif. / Diamond Bar HS) tied her career high with 21 kills against Pepperdine in last weekend's (Sept. 10) UNLV tournament opener. Brown had 21 kill s last season on Oct. 16 against Cal Sate Northridge.
THE ZIMMERMAN FILE: Carolyn Zimmerman (119-134, .470) is in her ninth season as the Titans head coach after taking over for Mary Ellen Murchison in 2002. Zimmerman's 119 wins and .470 winning percentage are the best numbers by any Titan volleyball head coach dating back to 1976. She has guided the Titans to its most prosperous times, winning 14-or-more game in each of the last six seasons, and 17-or-more in three of the last four years. Over the last six seasons, the Titans are a combined 10 games over .500, significant because they had only been above .500 twice in the previous 24 seasons. Last season, she led the team to a school record-tying 18 wins. In 2008, the team posted 9 conference wins (the most by any Fullerton team) as well as its first winning record in league (9-7). Over the last two seasons, Zimmerman has coached the only two Titans to ever be named All-Americans (Brittany Moore in 2008, Kayla Neto in 2009) as well as the program's only Big West Player of the Year in Brittany Moore.