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WCC Volleyball Recaps - 8/25

Aug. 25, 2006

Gonzaga - 3
Weber State - 2

Washington State - 3
Gonzaga - 1

BROOKINGS, S.D. - The Gonzaga University volleyball team split two games to open its season on Friday at the Jackrabbit Kickoff Classic hosted by South Dakota State University at the Frost Arena. The Bulldogs dropped its season-opening match to Washington State University, but bounced back in their second game to earn a come-from-behind victory over Weber State University. The Bulldogs fell to the Cougars 3-1 (30-23, 31-33, 30-23, 30-19) and then defeated the Wildcats 3-2 (25-30, 20-30, 30-24, 30-24, 15-12).

Both junior Becky Jones and freshman Emily Johnson helped Gonzaga earn the come-from-behind win over Weber State. Jones finished the match with her first double-double of the season with a team-high 17 kills and a match-high 17 digs. Johnson added 15 kills for GU, along with four digs, two block assists and one block. Junior setter Heather Dunn dished out a match-high 56 assists, as five players closed-out the match with five or more kills. Sophomore Elaina Renius finished with a .429 attack percentage on 12 kills and three errors. As a team, the Bulldogs finished the match with 68 total kills and a .206 hitting percentage.

Weber State's offense combined for 61 kills and a .189 hitting percentage. Four players finished with double-figure kills, including Leah Burmeister who tallied a match-high 22 kills. Kolbie Murphy added 14 kills, while Caitlyn Anderson chipped in 11 and Brittney Bisaillon tallied 10.

Besides Jones, Gonzaga had two other players finish with double-figure digs. Junior libero Alecia Douglas finished with 16 digs and sophomore Paige Dillingham had 10.

In its opening match against Washington State, junior Briawna Mueller and freshman Layne Brosky were GU's top offensive players finishing with 10 kills each. Gonzaga closed out the match with 47 total kills and a .107 attack percentage. Dunn passed out 36 assists as five players finished with five or more kills. Jones, a 2005 WCC honorable mention, tallied nine kills for the Bulldogs, while Renius, playing in her first match for GU, also added nine kills.

Washington State's offense combined for 64 kills and a .239 attack percentage. Adetokunbo Faleti led all players with 25 kills on 49 attacks with five errors for a .408 hitting percentage. Brittany Johnson also finished in double-figures with 11 kills. WSU held the slight edge at the net with 10 team blocks compared to nine for GU. Renius was the Zags top blocker with four block assists.

Kelly Hyder led all players with 15 digs for the Cougars, as Douglas was the Bulldog leader with 14 digs. Douglas also picked up three service aces for GU.

The Bulldogs conclude tournament action on Saturday with matches against North Dakota State (7 a.m.) and host South Dakota State (Noon).

LMU - 3
Utah Valley State - 1

Tempe, Ariz. - Loyola Marymount opened its 2006 season on a winning note, defeating Utah Valley State 3-1 (30-28, 28-30, 30-26, 30-24) in the first match of Arizona State's Hilton Phoenix/East Mesa Sun Devil Volleyball Classic. LMU (1-0) hit a match-high .425 against the Wolverines (0-1) in the fourth game to close out the season-opening victory.

The Lions got 21 kills and 11 digs from sophomore Emily Day for the Lions' first double-double of the season. One of LMU's six returning starters, Day was a 2005 West Coast Conference All-Freshman selection. Last season, Day finished strong, tallying double-digit kills in 14 of the Lions' final 17 matches.

Senior Jania Motton added a match-high six blocks, helping the Lions out-block the Wolverines.

Newcomer Ashley Dutro earned the starting setting job for the Lions' opener Friday, posting 11 assists in the first game. But sophomore K.C. Walsh entered toward the end of the first game to relieve Dutro, and never relinquished the position. Walsh, who was the 2005 starting setter, stepped up for the Lions, tallying 38 kills over the remainder of the match.

As a team, the Lions held Utah Valley State to just a .176 hitting percentage.

The Lions will have a full day of work ahead of them of Saturday, taking on Northeastern at 10:00 a.m. and the host Sun Devils at 7:00 p.m.

