Titans Host 49ers, Saddler to be Honored

Nov. 5, 2011

SERVICE: The Titans (11-13, 6-6) are coming off a four-set win at UC Irvine on Tuesday night and now will get one last shot this year to snap the program's longest losing streak when they host first-place Long Beach State (16-6, 10-2) Saturday. Fullerton has lost 58 consecutive matches to Long Beach dating to 1982.

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On Tuesday, Kayla Neto had 15 kills and 24 digs to lead the way for the Titans in the 25-21, 15-25, 25-10, 28-26 victory at the Bren Center. Neto became just the seventh player all time to reach the 1,000 kill plateau, finishing the night with 1,007 career kills.

Fullerton ended its most recent skid last Saturday night with a five-set (25-19, 20-25, 24-26, 25-20, 15-6) win over UC Riverside. Before that, the Titans had lost three in a row and six of the previous seven.

Four Titans were in double-figure kills, with Leah Maurer leading the way with 18 kills and a .353 attack percentage. Kayla Neto had 17 kills and Ayana Whitaker had a career-high 12 kills. Maurer and Whitaker combined for 12 blocks at the net and Gabrielle Dewberry scooped up a match-high 28 digs.

The win for the Titans was just the third comeback of the year when trailing 2 sets to 1. Two of them have come against Riverside.

On Friday, Fullerton wasted a strong 21-kill, three-ace, nine-dig performance from Neto in the 25-27, 23-25, 20-25 loss to Cal State Northridge.

LISTEN: Listen to the Titans take on the 49ers with play-by-play announcer Patrick Alog on FullertonTitans.com. Visit the website and click the headphones in the upper right-hand corner to listen in.

WATCH: You can watch a video stream of this weekend's match with the 49ers by visiting bigwest.tv and signing up for a subscription.

SADDLER: The Titans will honor former standout Erin Saddler Saturday night by hanging her No. 23 jersey from the Titan Gym rafters to commemorate her outstanding four-year career. The former outside-hitter/middle blocker led the Titans to their first Big West Conference championship and postseason appearance in 2010 and became the school's second Big West Conference player of the year and third AVCA All-American honorable mention.

VERSUS LONG BEACH STATE: The Titans and 49ers have met 64 times since 1980. Long Beach State has dominated the all-time series, winning 60 of the 64 meetings. All four of the Titans' victories came in the first six meetings from 1980-82. Since 1982, the Titans have dropped 58 consecutive matches. All four wins came while the Titans and 49ers were playing in the WCAA. In Big West Conference action, Fullerton is 0-47. Last year, Cal State Fullerton went 14-2 in Big West play, losing their only two league matches to the 49ers.

GABBY DIGBERRY: Gabrielle Dewberry became the second Titan to record 30-or-more digs this season (Kayla Neto, 30, Sept. 24 vs. UCSB), scooping up a match-high 33 attack attempts on Oct. 21 at UC Santa Barbara . It's just the 10th time in school history that an individual has recorded 33-or-more digs in a single match, and the first time since 2010 (Cami Croteau, Nov. 20, 2010, 38 digs) that someone has had more than 32 digs. Dewberry is tied with former libber Vanessa Vella for the eighth-most digs in a single match for Cal State Fullerton.

THERE'S A NEW ASSIST LEADER IN TOWN: On Oct. 14, senior setter Andrea Ragan became the Titans' all-time leader in career assists midway through the first set against Pacific. She finished the night with 31 assists and 3,930 in her career, breaking Julie Geissert's old mark of 3,907. Ragan upped her total the next night with 40 assists against UC Davis and will continue to raise the bar until her final match of the year. She became the Titans' first player to ever amass 4,000 assists on Oct. 21 at UC Santa Barbara.

TOP 3 CSF ASSIST LEADERS:
1. 4,168, assists, Andrea Ragan (291 sets), 2008-pres.
2. 3,907 assists, Julie Geissert (252 sets), 2004-07
3. 3,621, assists, Kim Levey (389 sets), 1999-02

A GRAND CAREER: On Tuesday night (Nov. 1) at UC Irvine, Kayla Neto amassed her 1,000th career kill midway through the third set of the Titans' four-set win. Neto became just the seventh person in school history to reach the plateau, and the first since Brittany Moore in 2009. So far this season, Neto has moved passed Alyssa Opeka, Alex Wolnisty, Heather Bassett and Sarah Morrison on the career kill list this season and sow sits alone in the no. 7 all-time slot. She is on the verve of passing Lauren Goins (2001-04) to move into sixth place all-time. Goins is the only Titan in the 1,000-1,000 Club (kills-digs).

CSF CAREER KILLS
1. 1,534 - Brittany Moore (2005-08) / Susan Herman (1986-89)
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6. 1,114 - Lauren Goins (2001-04)
7. 1,007 - Kayla Neto (2009-present)
8. 954 - Sarah Morrison (2001-05)
9. 935 - Heather Bassett (1995-96)
10. 917 -Alex Wolnisty (2006-09)

A LATE SURGE: Over the last three matches, sophomore Ayana Whitaker is averaging 2.08 kills and one block per set for the Titans. Her 25 kills over the last three matches ranks third on the team, but her 12 blocks is three more than the second best player since last Friday. She blasted a career high 12 kills on Saturday (Oct. 29) against UC Rvierside. Whitaker also has the team's best attack percentage (.316) over that time period. Whitaker missed most of August and September and has been playing consistently since Oct. 15.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Fullerton has won 21 of the last 24 matches at Titan Gym. The Titans are 5-3 this year at Fullerton following up a record-breaking year in 2010 when they went 16-1 on their home court.

SMALL VICTORY: Cal State Fullerton took a set from long-time nemesis Long Beach State on Oct. 8 for just the fourth time at the Walter Pyramid since it opened in 1994. It was the first time since 2008 that the Titans had taken a set from the 49ers. The Titans have lost 58 straight to the 49ers since winning four times in their first six meetings.

WINS AND PERCENTAGES: The Titans have had a school record seven consecutive seasons with 14-or-more victories. With five matches to play, the Titans string could be on the line, especially with troublesome Long Beach State and No. 8 Hawaii still waiting to be played. The Titans are currently amidst five straight seasons with 15-plus wins and three in a row with 17-or-more victories. The Titans need four wins in their last five matches to finish with a .500-or-better winning percentage... just three wins will give them a 14-15 record and their first losing season since 2005.

CONFERENCE WINS: Before last year's break out season that saw the Titans go 14-2 in the Big West, the Titans had never won more than nine in a single season. Currently, the Titans are 6-6 in 2011 and have won 14 of their last 20 league matches and 20 of their last 28. The Titans are also 17-7 in their last 24 conference home matches. Fullerton has lost six of its last nine Big West matches. The Titans have four more Big West matches on their schedule.

EVEN NUMBERS: The Titans 29th and final game of the 2012 regular season will be Carolyn Zimmerman's 300th game as a Div. I Head Coach. It will have taken her 10 full seasons to reach the 300 match marker. Zimmerman, at 295 matches, has seen the third-most games among Big West Coaches, trailing veteran coaches Brian Gimmilaro (896 matches over 27 yrs. with Long Beach) and Kathy Gregory (925 matches over 28 yrs. with UC Santa Barbara). Northridge's Jeff Stork is right on Zimmerman's tail with 284 matches under his belt in this, his tenth season.