'Dogs to Wrap Tourney Run at UC Irvine Tournament
Lauren Albertson, Marissa Brand & the 'Dogs claimed runner-up honors in the Fresno State Classic last weekend.
Lauren Albertson, Marissa Brand & the 'Dogs claimed runner-up honors in the Fresno State Classic last weekend.

Sept. 18, 2013

Fresno State Volleyball Weekly Release (PDF)Get Acrobat Reader

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Fresno State Volleyball Weekly Release Week 4
Event: UC Irvine Tournament
Location: Bren Center, Irvine, Calif.
Host Athletic Dept. Website: http://bit.ly/1eiKhEZ

Friday, September 20
10 a.m. American (10-0) vs. UC Irvine (7-3)
12:30 p.m. Fresno State (4-5) vs. Xavier (7-3)
5 p.m. Fresno State (4-5) vs. American (4-5)
7:30 p.m. Xavier (7-3) vs. UC Irvine (7-3)

Saturday, September 21
11 a.m. American (10-0) vs. Xavier (7-3)
2 p.m. Fresno State (4-5) vs. UC Irvine (7-3)

This Friday-Saturday, September 20-21, the Fresno State volleyball team (4-5) caps one of its most challenging preseason slates with its final two-day, three-match tournament of the early season. The `Dogs will take on three more teams that sport postseason ambitions to prepare for next week's Mountain West home openers vs. Utah State (9/26) and Boise State (9/28).

Sporting a 15 set-win streak, American (10-0) is one of 12 teams nationally that are still undefeated this year, and was picked to win the Patriot League. Xavier (7-3) has posted 20-win seasons and Atlantic-10 Conference runner-up honors the last three years. Off to its best start since 2009, UC Irvine (7-3) was picked to finish fifth in the preseason Big West Conference Coaches Poll and returns three all-league honorees.

In the Fresno State Classic last weekend, the `Dogs scored runner-up honors after its wins over NCAA returnee Belmont (3-2) and CSU Bakersfield (3-0), while returning national runner-up and No. 20 Oregon won the finale vs. Fresno State (3-0) to take top tourney honors.

Against Belmont, the Bulldogs posted one of their most dramatic wins of the season after coming back from an 0-2 deficit. The win vs. Bakersfield featured a Bulldog season high in hitting (.300) and a season opponent hitting low (.028). In the finale, Oregon became the first team to hit +.300 against Fresno State this year.

Individually last weekend in the Fresno State Classic, Fresno State's continued to feature notable efforts by one of its most experienced squads and several fresh faces.

• All-Tournament Team selection and senior outside hitter Korrin Wild (Kingsburg, Calif.) claimed her second straight all-tournament team nod in as many weeks. The former All-MW choice led players from all four Fresno State Classic teams in kills (4.60 per set) and points (4.85 p/s) and ranked fourth in digs (3.40 p/s) and tops among non-liberos for the three-match tourney. She led the Bulldogs in kills and points in all three matches, and in the tourney finale vs. returning national runner-up and No. 20 Oregon, she hit a season high (.391) and also led the team in digs (6). The preseason All-Mountain West pick registered a team season-best in digs (21) for non-liberos vs. Belmont (21), and her 19 kills was two shy of her team season high. Those totals vs. the Ducks in hitting (.391) and vs. the Bruins in kills (19) and points (21) were the team's fourth-, fourth- and fifth-best overall of the season, respectively. In the opener vs. Belmont, she also completed her third double-double of 2013 and 31st career-wise. In the second match, her 14 kills and 14.5 points vs. Bakersfield were team three-set season bests, and her 13 kills and 13.5 points vs. Oregon came in only two sets of duty.

On the season, she stood top five this week in the MW in kills (third, 3.69 p/s) and points (fifth, 4.09 p/s), and 80th and 100th nationally. Career-wise for Fresno State, she moved up two spots last weekend on the career digs list (seventh, 1,009), and also stands top 10 on similar lists for aces per set (third, 0.31) and aces (seventh, 113).

