'Dogs Welcome Spartans & Wolf Pack for Weekend Tilts
Oct. 9, 2013
By Geoff Thurner
Volleyball Weekly Release - Season Week 7 / MW Week 3
Friday, October 11 - Save Mart Center, Fresno, Calif.
Saturday, October 12 - Save Mart Center, Fresno, Calif.
SPECIAL HOME MATCH MARKETING / PROMOTIONS
- Saturday (10/12, 7 p.m. - vs. Nevada): Step Up for Down Syndrome Night. Fresno State Athletics has partnered up with the Down Syndrome Association of Central California to celebrate and honor those who participate Saturday morning in the annual Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk. Participants of the walk that wear their official charity event shirt to the game will receive * free admission. *
SIZING UP THIS WEEK'S FOES
RECENT TEAM NOTES
RECENT FRESNO STATE STARTERS (Key 2013 Stats)
BULLDOGS TO WATCH
On the season, she ranked second in the MW this week in kills (second, 3.80 p/s) and fourth in points (4.15 p/s), and 61st and 86th nationally. Career-wise for Fresno State, she ranks top 10 on the school career lists for aces per set (third, 0.31 p/s), digs (sixth, 1,052) and aces (seventh, 116).
Two weekends ago, former All-Western Athletic Conference honoree and redshirt senior outside hitter Marissa Brand (Cypress, Calif.) set a career high in blocks vs. Utah State (6) and season highs in digs (19) and added 12 kills. Two nights later, her team-leading .417 hitting mark vs. Boise State was just shy of her career high (.471); her 17 kills was her second-best tally; and her 15 digs rounded out her fourth straight double-double. Last weekend, her .444 mark at UNLV was her second +.400 total and fifth +.300 mark of 2013. Her 14 kills vs. the Rebels was her sixth straight double-digit kill figure of 2013, and the team's season high for three sets. Other +.300 totals in `13 came vs. Xavier (.304) and Portland (.304, 10 kills). In the UC Irvine Tournament three weekends ago, her 21 kills vs. American tied the team season high, and she also topped the squad in hitting (.288) for the first of two times in `13. She logged double-doubles vs. American (21 kills, 11 digs) and UC Irvine (15 kills, 15 digs) among her 32 career-wise (and four this year), and she just missed similar honors in the three-setter vs. Xavier (9 kills, 11 digs). Her sixth double-digit dig tally of 2013 came vs. Belmont (10). Last week she improved her career top-10 rankings for Fresno State in attempts (sixth, 3,132) and kills (ninth, 1,093).
Two weekends ago, senior right side hitter Holly Franks (Tollhouse, Calif.) set her season high in kills and points vs. Utah State (20/24) - and both are team bests for a non-five-set match in 2013 - and also topped the team in points vs. Boise State (22). Her eight blocks vs. Utah State was her season high and one off the team season high, and her three aces tied the team's second-best total in 2013. Three weeks ago, she was tabbed the UC Irvine Tournament MVP after she posted then-season highs in kills (18) and points (21.5), and led the team in the categories for the fifth and fourth matches, respectively, this year. She has topped the team in aces in four matches in '13, and her seven aces vs. Wichita State set a new school record. Among her six double-doubles this season, others came vs. Boise State (18 kills, 14 digs), Cal State Northridge (14 kills, 10 digs), Wichita State (12 kills, 11 digs, .333), Belmont (14 digs, 13 digs) and CSU Bakersfield (10 kills, 10 digs, .320), and she was just shy of another in the three-setter vs. No. 20 Oregon (8 kills, 8 digs). She claimed Fresno State Invitational All-Tournament honors her first weekend as a Bulldog after she hit a season high vs. Cal State Northridge (.400) - one of three +.300 totals on the year. Overall this year, she leads the team in aces and ranks ninth in the Mountain West (0.27 p/s), and also ranks second for FS in kills (2.84), points (3.54) and blocks (0.81), fourth in hitting (.188), and fifth in digs (2.11).
Junior middle blocker Maci Murdock (Turlock, Calif.) tied her season high in kills (11) two weekends ago vs. both Utah State (.333) and Boise State (.429). Last month, she received Fresno State Classic all-tournament honors after she connected on a season high in kills (11), logged six blocks, and hit .375 vs. Belmont. In the tourney's other two matches, she added +.400 marks vs. CSUB (.600, 6 kills) and No. 20 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 another of her eight +.300 totals this year vs. CSN (.348, 11K). A starter in all 14 matches this year, she posted a then-team season high in blocks (7) vs. Rice, Santa Clara, UC Irvine and Utah State and has led the team in seven matches. This week, she ranks seventh in the conference, 77th nationally and first on the squad in hitting (.353), and second for the `Dogs in blocks (0.81 p/s) and fifth in kills (1.95 p/s).
