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WCC Volleyball Recaps

Aug. 24, 2007

Gonzaga - 3
Canisius - 0

Missoula, MT - The Gonzaga University women's volleyball team opened its 2007 campaign with a 3-0 sweep of Canisius College Friday at the Ruby's Montana Invitational hosted by the University of Montana. The Zags combined for 51 kills and had an impressive .400 hitting percentage in the 30-26, 30-21, 30-13 victory. The season-opening win is the first for the Bulldogs since the 2001 season.

Seniors Becky Jones and Briawna Mueller were the Bulldogs top offensive players, finishing with 13 and 11 kills, respectively. Jones also added three digs, two assists and three blocks assists, while Mueller, who hit at a .421 clip, chipped in a match-high four block assists, along with one assist.

Both junior Elaina Renius and sophomore Michelle Boevers finished the contest hitting over .600 for the Zags. Renius had nine kills and one error on 13 total attempts for a .615 hitting percentage and Boevers, playing in her first match in over a year and a half, also had nine kills and one error on 12 total attempts for a match-high .667 attacking percentage.

Senior Heather Dunn closed out the match with a match-high 34 assists, along with four kills, 11 digs and one service ace, while senior libero Alecia Douglas led the was defensively for Gonzaga collecting a match-high 14 digs.

The Bulldogs limited the Golden Griffins to just 32 team kills and a .119 attacking percentage. Michella Domo led the way for Canisius with 11 kills.

Gonzaga closed out the match with the 41-23 advantage in digs and the 6-4 edge in team blocks.

The Zags will be back in action Saturday when it plays two matches to close out the Ruby's Montana Invitational. Gonzaga will match up against UC Irvine at 9 a.m. and hit the courts against Montana at 6 p.m.

Pepperdine - 3
Pittsburgh - 0

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Four members of the Pepperdine women's volleyball team recorded at least 10 kills as the Waves opened the 2007 season with a 30-26, 30-24, 30-20 victory over Pittsburgh at the Arkansas Clarion Inn Invitational, held at Barnhill Arena, on Friday evening.

The Waves continue the tournament on Saturday (Aug. 25) with a pair of matches against Georgia Tech at noon PT and host Arkansas at 5 p.m. PT.

Pepperdine hit a blistering .431 for the match and got better as the contest went along, hitting .289 in the first game, .475 in the second and .581 in the third. Pittsburgh (0-2) managed just a .241 hitting percentage.

Junior outside hitter Julie Rubenstein (Camarillo, Calif./Oaks Christian HS) led the Waves with 13 kills and 10 digs. She was followed by 12 kills by senior middle blocker Lecca Roberts (Kula, Hawaii/Seabury HS), 11 kills by sophomore outside hitter Rachel Lumsden (Brea, Calif./Brea Olinda HS) and 10 kills by junior middle blocker Cassi Chamberlain (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood HS).

Roberts (12-0-20) and Chamberlain (10-1-15) each hit .600 for the match. Sophomore setter Kiah Fiers (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif./Peninsula HS) directed the attack with 33 assists.

Portland - 3
Northern Colorado - 2

PULLMAN, Wash. - The Portland Pilots volleyball team battled back from a 0-2 deficit to win its season-opener 3-2 against the Northern Colorado Bears at the Baden Cougar Challenge in Pullman Wash. Northern Colorado took the first two games 30-26 and 30-27 before Portland rallied to win the next three games 30-26, 30-28 and 17-15.

Five players reached double figures in kills for Portland, which opens the season at 1-0. Sophomore Maria Clemens and freshman Jessica Clemens had double-doubles for the Pilots. Maria had 14 kills and 10 digs, while Jessica finished with 11 kills and 18 digs.

Dolcie Stone led Northern Colorado's (0-1) attack with 23 kills.

