'Dogs Open MW Second Half at Nevada & SJSU
    Holly Franks again leads the MW in aces this week (0.32 p/s) and ranks seventh in points (3.55 p/s).

    Holly Franks again leads the MW in aces this week (0.32 p/s) and ranks seventh in points (3.55 p/s).

    Oct. 30, 2013

    Fresno State Weekly Release Get Acrobat Reader

    MW VB Weekly Release & Stats Get Acrobat Reader


    FRESNO STATE VOLLEYBALL WEEKLY RELEASE
    Season Week 10 / Mountain West Conference Week 6
    Live Online Video Stream: http://bit.ly/MWNLive
    Opponent Websites: www.NevadaWolfPack.com / www.SJSUspartans.com

    Thursday, October 31 - Reno, Nev.
    7 p.m. - Fresno State (13-9, 7-3) at Nevada (2-20, 0-10)

    Friday, November 1 - San Jose State, Calif.
    7 p.m. - Fresno State (13-9, 7-3) at San Jose State (5-16, 2-8)


    WEEKEND PREVIEW
    Heading into the second half of the conference slate, the Fresno State volleyball team (13-9, 7-3) makes its second straight road trip in a four-way tie for second place in the Mountain West. The `Dogs first play at Nevada (2-20, 0-10) on Halloween evening this Thursday, then at San Jose State (5-16, 2-8) on Friday. The `Dogs are on a 6-1 run the last four weeks with their only loss at MW leader and then-No. 12 Colorado State last weekend followed by a 3-0 sweep at Wyoming.

    SIZING UP THIS WEEK'S FOES
    Three weekends ago at home, Fresno State swept both San Jose State and Nevada to extend its series win streaks to seven and five matches, respectively. SJSU is led by setter Michaela Leonard and outside hitter Hannah Blume who rank second and third in the MW in assists and kills, respectively. Nevada is guided by head coach Ruth Lawanson - a former Fresno State All-American and assistant coach - and features two players ranked eighth in the MW - setter Dana Holt (assists) and middle blocker Tessa Lea'ea (blocks).

    LAST TIME VS. NEVADA/SJSU (10/11-12/13/13, Fresno, Calif.)
    Three weeks ago after sweeps vs. the Wolf Pack and Spartans, junior Maci Murdock (Turlock, Calif.) was awarded her first MW Volleyball Player of the Week honor career-wise (and fourth in the tenure of head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell). The middle blocker did not commit an attack error over the weekend, and posted two of her seven +.600 hitting marks this season vs. Nevada (.750, 8 kills, 6 blocks) and SJSU (.727, 6 kills).

    Team-wise that weekend, the `Dogs hit .376 and .317, respectively, vs. Nevada and San Jose State. Those totals stood as its first- and fourth-best hitting marks of the year and among eight +.300 totals this year.

    LAST WEEKEND'S RECAP
    Team-wise in its sweep at Wyoming last Saturday, the Bulldogs posted season highs among its 10 three-set matches for kills (49) and assists (44), and hit .300 against the Cowgirls who ranked ninth nationally in blocks.

    Fresno State and CSU came into the match ranked 1-2 in hitting in MW play (.268-.259), but on Thursday the Rams ended at .214 and the `Dogs hit .a season low 093.

    At Laramie, the balanced Bulldog offense featured three hitters with +10 kills for the ninth time this year and first time in three sets, thanks to senior outside hitters Korrin Wild (15, .235) and Marissa Brand (14, .393) and senior right side hitter Holly Franks (12, .455). For Wild, her 15 kills stood as a team three-set high, and Brand tied the former mark (14) for the second time in `13. With her second +.400 total of the year, Franks posted her season high (.455) and the team's sixth-best total among those with +10 kills.

    Just behind Franks in the hitting column, Brand's .393 mark was her seventh +.300 total of '13, and Maci Murdock's .308 average (6K-2E-13A) was her 14th. Wild and Franks also tied for the team lead in blocks (2) with both of Wild's came via solo blocks.

