Big BWC Matches in Titan Gym This Weekend

Oct. 28, 2010

Fullerton, Calif. - The Titans round out a three-match homestand this weekend by hosting league-leading UC Santa Barbara (13-9, 7-2) and fourth place Cal Poly (17-6, 7-3).

Five of the nine Big West teams are now separated by just one loss. Fullerton and Long Beach State are tied for second place, a half game back in the win column, behind UC Santa Barbara.

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The Titans had a good opportunity to take a huge step forward in the standings last Saturday, but dropped their 57th straight match to their most difficult opponent in Long Beach State.

With 848 fans in attendance, the Titans stormed out of the gate and took the first set in impressive fashion, 25-17. They continued that pace, and took an 21-17 lead into the final few rallies of set No. 2 to force a Long Beach timeout. From then on, it was all Long Beach. The 49ers shifted gears, outscored the Titans 8-2 to win set two (25-23), and pretty much breezed through sets three (25-18) and four (25-17) to sweep the season series.

Leah Maurer had a big night, hitting .481 with 13 kills and collecting 4 blocks in the loss.

On the upside, it was successful "Pink Night" for the Titans as they raised money for the Susan G. Komen of the Cure Foundation. Fans wearing pink were admitted free in hopes for a monetary donation. Senior libero Cami Croteau was the fundraiser's brainchild.

The Titans also honored former All-American Brittany Moore during the 10-minute break, recognizing her jersey hanging in the Titan Gym rafters after arguably the best career or any Titan volleyballer from 2005-2008. Moore was the Titans very first Big West Player of the Year, all-west region player and All-American back in 2008.

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TITANS MAKING A DIFFERENCE: The Cal State Fullerton women's volleyball team spent a Sunday on Oct. 10, teaching volleyball to youngsters participating at the OC Parks Sports Day at Craig Regional Park in Fullerton. Go check out the video of Head Coach Carolyn Zimmerman and defensive specialist Genie Francisco as they talk from the event. (http://vimeo.com/15722052)

VERSUS UC SANTA BARBARA: The Titans are 5-55 all-time against the Gauchos dating back to their first meeting in 1982. The Titans snapped the 51 match losing streak to the Gauchos back in 2006. Since the 2006 season, the Titans and Gauchos have split the season series each year, going 2-2 at home and on the road. Earlier this year (Oct. 2), the Titans beat the Gauchos, 3-0, in Santa Barbara, behind 30 kills from Erin Saddler and Torrie Brown.

VERSUS CAL POLY: The Titans are 6-43 all-time against Cal Poly dating back to 1981. Since 2004, the Titans are 4 and 9 against the Mustangs and have won each of their last three meetings. Back on Oct. 1, the Titans beat the Mustangs in 5 sets, one of two Titan victories not coming by way of a 3-0 sweep. Erin Saddler had 24 kills and Torrie Brown had 18 as the Titans had to fight for the 26-24, 22-25, 26-24, 17-25, 20-18 victory.

THE ZIMMERMAN FILE: Carolyn Zimmerman (125-136, .479) is in her ninth season as the Titans head coach after taking over for Mary Ellen Murchison in 2002. Zimmerman's 125 wins and .479 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 seven seasons, and 17-or-more in four of the last five years, and has notched the program's first back-to-back-to-back winning seasons already this year. Over the last seven seasons, the Titans are a combined 22 games over .500, significant because they had only been above .500 twice in the previous 24 seasons. Last season, Zimmerman 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). This year, the Titans posted a six-match winnings streak (tied old school record) and set a new school record with a seven match winning streak. They also started off the 2010 season with a school record 11-match unbeaten streak at home. 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.

SADDLER AND POWs: Erin Saddler has earned three Big West Player of the Week nods this season including back-to-back awards on Oct. 7 and Oct. 11. and now has five on her career. She is tied with former teammate Brittany Moore (2005-08) for the most all-time weekly awards in Fullerton history. Between Moore and Saddler, they have combined for 10 of the 18 players of the week award that Titans have ever received. Only two others have won multiple awards (Becky Howlett and Kayla Neto have 2 each).

SWEEPS: Fifteen of the Titans' 17 victories thus far have come by way of 3-0 sweeps of their opponents. The only two Fullerton wins that were not sweeps were five set victories over Big West competitors Cal Poly (Oct. 1) and UC Davis (Oct. 9). The Titans have been swept just once. Long Beach State downed them in three back on Sept. 25.