• Last weekend, senior right side hitter Holly Franks (Tollhouse, Calif.) scored her third and fourth double-doubles of the season vs. Belmont (14 digs, 13 digs) and CSUB (10 kills, 10 digs, .320), and was just shy of another in the three-setter vs. No. 20 Oregon (8 kills, 8 digs). The week before, she set a new school record in aces (7). She scored her second double-double of the season vs. the Shockers (12 kills, 11 digs) with one of her three +.300 totals of the year (.333). The weekend before vs. Cal State Northridge she led the team with her season highs in kills (14), hitting (.400), and points (20), and added three aces, five blocks and 10 digs for the double-double. She also had +10 kills vs. Rice (10) and a season high in blocks (6) vs. Santa Clara to claim All-Tournament honors.

• Junior middle blocker Maci Murdock received Fresno State Classic all-tournament honors last weekend after she connected on a season high in kills (11), logged six blocks, and hit .375 vs. Belmont, then added +.400 marks vs. CSUB (.600, 6 kills) and Oregon (.429, 8 kills). The first week of the season, she logged the team's two highest hitting marks of the season vs. Rice (.667, 11 kills) and Santa Clara (.600, 10 kills), and was just shy of her career best from 2011 (.700 vs. La. Tech). She had another +.300 effort vs. CSN (.348, 11K), and posted a team season high in blocks (7) vs. both Rice and Santa Clara. This week, she ranks ninth in the conference and first on the squad in hitting (.383), and second for the `Dogs in blocks (0.64 p/s) and fourth in kills (1.86 p/s).

• Two weekends ago, sophomore Zana Bowens posted the first +20-kill totals of her career vs. Rice (team season high 21, .280) and Santa Clara (20, .341) after she entered the season with a prior kills best of five last year vs. Northern Arizona. A starter in all nine matches this year, she also enjoyed her first career double-double thanks to her 12 digs vs. Santa Clara. Her 24 points vs. Rice is also the team season high and her personal career high, and her five blocks in three sets vs. CSUB was also a career high by one over her tally against CSN (4), while her preseason best was 1 from 2012.

• Junior transfer and setter Cori Ehmen leads the conference for most assists in a match with her totals from her first two Bulldog matches vs. Rice (62) and Santa Clara (60). That 62 tally is tied for sixth-best for Fresno State since the start of rally scoring in 2001. The addition from Western Iowa Community College added four blocks vs. Santa Clara, and single aces vs. SCU and CSN. Her season assists average (10.44 per set) ranked fifth in the conference (and tops among newcomers) and 67th nationally this week.

• Senior middle blocker Lauren Albertson tied the team's season high for blocks vs. Santa Clara (7) and added six vs. CS Northridge. She also racked up 11 kills vs. Rice and hit .350, and added eight and seven kills, respectively, vs. SCU and CSN. A starter in all nine matches, she led the team this week in blocks average this season (0.97 p/s).

• Last weekend, junior Christina Lee made her first starts at setter for the team since 2011. Her 57 assists vs. Belmont ranks fourth-best in the MW this year, and she helped direct the team to a .300 team season high vs. CSUB the next night. The first week of the season, she logged the team's top dig totals of the year as the starting libero vs. Santa Clara (27) - the Mountain West West's eighth-best total of the year - and Rice (24). She has led the team in digs in three contests this year and started eight matches.

• Freshman libero Maggie Eppright upped her season high for digs (15) in the five-set win vs. Belmont and connected on two aces. In the three-set win vs. CSUB, she logged a season-high three aces and added eight digs. The week before, she made her first start vs. Wichita State and logged a career-high 14 digs. The match before she racked up eight digs in the third set vs. No. 25 BYU to tie her previous match season high (8) vs. Rice. She logged a season-high two aces at Portland, and had another in the season opener vs. Rice.

This weekend, the `Dogs make their first-ever appearances vs. American and Xavier,and sport a 14-9 all-time record vs. UC Irvine. The `Dogs won the first four meetings with the Anteaters from 1980-81, and also the last four matches from 1991-96.

