Four WCC teams are represented in the top 20 of the most recent AVCA/USA Today poll. All four WCC teams moved up in the poll with Santa Clara making the jump from #14 to #12. The Pepperdine Waves moved into the #5 spot after escaping a scare in Spokane against the Zags last weekend. San Diego's No. 16 national ranking is the highest ranking ever given to the Torero volleyball program. The last time the Toreros were ranked among the nation's top-16 was on December 1, 1998 during a season in which USD won a second consecutive West Coast Conference Championship. Loyola Marymount has climbed in the Top 25 poll for the fourth consecutive week, this time two spots to #17.
This could be first of many big weekends during this conference season. As the 2003 WCC volleyball season reaches the halfway point, four teams sit with winning records, two of which are undefeated. Those four teams will go head-to-head in the Los Angeles area as Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine host Santa Clara and San Diego this weekend. These match-ups should to create some separation atop the league standings.
This Sunday, October 26, the West Coast Conference will broadcast its first-ever nationally televised conference volleyball match on CSTV. The Santa Clara Broncos will go head-to-head with the Pepperdine Waves in Malibu, CA, as part of the AVCA Spike Game of the Week. You can find CSTV on channel 610 on your DirecTV system. Both teams have been a part of the AVCA Game of the Week earlier this season against non-conference teams. The Broncos hosted Hawaii, while Pepperdine defeated Pacific in Stockton.
Loyola Marymount can become the WCCs first 20-match winner this season with one more victory. LMU last posted 20 victories in 2000, which is also the last time the Lions went to the NCAA tournament.
Game To Watch
Santa Clara at Pepperdine-Sunday, October 26 at 1:00pm
AVCA Spike Game of the Week on CSTV (Ch. 610 on DirecTV)
Over the past three seasons, the road to the WCC regular season championship has gone through Santa Clara and Pepperdine. The Broncos are the last WCC team to defeat the Waves in a conference match, but that was two years ago in the last match of the 2000 regular season. Since then, the Waves have run off 33 consecutive conference wins, including a 5-0 league record this season. Santa Clara is 5-0 in league as well, winning six of its last seven.
In the overall series, Pepperdine holds a 27-9 record in conference games against the Broncos. This match will showcase the WCCs two all-Americans from a year ago in SCUs Becky Potter and Pepperdines Katie Wilkins. Wilkins is the leagues two-time defending Player of the Year and once again leads the WCC in kills per game. Potter was the WCCs Freshman of the Year in 2000 and was named the All-WCC first team the last two seasons.
This match will be televised on CSTV as part of the AVCAs Spike Game of the Week. It is the first-ever West Coast Conference league volleyball match to be televised. You can find the match on channel 610 on DirecTV.
Portland at Portland State- 7pm
Sacramento State at USF - 7pm
#Santa Clara at LMU - 7pm
#USD at Pepperdine - 7pm
#Gonzaga at Portland - 7pm
#USD at LMU - 7pm
#Saint Marys at USF - 7pm
#Santa Clara at Pepperdine - 1pm (CSTV)
------------------------------------------------------------- Team Notes
Gonzaga Bulldogs Head Coach: Kip Yoshimura
The Gonzaga University volleyball team nearly shocked the volleyball world on Friday night as the underdog Bulldogs fell just five points short of upsetting No. 6 Pepperdine in the Martin Centre. The Waves broke away from ties in game four and five to defeat GU, 3-2 (30-32, 30-17, 25-30, 30-28, 15-12)...Heather Signor etched her name in the Gonzaga record book with a match-high 28 digs as six Gonzaga players reached double figures with Gonzaga finishing with 104 team digs. The 28 digs were the fifth best single-match effort in Gonzaga history. Christina Davis finished with 18 digs behind Signor.
Loyola Marymount Lions Head Coach: Steve Stratos
LMU will look to protect its 10-0 record vs. #14 Santa Clara on Friday, as the Broncos bring their undefeated WCC record to Gersten Pavilion. Santa Clara was the last team to beat LMU at home, as the Lions lost in five games on 11/16/02...LMU has more players in the WCC's hitting percentage top 10 than any other squad. Kelli Nerison, Dina DeBernardi, and Tiana Newsome each rank...junior Kelli Nerison once again delivered the consistent performance LMU needed. For the second straight week, the middle blocker is LMU's player of the week, as she posted hitting percentages of .706 and .464 against Portland and Gonzaga. In the 3-0 win over the Pilots, Nerison recorded 12 kills, one ace, and seven blocks. At Gonzaga, she led the Lions with a match-high 16 kills and added 10 blocks.
Pepperdine Waves Head Coach: Nina Matthies
After defeating six previous ranked opponents with ease, the Gonzaga Bulldogs put up the biggest fight against the Waves, forcing them into five-games for the first time this season. Pepperdine held up at the end and squeaked past GU, 3-2, with scores of 30-32, 30-17, 25-30, 30-28, and 15-12. On Saturday evening, Pepperdine wasted no time and defeated Portland, 3-0 to extend their win streak to 13 games. The win gave Nina Matthies her 399th career win. Senior Katie Wilkins paces her squad with 332 total kills (5.53 KPG), while setter Melissa Mehlhorn has 829 total sets (13.82). In the last five conference matches, senior Lyndsey Hache' has registered 28 total blocks (25 of them block assists) and 20 of them came in the last two matches.
Portland Pilots Head Coach: Doug Sparks
Portland is currently on a seven-match losing streak, including six losses in league... The Pilots haven't won a game in seven matches... UP will face Portland State in the second and final RiverCity Rivalry match of the season. Portland leads this year's series 1-0...This Saturday, Portland will face 0-6 Gonzaga in an effort to get their first league victory.
San Diego Toreros Head Coach: Jennifer Petrie
San Diego got back to its winning ways this weekend with a pair of wins against Saint Marys and San Francisco at Jenny Craig Pavilion...San Diego's No. 16 national ranking in the latest AVCA/USA Today Top-25 poll matches the highest ranking ever given to the Torero volleyball program. The last time the Toreros were ranked among the nation's top-16 was on December 1, 1998 during a season in which USD won a second consecutive West Coast Conference Championship. San Diego broke into the AVCA Top-25 this season on September 15th after sweeping then-No. 19 Long Beach State. San Diego has appeared in the AVCA's Top-25 poll in each of the last six seasons.
San Francisco Dons Head Coach: Jeff Nelson
One could argue that the Dons have been through the toughest part of the league schedule in the first three weeks. Of USFs first six league contests, the Dons have faced #5 Pepperdine, #12 Santa Clara, #16 San Diego and #17 Loyola Marymount, all on the road...Senior outside hitter Caroline Skacel recorded a double-double with a 11-kill, 10-dig outing against Santa Clara. With that performance, Skacel surpassed 900 career digs and stands at 903, good for sixth place on the all-time list.
Santa Clara Broncos Head Coach: Jon Wallace
Sophomore Toni Muratore was outstanding for the Broncos in victories over San Francisco and Saint Marys last weekend. The outside hitter posted 30 kills in the two matches, while notching a .344 hitting percentage. Her 16 kills against SMC were a match-high...After posting a pair of sweeps over USF and SMC, Santa Clara has recorded 3-0 victories in four of its five conference wins. The Broncos gave up a game to Gonzaga in a 3-1 victory...Becky Potter has 982 digs in her career, leaving her only 18 shy of the 1,000 dig plateau. When she reaches the milestone, Potter will become only the sixth player in program history to accomplish such a feat. Combined with her 1,609 kills, she would also become the fifth player in WCC history to compile 1,600 kills and 1,000 digs.