Titans Home for Tilts with Tigers and Aggies
Oct. 8, 2010
SERVICE!: The Titans, winners of nine of their last 10 matches, return home this week to face Pacific and UC Davis in Big West Conference action. The Tigers are receiving votes in the AVCA coaches poll and come into Titan Gym 3-1 in league. The Aggies come into the week as the only unbeaten team in the Big West at 4-0.
The Titans used strong offensive performances by Erin Saddler and Torrie Brown to go 2-0 on their Central Coast road trip last weekend, defeating Cal Poly (26-24, 22-25, 26-24, 17-25, 20-18) and UC Santa Barbara (25-21, 25-19, 25-23). Traditionally, the Titans have struggled against the Mustangs (6-43 all-time) and Gauchos (5-55 all-time), but came away with a pair of big road wins, earning them six votes in this week's AVCA poll.
Saddler had 40 kills and averaged 5.0 kills a set on the weekend. Brown tallied 32 kills and averaged 4.0 a set as the Titans combined to out-hit both opponents, .251 to .217.
The Titans needed extra time for all three wins against the Mustangs on Friday night, and picked up their first five-set victory of the year after failing twice before. As a matter of fact, it was their first win of the year that was not a 3-0 sweep of an opponent. Fullerton got back to the use of the broom on Saturday night, notching its 12th sweep of the year against the Gauchos.
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VS. PACIFIC: The Titans are 8-44 all-time against the Tigers dating back to their first meeting in 1984. Up until 2004, the Titans were 0-41 all-time against the Tigers, but since the second match of 2004, they have gone 8-3. The Titans and Tigers split the 2009 series, each winning on their home court.
VS. UC DAVIS: Since their first meeting in 2004, the Titans are 7-4 against the Aggies. Last season, they two teams each won on their home court.
SADDLER BEST IN THE BIG WEST: Senior Erin Saddler picked up her second Big West Player of the Week honor of the season and fourth of her career this week after averaging 5.00 kills and 4.00 digs per set last weekend on the road at Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara.
The senior outside hitter led all players on Friday night with 24 kills and added 10 digs and four blocks as the Titans outlasted the Mustangs (who were receiving votes in the AVCA coaches poll) in a five-set contest.
The next night, Saddler blasted a match-high 16 kills and added six digs and two solo blocks as the Titans swept the Gauchos.
Saddler is the first repeat player of the week honoree this season in the Big West. She currently leads the league in both total kills (257) and kills per set (4.43).
GETTING NOTICED: For the second time in the history of the program, the Titans have been noticed by the nation's coaches as they picked up six votes in the current (Oct. 4) AVCA Coaches Poll - and in the first RPI numbers released by the NCAA on Monday, the Titans rank 36 in the nation - the highest in the program's history.
The Titans showed up on the AVCA radar last season after sweeping through the same opponents in Cal Poly and Santa Barbara, but dropped off the votes list the following week after back-to-back losses to Pacific and UC Davis. The Titans take on the Tigers (also receiving votes) and Aggies this weekend at Titan Gym.
This year, the Titans have tied their own school mark for their best record after 17 matches, and have beaten one ranked opponent in then-No. 21 San Diego on Sept. 22.
Currently the Titans rank 5th in the nation in assists per set (13.69) and 5th in the nation in kills per set (14.62) and lead the conference in hitting percentage (.265), assists, and kills.