Nov. 7, 2007
FRESNO, Calif. - In the final home match of the 2007 Fresno State volleyball season, the Bulldogs will say goodbye to three seniors under head coach Ruben Nieves before hosting the Vandals from the University of Idaho. Fresno State then heads to Las Cruces, N.M. for the final regular season Western Athletic Conference match of the year at No. 13 New Mexico State.
This Week's Opponents:
Idaho - The Vandals have lost five of their last seven matches but earned a huge win against Utah State on Monday before heading to Fresno for Thursday's match. Idaho won the first meeting against the Bulldogs in Moscow on Sept. 22 in four. Idaho is led by Haley Larsen with 5.33 kills per game and Kelsey James with 11.65 assists per game.
No. 13 New Mexico State - These two teams met for the first WAC match of the season on Sept. 13, and now they will meet in the last on Sunday. The Aggies clinched the second seed in the WAC tournament they are hosting Nov. 15-17. Last week, they swept UTEP, Boise State and Idaho. The Aggies are led by Kim Oguh with a .302 hitting percentage to rank her fourth in the WAC. Four total Aggies rank in the top 10 in the conference in individual hitting percentage. Krystal Torres leads the WAC with 5.63 assists per game.
Last Week - Fresno State hosted San Jose State and No. 11 Hawai'i in two of the final three home matches of the 2007 season at the Save Mart Center. The Spartans defeated the Bulldogs 3-1, while the Rainbow Wahine swept Fresno State, despite a very strong performance by the home team.
2007 Seniors - Coach Nieves will say goodbye to three seniors on this year's squad: Tiffany Hess, Alisha McKee and Angela Wiggins. Combined, these three student-athletes have played in over 700 games and 220 matches. They have been named to the Dean's list four times, are eight-time Fresno state scholar-athletes, have been named to seven Academic All-WAC teams and are five-time WAC scholar-athletes.
Quotes from Coach Nieves
On Angela Wiggins - "Angie has been one of Fresno State's most exciting players the past three years. In addition, she has been one of our top "six-rotation" players, helping the team with both her front and back row play. She has had several very good matches since coming back from her recent calf injury. She seems ready to end her career on a high note!"
On Alisha McKee - "Alisha has played the best volleyball of her career during her senior year. She has shouldered the largest hitting load and her left side blocking is one of our team's strengths. We often match her blocking up on the part of the opponent's offense that we want to shut down. Her game is still improving late in her career and that is a real credit to her."
On Tiffany Hess - "Tiffany has been a rock for us since her arrival from Irvine Valley College. She has been a consistent performer and leader. This year we have called on her to do more than ever, whether it be running our 5-1 offense or helping us with passing, defense and ball control in our 4-2 offense. This has allowed Tiffany to show how good and complete a volleyball player she is."
On This Week's Match vs. Idaho - "Idaho has one of the WAC's star players in Haley Larsen. When she goes uncontained she can beat you almost single-handedly. We need to contain her, but can't forget about Sarah Loney who had such a strong match against us in Moscow."
WAC Player of the Week - Hawai`i left-side hitter Jamie Houston was named Western Athletic Conference Volleyball Player of the Week for the week of Oct. 29-Nov. 4. This is the fifth career WAC Player of the Week for the junior and her second honor of the 2007 season.
WAC Standings - With two conference victories each last week, No. 10 Hawai'i and No. 13 New Mexico State locked up the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, respectively, at next week's WAC Tournament. Utah State is in third at 9-5, followed closely by Nevada at 10-5 in fourth. Idaho is fifth at 7-7, San Jose State sixth at 7-8 and Fresno State is seventh at 3-11. Boise State moved up to eight at 2-13 with a victory over Louisiana Tech last week who fell to 1-14.
This Week in the WAC - Idaho defeated Utah State 3-1 on Monday in Moscow. Thursday (Nov. 8): Boise State at Eastern Washington, 7 p.m.; Idaho at Fresno State, 7 p.m.; Nevada at Utah State 6 p.m.; No. 13 New Mexico State at Louisiana Tech, 5 p.m.; San Jose State at No. 10 Hawai'i, 9 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 10): Utah Valley State at Nevada, 1 p.m.; Boise State at Idaho, 7 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 11): Fresno State at No. 13 New Mexico State, 6 p.m.; Utah State at No. 10 Hawai'i, 9 p.m.