THIS WEEK IN THE POLLS: The Titans are receiving votes for the third time this season in the AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll. Last week they received a school record 20 votes and dropped to 13 votes this week after a loss last week to Long Beach State. It is the first time in the history of the program that the Titans have received votes in two consecutive weeks.

RPI REPORT: This week in the RPI rankings released by the NCAA have the Titans down four spots to No. 36 after an 0-1 week against Long Beach State. The 49ers jumped from 36 to 24 with their win over the Titans. UC Santa Barbara is up one spot to No. 51 on the list while Cal Poly is No. 80.

VYING TO SET NEW STANDARDS: With 17 wins, the Titans sit just 1 victories away from tying the school records for wins in a season. The Titans have 9 matches remaining in the regular season, four of which are against the current bottom three teams in the Big West.

SETTING UP WHAT THEY'RE LAYING DOWN: Junior Andrea Ragan (S, Arroyo Grande, Calif. ) sits atop the Big West Conference and 7th in the nation in assists per game, supplying 11.84 of them every set. Her 2,804 career assists ranks 4th all time in Cal State Fullerton history. She is 584 away from tying Stephanie Shrieve (1988-91) in third place. Ragan has accumulated 40-plus assists 12 times this year, 50-plus three times and 60 twice. Her career high is 65 last accomplished Nov. 7, 2009 vs. Pacific.

SERVING UP ACES: Both Genie Francisco (6th, 21 sa, 0.29 saps) and Cami Croteau (7th, 20 sa, 0.26 saps) rank in the Big West's Top 10 in service acres per set. Croteau has had one match with a career-high 5 aces (Oct. 9 vs. UC Davis), while Francisco had a season high for the Titans and a career-best 6 on Sept. 3 vs. Montana.

TOP 10 IN THE NATION: Fullerton ranks, a a team, among the country's Top 10s in both kills per set (6th, 14.49) and assists per set (7th, 13.57). They lead the Big West Conference in both categories, as well as attack percentage (.263).

HITTING THEIR MARK: Both Kayla Neto (So., MB/OH, Clarksburg, Calif.) and Torrie Brown (Jr., OH, Diamond Bar, Calif.) rank among the Big West Conference's Top 10 in attack percentage. Neto has 236 kills in 518 swings and ranks 6th in the league with a .338 landing rate. Brown ranks 9th with a .294 mark, posting 261 kills in 581 attacks. If the season ended today, Neto's percentage would be the best single-season average in school history. Brown's would rank 9th all-time.

CONTINUING TO CLIMB: Senior Cami Croteau (Orange, Calif.) is putting together another solid year on the defensive side of things, averaging over five digs per set. She leads the league with 5.17 digs per set and ranks second in total digs with 393 total digs. She is now in second place all-time in Big West Conference history and is just 19 scoops away from 2,000 in her career. Croteau continues to extend her Cal State Fullerton record, and currently sits at 1,981 career scoops. She trails Cal Poly's Kristin Jackson (2004-07) by 151 total digs for the league record. Croteau will have to have some pretty solid numbers from here on out to dethrone Jackson, but it is still within reach with 9 regular season matches remaining.

MATCH MILESTONES: Seniors Erin Saddler and Cami Croteau have each played in every one of the Titans 114 matches since they began in 2007. If they each finish out the regular season without missing a match, they will be tied for third place in Cal State Fullerton history for the most matches played in a career with 123 events played. Only Stephanie Shrieve (134, 1988-91) and Stephanie Scofield (128, 1988-91) will have played in more.

TOP 25 WINS: The Titans defeated a ranked opponent for just the second time in program history on Sept. 22 as they swept No. 21 San Diego, 27-25, 25-20, 25-21 at Titan Gym. Last Year they defeated a then-No. 7 UCLA squad in five sets (25-23, 15-25, 25-20, 18-25, 16-14) on Sept. 18, 2009. The Titans are 1-2 against ranked opponents this year and 2-1 against teams receiving votes in the AVCA Coaches Poll.

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.

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. Saddler has been extremely consistent, achieving 10-or-more kills in all but three of the Titans matches this season and has five double-doubles (kills/digs) to her credit. &\#149;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 kills last season on Oct. 16 against Cal Sate Northridge. Brown has had double digits in kills 14 times and all 14 have come in the Titans' last 17 matches. &\#149; From the line, Genie Francisco set a personal best with a season-high 6 service aces on Sept. 3 against Montanta. &\#149;Cami Croteau (Oct. 9 vs. UC Davis) and Andrea Ragan (Sept. 17 vs. Penn) each served up 5 apiece. Ragan has reached the 5-ace plateau three times in her career.

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.