'Dogs Lone Star State Bound For Season Opener
Aug. 28, 2014
Adidas Rice Invitational
*2 p.m. PT - Fresno State vs. La.-Lafayette
4:30 p.m. PT - Rice vs. UC Davis
Saturday August 29
LONE STAR PREVIEW
The `Dogs return for their seventh season under the direction of head coach Lauren Netherby Sewell with a mix of new faces expected to play more predominant roles after the graduation of three players that were accorded Mountain West year-end honors last fall.
Among this weekend's foes, the Ragin' Cajuns come off a 19-win season in 2014; UC Davis will debut under first-year head coach Dan Conners after a 14-15 mark last year; and Rice went 11-19 last year - its first losing season since 2007 after winning +18 matches four of the prior five years.
Last year in Fresno, the `Dogs came back from a 2-1 deficit to top Rice in five sets, thanks to a career-high 21 kills by junior outside hitter Zana Bowens.
FRESNO STATE SEASON PREVIEW
Senior outside hitter Jaimee-Lee Morrow and sophomore setter Brooke Legaux added duty in 20 and 18 matches last year, and round out the list of returnees that is balanced by two transfers and four freshmen.
NEW TO THE `DOG POUND
The squad's four true freshman newcomers include defensive specialist Jacqueline Hutcheson (Exeter, Calif.), middle blocker Lauren Torres (Visalia, Calif.) and outside hitters Taylor Brubaker (San Clemente, Calif.) and Carly Scarbrough (Sarasota, Fla.).
BULLDOG RETURNEES (2013 Season Statistics)
Pos. # Player MP-MS AVG K K/S SA SA/S B B/S PTS PTS/S MB #16 Maci Murdock, Sr. 32-32 .350 247 2.02 0 0.00 110 0.90 308.5 2.53 OH #18 Zana Bowens, Jr. 30-13 .144 128 1.49 10 0.12 15 0.17 146.5 1.70 MB #8 Katie Pearson, Sr. 20-12 .194 34 0.61 12 0.21 40 0.71 68.0 1.21 MB #12 Molly Pearson, RJr. 18-6 .242 27 0.59 3 0.07 35 0.76 49.5 1.08 OH #9 Jaimee-Lee Morrow, Sr. 20-0 .167 3 0.06 10 0.20 0 0.00 13.0 0.25
OUT OF THE GATE
In prior years under the seventh-year mentor, the `Dogs beat UTEP (3-1, 2012), UC Riverside (3-0, 2010) and CSU Bakersfield (3-0, 2009; 3-2, 2008), and lost to Cal Poly (3-2, 2011).
2013 RICE MATCH REWIND
The Bulldogs won the first set by a 25-22 score, but the Owls responded with second- and third-set decisions by 25-23 and 25-21 counts. Facing a 24-22 match point deficit in the fourth set, Fresno State scored the final four points behind the serving of senior outside hitter Korrin Wild en route to a 26-24 comeback and force a fifth set.
In the final stanza, Fresno State received four kills from outside hitter Zana Bowens and three from then-senior middle blocker Lauren Albertson on their way to the 15-12 win. The Long Beach native Bowens had the best night of her short career as a Bulldog with career-highs in kills (21) and attempts (50), and also tied for the team lead in aces (2) with Wild.
Altogether, the balanced the Fresno State offense had four other players reach double-digits in kills - Wild (18), Albertson (11, .350), middle blocker Maci Murdock (10, .667) and then-senior right side hitter Holly Franks (10). On defense, libero Christina Lee ended with 24 digs, and Murdock led in blocks (7).
For Rice - the Conference USA preseason favorite - four players registered +10 kills: then-senior outside hitter Mariah Riddlesprigger (15, .256), right side hitter, Chelsey Harris (13, .053), middle blocker Jillian Humphrey (11, .143) and then-senior setter Megan Murphy (10 digs, 52 assists). On defense, Humphrey posted a match high 11 blocks, and libero Kimberly Vaio logged 16 digs.
In the team comparison, Fresno State held edges in hitting (.234-.191), assists (68-60), kills (71-63), aces (5-4) and digs (68-63), and Rice held the advantage in blocks (17-12).
PRESEASON POLL BUSTER
Last year's champion Colorado State led the poll with 97 points, and received seven of the 11 first-place votes. New Mexico followed in second place with 91 points, and received the other four first-place votes.
The upper half of the conference picks also included Utah State (third, 81), San Diego State (fourth, 73), Wyoming (fifth, 55) and Boise State (sixth, 54). UNLV (seventh, 50) stood just ahead of Fresno State, and was followed by Air Force (ninth, 31), San Jose State (10th, 21) and Nevada (11th, 12).