First Road Victory of 2007 - Fresno State won its first road game on the 2007 season in dramatic fashion with a 3-2 victory over Boise State. It was the second match this season that the Bulldogs were down 0-2 and came back to win in five. Alisha McKee had a season-high 20 kills in the match and was nominated for WAC player of the week honors. The Bulldogs then traveled to western Idaho to take on the Vandals in Moscow. Idaho prevailed with a 3-1 victory. Lauren Berger led FS with a .588 hitting percentage with 12 kills.
First Conference Victory - The Bulldogs defeated La. Tech, 3-0, to earn their first conference win on the 2007 season on Sept. 15, and to move them to 1-1 in conference play. Fresno State also hosted Oregon State out of the Pac-10 Conference and the Beavers defeated the Bulldogs for the second straight year, 3-0. Fresno State fell in the WAC opener to New Mexico State, 3-0.
Bulldogs Get Huge Win in Kansas - Sept. 7-8, FS traveled to Manhattan, Kans. to play in the Varney's Kansas State Invitational. In an exciting opening match for Fresno State, it defeated Arkansas 3-2. The Bulldogs were down 2-0 after losing games of 30-14 and 30-13. They rallied back to win the final three games and the match. It was the first time since 2001 that Fresno State had lost the first two games and came back to win in five. It was also the biggest point deficit overcome since 30-point scoring six years ago. In game two, the Bulldogs faced No. 22 Kansas State and were swept 3-0. The Wildcats won all three matches of their own tournament to take the title. FS fell in the final match of the tournament to Northern Iowa, 3-0, with game scores of 30-24, 30-28 and 30-24, and finished the tournament in third place (1-2).
Kansas State All-Tournament Team - Sophomore Lacey Gera was named to the Kansas State Invitational all-tournament team as she helped the Bulldogs come back in that thrill against Arkansas on day one. Fresno State was down two games to zero and won the last three to take the match.
Bulldogs Sweep UC Davis for First Win of Season - The 2007 home schedule saw the Bulldogs earn their first win of the season with a 3-0 sweep of UC Davis. FS had a season-high hitting percentage of .286, led by senior Angela Wiggins with a .333 percentage.
Leading the Way - With a .310 hitting percentage, 19 kills and 10 block assists in opening weekend, freshman Lauren Berger was named the Toyota/gobulldogs.com Student-Athlete of the week by Fresno State on Aug. 27.
This and That - In the 2007 WAC pre-season coaches poll, Fresno State was selected eighth in the nine-team conference. Hawai'i is favored to repeat by picking up 64 total points. New Mexico State was picked second, followed by San Jose State and Idaho who tied for third. Nevada was selected fifth, Boise State sixth and Utah State seventh, followed by Fresno State and Louisiana Tech.
The Bulldogs went 6-24 in 2006 and recorded a 3-13 record in Western Athletic Conference play. Their season ended with a loss to top-seeded Hawai'i in the WAC tourney, 3-0. Hawai'i eventually went on to the NCAA tournament where it fell to UCLA in the elite eight and ended the year ranked ninth in the country.
Showtime for the 'Dogs - Fresno State will continue to have a strong media presence in 2007. 790 ESPN the Deuce will be carrying five matches in 2006, beginning with the home opener Aug. 30 vs. Idaho State from the Big Sky Conference. In addition, the Bulldogs will again be televised on Comcast Channel 14, as the network will carry six games live starting also with the Idaho State match. For nearly a decade, Comcast has provided coverage of Fresno State women's sports. This season the partnership continues with the airing 18 Olympic Sporting Events. There will be a new voice of the Bulldogs on television in 2007 with the addition of Guy Haberman from 1430 ESPN Radio as the new play-by-play announcer. Haberman is a recent graduate of Fresno State in broadcast journalism. He worked at the Fresno State radio station 90.7 KFSR for two years and ESPN Radio for two years as well broadcasting Bulldog volleyball, soccer and softball games.