The Pilots managed to win the all-important fifth game 17-15 to take the match. UP was down early 3-5, but the Pilots regrouped on a block by sophomore Kara Pein and junior Ashley Grayson tying the game at 6-6. The Bears would take the lead back 6-7, marking the final time that Portland would trail. The Pilots responded and tied the game at 7-7 on an error by Taylor Smith. UP then built up a 12-9 lead thanks to back-to-back kills by junior Jennifer Sheedy and Pein.

The Pilots were up 14-11 and just one point away from a victory when Northern Colorado rallied to score the next three points and tie the game at 14-14. The Pilots went up again 15-14 on a Maria Clemens' kill, but Bears sophomore Allison Raguse would tie the game up at 15-15 with a kill of her own. Pein responded with a kill to give the Pilots the lead for good at 16-15. The game-winning point came on a block by Pein and Grayson.

Grayson finished with 13 kills for the Pilots, while junior K.C. Fox tied a career high with 12 kills. Sheedy added 11 kills.

Pein racked up 50 assists and 17 digs in the winning effort. Freshman Danielle Dupar finished the game with 13 digs in her collegiate debut.

Portland next faces tournament host Washington State tonight at 7:00 p.m. Portland then plays South Dakota State at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Saint Mary's - 3
Eastern Washington - 0

Tucson, AZ - The Saint Mary's Volleyball team started the season with a bang, defeating Eastern Washington in their first match of the Four Points University Plaza Wildcat Classic. The Gaels won in three quick games, by scores of 30-11, 30-27, and 30-24. The starting line-up consisted of four freshman and three sophomores. Freshman Megan York started the match at outside hitter, while freshmen Christy Payne, Shannon Lowell, and Kelly Huston joined her on the floor.

York displayed volleyball skill beyond her years, leading the Gaels in kills with 13, while also adding six digs and two aces. York maintained a high hitting percentage throughout the match ending with 13 kills on 29 swings with only two errors, for a .379 average. Freshman Shannon Lowell was another key contributor throughout the match. Lowell finished with eight kills on 13 swings, while also adding four assisted blocks.

Game one began with freshman Kelly Huston serving nine straight points, including one ace, which forced EWU to call their first timeout of the match. After the break the Gaels continued to keep pressure on their opponent, recording six aces, including two from York. Saint Mary's forced the Eagles to a -.417 hitting percentage, while freshman setter Christy Payne led her team to a .375 hitting percentage following game one. Saint Mary's defeated the Eagles convincingly, ending game one 30-11

Eastern Washington started game two with a quick lead. At one point in the game the Eagles lead by five points over the young Gaels, 7-12. After a timeout by head coach, Rob Browning, Saint Mary's bounced back to tie the game at 14 a piece. Led by York's five kills, Saint Mary's took the lead and never looked back. The Gaels would win the match 30-27.

Saint Mary's began game three with a 3-0 lead. York and Groess contributed five and four kills respectively, while Burton added two kills and three assisted blocks. Freshman Kapua Kamana'o gathered up 13 assists in the game, while Alita Fisher would add seven digs. The Gaels won the game 30-24, sweeping the Eagles in their first match of the season.

The Gaels second match of the tournament will take place at 5:00 P.M this evening, at the McKale Center.

Saint Mary's - 3
Utah State - 0

Tucson, AZ - In the second match of the Four Points University Plaza Classic the Gaels started right where they left off, defeating Utah State three games to none, 30-15, 30-26, 30-26. For the second straight match freshman Megan York tallied the match high in kills, while also recording her first double-double, leading the Gaels with 14 kills, 18 digs, and five block assists. Megan Burton continued her stellar performance in the second match of the tournament with a match high .421 hitting percentage. Burton chipped in nine kills and eight blocks.

Sophomore middle blocker Megan Burton led the way in game one, tallying six kills on eight attacks, with a .750 hitting percentage. Freshman outside hitter Megan York also started strong, adding five kills on eight attacks, with a .625 hitting percentage. The Gaels battled back and forth with the Aggies to begin game one, but two consecutive kills by Shannon Lowell gave the Gaels the advantage. Freshman setter Kapua Kamana'o guided the offense to a team hitting percentage of .361, adding 13 assists. Saint Mary's defense held the Aggies to a team hitting percentage of -.050. The Gaels continued to rally off consecutive points throughout the game, eventually defeating Utah State 30-15.