In 2014, the `Dogs' will look to match or better its preseason pick for the sixth time since 2008 under Netherby-Sewell after achieving the feat in `13 (preseason - sixth / final - fourth), `12 fourth / fourth), `11 (fifth / fourth),'09 (sixth / fourth) and `08 (eighth / eighth).
2013 SEASON WRAP-UP
The `Dogs featured one of its greatest senior classes, led by 2013 All-MW outside hitters Marissa Brand and Korrin Wild. Brand was also one of the team's most decorated in the classroom as the eight-time Dean's List pick received her third CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-District honor.
The talented squad was also one of its most balanced as 12 of the 13 players on the roster at season's end played at least 18 matches, and all three newcomers played key roles. Then-senior right side hitter and transfer Holly Franks was selected as the MW Newcomer of the Year; freshman libero Maggie Eppright sported the MW's top digs per set average among underclassmen (3.40 p/s); and freshman setter Brooke Legaux played the final 18 matches of the year as the team unveiled a 6-2 offense.
AND THE HONOR GOES TO...
The duo of Brand and Wild were tabbed to the 17-person MW All-Conference Team selected by conference head coaches, and made the `Dogs one of four teams in the 11-team league that sported multiple selections.
In prior years, Wild and Brand received All-WAC Second-Team honorees in 2011 and 2010, respectively, while Franks received her first league-based laurel after playing the 2009, `10 and `11 seasons for Cal Poly.
The pair of honors raised head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell's total of all-league honors to eight since 2009 and 56 overall for the program since its first selection in 1979. Other prior all-league nods in her tenure went to Brianna Clarke (1st Team-2011; 2nd Team-2009, `10) and Kelly Leonardo (2nd Team-2009).
The Turlock, Calif., native also ranks top 10 on career lists for block assists (eighth, 264) and total blocks (ninth, 291).
Season-wise, Murdock's .350 hitting mark from 2013 ranked third-best in school history behind Brianna Clarke's totals from 2010 and `11 (.365 / .351), and Murdock also stood ninth most sets played (122).
Another team category leader in 2013 - libero Maggie Eppright - posted the second-best digs mark ever among Bulldog freshman (391) - 50 behind Tricia Tuley's school record (441, 1993).
Among the team's 24 opponents this fall, three are NCAA Tournament returnees - returning MW champion Colorado State, returning America East Tournament champion New Hampshire and UC Santa Barbara - and they sported RPI ratings of 23, 199 and 62 at the end of last season.
Four more of Fresno State's foes this fall also sported top-100 RPI positions at the end of 2013 - New Mexico (68), Long Beach State (80), Utah State (81) and SDSU (89).
This season's conference schedule will have two less matches than last year so that teams could schedule more non-conference dates during the early season. Otherwise, Fresno State will play home and away matches vs. nine of its 10 MW foes, and one match against New Mexico (in Fresno) and Air Force (at Colorado Springs).
In the 2014 AVCA preseason poll, four Fresno State foes stood top 25 or received votes - No. 18 Colorado State, No. 34 UCSB, No. 38 Long Beach State and No. 39 New Mexico.
HEAD OF THE CLASS
Individually last fall, the `Dogs' 13-person roster led the league in Academic All-MW accolades as it had 12 players maintain a 3.0 minimum GPA in the fall and played in 50 percent of the contests.
All-MW choice and senior outside hitter Marissa Brand was equally up to par with her third straight Capital One Academic All-District 8 honor. The Cypress, Calif., native won her first honor in 2011 with teammate Cecilia Agraz - the latter being the first two-time honoree in the program history (2011, 1st Team; 2010, 2nd Team) and the Bulldogs' first Academic All-American (2011).
GOLDEN STATE PRIDE
Four Bulldogs are within two hours of Fresno - freshman middle blocker Lauren Torres (Visalia, 40 miles) and defensive specialist Jacqueline Hutcheson (Exeter, 44 miles), redshirt freshman outside hitter Haylee Roberts (80 miles) and senior middle blocker Maci Murdock (Turlock, 88 miles),
Seven other `Dogs are from the area and within 300 miles - sophomore libero Maggie Eppright (San Luis Obispo, 138), senior middle blocker Katie Pearson & redshirt junior right side hitter Molly Pearson (San Jose, 152), senior libero Christina Lee (San Francisco, 188), junior outside hitter Zana Bowens (Long Beach, 242), sophomore setter Brooke Legaux (Mission Viejo, 266) and freshman outside hitter Taylor Brubaker (290 miles).
