'Dogs Host Rebels & Aztecs to Open Final Month of Regular Slate
Nov. 6, 2013
Fresno State VB Weekly Release: Season Week 11 / Mountain West Conference Week 7
Thursday, Nov. 7 - Fresno, Calif.
Saturday, *Nov. 9 - Fresno, Calif.
*SATURDAY SCHEDULING CHANGE
THIS WEEKEND'S MARKETING / TICKET PROMOTIONS
Saturday (11/9, Noon - vs. San Diego State): WHITE OUT DAY. All Bulldog fans are encouraged to wear WHITE, and the first 200 fans will get a FREE `Our State' shirt!
SIZING UP THIS WEEK'S FOES
LAST TIME AT UNLV / SAN DIEGO STATE (10/3-5/13)
At SDSU, Korrin Wild led the team in kills (17), hitting (.306), points (18) and aces (1), and Marissa Brand posted similar stats (16 kills, .262, 1 ace, 17.5 points). At UNLV, Brand held top honors in kills (14), and Maci Murdock topped columns for hitting (.636) and blocks (4).
LAST WEEKEND'S RECAP
Against SJSU, the `Dogs fell behind 0-2 after it gave up 10 blocks and four aces to the Spartans the first two sets (while committing nine service errors). After the intermission, the team limited SJSU to three blocks the rest of the way and dialed up seven aces and only error the last three sets for its second 0-2 comeback win of the year.
RECENT FRESNO STATE STARTERS (Key 2013 Stats)
SURGING BEHIND THE 6-2
SERVING UP GREATNESS
BULLDOG PLAYER NOTES
On the season she has six +.300 totals and 18 double-digit kill totals among her 21 matches. Her team-leading honors two weeks ago 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 12 times in 2013. Likewise, she has led the squad in aces a team-best eight 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 night before, 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 eight this year and 36 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) and San Jose State (15 kills, 19 digs).
With starts the last 15 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 digging. This week she climbed a spot in the MW kill rankings (ninth, 3.06 p/s), and stands second in MW-only matches (3.96 p/s), 06 behind leader Chantale Riddle of UNM (4.02), and just ahead of the teammate Korrin Wild (third, 3.82 p/s). In 2013, Brand has led the team in kills in six matches; four times in points; three times in hitting; and twice in aces and digs. She has three, 20-kill matches vs. San Jose State (22, .255, 8 digs), 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 13 double-digit kill efforts the last 14 matches (including six 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 vs. Boise State (.471, 17 kills), and nine +.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, 3,606) and kills (seventh, 1,212), and is one off the 10th-best mark for matches played (115 / 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 blocks (7), aces (6), kills (5), hitting (4). Overall this week, the Fresno-area native ranked second in the Mountain West in aces (0.31 p/s) and 164th nationally. She also ranked ninth in the MW in points (seventh, 3.44 p/s), and top-three for the team this year in aces (second, 0.31 p/s), points (second, 3.44 p/s), blocks (second, 0.81 p/s) and kills (third, 2.71 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 two weeks ago.
The MW's hottest hitter the past five weeks, junior middle blocker Maci Murdock (Turlock, Calif.) had a five-match, 60-attempt error-less string end two weeks ago. This week, she ranked 34th nationally and third in the MW in hitting (.391), and her hitting average in MW-only matches (.431) leads the league by .033. Team-wise this year, she leads Fresno State in hitting (.391) and blocks (0.84 p/s), and stands fourth for the `Dogs in kills (2.02 p/s). Twice in the last three weeks she posted a season-high 12 kills vs. San Jose State (.267, 4 blocks) and New Mexico (.632, 6 blocks), and just missed her ninth double-digit kill total of the season vs. Air Force (9, .429). A month 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 eight +.600 totals with others at Nevada (.692, 10 kills), vs. Rice (.667, 10 kills), UNLV (.636, 7 kills), Santa Clara (.600, 10 kills), and CSU Bakersfield (.600, 6 kills) among her 15 +.300 marks. She has also 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 24 matches this year (with Christina Lee), she has led the team in blocks in a team-best 11 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 (.338) and ranks 10th in blocks assists (235), and is top 10 season-wise in hitting (sixth, .335, 2012) and block assists (10th, 102, 2012).