In the second game the Gaels took a demanding lead behind Taylor Groess and Megan York's attacking. Junior Brittany Barker displayed her blocking skills, tallying five assisted blocks in game two alone. Saint Mary's defense continued to put pressure on the Aggies, keeping their opponent's hitting percentage to -.071. The Gaels would take a 22-10 advantage over Utah State. The Aggies continued to pressure the Gaels, eventually tying the game and taking the lead. After exchanging points back and forth Saint Mary's regained the lead after a Kamana'o ace. The Gaels would win the next three points defeating the Aggies 30-27.

The battle would continue in game three as the Gaels continued their defensive pressure through digging and blocking. As a team Saint Mary's notched nine blocks in game three, while also tallying 16 digs. The Gaels would eventually win the game on a Groess kill down the line, capturing the game 30-26.

Saint Mary's will continue action on Saturday 25 at 7:00 P.M. vs. the host of the tournament, Arizona.

San Diego - 3
Long Beach State - 0

LONG BEACH, Calif. - A balanced attack and a career-high 17 kills for sophomore outside hitter Amy DeGroot helped propel the 15th-ranked University of San Diego volleyball team to a 3-0 (30-28, 30-27, 30-14) win over No. 19 Long Beach State University Friday evening at the Gold Mine.

DeGroot led all players with her 17 kills on 36 attack attempts, while only posting three errors to post a .389 attack percentage. DeGroot also recorded 10 digs to pick up her first career double-double. Senior Laurel Abrahamson was also a solid offensive force as she racked up 14 kills on 21 attempts to post a match-best .571 attack percentage. Freshman Ali Troost was also impressive in her debut picking up eight kills on 13 attempts to pot a .538 attack percentage. Both USD setters, junior Jessica Nyrop and freshman Kelsi Myers, were solid with Nyrop recording 22 assists and Myers picking up 21 assists. As a team, the Toreros posted a resounding .358 attacking percentage for the match.

In game one, it was a close fought battle as right from the get-go; each team came out with intensity. The 49ers took the first point and didn't relinquish the lead until late in the game. LBSU built up a seven point lead at 16-9 thanks to a Dyanne Lawlor service ace. Then with the score at 20-14, USD launched a fierce comeback sparked by a LBSU service error. The Toreros would then go on an 8-4 run to pull even with LBSU at 24-24. USD wouldn't get their first lead of the game until Torey Ellick and Amy DeGroot came together on a block to give USD a one pint lead at 26-25. The two teams would sea saw back and forth until Ali Troost put down back-to-back kills to give USD a 29-28 lead. Laurel Abrahamson closed the deal on a kill off a set from Nyrop to give USD the early 1-0 lead with a 30-28 win.

Game two was an even closer battle between the two national powers, as there were 12 ties in the game and six lead changes. The game was even with each team taking their turn with the lead and neither team having a lead bigger then three. Then, with the score knotted at 26-26, USD would regain the lead; they held most of the match, on a DeGroot service ace. The Toreros would not relinquish the lead as an Erin Wiskar kill and a LBSU service error by Nicole Varges capped the 30-27 victory for the Toreros.

Game three was all Toreros, as they jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead and never looked back. As a team, USD posted a .439 attack percentage in the third game with Abrahamson recording six kills and DeGroot adding in another eight to help lead USD to a 30-14 win.

The Toreros will return to action on Tuesday as they host Fairfield in their 2007 home opener inside the friendly confines of the Jenny Craig pavilion.

Santa Clara - 3
Cal State Fullerton - 0

BOISE, Idaho - The Santa Clara University volleyball team got the season started on the right note in the season-opener, knocking off Cal State Fullerton 3-0 in the opening match of the Boise State Invitational. The No. 24 Broncos won the games by scores of 30-21, 30-19 and 30-20 to sweep by the Titans. Sophomore Lindsy Evans set a career high with 16 kills to lead the offense for SCU, while seniors Crystal Matich and Caroline Walters also had big nights for Jon Wallace's squad.