The team's 12th, 13th and 14th members - freshman Carly Scarbrough, senior outside hitter Jaimee-Lee Morrow and junior setter Jelena Jovanovic - unfortunately ruin the team average. Jovanovic's home in Belgrade is approximately 6,275 miles from Fresno, and Morrow's home in Mooroolbark, Australia (pron. MERL-bark, and located near Melbourne) is 7,968 miles away.
DOUBLE YOUR FUN
A redshirt junior and starter in six matches in 2013, Molly posted a team season high in blocks vs. Utah State (9), and career highs in kills (7) vs. Belmont and hitting vs. Xavier (.857). Katie, a senior, posted career highs in 12 starts in October and November 2013 vs. Air Force (.500, 5 kills, 4 aces, 9 points, 5 digs), New Mexico (5 blocks), SJSU (5 kills, .500) and Nevada (5 blocks).
As preps, the duo helped their Presentation team to a fifth-place MaxPreps.com national finish and a spot in the NorCal Division II finals.
RPI ON THE RISE
Last season's year-end RPI rating was just shy of its final 2012 position (90) - the team's best since 2004 - and a 2014 version will be posted here each week starting in mid-October ( http://bit.ly/nPekF9 ).
Before the arrival of seventh-year head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell, the `Dogs stood in the lower half of the 332 Division 1 programs for four years. The program's resurgence has featured a three-year streak in the nation's upper half - 2012 (90), 2011 (138) and 2010 (150) - and a complete listing of rankings the last 11 years follows: 2012: 90; 2011: 138; 2010: 150; 2009: 217; 2008: 275; 2007: 261; 2006: 223; 2005: 180; 2004: 93; 2003: 45; 2002: 46
TOP OF THE MW
Fresno State's other season-end rankings in team categories follow: kills (third, 13.49 p/s), assists (third, 12.67 p/s), hitting (fourth, .226), opponent hitting (sixth, .209), digs (sixth, 14.51 p/s) and blocks (seventh, 2.07 p/s).
Individually, two `Dogs ranked second in league categories - then-senior right side hitter Holly Franks (aces, second, 0.31 p/s) and then- senior outside hitter Korrin Wild (kills, 3.77 p/s; points, 4.24 p/s). Wild also stood sixth in aces (0.29 p/s), eighth in double-doubles (11) and 20th in digs (2.57 p/s), and Franks ranked eighth in points (3.52 p/s), 13th in double-doubles (8) and 17th in kills (2.80 p/s)
Other Bulldog individuals with MW rankings included middle blocker Maci Murdock (hitting, eighth, .350), then- senior outside hitter Marissa Brand (kills, eighth, 3.17 p/s; points, 10th, 3.50 p/s; double-doubles, 11th, 9; hitting, 20th, .261), libero Maggie Eppright (3.40 p/s) and Christina Lee (double-doubles, sixth, 12; assists, eighth, 7.88 p/s; digs, 16th, 2.76).
In MW-only play, Brand was even more impressive and ranked third in kills (3.78 p/s) and points (4.18 p/s); Murdock stood ninth in blocks (1.05 p/s); and junior middle blocker Katie Pearson stood 12th in aces (0.23 p/s).
ON THE NCAA CHARTS
Individually, three `Dogs stood top 100 - then-senior outside hitter Korrin Wild (kills, 63rd, 3.77 p/s; points, 76th, 4.24 p/s), middle blocker Maci Murdock (hitting, 70th, .350) and then-senior right side hitter Holly Franks (aces, 163rd, 0.31 p/s).
Junior setter Jelena Jovanovic (Belgrade, Serbia) started the 2012 and `13 seasons at Florida Atlantic, and the former team captain played all 56 of the team's matches the two years combined. Last year, she averaged 9.32 assists per set, and ranked second on the team and 18th in the Conference USA in aces (0.22 p/s). As a freshman, she led the team in both categories (9.11 assists / 0.29 aces per set) en route to sixth-place rankings in the Sun Belt Conference in each at season's end.
Redshirt freshman Haylee Roberts (Bakersfield, Calif.) originally signed with Oregon as a prep senior but did not play for the Ducks in 2013. As a prep, the three-time All-Area pick was an All-Area MVP for Liberty High School as a senior in 2012. A Prep Volleyball Senior Ace nominee, she was also accorded Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 and Under Armour All-America Honorable mention status.
Freshman Taylor Brubaker, a 6-0 outside hitter, helped lead San Clemente High School to a league title and runner-up finish in 2011 and 2013, respectively, and CIF third- and second-round placings. A captain her senior year, the three-time letterwinner was the team's most dominant outside hitter winner in 2012, and a Regional High Performance Team selection in 2010.