Three weekends ago at UC Irvine, sophomore outside hitter Zana Bowens (Long Beach, Calif.) logged a season high in aces (3) and her second- and third-highest totals of the season in kills and points (17 / 20.5). In late August, she opened the year with her first +20-kill career totals vs. Rice (team season high 21, .280) and Santa Clara (20, .341) after she entered the season with a prior best of five last year vs. Northern Arizona. A starter in 12 matches this year, she enjoyed her first career double-double thanks to her 12 digs vs. Santa Clara. She added another double-double at UC Irvine (17 kills, 15 digs) and was just shy of similar honors earlier that day vs. American (9 kills, 11 digs). She kicked off the tourney with 10 kills and a .333 hitting mark in the sweep of Xavier - her first match leader in hitting this year - and she also had team match highs in kills vs. Rice (21) and Xavier (10). Her 24 points vs. Rice is also the team season high and a personal career high. Her five blocks in three sets vs. CSUB was also a career high by one over her tally against CSN (4), and her three aces vs. UC Irvine is tied for second-best for the `Dogs in 2013. On the MW match bests of the season, she ranked top 11 in kills (fifth, 21; ninth, 20) and points (sixth, 24; 11th, 22.5).
Senior middle blocker Lauren Albertson (Fresno, Calif.) tied the team's season high for blocks vs. Santa Clara (7) and added six vs. CS Northridge the opening weekend of the season. She racked up 11 kills vs. Rice and hit .350, and added eight and seven kills, respectively, vs. SCU and CSN. A starter in 10 matches this year, she led the team this week in blocks average season-wise (0.87 p/s).
The past four weekends, junior Christina Lee (San Francisco, Calif.) made her first starts at setter for the team since 2011 and has helped the team to a 6-4 mark. In that span, she is averaging 10.46 assists per set (408 assists / 39 sets), and directed the team to all four of its +.300 marks this year at UNLV (.356), and vs. Boise State (.301), CSUB (.300) and Xavier (.300). A starter in all 14 matches this year, her 57 assists in five sets vs. both Belmont and Boise State rank fourth-best in the MW this year, and her +50 assists vs. the Anteaters (51) and Aggies (50) are the team's best in a non-five-set match. Among her six starts at libero the first two weeks, she logged the team's second- and fourth-best dig totals of 2013 vs. Santa Clara (27) and Rice (24). Her total vs. Santa Clara (27) is the Mountain West's fifth-best total of the year and one of four team match leaders this year.
Freshman setter Brooke Legaux (Mission Viejo, Calif.) made her collegiate debut last weekend as the team unveiled a new 6-2 offense with junior setter Christina Lee. Playing the last three sets vs. SDSU and all three in the win at UNLV, she racked up a season-high 14 assists vs. the Rebels. Together with Lee, the team ranks sixth in the MW and 110th nationally in assists team-wise (12.16 per set).
Freshman libero Maggie Eppright (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) has smoothly settled into the starting libero role the past 11 matches and is one of the team's top serve-receivers. She racked up a team season high in digs in four sets vs. both Utah State (28) and UC Irvine (27) - the fourth- and fifth-best marks overall in the conference in 2013 and the best in non-five-set matches. She logged seven other double-digit dig figures vs. Boise State (17, 5s), UNLV (16, 3s), San Diego State (16, 4s), American (16, 5s), Belmont (15, 5s), Wichita State (14, 4s) and Xavier (14, 3s). In her 11 matches as a starter, her digs per set average is 4.07 (43 sets, 175 digs) and would rank top-three in the conference. Altogether, she has paced the squad in digs in six of the last seven contests and eight times overall in 2013. She has connected on multiple aces in five matches, including a season high (3) in a sweep vs. CSU Bakersfield - the team's second-best mark of 2013. Her two aces vs. Xavier was one of her three match highs for the `Dogs.
With starts in five of the last six matches, redshirt sophomore middle blocker Molly Pearson (San Jose, Calif.) has boosted the team both offensively and defensively. Two weekends ago, she logged a career high and team season high in blocks (9) in four sets vs. Utah State - the eighth-best total in the league this year. The weekend before in the UC Irvine Tournament, her six blocks against American was one shy of the then-team season high, and she had an ace vs. the Eagles and Anteaters. In the tourney opener, she racked up six kills and a season-high hitting mark (.857) vs. Xavier with no errors among her seven attempts. Her season high in kills (7) came vs. Belmont, and she hit .700 with no errors on her 10 attempts.
Making her first start of the season in the sweep at UNLV, junior middle blocker Katie Pearson (San Jose, Calif.) logged her career high in kills (4), and season highs in hitting (.333), blocks (4) and points (6). She also played a season-high four sets the match before at San Diego State, and logged two kills in her three attempts.
Junior outside hitter Jaimee-Lee Morrow (Mooroolbark, Australia) has been one of the team's most called upon serving specialists and has appeared in 11 of the team's last 13 matches. She connected on two aces vs. NCAA tournament returnees Wichita State and No. 20 Oregon and also posted one in wins at Portland and UC Irvine. She logged her first kill of the year vs. American, and her digs season high (2) came vs. UP and Boise State.