In the first game, SCU got out to a 5-2 advantage behind three assists from Matich, who led the team with 39 in the match, and a pair of kills by junior Brittany Lowe. After the Titans tied the score at 10 points apiece, the Broncos pulled away to a 17-11 advantage before cruising to a 30-21 win in game one. Freshman Krista Kelley finished the game with a kill off a pass from Matich. Freshman Alex Scoffone was also active in game one with a couple of kills and some strong defense from the middle blocker position.

In game two, Cal State Fullerton got out to an early 3-0 lead, but two kills from Matich and a block from Evans helped SCU get back to a 4-3 advantage. With the score tied 5-5, the Broncos went on a 13-4 run to grab a nine-point lead at 18-9. Five of those points came on sophomore Lauryn Dowd's serve. SCU then pulled away for an 11-point win at 30-19. Junior Nichole Clark ended things with a kill on another assist from Matich.

With the match seemingly in hand, SCU found itself in a dogfight in game three with the Titans getting out to leads of 9-6 and 12-10. However, Wallace's team showed some fire, reeling off five straight points to grab a 15-12 lead. Three of the points came on kills by Evans with assists to Matich. Dowd also contributed a kill in the game-changing run. The Broncos would not trail again and three straight kills from Evans late in the match sealed the deal for SCU. With a 30-20 win in game three, SCU picked up its first win of the season.

Lowe finished the match second in kills with nine, while Walters began her march towards the all-time digs record with 14 digs. Overall, the Broncos hit at .364 for the match, while holding Fullerton to .096.

Santa Clara will have little rest, as the team plays two matches on Saturday, Aug. 25. At 9:30 a.m., the Broncos face Texas-San Antonio and then they close out the tournament against the host, Boise State, at 6 p.m.

St. John's - 3
Loyola Marymount - 0

LOS ANGELES - The Lions' 2007 season opener took them only across town, but it paired them against a defending conference champion from across the nation. Loyola Marymount volleyball (0-1) fell 3-0 (30-23, 30-19, 30-23) to 2006 Big East Champion St. John's (1-0) in the first match of the Trojan Invitational, held at USC's Galen Center.

Good fortune rode with the Red Storm all night, as the Lions were without the services of returning starting setter Ashley Dutro after she was injured during pre-match warm-ups.

Then trailing 10-9 in game one, the Lions saw the Red Storm go on an 8-2 run that made it 18-11. Three-time All-West Coast Conference honoree Heather Hughes had eight kills in the first frame, as she tried to keep the Lions close. But St. John's hit .340 as a team and held on to win 30-23.

The Red Storm out-blocked the Lions seven to one in game two to take the second frame 30-19.

The offensive woes continued in game three for the Lions, who saw their team hitting percentage drop to below zero for a second straight game. St. John's sealed the 3-0 victory with a 30-23 win in game three.

Despite the opening-night loss, the Lions posted better serving numbers than the Red Storm, with Emily Day leading all players with two service aces in the three games.

The LMU rookies also got off to an impressive start, with freshman setter Renee Horton posting the match's only statistical double-double with 28 assists and 13 digs. Fellow freshman Whitney Leonard added 15 digs.

Hughes finished with 14 kills.

As with all three opponents in this weekend's tournament, St. John's is among the nation's top teams in the AVCA Preseason Poll. Just outside the top-25, the Red Storm earned 24 votes in the poll.

Tonight's match was the first-ever meeting between the two volleyball programs.

The Lions continue play at the Trojan Invitational on Saturday, with a 10:00 a.m. match-up against Michigan State. LMU will then battle the sixth-ranked Trojans at 7:00 p.m. All matches will be carried live on Gametracker and the Lions' Audio Network.