    Junior setter Christina Lee set a team season best in assists for a three-set match (36 - five better than her previous mark) and just missed her ninth double-double of 2013 with her nine digs. Junior middle blocker Katie Pearson ended with three aces - one off her season high - and led the team for the third straight match (and now has eight aces in her last nine sets).

    Last Thursday at unbeaten MW leader and No. 12 Colorado State, FS held edges in team-wise in kills (38-36), assists (36-34) and aces (3-2) in the unbeaten Rams' 3-0 decision. Wild topped the team in kills (14) and points (15), and her kills tally tied the team's then- three-set season high.

    Freshman libero Maggie Eppright topped the team in digs (13/8) both the matches to give her 11 match highs this year.

    SURGING BEHIND THE 6-2
    • With the introduction of her first 6-2 offense with the `Dogs the last eight matches, head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell has to be happy with the improved offensive output. With a 6-2 overall mark in that span, the team has averaged a .295 hitting mark (401K-129E-923A) in those contests (compared with a .199 mark in the 14 matches prior (740K-342E-1999A)). The team is also averaging 14.32 kills (401 kills; 28 sets) - more than a full kill per set better that its prior season average (12.98, 740 kills; 57 sets). For comparison's sake, Colorado State leads the MW season-wise in both categories (.298; 14.59 k/p/s) this week, and in MW-only play, the Bulldogs rank 1-2 in kills & hitting (14.41 / .256), and the Rams hold the other top-two spots (14.16 / .256).

    SERVING UP GREATNESS
    Thanks to its 37 aces in 21 sets the last three weekends, the `Dogs have gone from eighth to first in the MW season rankings with a 1.28 season average (and tied with Utah State). That average was boosted by the team's top three-set totals of 2013 by senior hitters Holly Franks (5 vs. SJSU), Korrin Wild (4 vs. Nevada) and junior middle blocker Katie Pearson (a career high 4 vs. Air Force and 3 at Wyoming). Season-wise, the trio rank 1-2-3 in the conference in MW-only play (0.36 / 0.35 / 0.33), and Franks and Wild stand first and fourth overall (0.32 & 0.31 p/s). For comparison's sake, Fresno State and Wild topped the conference at the end of last year in the team and individual categories (1.35 / 0.44 p/s).

    RECENT FRESNO STATE STARTERS (Key 2013 Stats)
    # - Name, Pos, Yr, Ht, Hometown - Hitting, K/S, SA/S, D/S, B/S
    1 - Korrin Wild, OH, Sr.,, 5-11, Sanger, Calif. - .201, 3.85 k/s, 0.31 sa/s, 2.60 d/s, 0.33 b/s
    22 - Marissa Brand, OH, R-Sr., 6-1, Cypress, Calif. - .258, 2.96 k/s, 0.08 sa/s, 2.36 d/s, 0.35 b/s
    5 - Christina Lee, S, Jr., 5-6, San Francisco, Calif. - .250, 7.52 a/s, 0.16 sa/s, 2.93 d/s
    21 - Holly Franks, RS, R-Sr., 6-2, Tollhouse, Calif. - .188, 2.80 k/s, 0.32 sa/s, 2.04 d/s, 0.81 b/s
    16 - Maci Murdock, MB, Jr., 6-0, Turlock, Calif. - .384, 2.02 k/s, 0.00 sa/s, 0.15 d/s, 0.87 b/s
    8 - Katie Pearson, MB, Jr., 6-0, San Jose, Calif. - .320, 0.68 k/s, 0.29 sa/s, 0.29 d/s, 0.68 b/s
    23 - Maggie Eppright, L, Fr., 5-6, San Luis Obispo, Calif. - 0.16 sa/s, 3.35 d/s

    BULLDOG PLAYER NOTES
    • Returning All-MW pick and senior outside hitter Korrin Wild (Kingsburg, Calif.) continues to pace the team in kills and points (3.85 / 4.35 per set) and ranks second in the conference and 54th nationally in both categories. Likewise, she ranks fourth in the MW rankings this week in aces (0.31 p/s) after she led the MW last year and stood 12th nationally. In MW-only matches, she ranks first in kills (4.00 p/s) and second in aces (0.35 p/s). On the team's all-time lists, she ranks top 10 career-wise in aces per set (third, 0.31 p/s), digs (fifth, 1,110) and aces (seventh, 126).