Freshman Carly Scarbrough, a 6-1 outside hitter, was a key member of Riverview High School squads that claimed a league title and runner-up finish. The four-year letterwinner was a team captain, MVP and all-area team choice in 2012. She also was a Florida Indoor High Performance selection in 2011 and `12 and Team USA Indoor High Performance selection in 2012.
Freshman Lauren Torres, a 6-0 middle blocker, helped lead her El Diamante High School team to three West Yosemite League titles, a D-II championship and runner-up finish, and 102-22 record. The team captain also picked up Best Defensive Player, Coaches Award and Most Improved honors during her career, and became the first Miner to receive a Division 1 volleyball scholarship.
FIGHTING SPIRIT TRACKER
At the end of the season, the individual or team who earns the most awards during the season receives the year-end Fighting Spirit Award.
In 2013, the squad shared the honor seven times, and other individuals selected included Marissa Brand (4), Holly Franks (4), Korrin Wild (4), Maci Murdock (2), Christina Lee (1), Molly Pearson (1), Katie Pearson (1), Zana Bowens (1), Lauren Albertson (1) and Megan Callahan (1)
GET YOUR TICKETS
Fans can also take advantage of a new Family Flex Plan for only $79. The four-person season ticket package gives the flexibility to exchange tickets in any combination of quantity and matches. That means four people can come to all 10 home matches, 40 people to one match, or other combinations adding up to 40 tickets for the season. Altogether, the deal works out to less than $2 per ticket / per person.
Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets online (or via the ticket link at the top of the page), or can call 559-278-3647 or visit the Bulldog Ticket Office at Bulldog Stadium on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
2014 MOUNTAIN WEST PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. Colorado St. (7), 97 7. UNLV, 50 2. New Mexico (4), 91 8. Fresno St., 40 3. Utah State, 81 9. Air Force, 31 4. San Diego State, 73 10. SJSU, 21 5. Wyoming, 55 11. Nevada, 12 6. Boise State, 54
2014 PRESEASON ALL-MW TEAM
Preseason POY: Chantale Riddle, Sr., OPP, UNM
2013 MW STANDINGS
Team MW % Season % 1. #12 Colorado St. 19-1 .950 28-2 .933 2. New Mexico 14-6 .700 24-7 .714 3. Utah State 13-7 .650 20-11 .645 4. Fresno State 11-9 .550 17-15 .531 Wyoming 11-9 .550 21-13 .618 San Diego St. 11-9 .550 16-14 .533 UNLV 11-9 .550 16-14 .533 8. Boise State 8-12 .400 14-16 .467 9. San Jose St. 5-15 .250 8-23 .258 Air Force 5-15 .250 8-24 .250 11. Nevada 2-18 .100 4-28 .125
2013 BULLDOG MW STAT RANKINGS
2014 AVCA PRESEASON POLL (8/11)
Rk. Team (1PV) Pts 2013 NCAA Finish 1 Penn St. (32) 1,417 1st 2 Texas(11) 1,389 Semifinalist 3 Stanford (7) 1,356 Round of 8 4 Washington 1,280 Semifinalist 5 USC (2) 1,272 Round of 8 6 Wisconsin (8) 1,264 2nd 7 Nebraska 1,149 Round of 8 8 Purdue 980 Round of 8 9 BYU 924 Round of 16 10 Florida 897 Round of 32 11 Illinois 813 Round of 16 12 Minnesota 802 Round of 16 13 Florida State 695 Round of 16 14 San Diego 628 Round of 16 15 Missouri 547 Round of 32 16 Michigan State 494 Round of 16 17 Hawai'i 481 Round of 32 *18 Colorado State 472 1st Round 19 Kentucky 452 Round of 32 20 North Carolina 378 1st Round 21 Duke 361 Round of 32 22 Kansas 232 Round of 16 23 Creighton 184 Round of 32 24 American 134 Round of 16 25 Arizona State 129 1st Round
Others Receiving Votes: Oregon 115; Oklahoma 114; California 111; Marquette 102; Arizona 60; Iowa State 59; LSU 52; Colorado 32; *UC Santa Barbara 26; Michigan 23; UCLA 23; CS Northridge 19; *Long Beach State 11; *New Mexico 9; UT San Antonio 3. (*=FS opponents in `14)
NOTABLE CAREER STATS
Christina Lee (14 / 12-2013) - Senior, L
Zana Bowens (2-2013) - Junior, OH
MORE ONLINE INFO
BULLDOG VOLLEYBALL MEDIA