The Cal State Fullerton women’s volleyball team (6-7) looks to earn a great start in Big West Conference action as they take on conference foes Cal State Northridge and the University of Hawaii at home. This will begin 18 straight games against in-conference opponents until the end of the season.
The Titans will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 1-3 record in the Fullerton Classic tournament they hosted. The Titans played twice both days of the tournament, which was Friday and Saturday, Sept. 14 and 15.
On Friday, the tournament started off on the right foot as the Titans opened with a sweep of Brown University 3-0 (30-28, 25-15, 25-18). The Titans were led by senior middle-blocker Kayla Neto and junior right-side hitter Leah Best who tied for a match-high 12 blocks. Sophomore setter Julie Consani also had a match-high 37 assists in the game. It was their fourth sweep of the year.
The momentum of this sweep did not last through the tournament as they lost the following three games.
Later on that evening, the Titans lost to the San Diego State Aztecs, 3-1 (25-21, 22-25, 25-17, 25-15) for a split on the day. Junior outside hitter Bre Moreland had the strongest performance for the Titans with 16 kills. Senior defensive specialist Gabrielle Dewberry also contributed to the game with 18 digs. However, the Titans were unable to gain any offensive rhythm as they had a hitting percentage of .108.
On Saturday, the second day of the classic started out with a highly competitive matchup between CSUF and the Santa Clara Broncos. The Broncos came from behind to take the final two sets and the match 3-2 (11-25, 25-22, 16-25, 25-23, 15-9). Neto racked up 14 kills, Moreland had 13, Consani dropped four service aces, and Dewberry totaled 30 digs but it wasn’t enough. Santa Clara performed with a .500 attacking percentage compared to .053 by the Titans that proved to be the difference in the final set of the match.
In the tournament finale, CSUF took on the Oregon State Beavers who had won seven straight matches to that point. The Titans suffered their worst loss of the tournament at the hands of the Beavers who swept CSUF, 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 25-18). Neto once again performed well with 12 kills and 13 digs. Moreland contributed with 11 kills and nine digs. Offense was the problem in this match, as was the Titans’ abysmal 0.76 hitting percentage. With the sweep, the Beavers took the crown at the Fullerton Classic, finishing the tournament undefeated.
With the Fullerton Classic behind them, the Titans can now focus squarely on their Big West opponents. It all kicks off on Friday, Sept. 21 as the Titans take on the CSUN Matadors. The Matadors entered this week with a 9-3 record and had three consecutive sweeps over Rice, Texas Tech and Houston earlier in the season. CSUN has a .237 attacking percentage, the second best in the Big West.
The last meeting between these two teams happened in Titan Gym on Oct. 28, 2011 where the Matadors swept the Titans, 3-0.
On Saturday, Sept. 21, the Titans will welcome volleyball powerhouse the University of Hawai’i Rainbow Wahine to Titan Gym. The Rainbow Wahine have a 7-2 record coming into this week and are currently ranked seventh in the nation and have wins over Stanford, Baylor and San Diego State this season. They have an attacking percentage of .283, which leads the Big West Conference.
Last season, the Rainbow Wahine came to town and defeated the Titans 3-1 while Titan Gym had a record of 1,026 spectators. The Titans have never defeated the University of Hawai’i in 27 matches.
The Titans hope to fare better this year against these two talented teams.
For more information visit: FullertonTitans.com