    On the season she has six +.300 totals and 17 double-digit kill totals among her 19 matches. Last weeks' top honors in kills at Wyoming (15) and No. 12 CSU (14) are the team's three-set season bests and gave her the team's top honors in kills and points 11 times in 2013. Likewise, she has led the squad in aces a team-best seven times, and in similar #s of matches in digs (5) and hitting (3). She has logged three 20-kill efforts this year in five-setters at home vs. New Mexico (20, .273, 14 digs), Boise State (20, 15 digs) and Santa Clara (21, .278). In early September, she picked up all-tournament team honors in the Fresno State Classic after she led the Bulldogs in kills and points in all three matches. She hit a season high (.391, 13 kills in her two sets) in the tourney finale vs. returning national runner-up and No. 20 Oregon. The preseason All-MW 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. The following week she added Portland Nike Invitational all-tourney honors after her double-double vs. Portland (10 kills, .333, 13 digs). Other double-doubles among her seven this year and 35 career-wise came in four sets vs. Utah State (16 kills, 14 digs) and Air Force (16 kills, 14 digs), and in five sets vs. CS Northridge (14 kills, 11 digs).

    • With starts the last 13 matches of the season, former All-Western Athletic Conference honoree and redshirt senior outside hitter Marissa Brand (Cypress, Calif.) has reignited the team's offense and back-row passing. This week she ranked 10th in the MW kill rankings (10th, 2.96 p/s), and she stands third in MW-only matches (3.95 p/s) just behind the MW leader and teammate Korrin Wild (4.00 p/s). She has led the team in kills in four matches; three times in hitting; and twice in aces, points and digs. She has two, 20-kill matches vs. American (21 , .288, 11 digs) and Air Force (20, .353, 14 digs) and another near effort vs. New Mexico (19, .226, 8 digs) among her 11 double-digit kill matches the last 12 (including five double-doubles). In early October, her season best .478 hitting mark vs. Nevada is one of three +.400 totals with her total at UNLV (.444, 14 kills) and eight +.300 totals. In late September, she set a career high in blocks vs. Utah State (6) and a season high in digs (19). Career-wise, she improved her Bulldog career top-10 rankings last week in attempts (third, 3,529) and kills (eighth, 1,180, and is three off the 10th-best mark for matches played (113 / 116).

    • In her first season for the `Dogs, senior right side hitter Holly Franks (Tollhouse, Calif.) has boosted the offense with team match highs in points in six matches, and likewise in a similar # of matches in aces (6), kills (5), hitting (4), and blocks (4). Overall this week, the Fresno-area native led the Mountain West in aces (0.32 p/s) and ranked 146th nationally. She also ranked seventh in the MW in points (seventh, 3.74 p/s), and top-three for the team this year in aces (first, 0.32 p/s), points (second, 3.55 p/s), blocks (second, 0.81 p/s) and kills (third, 2.80 p/s). In late September, she logged her season high in kills and points vs. Utah State (20/24) - both team bests for a non-five-set match in 2013 - and also topped the team in points that same weekend 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 fourth-best total in 2013. In mid-September, she was tabbed the UC Irvine Tournament MVP after she posted then-season highs in kills (18) and points (21.5) vs. the Anteaters. The weekend before, her seven aces vs. Wichita State set a new school record and helped her earn Portland Nike Invitational all-tourney honors. She posted the team's second-best aces mark of `13 vs. SJSU (5) in three sets three weeks ago. Among her seven double-doubles this year, others came vs. New Mexico (11 kills, 10 digs), 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 opening weekend after she hit a season high vs. CS Northridge (.400) - one of three +.300 totals on the year, including a season-high .455 at Wyoming last week.

