Bulldogs Begin Conference Play With Utah State And No. 12 Hawaii On The Road
Bulldogs travel to Logan, Utah and Honolulu, Hawaii this week to play in 7 p.m. contests.
Sept. 18, 2006
Fresno, Calif. -
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Bulldogs Begin Conference Play this week against Utah State and No. 12 Hawaii on the Road
Fresno State begins Western Athletic Conference play on the road against Utah State (7-7) and No. 12 Hawaii (6-4). The Dogs are coming off an exciting 3-2 win over UC Davis while the Aggies pulled out a close 3-2 win against Arkansas-Little Rock and the Rainbow Wahine are coming off a 3-2 win against Cal Poly.
In Comparison to Utah State
Fresno State faced Oregon Sept. 8, 2006 away in a 3-0 L (9-30,25-30,24-30) and Utah State faced Oregon Sept. 2, 2006 at home losing 3-0 (26-30,21-30,25-30. Fresno State also played Utah Sept. 3, 2006 at a neutral site and lost that contest 3-0 (19-30,18-30,17-30). While Utah State also lost to Utah away 3-0 (25-30,23-30,11-30).
Utah State (7-7):
The Aggies finished 2nd last year in the Western Athletic Conference with an overall record of 21-13. Utah State made it to the postseason but loss to Arizona in a 3-0 match. Head coach Grayson Dubose has now taken over for the Aggies entering his first year. He spent the last four seasons at as an assistant on the Brigham Young men's volleyball team. Utah State has five top returners and four newcomers. Top returners include: Junior middle blocker Monarisa Ale who has 82 kills on the year, 57 digs and 44 blocks. Sophomore S Heather Hillier has 101 total digs. Junior Outside Hitter Beth Hodge has tallied 112 kills and 79 digs. Junior outside hitter Amanda Nielson is leading the Aggies with 186 kills and is third on the team with 40 total blocks. Senior libero Kelsi Peterson is also leading the team with 214 digs.
No. 12 Hawaii (6-4):
The Rainbow Wahine finished 1st in the Western Athletic Conference last year with a record of 27-7. Head Coach Dave Shoji is in his 32nd season and looks to repeat as conference champs. With an outstanding resume Hawaii women's volleyball finished in the Top 10 in 20 of the 24 final AVCA polls and ranked in the top five, 14 times. They have made it to the post season in all but one year. Hawaii has five returning starters in junior left-side hitter Tara Hittle who has recorded 63 kills and 68 digs. Sophomore left-side hitter Jamie Houston is leading the team with 201 kills and averaging 5.15 kpg. Senior S Kanoe Kamana'o has 385 assists and is third on the team with 80 digs. Senior left-side hitter Sarah Mason is second on the team with 84 kills and leads with 17 service aces. Junior M Julia Sanders has tallied 77 kills on 43 total blocks.
No. 4 Washington Recap
The Bulldogs played its fifth ranked opponent this week No. 4 Washington and lost 3-0 (30-17,30-21,30-16). The only loss of the season was to No. 5 Texas. Second year head coach Ruben Nieves felt that playing a team like Washington would help his team later in the long run. "Playing a team like Washington will help him better prepare for conference season matches". Highlights for Fresno State included freshman outside hitter Karlie Houston and freshman outside hitter Lacey Gera for the Bulldogs recording nine kills a piece. Redshirt-Freshman setter Lisa Gera led the night for the Bulldogs with 15 assists adding to her total of 202 on the year. Washington held a steady pace and had too much power on a hitting percentage of .402.
UC Davis Recap
Playing tough competition through four weeks of play the Bulldogs got back on the winning track as they defeated UC Davis in five (30-28,33-31,15-30,28-30,17-15). Fresno State battled and would not give up as it was a barn burner at the Save Mart Center. During the UC Davis match head coach Ruben Nieves was watching his team come together and felt it was a great win for his squad. Fresno State felt it needed to get the win to carry momentum into conference play this week. The Bulldogs had a tremendous amount of contribution from all members on the team. Alison Pitton recorded a double-double in 15 kills and 30 digs and was nominated for WAC player of the week. Lacey Gera tied a match high with 24 kills on an accurate hitting percentage of .380. Cori Hayes tallied 14 kills and Lisa Gera broke a match high serving up 38 assists.
Ten NCAA Tournament teams, five top 25 teams, and two teams from the 2005 Final Four highlight what is likely the toughest schedule in the history of Fresno State Volleyball. What is even more impressive is that four of those teams will be coming to Fresno in what should be a great showcase for volleyball as the team enters the Save Mart Center as their permanent home facility with a Sept. 14 date with defending national champion Washington. In all, the Bulldogs will face six teams that are ranked in the preseason Top 25, and will also play two teams that are receiving votes in Loyola Marymount and UC Santa Barbara in the home opener. The top-ranked team in the schedule is Washington, ranked third and receiving 16 first place votes, but the Bulldogs will also play No. 4 Santa Clara and No. 9 Hawai'i, facing three total teams in the Top 10 in the nation. "It's an exciting, challenging schedule," said head coach Ruben Nieves. "It will be exciting for both the players and for our fans. We're going to see some very good teams and athletes make their way to Fresno this year. We never want a WAC team to be the toughest team on our schedule, and that will certainly not be the case this year. When league play starts, we want to feel that we have played against competition that is as good or better, and this schedule certainly accomplishes that. "The final addition to the schedule is a midseason exhibition, providing Fresno volleyball fans a rematch of one the highlights from last year as the Bulldogs will play NAIA powerhouse Fresno Pacific on Sept. 27. "I really feel strongly that playing the Pac-10 is the best measuring stick in terms of how we will play against the very best competition, but Fresno Pacific is also a great team to play in that manner as well, even though they are not a Division I team," said Nieves. "We have the opportunity to have that consistent measuring stick year after year, and we won't always have the opportunity to play teams like Washington. I think that over time, our matches with Fresno Pacific will become a great way to see our progress."
