'Dogs Welcome Spartans & Wolf Pack for Weekend Tilts
Junior Katie Pearson made her first start of the season at middle blocker in the team's 3-0 sweep at UNLV last Saturday.
Junior Katie Pearson made her first start of the season at middle blocker in the team's 3-0 sweep at UNLV last Saturday.

Oct. 9, 2013

Fresno_State-Weekly_Release Get Acrobat Reader

Mountain West Release & Stats Get Acrobat Reader

By Geoff Thurner

Volleyball Weekly Release - Season Week 7 / MW Week 3
Live Online Video Stream: http://www.gobulldogs.com/videos/
MW Broadcasters: Stephen Trembley, Bree Cooksey
Radio Broadcast (Sat, 10/12): ESPN 790 AM (Christian Lukens)

Friday, October 11 - Save Mart Center, Fresno, Calif.
7 p.m. - Fresno State (8-8, 2-2) vs. San Jose State (3-11, 0-4)

Saturday, October 12 - Save Mart Center, Fresno, Calif.
7 p.m. - Fresno State (8-8, 2-2) vs. Nevada (2-14, 0-4)

- Friday (10/11, 7 p.m. - vs. SJSU): Alumni Night. Help us welcome back our favorite former 'Dogs as we honor and celebrate the rich history of Fresno State volleyball with familiar faces from past teams.

- 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. *

This Friday-Saturday, October 11-12, the Fresno State volleyball team (8-8, 2-2) returns to the Save Mart Center for its first of two straight weekends at home. Last Saturday, the `Dogs swept then-unbeaten and previous Mountain West leader UNLV behind its most impressive offensive effort of the season. This weekend's foes - San Jose State (3-11, 0-4) and Nevada (2-14, 0-4) - are each searching for their first conference win.

San Jose State (3-11, 0-4) topped the MW in digs this week (15.55 per set) and stood second in aces (1.34 p/s) as does its setter Michaela Leonard (assists, 11.04 p/s). The Spartans nearly opened the MW slate with a win over Boise State before losing its 11-7 fifth-set lead in the 15-12 finale. Nevada (2-14, 0-4) is guided by former Fresno State All-American and assistant coach Ruth Lawanson, and faced a tough early season MW slate that included the top three teams in the preseason MW poll (SDSU, Colorado State, UNLV).

In its second week of Mountain West play last weekend, the `Dogs staked a season high at UNLV in hitting (.356) by .055, and held the Rebels to a .083 hitting mark - the third-lowest mark by FS opponent this year. Two nights before, Fresno State lost 3-1 at the MW preseason favorite SDSU and debuted its 6-2 offense. The `Dogs nearly pushed the Aztecs to five sets before SDSU overcame a 20-16, fourth-set deficit to win, 3-1.

# - Name, Pos, Yr, Ht, Hometown, Hitting, K/S, D/S, B/S, SA/S
1 - Korrin Wild, OH, SR, 5-11, Sanger, Calif. - .184 k/s, 3.80, 2.53 d/s, 0.22 b/s, 0.24 sa/s
22 - Marissa Brand, OH, R-SR, 6-1, Cypress, Calif. - .233 k/s, 2.50 k/s, 2.41 d/s, 0.39 b/s, 0.09 sa/s
18 - Zana Bowens, OH, SO, 5-8, Long Beach, Calif. - .140, 2.14 k/s, 1.59 d/s, , 0.29 b/s, 0.14 sa/s
5 - Christina Lee, S, JR, 5-6, San Francisco, Calif. - .276, 6.84 a/s, 3.02 d/s, 0.11 sa/s
21 - Holly Franks, RS, R-SR, 6-2, Tollhouse, Calif. - .188, 2.84 k/s, 2.11 d/s, 0.81 b/s, 0.27 sa/s
16 - Maci Murdock, MB, JR, 6-0, Turlock, Calif. - .353, 1.95 k/s, 0.09 d/s, 0.81 b/s, 0.00 sa/s
4 - Lauren Albertson, MB, R-SR, 6-3, Fresno, Calif. - .133, 1.03 k/s, 0.31 d/s, 0.87 b/s, 0.05 sa/s
8 - Katie Pearson, MB, Jr., 6-0, San Jose, Calif. - .429, 0.58 k/s, 0.25 d/s, 0.58 b/s, 0.00 sa/s
12 - Molly Pearson, MB, R-So., 6-0, San Jose, Calif. - .218, 0.77 k/s, 0.33 d/s, 0.70 b/s, 0.07 sa/s
23 - Maggie Eppright, L, FR, 5-6, San Luis Obispo, Calif., - 3.36 d/s, 0.21 sa/s