Fresno State Team & Individual Mountain West/NCAA Rankings
Korrin Wild - Kills, 2nd/61st, 3.80 p/s; Points, 4th/86th, 4.15 p/s
San Jose State Team & Individual Mountain West/NCAA Rankings
Michaela Leonard - Assists, 2nd/30th, 11.04 p/s
Nevada Team & Individual Mountain West/NCAA Rankings
Dana Holt - Assists, 9th/-, 8.29 p/s
FRESNO STATE / SAN JOSE STATE / NEVADA SERIES HISTORY
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS (3-11, 0-4) - www.SJSUspartans.com
SCOUTING THE WOLF PACK (2-14, 0-14) - www.NevadaWolfPack.com
Senior middle blocker Lauren Albertson attended Clovis West High School in Fresno, and then helped Fresno Pacific win an NAIA national title her freshman season in 2009.
Four other current or recent starters are from the area and within a 90-minute drive - senior outside hitter Korrin Wild (Kingsburg, 22 miles), senior right side hitters Holly Franks (Tollhouse, 34 miles) and Megan Callahan (Atwater, 65 miles) and junior middle blocker Maci Murdock (Turlock, 88 miles).
Seven other players are within a five-hour trip to campus (if traffic cooperates) - freshman libero Maggie Eppright (San Luis Obispo, 138 miles), junior Katie Pearson & redshirt sophomore Molly Pearson (San Jose, 152), junior setter Christina Lee (San Francisco, 188), sophomore outside hitter Zana Bowens (Long Beach, 242), senior outside hitter Marissa Brand (Cypress, 243) and freshman setter Brooke Legaux (Mission Viejo, 266).
The team's 13th member - junior outside hitter Jaimee-Lee Morrow - ruins the team average, however, with her home in Mooroolbark, Australia (pron. MERL-bark, and located near Melbourne) approximately 7,968 miles away.
DOUBLE YOUR FUN
Identical twins Molly and Katie Pearson matriculated from Presentation High School in San Jose and have boosted the team in 10 and six matches this season, respectively.
A redshirt sophomore and starter in five of the last six matches, 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 is a junior and posted season hills in kills (4) and hitting (.333) at UNLV in her first career start in early October.
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.
FIGHTING SPIRIT TRACKER
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.
2013 Weekly Winners: 9/2 - Team; 9/9 - Holly Franks, Marissa Brand; 9/16 - Maci Murdock, Korrin Wild, Christina Lee, Molly Pearson; 9/23 - Team; 9/30 - Team, Marissa Brand; 10/7 - Katie Pearson, Korrin Wild.
Head Coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell on this week's winners (Katie Pearson, Korrin Wild): "The team played solid as a unit Saturday night, but when we faced some adversity at San Diego State (Thursday), Korrin and Katie never wavered. They fought hard. Their attitude and resolve was consistent, and they seemed to enjoy the challenge. That's what this award is about. Giving your best effort no matter the challenge you're facing."
RPI ON THE RISE
This week's RPI rating is just shy of last year's year-end position (90) - the team's best since 2004, and a full current listing is available here ( http://bit.ly/nPekF9 ).
Before the arrival of sixth-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
In mid-August's 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 20, 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). Four other non-conference foes sported legitimate postseason hopes based on their preseason conference selections - Oregon (Pac-12, fourth), Cal State Northridge (Big West, third), Xavier (Big East, third) and Santa Clara (WCC, sixth).
The first-year Bulldog is one of four players with all-tournament accolades this fall with senior outside hitters Marissa Brand (UC Irvine Tournament) and Korrin Wild (Fresno State Classic, Nike Portland) and junior middle blocker Maci Murdock (Fresno State Classic).
In prior years, Murdock won a pair of honors in 2012 at Colorado and UTEP; Lee was a San Diego All-Tournament selection in `12; and Wild received similar honors at UTEP in `12 and in the Fresno State Classic in `11.
FRESNO STATE TEAM SEASON PREVIEW
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 three newcomers, two have consistently cracked the starting line-up - senior right side hitter Holly Franks (Cal Poly) 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); 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.
HEAD OF THE CLASS
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 middle blocker Lauren Albertson is a former two-time conference all-academic choice (2011, `12), and Brand (2009, `10) and Korrin Wild (2010, `11), and Zana Bowens (2011) have received similar honors.
'DOGS PART OF CROWDED RACE FOR MOUNTAIN WEST PRESEASON VOTES
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.
ON THE NCAA / MOUNTAIN WEST SINGLES CHARTS
ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN WEST
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).
CAMPUS WELCOMES NEW UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT
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.
NOW OPEN: MEYERS FAMILY SPORTS MEDICINE CENTER
BULLDOG FOUNDATION SUPPORTS STUDENT-ATHLETE SCHOLARSHIPS
Catch the Wave: Be sure to follow Fresno State Volleyball on its new Twitter page ( @FresnoStateVB ) for exclusive video, pictures, match information, etc.