    • The MW's hottest hitter the past month, junior middle blocker Maci Murdock (Turlock, Calif.) had a five-match, 60-attempt error-less string end last week. This week, she ranked 37th nationally and second in the MW in hitting (.384), and her hitting average in MW-only matches (.422) leads the league by .018. Team-wise this year, she leads Fresno State in hitting (.384) and blocks (0.87 p/s), and stands fourth for the `Dogs in kills (2.02 p/s). Two weekends ago she posted a season-high 12 kills vs. New Mexico (.632, 6 blocks), and just missed her eighth double-digit kill total of the season vs. Air Force (9, .429). Three weeks ago, she picked up her first MW Player of the Week honor after she logged her first .700 totals of the year vs. Nevada (.750, 6 kills) and SJSU (.727, 8 kills) and her three-set season high in blocks (6) vs. the Spartans. Altogether this year, she has posted seven +.600 totals with others vs. Rice (.667, 10 kills), UNLV (.636, 7 kills), Santa Clara (.600, 10 kills), and CSU Bakersfield (.600, 6 kills) among her 14 +.300 totals. She has posted 11 kills four times this year, including twice in late September vs. Utah State (.333) and Boise State (.429). In early September, she received Fresno State Classic all-tourney honors for her play vs. Belmont (11 kills, 6 blocks, .375), CSUB (.600, 6 kills) and No. 20 Oregon (.429, 8 kills). One of two players to start all 22 matches this year (with Christina Lee), she has led the team in blocks in a team-best 10 matches. She posted her season blocks high (8) in five sets vs. Boise State, and added seven in four sets vs. UC Irvine and Utah State and five sets vs. Rice. All-time for the `Dogs, she leads the career hitting list (.332) and ranks 10th in blocks assists (231), and is top 10 season-wise in hitting (sixth, .335, 2012) and block assists (10th, 102, 2012).

    • The past six weeks, junior Christina Lee (San Francisco, Calif.) made her first starts at setter since 2011 and has helped the team to an 11-5 mark. In that span, she is averaging 10.12 assists per set (607 assists / 60 sets), and directed the team to all eight of its +.300 marks this year vs. Nevada (.376), UNLV (.356), Air Force (.325), SJSU (.317), Boise State (.301), Wyoming (.300), CSUB (.300) and Xavier (.300). A starter in all 22 matches this year, her 57 assists in five sets vs. both Belmont and Boise State rank top 10 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. Last weekend's 36 and 31 assists vs. Wyoming and No. 12 CSU were the team's three-set season bests even though she split time setting in the team's 6-2 offense. 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 sixth-best total of the year and one of five team match leaders this year.

    • In mid-September 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 her career 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 kills last year vs. Northern Arizona. A starter in the first 12 matches this year (and 13 overall), she enjoyed her first career double-double thanks to her 12 digs vs. Santa Clara opening weekend. 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 Irvine 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 logged team match highs in kills vs. Rice (21) and Xavier (10). Her 24 points vs. Rice is also the team season high. Her five blocks in three sets vs. CSUB was a career high by one over her tally against CSN (4), and her three aces vs. UC Irvine is tied for fifth-best for the `Dogs in 2013. Among MW match bests of the season, she ranked seventh in kills (21) and eighth in points (24).

    • Senior middle blocker Lauren Albertson (Fresno, Calif.) tied the team's then-season high for blocks vs. Santa Clara (7) and added six vs. CS Northridge the opening weekend of the season. The three-year starter racked up 11 kills vs. Rice and hit .350, and added eight and seven kills, respectively, vs. SCU and CS Northridge. A starter the first 10 matches this year, she ranks third on the team this week in blocks average season-wise (0.80 p/s) just behind Maci Murdock (0.87 p/s) and Holly Franks (0.81 p/s).