Saint Mary's - 3
Troy - 0

Saint Mary's - 3
Florida A&M - 1

Troy, AL - Saint Mary's began the 2006 season with consecutive victories over Troy and Florida A&M on the first day of the Troy Tournament Friday at the Trojan Arena in Troy, AL. The Gaels' senior setter Mandy Bible also became the school's all-time assist leader when the day was done.

Bible recorded 33 assists against Troy and 56 against Florida A&M to bump her career total to 4,352, passing Tracie Hajdukovich.

In the opening match of the tournament, the Gaels beat the Trojans by a final of 30-23, 30-24, 30-19. Senior Christina Kirk led the way with 10 kills, two aces and two blocks and Cassandra Kolkka added 11 digs and two aces.

Saint Mary's freshman Lauren Jaeckel had a solid performance in her first match as Gael, recording eight kills. Missie Stidham added nine kills, seven digs and three blocks, Taylor Groess had five kills and Brittany Barker added four kills.

Following the sweep of Troy, the Gaels beat Florida A&M 30-21, 30-16, 32-34, 30-20. Against the Rattlers Saint Mary's had five players reach double-digits in kills, including Stidham, who had 18. Kirk added 12 kills, Brittany Barker and Taylor Groess each added 11 kills and Lauren Holland had 10 kills.

Stidham added 16 digs, Lyndsey Parker had 22 digs and Erin Thompson added 12 digs.

Saint Mary's will wrap up the Troy Tournament with a 9 a.m. (CST) match against North Florida on Saturday, August 26.

San Diego - 3
Hofstra - 0

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The 20th-ranked University of San Diego women's volleyball team rolled in its 2006 season opener claiming a 3-0 (30-27, 30-21,30-26) win over Hofstra University in the opening game of the San Diego State University Tournament at Peterson Gym on the campus of SDSU.

Senior Christie Dawson led all players with a match-high 18 kills and both Laurel Abrahamson and Jessica Anderson chipped in six kills apiece to help lead the Toreros (1-0) to a three-game sweep over the Pride. Senior Laura Murphy dished out a match-high 32 assists, while Kayleen Webster made her Torero debut with a math-best 10 digs. As a team the Toreros finished the match with 44 kills and a .178 attack percentage.

Hofstra (0-1) as a team finished with 32 kills and an attack percentage of .167. The Pride was led by Beverly Rivera who recorded a team-best 13 kills.

The Toreros will return to action on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. as they take on the Matadors of Cal State Northridge at the SDSU Tournament. USD will then play a second match on Saturday evening against cross-town rival and host San Diego State in a 7 p.m. match at Peterson Gym.

San Francisco - 3
Northern Colorado - 0

Tucson, AZ - USF Volleyball opened the 2006 season with a 30-25, 30-22, 30-23 sweep against Northern Colorado Friday afternoon in opening round action of the Four Points Sheraton Arizona Invitational at the McKale Center. The Dons (1-0) won their season opener for the fifth time in the last seven seasons at the expense of the Bears (0-1).

A pair of sophomore middles enjoyed exceptional days for USF. Alix Gombos tallied a career-high 12 kills on .409 hitting, while Carly Babin also added a career-best with eight kills on .545 hitting. Junior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg led the way for the Dons offensively with a match-high 13 kills and chipped in four service aces.

Freshman outside hitter Anna Berger enjoyed a strong Dons debut with nine kills and seven digs in just two games, while freshman libero Haley Carroll added 14 digs and a pair of service aces. Sophomore defensive specialist Tiffany Woo tallied nine digs.

"This was a great start to our season," USF head coach Jeff Nelson said. "A lot of new players in our program got playing time and responded by doing some nice things. Alix and Carly had great matches in the middle for us and attacked well. Anna Berger did a great job in her first match for us and so did Haley. Tiffany also did a nice job defensively."

Sophomore Darcy Caroll did a solid job running the San Francisco offense, recording 39 assists, six digs, three kills and an ace. The Dons hit .211 for he match and held a dominating 52-24 kill advantage, 51-36 in digs. USF's defense limited the Bears to a .057 attack percentage.

