volleyball 2022 season opening photo

Julia Crawford (top left) and Elizabeth Schuster (middle) pictured against CSUN in November 2021, both led the Titans in kills and assists against Abilene Christian University. (Marisa Palmerin-Flores / Daily Titan)

Under Head coach Nicole Polster’s first full season, Cal State Fullerton women’s volleyball returned to the court at the Lobo Invitational where they had mixed results against the University of New Mexico Lobos and Abilene Christian University Wildcats.

The Titans started the weekend on a high note, sweeping the Wildcats, 3-0, in their season opener.

Following the dominant performance against Abilene Christian University, the Titan’s success did not translate in the following match against the University of New Mexico. They lost 3-1 after four sets. The Titans now hold a 1-1 record.

Freshmen starting libero Nadia Koanui and middle blocker Ketesia Hall served a stunning debut for CSUF in their first-ever collegiate match against ACU. Koanui tied with CSUF senior setter Elizabeth Schuster for the most digs with 16, while Hall posted seven kills against the Wildcats.

Standout senior and outside hitter Julia Crawford led the Titans in kills with 16 and points with 16.5. Crawford’s fellow 2021 Big West Honorable mention recipient Schuster led the Titans in two categories with 37 assists and 16 digs.

CSUF captured the match after a tight 25-22 third-set victory. In the third, it was CSUF’S outside hitters, Crawford and senior Danielle Jeffries, who served as catalysts for the win.

Crawford ended the game with eight kills in the third, while Jeffries collected four. With the Titans one point away from a set win, it was a kill from freshman middle blocker Bianca Martinez that ended the match for the Titans.

Against New Mexico, CSUF sophomore Lyla Traylor had an excellent outing with 14 digs and a game-high 15 kills. Crawford followed up with another strong performance with 12 kills while Schuster recorded a team-high 44 assists in the loss.

With the second set tied at 15, the Titans went on a 5-1 scoring run before the Lobos fought their way back into the game.

In the second set, the Titans led with the score 22-21 from kills by Crawford and back-to-back attack errors by the Lobos.

The Titans fell behind early during the first set against the Lobos as they found themselves trailing, 7-1, after three attack errors, two of them committed by Crawford.

CSUF outside hitter Traylor kept the first set close with six kills which brought the Titans to within two points, 21-19. Service errors continued to be a problem for the Titans, having five in the first set resulting in a 25-21 loss.

The Lobos led 10-4 to start the third set. CSUF could not recover from this deficit as New Mexico State took the set, 25-17.

A block assist from setter Anilee Sher and a kill from middle blocker Lea Zurlinden led to a close 27-25 victory in the fourth set for the Lobos.

The next match for the Titans is scheduled for Sept. 2 against Utah Tech University in St. George, Utah.

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