• Senior outside hitter Korrin Wild (Kingsburg, Calif.) logged her third and fourth +.300 totals of the year last weekend at SDSU (.306, 17 kills) and UNLV (.333, 12 kills), and has 12 double-digit kill totals in 13 matches this year. Two weeks ago, she posted her second +20-kill effort of the year vs. Boise State (20, 15 digs), and added another of her five double-doubles this year the match before vs. Utah State (16 kills, 14 digs). Three weeks ago, she claimed her second straight all-tournament team nod in the Fresno State Classic. The former All-MW choice led players from all four 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 hit a season high (.391) in the tourney finale vs. returning national runner-up and No. 20 Oregon. The preseason All-Mountain West pick registered a team-season best in digs (21) for non-liberos vs. Belmont, and her 19 kills was two shy of her team season high. In the second match, her 14 kills and 14.5 points vs. Bakersfield were the team's then-three-set season bests, and her 13 kills and 13.5 points vs. Oregon came in only two sets of duty. Other double-doubles this year and among her 31 career-wise (and five in 2013) came vs. Cal State Northridge (14 kills, 11 digs) and Portland (10 kills, 13 digs).

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
Digs 4th / 141st, 14.75
Assists 6th / 110th, 12.16
Kills 6th / 112th, 13.03
Opponent Hitting 6th / -, .201
Hitting 8th / 161st, .204
Aces 8th / 221st, 1.12
Blocks 9th / 177th, 2.00

Korrin Wild - Kills, 2nd/61st, 3.80 p/s; Points, 4th/86th, 4.15 p/s
Maci Murdock - Hitting, 77th/7th, .353
Holly Franks - Aces, 9th/-, 0.27 p/s; Points, 9th/-, 3.54
Christina Lee - Assists, 10th/-, 6.84 p/s
Maggie Eppright - Digs, 10th/-, 3.36 p/s

San Jose State Team & Individual Mountain West/NCAA Rankings
Digs 1st / 67th, 15.55
Aces 2nd / 104th, 1.34
Blocks 6th / 124th, 2.20 Assists 5th / 100th, 12.26
Kills 5th / 110th, 13.04
Hitting 7th / 147th, .208
Opponent Hitting 10th / -, .252

Michaela Leonard - Assists, 2nd/30th, 11.04 p/s
Hanah Blume - Kills, 5th /98th, 3.55; Points, 5th /131st, 3.92 p/s; Digs, 9th/-, 3.51 p/s
Kiely Pieper - Digs, 8th/-, 3.67 p/s
Sarah Griest - Aces, 10th/-, 0.27 p/s
Mary Alice O'Reilly - Blocks, 10th /94th, 1.15 p/s; Points, 10th/-, 3.50

Nevada Team & Individual Mountain West/NCAA Rankings
Blocks 7th / 145th, 2.10
Opponent Hitting 9th / -, .251
Kills 10th / 299th, 10.37
Assists 11th / 298th, 9.61
Hitting 11th / 310th, .112
Digs 11th / 302nd, 12.22
Aces 11th / 312th, 0.83

Dana Holt - Assists, 9th/-, 8.29 p/s
Tessa Lea'ea - Blocks, 5th/68th, 1.20 p/s; Points, 8th/-, 3.58
Grace Anxo - Aces, 6th/-, 0.28 p/s

Heading into this weekend, the `Dogs own an 29-46 all-time mark vs. San Jose State and a 21-21 ledger vs. Nevada in the series that started in 1973 and 1971, respectively. Fresno State sports a six-match win streak vs. SJSU since 2009 and a four-match victory run vs. Nevada since 2011 (including sweeps the last three matches).