"I thought Darcy did a good job running the offense," Nelson said. "She really mixed things up and got plenty of hitters involved."

USF returns to action against Siena Saturday morning in a match scheduled for 10:00 AM at the McKale Center. The Saints suffered a sweep against tournament host No. 18 Arizona in the first round. The Dons take on the Wildcats at 7:00 PM in the Saturday finale.

Santa Clara - 3
Pacific - 0

FRESNO, Calif. - The Santa Clara University volleyball team lived up to the hype of its six returning starters in the season opener Friday night, as Kim McGiven and All-Americans Anna Cmaylo and Crystal Matich paced the assault on the Pacific Tigers from all fronts on the way to a 3-0 (30-21, 30-24, 30-20) victory at the Fresno State Invitational.

The victory gives the Broncos some momentum early on as they head into a Saturday evening match against No. 25 Kansas State at 6 p.m. from Fresno State's North Gym.

Matich showed once again why she is one of the top setters in the nation, dishing out 39 assists on the night as the Broncos hit a combined .344 against the Tigers. Three Broncos other than Matich hit over .400 for the night, as McGiven made 17 kills at a .485 clip while Cmaylo buried nine chances in hitting .467 for the night and Annalisa Muratore hit .556 with six kills.

"Crystal set really well, and I thought she did a nice job for us out there and our hitting was really good tonight," said head coach Jon Wallace, who moved five wins closer to reaching Mary Ellen Murchison's (1978-88) record for most wins by an SCU head coach (162). "We went back and forth in the first game, then got stronger and finished it off. We went in spurts most of the way, and they were hanging with us, but then we lifted it up a notch and were able to pull away."

Game one was a neck-and-neck affair up until the halfway point, when a Walters ace sparked a five-point run which put the Broncos in control 19-14. From there, a pair of kills from both McGiven and Matich kept the Tigers from getting any closer than a four-point deficit the rest of the way to capture the opener.

Santa Clara fell behind 7-4 early in the second game before consecutive kills by McGiven and Muratore got things rolling as SCU took 11 of the next 14 points to go up 15-10. Again, the duo of McGiven and Cmaylo took over as the Broncos kept the Tigers at bay the rest of the way.

In the finale, an 8-8 stalemate was broken by another McGiven kill before Brittany Lowe notched a couple of aces as the Broncos ran out to a 13-7 advantage. After Pacific threatened to climb back into things by cutting it to 14-10, the Bronco defense tightened up, forcing a couple of errors and getting a service ace from freshman Lauryn Dowd to widen the gap to 19-10. At that point the Broncos again held off the Tigers to start the year off with the win.

Defensively, Cmaylo paced the Broncos with four block assists while Muratore added a pair along with a solo block. Dowd stepped up with three blocks of her own as the team limited the Tigers to a .097 team hitting percentage. Lowe led SCU with 13 digs in the contest while libero Caroline Walters recorded 11 digs.

13 Broncos saw action on the court Friday night, as eight players recorded a kill and 11 made at least one dig. Along with Dowd, who started the contest, fellow freshmen Heather Middleton and Lindsy Evans also made their SCU debuts, highlighted by Evans serving up a pair of aces in her first collegiate action.

"It was good for a lot of our girls to see action tonight, make some plays and just get any nervousness or jitters out of the way," Wallace said. "After tonight they will be stronger going into tomorrow's match against Kansas State."

Following tomorrow's match against the Wildcats, the Broncos will close out tournament action against the host Fresno State Bulldogs at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Hawaii - 3
Pepperdine - 2

Honolulu, HI - What started out as a magical beginning to the 2006 season, turned into a learning experience and a moral victory as the No. 19 Pepperdine Waves took a 2-0 lead then were unsuccessful on five game-point attempts before falling, 3-2 (25-30, 26-30, 30-25, 33-31, 17-15) to No. 7 Hawaii Friday night at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.

"I am very proud of my team's effort tonight," commented Waves head coach Nina Matties. "We are starting three freshmen and two sophomores and two seniors and I thought their efforts were tremendous. There are some things we need to work on but I think we played really well tonight."