THIS WEEK'S NCAA RANKINGS (per set averages)

	 Fresno State    American     UC Irvine       Xavier
Assists  147th, 11.75   25th, 13.23  106th, 12.25    7th, 13.80
Kills    158th, 12.47    7th, 15.00  103rd, 13.13   14th, 14.69
Hitting  177th, .196    11th, .305    65th, .249    50th, .257
Aces     183rd, 1.22    22nd, 1.81    91st, 1.45   114th, 1.40
Blocks   209th, 1.86    53rd, 2.53    65th, 2.48   130th, 2.13
Digs     238th, 13.39   78th, 15.52   83rd, 15.35   43rd, 16.17

Fresno State Individuals
Cori Ehmen - Assists, 67th, 10.44 p/s
Maci Murdock - Hitting, 72nd, .383
Korrin Wild - Kills, 80th, 3.69 p/s; Points, 100th, 4.09 p/s

American Individuals
Kelly McCaddin - Hitting, 7th, .480
Monika Smidova - Aces, 21st, 0.52; Assists, 22nd, 11.28; Hitting, 138th, .341
Morgan Hendrix - Hitting, 23rd, .431
Megan Rosburg - Aces, 24th, 0.52
Kristyna Lindovska - Points, 70th, 4.25; Kills, 92nd, 3.62

UC Irvine Individuals
Alyssa Squires - Points, 109th, 4.05 p/s; Kills, 11th, 3.50 p/s
Arielle Manz - Blocks, 126th, 1.11 p/s
Shannon Fleming - Blocks, 127th, 1.10
Marisa Bubica - Points, 149th, 3.86 p/s

Xavier Individuals
Aubree Smith - Assists, 16th, 11.40 p/s; Hitting, 118th, .352
Alex Smith - Hitting, 31st, .416
Abbey Bessler - Points, 92nd, 4.13 p/s; Kills, 121st, 3.49 ps

2013 MW STAT RANKINGS (9/17)
Category / Fresno State (MW Leader)
Hitting - 9th, .196 (CSU, .334)
Blocks - 9th, 1.86 per set (Wyo., 3.22 p/s)
Assists - 8th, 11.72 p/s (SDSU, 1st, 14.32 p/s)
Kills - 8th, 12.47 p/s (CSU, 15.18 p/s)
Aces - 7th, 1.22p/s (CSU, 1.54 p/s)
Opp. Hitting - 7th, .220 (UNM, .102)
Digs - 9th, 13.39p/s (SJSU, 16.16 p/s)

Assists Cori Ehmen, 5th, 10.44 per set
Hitting Maci Murdock, 9th, .383
Kills Korrin Wild, 3rd, 3.69 p/s
Points Korrin Wild, 5th, 4.09 p/s

American was picked first in the 2013 Patriot League Preseason Poll for the 12th time in 13 years in August, and has made NCAA trips 10 of the last 16 years. Among its 10 wins this year, nine were sweeps (vs. Coppin State, Howard, George Mason, Georgetown, LaSalle, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Penn State, Sacred Heart, Weber State), and the other was a 3-1 decision over Manhattan. Last year's squad went 21-10 and advanced to the conference tournament final for the 12th straight year but fell to Colgate. Among the team's 11 returnees from 2012, all-league first-team selection and senior middle blocker Morgan Hendrix posted a school record for blocks per game last year (1.34 per set) and its second-best mark in blocks (146), and also ranked second in the league in hitting (.286). Senior outside hitter Juliana Crum and junior setter Monika Smidova are also returning all-league first- and second-team choices. Team-wise this year, American ranks seventh nationally in kills (15.0 p/s), and also top 50 in hitting (11th, .305), aces (22nd, 1.81) and assists (25th, 13.23). Five Eagles rank top 100 this week nationally - junior middle blocker Kelly McCaddin (hitting, seventh, .480), Smidova (aces, 21st, 0.52 p/s), Hendrix (hitting, 23rd, .431), junior libero Megan Rosburg (aces, 24th, 0.52 p/s) and junior outside hitter Kristyna Lindsovska (points, 70th, 4.25; kills, 90th, 3.62). In his 25th year at the helm, Barry Goldberg sports 599 career wins and has led the team to 13 conference titles and 12 NCAA trips the last 16 years.