SCOUTING THE SPARTANS (3-11, 0-4) - www.SJSUspartans.com
The Spartans return five starters from last year's team that went 9-9 in the WAC and 14-16 overall. This year, SJSU staked all three of its wins in non-conference play vs. Sacramento State (3-0), Eastern Washington (3-2) and UC Riverside (3-0). Senior outside hitter Hanah Blume and junior middle blocker Mary Alice O'Reilly have received three and two all-tournament team nods this year, respectively, and Blume scored a 20/20 double-double this year vs. Winthrop (21 kills, 20 digs). Junior libero Kiely Pieper recorded an SJSU Event Center-record seven aces vs. Boise State two weekends ago, as did the Spartans in the team category (13). Blume's 35 digs vs. Campbell is the sixth-best tally in school history, and the team's total that match (111) is fourth-best in the MW record books. Last year O'Reilly was an All-WAC First-Team choice, while sophomore setter Michaela Leonard was an All-WAC Second-Team and All-Freshman Team honoree. Seventh-year head coach Oscar Crespo has mentored 11 All-WAC honorees and five All-WAC Freshman Team choices. In prior coaching stints, he was a former assistant coach at Nevada, St. Mary's and California.

SCOUTING THE WOLF PACK (2-14, 0-14) - www.NevadaWolfPack.com
The team returned four starters and eight letterwinners from last year's squad that went 4-25 and 1-15 in the Mountain West. Nevada's wins this year have come vs. Weber State (3-0) and Montana (3-2), while it's currently trying to end a seven-match losing streak. Junior middle blocker Tessa Lea'ea was tabbed to the All-MW and All-WAC teams the last two years and ranks seventh in blocks (293) in school history. Earlier this year, she was honored to the Cal Molten Classic all-tournament team, while sophomore middle hitter Sam Willoughby was selected to all three all-tourney squads in 2013, and sophomore defensive specialist Kara Kasser received similar honors in the Nevada Invitational. Third-year head coach Ruth Lawanson was a former All-American for the Bulldogs her senior season (1984), and the NorPac Co-Player of the Year led the team to a fifth-place NCAA finish that year and 26-13 overall mark. Afterward she played professionally in the U.S. and on the 1992 bronze medal Olympic Team. In other coaching stints, she served as an assistant coach at Purdue, Fresno State, Air Force and Nevada, and head coach at Angelo State.

With 12 of the team's 13 players from California, it's common to spot a large cheering section of family and friends at `Dog matches this year, especially with five players hailing from the surrounding Central Valley.

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.

Bulldog fans and foes are again seeing double this season with the squad sporting a pair of nearly identical faces in the front row.

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.

Head Coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell introduced the Fighting Spirit Award to Fresno State in 2008 and continued the tradition she inherited at Hofstra from 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.

Past year-end recipients include Allanah Munson and Baylee Platt (2008), the entire team (2009), Kelly Mason (2010) and Korrin Wild (2012), and this year's honorees follow:

• 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."

The first NCAA RPI ratings of the season was released this week, and Fresno State ranked fifth in the league (103) behind Colorado State (25), New Mexico (41), San Diego State (83) and Utah State (98). The remaining MW teams' rankings follow: UNLV (132), Boise State (135), Wyoming (159), Air Force (172), Nevada (247) and San José State (268).

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

The `Dogs 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 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).

Senior right side hitter Holly Franks wasted little time in making her presence known this year. The product form nearby Tollhouse, Calif., was named to the Fresno State Invitational the opening week, then capped the non-conference slate as the UC Irvine Tournament MVP.

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.

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 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.

In 2012-13, the `Dogs received the American Volleyball Coaches (AVCA) Academic Team Award for the fourth straight season for their combined +3.40 grade point average for the 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 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.

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 a preseason 2013 All-Mountain West choice in August, and one of three hitters chosen by league head coaches to the seven-person team. The Kingsburg, 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.

Last year, senior outside hitter Korrin Wild was the highest Bulldog individual on the year-end 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).

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 recent completion 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.

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.

Catch the Wave: Be sure to follow Fresno State Volleyball on its new Twitter page ( @FresnoStateVB ) for exclusive video, pictures, match information, etc.



 Email this article   Printer-friendly format