    • Freshman setter Brooke Legaux (Mission Viejo, Calif.) made her collegiate debut a month ago as the team unveiled a new 6-2 offense with junior setter Christina Lee. Legaux racked up a season-high 14 assists in four straight matches vs. the Rebels, Spartans, Wolf Pack and Lobos, and her digs high (5) came vs. UNLV. In MW-only play, the duo have the `Dogs atop the MW team rankings for assists (13.30 per set) and kills (14.41 p/s) and second in hitting (.256).

    • Freshman libero Maggie Eppright (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) has smoothly settled into the starting libero role the past 17 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 sixth-best marks overall in the conference in 2013 and the former is the best in non-five-set matches. She has logged 10 other double-digit dig figures vs. New Mexico (19, 5 sets), Boise State (17, 5s), UNLV (16, 3s), San Diego State (16, 4s), American (16, 5s), Belmont (15, 5s), Air Fore (14, 4s), Wichita State (14, 4s), Xavier (14, 3s) and Wyoming (13, 3s). In her 17 matches as a starter, her digs per set average is 3.85 (55 sets, 212 digs) and would rank top-five among MW player season averages. Altogether, she has paced the squad in digs in nine of the last 13 contests and 11 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 third-best, three-set mark of 2013. Her two aces vs. Xavier was one of her four match highs for the `Dogs. Her 265 digs this season is approaching the fifth-best mark in FS history among freshmen (310).

    • With starts in five straight matches in September and October, redshirt sophomore middle blocker Molly Pearson (San Jose, Calif.) has been rewarded with several career bests. In late September, she logged a career high and team season high in blocks (9) in four sets vs. Utah State. 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 career starts the last seven matches, junior middle blocker Katie Pearson (San Jose, Calif.) logged career highs in sweeps vs. SJSU (5 kills, .500), Nevada (5 blocks) and UNLV (2 digs) and in four sets vs. New Mexico (5 blocks) and Air Force (5 kills, 4 aces, 9 points). She has led the team in aces in three matches, and her four aces vs. Air Force and three at Wyoming are the team's third- and fifth-best marks of the year. She has topped .300 in three matches in which she's had at least +8 attempts - Air Force (5 kills, .500), San Jose State (.500, 5 kills), UNLV (.333, 4 kills). One of four players with multiple matches with +5 blocks, she has led the team in blocks twice in sweeps of UNLV and Nevada (4/5) and in aces vs. Air Force (4), Wyoming (3) and CSU (1). With a 0.33 aces per set average in MW play, she stands third in the MW this week behind teammates Holly Franks (0.36 p/s) and Korrin Wild (0.35 p/s).

    • Junior outside hitter Jaimee-Lee Morrow (Mooroolbark, Australia) has been one of the team's most called upon serving specialists and has appeared in 14 of the team's last 17 matches. She connected on two aces vs. NCAA tournament returnees Wichita State and No. 20 Oregon and also posted one in wins vs. Portland, UC Irvine and SJSU. She logged her first kill of the year vs. American, and her digs season high (2) came vs. UP and Boise State.

    • Senior right side hitter Megan Callahan (Atwater, Calif.) has played five of the last eight matches for the `Dogs, and hit .500 against both San Jose State (2K-0E-4A) and Nevada (3K-0E-6A). In her fourth straight match with a kill, she posted a season-high five kills and two blocks vs. Air Force and hit .273 two weekends ago.

    FRESNO STATE / NEVADA / SAN JOSE STATE SERIES HISTORY
    Heading into this weekend, the `Dogs own an 30-46 all-time mark vs. San Jose State and a 22-21 ledger vs. Nevada in the series that started in 1973 and 1971, respectively. Fresno State sports a seven-match win streak vs. SJSU since 2009 and a five-match victory run vs. Nevada since 2011 (including sweeps the last four matches).