The past seven weeks, junior Christina Lee (San Francisco, Calif.) made her first starts at setter since 2011 and has helped the team to a 13-5 mark. In that span, she is averaging 9.83 assists per set (669 assists / 68 sets), and directed the team to all nine of its +.300 marks this year vs. Nevada (.376, .302), UNLV (.356), Air Force (.325), SJSU (.317), Boise State (.301), Wyoming (.300), CSUB (.300) and Xavier (.300). A starter in all 24 matches this year, her 57 assists in five sets vs. both Belmont and Boise State rank seventh 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. Her 36 and 31 assists two weekends ago vs. Wyoming and No. 12 CSU were the Bulldogs' 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 eighth-best mark of the year and one of five team match leaders in 2013.
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 eighth in kills (21) and points (24).
Senior middle blocker Lauren Albertson (Fresno, Calif.) was one off her career 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 +6 kills vs. SCU (8), CS Northridge (7) and at Nevada (6). A starter the first 10 matches this year and twice again last week, she ranks third on the team this week in blocks average season-wise (0.73 p/s) just behind Maci Murdock (0.84 p/s) and Holly Franks (0.81 p/s).
Freshman setter Brooke Legaux (Mission Viejo, Calif.) made her collegiate debut in early October as the team unveiled a 6-2 offense with junior setter Christina Lee. Legaux racked up +10 assists in five matches, including a season-high 18 assists vs. San Jose State and 14 in four straight matches vs. the Rebels, Spartans, Wolf Pack and Lobos. In MW-only play, the duo have the `Dogs atop the league team rankings for kills (14.13 per set) and second in hitting (.258) and assists (13.13 p/s).
Freshman libero Maggie Eppright (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) has smoothly settled into the starting libero role the past 19 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 sixth- and eighth-best marks overall in the conference in 2013 and the former is the second-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), SJSU (16, 5s), Belmont (15, 5s), Air Fore (14, 4s), Wichita State (14, 4s), Xavier (14, 3s) and Wyoming (13, 3s). She ranks sixth in the MW in digs in conference play (3.80 p/s) and tops among freshmen. Altogether, she has paced the squad in digs in nine of the last 15 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 and at Nevada - the team's third-best, three-set mark of 2013 and among five match highs for the `Dogs. Her 289 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 in seven of the last nine matches, junior middle blocker Katie Pearson (San Jose, Calif.) logged career highs in sweeps vs. SJSU (5 kills, .500), Nevada (5 blocks) and in four sets vs. New Mexico (5 blocks) and Air Force (5 kills, 4 aces, 5 digs, 9 points). She has led the team in aces in four matches, and her four aces vs. Air Force and three at Wyoming and SJSU 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) and UNLV (.333, 4 kills). On defense, she is one of four Bulldogs with multiple matches with +5 blocks, and paced the team in blocks twice in sweeps of UNLV and Nevada (4/5) and in aces vs. Air Force (4), Wyoming (3), SJSU (3) and CSU (1). With a 0.39 aces per set average in MW play, she stands second in the MW this week just behind teammate Korrin Wild (0.40 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 16 of the team's last 19 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 a season-high two kills at Nevada on Halloween, and her digs season high (2) came vs. UP and Boise State.
Senior right side hitter Megan Callahan (Atwater, Calif.) has played seven of the last 10 matches for the `Dogs, and hit .500 against both San Jose State (2K-0E-4A) and Nevada (3K-0E-6A). Among her five straight matches with a kill, she posted a season-high five kills and two blocks vs. Air Force and hit .273 two weekends ago.
ON THE CHARTS - This Week's MW / NCAA Rankings (per set averages)
Fresno State MW/NCAA Team Rankings
Fresno State MW/NCAA Individual Rankings
UNLV MW/NCAA Team Rankings
UNLV MW/NCAA Individual Rankings
San Diego State MW/NCAA Team Rankings
San Diego State MW/NCAA Individual Rankings
FRESNO STATE / UNLV / SAN DIEGO STATE SERIES HISTORY
SCOUTING THE REBELS (13-9, MW 8-4 (3rd-tie)) - www.UNLVrebels.com
SCOUTING THE AZTECS (12-10, MW 7-5 (6th)) - www.GoAztecs.com
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
A redshirt sophomore and starter in five September and October 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
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 have included 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; 10/28 - Team; 11/5 - Team.
Head Coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell on this week's winners (Team): "This is one of the finest teams I've ever coached. They live and die by each other. Whether someone is a starter or a role player, we all know how important each individual is to the failures and successes of the group. We played a good, clean match against Nevada and had a great comeback against San Jose State to pull off a two-win weekend. I love awarding this to the team."
RPI ON THE RISE
This week's RPI rating is again 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
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 10, and Cal State Northridge has ranked No. 22 the past two weeks.
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).
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
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
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
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.
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