Washington State - 3
Portland - 0

PULLMAN, Wash. - The Washington State Cougars took three straight games to sweep the Portland Pilots in a non-conference volleyball match at the Baden Cougar Challenge at Bohler Gym on Friday night. The Cougars won 30-22, 30-23 and 30-24.

The Pilots open the season with a 1-1 mark, while Washington State starts 1-0.

Junior K.C. Fox and freshman Jessica Clemens both had nine kills to lead the Portland attack. Senior Kara Pein recorded her second straight double-double with 31 assists and 10 digs. Clemens finished with 14 digs, while sophomore Maria Clemens totaled 10.

Washington State's Tara West had a game-high 16 kills, while teammate Maureen Perez dished out a game-high 43 assists. Kelly Hyder made 17 digs.

Portland led early in the first game before Washington State rallied. Pein set up Fox for a kill that made it 3-1 in UP's favor. After Washington State managed to tie it at 6-6, the Cougars scored 12 of the next 17 points to build an 18-12 advantage. The Pilots then rallied and trailed by just two after back-to-back kills from Fox made the score 24-22. The Cougs responded by scoring six straight points.

The second game followed a similar script as the score was knotted at 6-6 early on. Washington State then took the lead and control of the game en route to the win.

Portland led 10-9 in the third game after Maria Clemens connected on a kill. Washington State then built a slight advantage before the Pilots managed to tie the game at 22-22. The Cougars would score eight of the match's final 10 points to nail down the win.

Portland, which opened the season with a 3-2 win over Northern Colorado on Friday afternoon, concludes play at the Baden Cougar Classic with a 3:00 p.m. match against South Dakota State on Saturday.

Washington - 3
San Francisco - 0

Seattle, WA - USF kicked off the 2007 regular season in Seattle, dropping a 3-0 (30-21, 30-20, 30-20) decision to No. 8 Washington Friday night in the 2007 Husky Classic at the Bank of America Arena. The Dons (0-1) played well in stretches, but the Huskies (1-0), the 2005 NCAA Champions improved to 39-1 on the home floor and have not lost in the Emerald City since November 26, 2004.

Freshman opposite Sarah Mandala was impressive in her Dons debut, with a team-high seven kills on .333 hitting. Senior outside hitter Brynn Maurer also added seven for USF, while sophomore libero Haley Carroll recorded a match-high 15 digs. Junior setter Darcy Carroll dished out 20 assists.

Mandala was not the only Dons newcomer to contribute at freshman setter Alaina Sully turned in 11 assists and junior outside hitter Addie Webster chipped in a pair of kills.

USF held a slight block advantage for the game as senior opposite Linzy Kearney tallied four blocks (two solo) to go along with four kills. Junior middle blocker Carly Babin and sophomore outside hitter Anna Berger each recorded five kills for the Dons.

"It's a tough start against a very strong team playing at home," USF head coach Gilad Doron said. "They challenged us in a lot of ways. They served much better than we did and they had more size across the board. We did some good things and hopefully we can continue to improve tomorrow. If we can learn from this game and learn what it takes to build a strong team, this match will help us along the way."

San Francisco jumped out to a 3-1 lead, but the Huskies roared back with a 10-2 run to seize a 10-5 lead it would not surrender. USF closed to within six at 15-9 but UW pulled away to secure the opening game.

After trailing 4-0 off the bat in the second game, USF fought back and narrowed the gap to one at 15-14 and again at 16-15. The Dons were there own worst enemy from there as six attack and two service errors fueled a 14-5 run as Washington took a 2-0 lead into the intermission.

USF opened with a 7-5 lead in game three, but used an 8-2 run to build a 13-9 edge. The Dons tied the score at 13 with four unanswered points. It was all Huskies from there as they closed on a 17-7 roll.

San Francisco returns to tournament action Saturday with a pair of matches. The Dons tackle Cal State Northridge at 1:00 PM before taking on Fresno State at 5:00 PM. Both matches are in the Bank of America Arena.