Ruben Nieves - Head Coach Ruben Nieves is in his third year with Fresno State. He became the sixth head coach of the women's volleyball team on January 28, 2005. Before coming to Fresno, Nieves was the head men's coach at Stanford from 1991-2001 where he was the two-time National Coach of the Year and led the Cardinals to a 1997 National Championship. In 1992 his men's team was the NCAA National Runner-up. Before he became head coach at Stanford he was an assistant for the Cardinal men's from 1987-1988 and a women's assistant from 1986-1989. He has coached five U.S. Olympians, 19 All-Americans, 28 all-conference players, the 1993 AVCA Player of the Year, 1994 AVCA Freshman of the Year, 1997 NCAA Tournament MVP, 1993 conference player of the year and three conference freshman of the year. He was the 2001 head coach for the USA Men's Volleyball team that took the gold medal at the World University Games. Nieves was the head of the delegation for the USA Boys Junior National Team and a 1996 advisory staff member for team USA. Also in 1993, Nieves was an assistant coach for both the USA Men's World University Games Team and an assistant for the USA Men's "B" Team overseas. As a volleyball setter, Nieves won the Block "S" award at Stanford, playing from 1980-81. He graduated from Stanford in 1981 with a bachelor of arts degree in Spanish (1981) and earned his master's degree from Stanford in Education in 1982.
Lee Nelson - Assistant coach Lee Nelson is in his first season with the Bulldog volleyball team. Lee Nelson begins his first season as an assistant with the Fresno State volleyball team. He will be responsible as the Bulldogs defensive coordinator working primarily with middle blockers. He will also be the program's recruiting coordinator. Nelson comes to Fresno from his most previous coaching period at Nevada, where he served as an assistant coach for the Wolf Pack team from "1999-2000." Nelson's prior experience also includes a stint with UC Santa Barbara, where he served as the first assistant for the UCSB men's team from 1997-99. While working with the UCSB men, Nelson also worked at Santa Barbara City College, serving as an assistant with the men's squad in 1995 and with the women's team from 1997-98. Nelson spent 1985-89 playing on the UCSB men's volleyball team. He was a starting member of the `88 squad that advanced to the NCAA Tournament finals and he finished No. 3 nationally in hitting percentage as a senior. From 1991-92 Nelson played professionally in Europe on the Delta Lloyd Division team in Uithoorn, Holland and from 1996-97 he was a member of the Metso-Lentis First Division team in Jyvaskyla, Finland.Originally from Santa Barbara, Nelson graduated from UCSB in 1991 with a B.A. in history and environmental studies. He received his social studies teaching credential from Cal State Chico in 1995. Nelson also received a master's degree in history while at Nevada in 2005.
Fernanda Habiger -Rounding out the Bulldogs coaching staff is third year assistant coach Fernanda Habiger after joining the staff on March 28, 2005. Habiger, a former volleyball student-athlete who was a setter at Arizona State University for two years after transferring from Barton County Community College, brings another national title to the table as well as an international flair. Though a graduate assistant, Habiger performed her role as a primary assistant as she helped Barry University capture the NCAA Division II Women's Volleyball Championship title last fall. Her duties at Barry included assisting with practice planning and execution, game preparation, scouting, team travel as well as assisting with summer volleyball camps and clinics. Able to recruit international players, the Brazilian has served as a head coach for the South Florida Volleyball Club 17-unders (Miami Shores, Fla.) and Club Red 14-15-unders (Mesa, Ariz.). Earning her Masters degree in sports management from Barry University during her time as an assistant coach there, Habiger received her Bachelor of Arts in intercultural and organizational communication from ASU in 2003. While a Sun Devil she was a member of the Dean's List as well as being a Pac-10 All-Academic athlete and Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Athlete. At the junior college level, Habiger was a 1999 NJCAA Honorable Mention All-American. In her final season at Barton County Community College she helped the Cougars to a sixth place finish at the NJCAA National Tournament. Fluent in Portuguese, she was selected to the Brazilian National Junior Volleyball Training team in 1997. In her native Brazil from 1993-98, Habiger played for several top club teams and was named best setter during he Brazilian National tournament in 1997. Married to Eric Habiger, she is a member of the AVCA.
"Join the State - Fresno State!" - The Fresno State volleyball concludes their 2007 home schedule at the Save Mart Center this Thursday, November 8 for Senior Night against Idaho at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased through the Save Mart Center Box Office, by phone at (559)485-TIXS, or online at Ticketmaster.com.
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