Xavier was picked to finish third in the Big East preseason poll behind Creighton and Marquette, and senior middle blocker Alex Smith and senior outside hitter Sarah Brown were Atlantic-10 First-Team choices the past two years. The squad's wins this year have come vs. Northern Kentucky, Clemson, Robert Morris, Central Michigan, Miami (OH), SEMO and IUPUI, and its losses to No. 7 Michigan, No. 13 Ohio State and Duquesne. This week, the team is ranked seventh nationally in assists (13.80 per set), and top 50 in digs (43rd, 16.17 p/s) and hitting (50th, .257). Junior setter Aubree Smith ranks 16th nationally in assists (11.40) and 118th in hitting (.352), and others ranked top 125 include Smith (31st, .416) and freshman outside hitter Abbey Bessler (points, 92nd, 4.13 p/s; kills, 121st, 3.49 p/s). Fourth-year head coach Mike Johnson owns a 69-32 record and led the team to runner-up A-10 finishes and 20-win seasons in 2012 (21-11), `11 (21-11) and `10 (20-10). In prior stints, he lead Austin Peay State to a 22-9 mark in 2009 after serving as an assistant coach at Cal Poly and Washington.

UC Irvine was picked to finish fifth in the Big West Conference in the preseason - three places better than its finish in 2012 (eighth). This year, the team opened the season with five straight wins, and added two more wins last weekend vs. Utah Valley (3-1) and Idaho State (3-1). Its only losses this year came to Cleveland State (2-3), at #25 BYU (0-3) and vs. Utah (1-3). The team ranked top 100 nationally this week in five categories - hitting (65th, .249), blocks (65th, 2.48 p/s), win-loss percentage (81st, 0.700), digs (83rd, 15.35 p/s) and aces (91st, 1.45 p/s). Senior outside hitter Aly Squires and junior libero Shannon Fleming are All-Big West honorable mention choices, and sophomore outside hitter Marisa Bubica was an All-Freshman Team honoree last year. This week, four players rank top 150 nationally - Squires (117th, 3.50 p/s), junior middle blocker Arielle Manz (blocks, 126th, 1.11 p/s), senior middle blocker Shannon Fleming (blocks, 127th, 1.10 p/s) and Bubica (points, 149th, 3.86 p/s). Last week, Bubica posted a career high vs. Utah Valley in kills (21) and hitting (.645) and has hit +.300 in five of her last six matches. Joining her on the Wolverine Classic All-Tournament Team, Squires averaged 3.40 kills and 2.27 digs. Fifth-year head coach Paula Weishoff welcomed back 12 returnees from last year. She led the team to a 22-8 mark her first season and 58-74 overall. Prior to that, she led Concordia to a 146-33 record and two NAIA finals and was the NAIA Coach of the Year in 2008. As a player, she is a three-time Olympian (1984, 92, 96) and MVP of the `84 silver and `92 bronze medal squads.

The `Dogs will face a challenging regular season slate in 2013 with nine of their 29 regular season matches vs. NCAA Tournament qualifiers from last year's 64-team field.

That list includes last year's national runner-up Oregon, two more NCAA Regional advancers (BYU, Wichita State) and four more Round of 64 qualifiers (Belmont, Colorado State, San Diego State, Santa Clara).

In the AVCA preseason poll, three Fresno State foes stood top 25 - No. 8 Oregon, No. 13 BYU and No. 24 Wichita State - while CSU and SDSU received votes. Since then Colorado State has joined the top 25, and Cal State Northridge has received votes every week of the regular season.