    SCOUTING THE WOLF PACK (2-20, 0-10) - www.NevadaWolfPack.com
    Nevada's wins this year have come vs. Weber State (3-0) and Montana (3-2), while it's currently trying to end a 13-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 sixth in blocks (313) in school history. Earlier this year, she was honored to the Cal Molten Classic all-tournament team. 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. The team returned four starters and eight letterwinners from last year's squad that went 4-25 and 1-15 in the Mountain West. 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.

    SCOUTING THE SPARTANS (5-16, 2-8) - www.SJSUspartans.com
    This year, SJSU staked three of its wins in non-conference play vs. Sacramento State (3-0), Eastern Washington (3-2) and UC Riverside (3-0), and has also beaten Nevada (3-2) and Air Force (3-1). 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 vs. Winthrop (21 kills, 20 digs). Blume and Lauren Jacobsen became the first Spartan pair in five years to both land 20 kills in a match in the win vs. Nevada (25/20). Junior libero Kiely Pieper recorded an SJSU Event Center-record seven aces vs. Boise State last month, 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. The Spartans return five starters from last year's team that went 9-9 in the WAC and 14-16 overall. 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.

    VALLEY PRIDE
    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, 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
    Bulldog fans and foes are again seeing double this season with the squad sporting a pair of strikingly similar faces in the front row. Identical twins and middle blockers Molly and Katie Pearson matriculated from Presentation High School in San Jose and have boosted the team in 13 and 12 matches this season, respectively.

    A redshirt sophomore and starter in five of the last 12 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, a junior, has posted career highs in seven starts the last month 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.

    FIGHTING SPIRIT TRACKER
    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; 10/14 - Team; 10/21 - Team.

    Head Coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell on this week's winners (The Team): "We succeeded and failed together last weekend. I loved to see the restart the team had Saturday against Wyoming. We were 7,200 feet up following a missed-opportunity against a nationally-ranked team. This group stood back up and fought like `Dogs for a great road win to finish off the trip. I'm proud of them."

    RPI ON THE RISE
    The fifth NCAA RPI ratings of the season was released this week, and Fresno State jumped three spots this week and ranked fourth in the league (82). The remaining MW teams' rankings follow: Colorado State (21), New Mexico (63), Utah State (73), San Diego State (85), UNLV (112), Boise State (139), Wyoming (156), Air Force (211), San José State (248) and Nevada (269).

    This week's RPI rating is ahead 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

    SKED CRED
    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 15, and Cal State Northridge has received votes almost 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 predictions - Oregon (Pac-12, fourth), Cal State Northridge (Big West, third), Xavier (Big East, third) and Santa Clara (WCC, sixth).

    ALL-TOURNAMENT PROPS
    Senior right side hitter Holly Franks wasted little time in making her presence known this year after transferring from Cal Poly. The product from nearby Tollhouse, Calif., was named to the Fresno State Invitational and Portland Nike Invitational all-tournament teams the opening two weeks, then was honored 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, Portland Nike) 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
    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.

    All three of the squad's three newcomers have played key roles this year. Senior right side hitter Holly Franks (Cal Poly) (Tollhouse, Calif.) led the Mustangs in kills and points last season (2.94 k/s; 3.22 p/s). Freshman libero Maggie Eppright (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) was a Pac-7 and County Player of the Year and two-time all-league and all-county choice. Freshman setter Brooke Legaux (Mission Viejo, Calif.) was an All-CIF South Section First Team choice and league MVP.

    HEAD OF THE CLASS
    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 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
    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, while 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).

    ALL-CONFERENCE ACCLAIM
    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.

    ON THE NCAA / MOUNTAIN WEST SINGLES CHARTS
    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).

    ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN WEST
    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).

    CAMPUS WELCOMES NEW UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT
    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.

    NOW OPEN: MEYERS FAMILY SPORTS MEDICINE CENTER
    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.

    BULLDOG FOUNDATION SUPPORTS STUDENT-ATHLETE SCHOLARSHIPS
    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.

     

     

    More Headlines