2006 Key Player Highlights
Jr. OH Angela Wiggins recorded two of the most crucial points for the Bulldogs in game five with a victory over UC Davis 9/16/06. In game five the Aggies were up 15-14 until Wiggins drilled a shot to tie it up at 15 a piece. Senior libero Cheryl Selenak answered with a service giving the Bulldogs a 16 -15 lead. Shortly, thereafter, Junior S Tiffany Hess set up a pass for Wiggins to take home the match at 17-15. Lacey Gera is leading the Bulldogs in kills with 96 and is contributing heavily to most of the Bulldogs points. Selenak also had some of the most crucial digs in the win over UC Davis with a total of 32. Cori Hayes had a great game for the Bulldogs chalking 14.5 points.
Individual Match Highs
Kills: 24, McKee vs. UC Davis (9/16)
Total Attempts: 55, McKee vs. No. 25 Kansas State (10/25)
Hit Percentage: .380 Lacey Gera vs. UC Davis (9/16)
Assists: 38 Lisa Gera vs. UC Davis (9/16)
Service Aces: 3 Lisa Gera vs. No. 25 Kansas State (10/25)
Digs: 32, Selenak vs. UC Davis (9/16)
Block Solos: 2 Lacey Gera vs. No. 25 Kansas State (10.25)
Block Assists: 4, Wiggins vs. Pacific (10/26)
Total Blocks: 5, Watson vs. Pacific (10/26)
Points: 25.5, Lacey Gera vs. No. 25 Kansas State (10/25)
R-Fr., OH, Lacey Gera
Has played in a total of 33 games this year and has made an immediate impact on the team leading with a total of 96 kills on a total of 276 team attacks averaging (.196).
Fr., S, Lisa Gera
Appeared in 36 games in 2006 and is leading the team in assists on a total of 202.
Jr., S, Tiffany Hess
Has appeared in 36 games in 2006 and has served up a total of 171 assists.
Fr., MB, Kelly Leonardo
A young player that looks promising who has played in 23 games with 27 total kills and has added 10 total blocks in 2006.
Jr., MB, Alisha McKee
Appeared in 24 matches in 2005, starting 20 ... set a career high with 23 kills against Louisiana Tech ... led team in kills twice in one week with 14 against Utah State and No. 10 Hawai'i ... recorded seven total blocks against Long Island, tops on the team this season ... 2005 Fresno State Scholar-Athlete, WAC Scholar-Athlete & Dean's List. In 2006 Mckee has played in 28 games and is second on the team with 84 kills and has 18 total blocks.
Jr., MB, Jessica Peterson
Appeared in 23 matches in 2005 ... made six kills against North Carolina ... made 16 kills against Cal State Northridge, a season & career high ... also hit .367 in that match ... two-time Fresno State Scholar-Athlete ... 2005 WAC Scholar-Athlete ... 2005 WAC All-Academic ... 2003 WAC Freshman All-Academic.
Sr., OH/DS, Alison Pitton
Appeared in 23 matches in 2005 ... made 13 kills against North Carolina and made 12 digs ... recorded a team high 19 kills against Louisiana Tech on 10/1 ... had another good game against Louisiana Tech on 10/15, recording 21 kills ... made a season and career high 26 kills in a five-game win over Utah State ... bested that mark with 29 kills against Nevada ... two-time Deans List ... two-time Fresno State & WAC Scholar-Athlete ... 2004 WAC All-Academic ... 2003 WAC Freshman All-Academic. Appeared in 31 games in 2006 and has recorded 67 kills. Pitton recorded a double-double 9/16/06 vs UC Davis with 15 kills and 30 digs.
Jr., L/DS, Cheryl Selenak
Team Captain ... returned as the libero, after playing the position in San Francisco ... has played in every game this season, one of three Bulldogs to do so ... made a season-high 28 digs against North Carolina ... joined squad after transferring from California junior college power Golden West. In 2006 Selenak has played in 31 games and is leading the team with 138 digs avergaing double digits in every game but two (9/1/06) vs. No. 14 USC and (9/2/06) vs Loyola Marymount. Selenak has a total of 171 digs.
Fr., MB, Jamie Temperino
Has played in 18 games in 2006 and has tallied 14 digs and 15 total blocks.
Fr., MB, Lexi Watson
Has played in 29 games with 32 kills on 95 total attacks and first on the team with 23 total blocks.
Jr., OH, Angela Wiggins
Played in 26 matches, starting 13 ... led the team in kills against Pacific, with 12 ... made 21 kills against San Jose State, a career high ... averages 2.75 kills per game, third on the team. In 2006 Wiggins has played in 20 games with 50 kills and has 7 total blocks.