Among various conference coach polls, six Bulldog opponents were tabbed their preseason favorites - Colorado State and San Diego State (Mountain West co-favorites), Belmont (Ohio Valley), BYU (West Coast), Rice (Conference USA) and Wichita State (Missouri Valley) - and three other non-conference foes sported legitimate postseason hopes - Oregon (Pac-12, fourth), Cal State Northridge (Big West, third) and Santa Clara (WCC, sixth).

Coming off an 18-13 overall record in 2012, Fresno State ranked #90 among the 330 teams nationally in last year's NCAA RPI ratings - respective program bests since 2004 and `03. The `Dogs are in their second season in the Mountain West and placed fourth in `12 (9-7).

Sixth-year head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell welcomes back a veteran Bulldog squad that features six of seven starters from 2012, and 10 letterwinners. Two senior outside hitters - Marissa Brand and Korrin Wild - are former all-conference choices, and junior middle blocker Maci Murdock was an all-freshman team choice in 2011.

Among the squad's four newcomers, three have already cracked the starting line-up - senior right side hitter Holly Franks (Cal Poly), junior setter Cori Ehmen (Iowa Western Community College) and freshman libero Maggie Eppright. Franks (Tollhouse, Calif.) led the Mustangs in kills and points last season (2.94 k/s; 3.22 p/s); Ehmen (York, Neb.) was a former Nebraska first-team all-state honoree for York High School; and Eppright was a Pac-7 and Country Player of the Year and two-time all-league and all-county choice for San Luis Obispo High School.

In the 2013 Mountain West Preseason Coaches Poll, the Bulldogs received 65 votes and were within five votes of the three teams just ahead - UNLV (third, 70), Utah State (fourth, 68) and New Mexico (fifth, 66). Last year's conference regular season co-champions San Diego State (first, 99) and Colorado State (second, 90) led the 11-team poll. The Aztecs received nine of the 11 first-place votes, and the Rams picked up the other two. Other conference teams included Boise State (seventh, 51), Wyoming (eighth, 37), San José State (ninth, 27), Air Force (10th, 17) and Nevada (11th, 15).

Senior outside hitter Korrin Wild was the highest Bulldog individual on last year's NCAA stat charts after she ranked 12th nationally in aces per set (0.44 avg.). The all-conference hitter also paced the Mountain West in the category and stood fourth in points (3.99 per set) and sixth in kills (3.39 p/s). Other returnees ranked top 10 individually in the MW in `12 include junior middle blocker Maci Murdock (hitting, third, .332), senior outside hitter Marissa Brand (seventh, kills, 3.18 p/s) and junior libero Christina Lee (digs, eighth, 3.94 p/s).

In 2012, the Bulldogs paced the conference team categories for aces (1.35 per set) and digs (15.23 p/s). Its other rankings in the then-nine-team league follow: assists (fourth, 12.43 p/s), kills (fourth, 13.46 p/s), hitting (sixth, .199), opponent hitting (sixth, .209) and blocks (ninth, 1.79 p/s).

NCAA-wise, the team ranked top 100 in three categories - aces (67th), kills (70th, 13.57 p/s) and assists (83rd), and its other rankings among the 330 Division 1 teams follow: win-loss percentage (118th, .581), digs (140th), hitting (163rd), and blocks (230th).

For the fourth straight season, the `Dogs received the American Volleyball Coaches (AVCA) Academic Team Award for their combined +3.40 grade point average for the 2012-13 academic year. Fresno State was one of five Division 1 programs from the state of California (with Pacific, Stanford, San Francisco and St. Mary's) and 130 nationally. Individually, senior outside hitter Marissa Brand received Capital One Academic All-District 8 honors last fall for her 3.90 grade point average. She won similar honors in 2011 as did Cecilia Agraz in 2011 (1st Team) and 2010 (2nd Team) - the first two-time honoree in the program's 42-year history. Agraz also earned the team's first Academic All-America honor in 2011.

Senior outside hitter Korrin Wild was a preseason 2013 All-Mountain West choice this past month, and one of three hitters chosen by league head coaches to the seven-person team. The Sanger, Calif., native was also a second-team all-league pick as a sophomore in 2011 -- the same season middle blocker Maci Murdock was an All-WAC Freshman Team choice. In 2010, current senior Marissa Brand was an All-WAC Second Team honoree in 2011 and All-Freshman Team choice in `09.

