Volleyball Opens League Action with No. 25 Long Beach

Sept. 24, 2009

SERVICE: Cal State Fullerton (9-4) will open up Big West Conference action on Saturday night against nationally-ranked Long Beach State (7-3) in Titan Gym. The 49ers were picked to defend their 2008 Big West championship by the league's coaches before the season began and will be making a return trip to Fullerton a week after they, like the Titans, went 2-0 beating then-No. 7 UCLA and Fordham in the Embassy Suites Fullerton Classic.

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CATCH THE MATCH WITH THE HELP OF YOUR COMPUTER: Saturday's match against Long Beach State will be broadcast live over the internet at fullertontitans.com. A free live audio stream will be available with veteran volleyball broadcaster Patrick Alog along with Crysania Salcedo carrying the play-by-play and color. Links to the broadcast are available by clicking on the microphone logo on the front page of fullertontitans.com. Live streaming video will also be available at BigWest.tv on a subscription basis.

LOOKING FOR WIN NO. 100: Eighth-year Head Coach Carolyn Zimmerman will get shot No. 2 at winning her 100th victory Saturday night versus Long Beach State. Zimmerman is already the winningest coach in the 30-year Cal State Fullerton volleyball history and has amassed a 99-123 overall record (most in victories) and a .446 winning percentage ( also a school record).

VERSUS LONG BEACH STATE: The Titans will look to snap the longest losing streak in program history this Saturday as they host the 49ers at Titan Gym with a 53-match winless streak on the line. The Titans are 4-54 all-time against Long Beach State and have not won a match since 1982. Last year, the Titans picked up their first set victory since Sept. 16, 2004. In that match on Election Day, Fullerton won set No. 1 , 25-19, but eventually succumb to the 49ers in four sets.

QUICK HITS:
&\#149; The program has notched at least 14 wins in each of the last five season, the best stretch in the program's history. The next closest run was from 1995 to 1997 where the Titans posted 12, 16 and 12 wins in three straight years.

&\#149; The Titans have recorded 16-or-more wins just four times in the program's history (1981, 1996, 2006, 2008), 17-or-more twice (1981, 2006), and 18 once (1981).

&\#149; Fullerton is a perfect 6-0 at home in 2009. They are conversely winless in true road games and 3-1 in neutral affairs.

&\#149; Setter Andrea Ragan posted a career high 5 service aces on Sept. 19 against Fordham including three consecutive strikes within the first 10 points of the match.

&\#149; If the season ended today, the Titans' .216 team attack percentage would rank as the second-best attack percentage in school history.

&\#149; If the Season Ended today, the Titans' 13.40 assists per set would rank as the third best mark in school history.

&\#149; THe Titans are averaging 22.5 attack errors per match and committing just over 9 service errors per match through the first 13 contests in 2009.

&\#149; The Titan blocking numbers though the first 13 matches of the year (89 total team blocks) are on pace to be the fewest number of total blocks since 2002 (127.0).

CONFERENCE ACTION: In 29 previous seasons, the Titans have just ONE winning conference schedule and that was produced by the 2008 squad. The Titans finished in fifth place with a 9-7 record - the most wins in league by and Fullerton volleyball team. Fullerton has never finished higher than fifth place in their conference and have accumulated an 83-391 (.175) all-time record dating back to 1980.

LEADING BY EXAMPLE: Junior Erin Saddler came into the week leading the Big West Conference by nearly a half a kill per set, and had amassed 37 more kills than the second-best hitter in the league (Dominique Cowling - UC Riverside). Her 4.81 kills per set coming into the week ranked her 6th in the nation according to the NCAA, and her 5.4 points per set also ranked her 8th nationally. With a 20-kill effort on Wednesday night versus San Diego State, Saddler has accumulated 227 kills (17.46 kills per match) and also has six double-doubles (kills/digs). In the Titans' Sept. 3 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.

BABY STEPS: When the Titans beat Wisconsin back on Sept. 6 in Oregon, it was probably the biggest upset in the history of the Titan volleyball program. It was a rather quiet win because, though Wisconsin was a Top 10 team in 2008, they were only receiving votes early on in 2009. But it was the highest "ranking" team the Titans had ever beat....until Sept. 18. Last Saturday, the Titans not only snapped a 28-match losing streak to UCLA, but they beat their first ranked opponent in the Bruins, who came into the week No. 7 in the nation according to the AVCA. Ahead, Fullerton will have some rather hefty opponents including conference foes Long Beach State (No. 25), UC Irvine (No. 21) and UC Santa Barbara (which is receiving votes).

SETTING THEM UP: Sophomore Andrea Ragan came into the week leading the Big West Conference in assists and ranking 7th in the nation with 504 total assists and 11.72 per set. Dana Vargas of UC Santa Barbara is next in the Big West with 11.52 per set. Ragan, with a 55-assist Wednesday night at San Diego State, now has 559 assists and 11.65 per set. She also has three double-doubles to her credit.

CROTEAU CHALLENGING 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, in her third year, sits just 361 digs away from the top spot with 1,237 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: Libero Cami Croteau came into the week leading the Big West Conference with 206 total digs and 4.79 digs per set. The libero also ranked 35th in the nation with 4.79 digs per set. She is tailing the dig machine from NJIT Sabrina Baby who is scooping 6.78 attack attempts per set to lead the nation.

WOLNISTY CHASES BLOCKING RECORD: Senior Alex Wolnisty (Riverside, Calif.) sits 40 block assists away from tying the Cal State Fullerton block assist mark of 294 block assists set last year by former teammate 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 254 block assists in her career through 13 matches this season. The middle is also just 62 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 301 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 came into the week ranked No. 4 in the Big West Conference with a .332 attack percentage. Her Wednesday night effort (14-kills, 2 errors, 19 total attempts, .632) could improve her standing in next week's statistical analysis. The senior currently has 104 kills in 215 swings with just 27 errors and is hitting a cool .358 to lead the team. The Riverside native's best total attack percentage came last year when she hit a career-best .291, and is currently hitting .269 in her four-year career, ranking her second all time at Cal State Fullerton.