With so much youth on the court there was no real way of knowing what to expect from Pepperdine in front of a rowdy crowd of 7,878. Those questions were quickly answered as the Waves jumped out to an 8-3 lead in game one. Despite being outhit by a .182-.308 margin, Pepperdine was able to take a 1-0 lead in the match because of aggressive serving. Sophomore Julie Rubenstein was well on her way to a career-high effort of six aces with four in the opening frame, including three consecutive to give Pepperdine a 13-9 lead after the Wahine had knotted the set at 9-9. The Waves' advantage would reach as many as seven, 21-14, but as would be the case all night, Pepperdine struggled to find the knockout blow and Hawaii was able to close to within one, 26-25. Consecutive Wahine errors started a 4-0 Pepperdine run to close out the game.

The second game of the night was a much tighter battle in the early going. With the game locked at 8-all Hawaii committed a service error, was aced by the third of Rachel Lumsden's four on the night and had an attack error to give the Waves an 11-8 lead. Pepperdine began to run away with the game as the Wahine struggled to find answers for all the different looks the Waves were throwing at them. Trailing by 11, 27-16, Hawaii would again rally and give the home crowd hope closing to within three, 29-26. Pepperdine would secure the 2-0 lead in the match on Sophia Milo's sixth kill of the night.

Lumsden exploded for seven kills in game three with most of the damage coming during an 8-3 run that sent Pepperdine up but a score of 13-10. Lumsden's efforts caught the eyes of Hawaii head coach Dave Shoji.

"I was really impressed with her and [Fiers] tonight," noted Shoji. "Those two didn't play like freshmen tonight. I had seen them play junior ball and thought they were great, and I hoped they wouldn't bring that level of play to the college game so soon. I was wrong."

Lumsden ended the night leading all players with 23 kills on .346 hitting.

Hawaii would mount a charge and take its biggest lead of the match after a 7-0 run brought the score to 24-18 in the third stanza. The Waves answered with a 6-2 run which included a pair of Lumsden kills but to no avail as the Wahine claimed its first game of the match.

With a sense of urgency, Pepperdine took control of game four and after a Rubenstein ace led 12-5. The Waves maintained a comfortable lead after a pair of Rubenstein kills and a Kiah Fiers ace had the visitors in a hole, 20-14. Hawaii chipped away at the lead but found itself down, 26-23 late. But a 4-0 run brought the crowd back to life and appeared to have Pepperdine reeling. The Waves collected themselves and scored the next three points but would see the game slip through their fingers as they were unable to close out the match on four match-point tries.

Just when it seemed the pressure had broken the youthful Waves' sprits, Pepperdine battled back from a 4-1 deficit to take a 5-4 lead in game five. Consecutive hitting errors by Hawaii's Tara Hittle put the Waves up, 10-8. But Pepperdine would commit back-to-back errors, evening the set at 10-10. Ties at 11-, 12- and 13-all were all broken by Pepperdine as the Waves kept the advantage. Lumsden recorded her final kill of the night to give Pepperdine its fifth and final match point. On a slide, a Milo attack was partially blocked by Hittle. The deflected ball bounced off Kari Gregory's head and back onto Pepperdine's side of the net. The Waves began to celebrate as the ball appeared to fall harmlessly out of bounds. But the line judge at the opposite end of the floor saw things differently and ruled the ball had, in fact, landed in, tying the game at 14-all. Hawaii completed the come-from-behind victory on Juliana Sander's 15th kill of the night.

For Pepperdine, Rubenstein ended the night with 18 kills, six aces, 12 digs and two blocks. Milo hit .344 with 17 kills and four blocks. Senior Kekai Crabbe notched 31 digs.

Hawaii was paced by Jamie Houston's 21 kills and 19 digs. Hittle's 17-kill, 21-dig effort was one of three double-doubles turned in by the Wahine as setter Kanoe Kaman'o finished the night with 67 assists and 17 digs.

These same two teams will go at it again tomorrow night at 10 p.m. (PDT).