Earlier in head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell's Bulldog tenure, other all-league nods went to Brianna Clarke (1st Team-2011; 2nd Team-2009, `10) and Kelly Leonardo (2nd Team-2009), while Clarke and Baylee Platt were All-Freshman Team choices in 2008.

The team's non-returning starting position - setter - will be manned by junior transfer Cori Ehmen (Iowa Western Community College, York, Neb.) and freshman Brooke Legaux (Mission Viejo, Calif.). Ehmen was a Nebraska prep all-state first-team honoree as a junior and second-team choice as a sophomore for York High School. Legaux was an All-CIF South Section First Team pick as a prep senior for Tesoro High School and a League MVP. Their presence will alleviate the loss of Barbara Alcantara who was an All-Mountain West choice as a senior in 2012 after she led the conference in assists (11.23) and ranked 27th nationally.

After ranking in the lower half of the 330 Division 1 programs for the four years before her arrival, head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell now has a three-year streak in the nation's upper half with the `Dogs. The team's last three rankings - 2012 (90), 2011 (138) and 2010 (150) - were its best since 2004, and a complete listing of rankings the last 11 years follows:
• NCAA RPI RANKINGS (2002-12): 2012: 90; 2011: 138; 2010: 150; 2009: 217; 2008: 275; 2007: 261; 2006: 223; 2005: 180; 2004: 93; 2003: 45; 2002: 46

FIGHTING SPIRIT TRACKER Head Coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell introduced the Fighting Spirit Award to Fresno State in 2008, an award that began at Hofstra by Hall of Fame coach Fran Kalafer. Netherby-Sewell presents the award to an individual or the team on a weekly basis for the best display of a fighting spirit through adversity and challenges. 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 and past recipients include Allanah Munson and Baylee Platt (2008), the entire team (2009), Kelly Mason (2010) and Korrin Wild (2012).

2013 Weekly Winners
9/2 - Team
9/9 - Holly Franks, Marissa Brand
9/16 - Maci Murdock, Korrin Wild, Christina Lee, Molly Pearson

The California State University Board of Trustees named Dr. Joseph I. Castro, former vice chancellor of student academic affairs of the University of California, San Francisco, as the eighth president of Fresno State, beginning Aug. 1, 2013.

Castro joined Fresno State after holding several leadership positions at UC campuses, most recently serving as vice chancellor for student academic affairs at UC San Francisco since 2010. Prior to that, he served as vice provost (2008-10), associate vice chancellor for student academic affairs (2006-08) and interim graduate dean at UCSF from October 2011 to March 2012.

Overall during his 23-year career, Castro served in leadership positions within the UC system at the Berkeley, Davis, Merced and Santa Barbara campuses and at the Office of the President. Castro earned a bachelor's degree in political science and master's degree in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley and a doctorate in higher education policy and leadership from Stanford University.

A native of Hanford, Calif., in the San Joaquin Valley, Castro is the first member of his family to attend college. He and his wife Mary, who is also a Valley native, have three children including a daughter who is a student at Humboldt State University.

The Bulldog Foundation supports student-athletes as they strive for excellence in the classroom, in competition and in life "Beyond the Game." This mission is accomplished through the cultivation of individual and business relationships throughout the San Joaquin Valley and the Red Wave. Philanthropic donations can be made by calling 559-278-7160.

The initiation of the $6 million capital project symbolizes the Bulldogs' strong commitment to create and continually enhance the best possible "student-athlete experience" at Fresno State. The unique and essential facility developed for preventative medicine, nutritional counseling, physician examination, injury treatment, on-site x-ray and rehabilitation services. The center will serve as a cornerstone of Fresno State's "Student-Athlete Village" and is designed to centralize several student-athlete support functions, including sports medicine, academic counseling, strength and conditioning, nutrition education, and equipment services within a single convenient location.



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