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WCC Women's Volleyball Recaps

Oct. 7, 2006

Portland - 3
Gonzaga - 0

PORTLAND, Ore. - The University of Portland volleyball team earned their first West Coast Conference victory Saturday night, sweeping Gonzaga 30-14, 30-22, 30-28. Junior Nicole Thometz (pictured) led the way with 17 kills while sophomore Ashley Grayson had a career-high 13 kills. Portland improves to 8-8 (1-2 WCC) on the season while Gonzaga falls to 5-13 (0-3).

Portland came out on fire in game one, storming to an 8-0 lead behind three kills by Thometz and two kills by sophomore Jenn Sheedy. Thometz had eight kills and three aces as Portland cruised to a 30-14 win. Gonzaga was unable to handle the Pilot attack as Portland recorded a .341 attack percentage compared to the Bulldogs' .000 percentage. For the match, Portland hit .259 and Gonzaga hit .114.

It was more of the same in game two as Portland again charged to a big early lead, jumping ahead 8-2 as Grayson had three early kills. Gonzaga was never able to get closer than four points the rest of the way as Portland claimed a 30-22 win.

"I thought we played flawless volleyball for the first two games," head coach Doug Sparks said. "It was as good as we could play."

After the halftime break, Gonzaga came out with energy and raced to a 12-4 lead. The Pilots, aware that the Zags came back from a 2-0 deficit to Idaho earlier in the week to claim a 3-2 victory, responded to the Bulldog charge by scoring nine consecutive points midway through the game to capture a 14-13 lead and get back into contention. After the Pilot surge, the game saw three ties and four lead changes as the teams battled for control of the game. Portland eventually established a 23-19 lead that would last for the remainder of the game, ending in a 30-28 Pilot victory.

"Gonzaga stepped it up in game three, but we stepped it up to and met the challenge," Sparks said. "We hung in their and kept grinding it out."

Individually for the Pilots, Thometz had 17 kills, six digs and five service aces and finished with a .378 attack percentage, a new career high. Grayson had 13 kills and 2 blocks, while freshman Maria Clemens fell just shy of her team-leading sixth double-double with nine kills and nine digs. Clemens also had a four service aces and a .400 attack percentage, both career highs.

"Our left side [Thometz and Clemens] combined for 26 kills and only four attack errors tonight," Sparks said. "When that happens, we're a darn good volleyball team."

Junior setter Kara Pein also had an excellent game for the Pilots, recording a double-double with 34 assists and 10 blocks while also contributing four kills and five blocks. Senior Murphy McClenahan had 10 digs and Sheedy had seven kills and five blocks.

For the Bulldogs, junior Becky Jones led the way with eight kills and 13 digs while Trianna Tuatagaloa added seven kills. Defensively Alecia Douglas had 12 digs and Frances Garcia had 10 digs, while Briawna Mueller and Tuatagaloa had four blocks apiece.

But the match was dominated by the Pilots, who ended with 53 kills compared to Gonzaga's 32.

"It was a super team effort," Sparks said. "We practiced really hard this week, and I think tonight we saw the results of a good week of practice."

Next up for the Pilots are difficult home dates against No. 22 San Diego and No. 12 Santa Clara. Portland faces the Toreros at 7:00 p.m. on Oct. 12 while they face the Broncos, a 2005 Final Four team, on Oct. 14 at 1:00 p.m.

Saint Mary's - 3
San Francisco - 0

Moraga, CA - The Saint Mary's volleyball came into the match trailing San Francisco by percentage points in the team blocking battle in the West Coast Conference. But the Gaels dominated at the net and defensively in a 3-0 sweep of the Dons on Saturday night at McKeon Pavilion.

Saint Mary's recorded 10 blocks to San Francisco's four and held the Dons to a .100 hitting percentage in a match that took just over 1 hour and 30 minutes. With the win the Gaels improve to 7-7 overall and 2-1 in WCC play. San Francisco falls to 0-3 in WCC play and 16-4 overall.

Defensively the Gaels were led by libero Cassandra Kolkka, who recorded 18 digs in three games. Brittany Barker and Megan Burton each recorded five blocks and Christina Kirk and Mandy Bible added three blocks.

The Gaels were led offensively by Kirk, who recorded a match-high 13 kills with a .323 hitting percentage. Missie Stidham added nine kills and six digs and Taylor Groess added eight kills. Bible led the offense with 36 assists and three aces.

Saint Mary's will return to action on Thursday, October 12 when it travels to Southern California to face Loyola Marymount at 7:05 p.m. The Gaels will then play Pepperdine on Saturday, October 14 at 2:05 p.m.

San Diego - 3
Loyola Marymount - 1

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Christie Dawson, Laurel Abrahamson and Kristen Carlson all recorded double-digit kills to help lead the 22nd-ranked University of San Diego women's volleyball team to an exciting 3-1 win over Loyola Marymount University in a West Coast Conference match Saturday afternoon at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.

With the 30-25, 30-25, 27-30, 30-27 win, the Toreros move to 14-4 overall, have moved in sole possession of first place in the WCC with a 4-0 record and have now moved their winning streak to four. With the loss, the Lions fall to 15-4 overall and 3-1 in the WCC.

Carlson led all players with her 19 kills on 49 attempts while only committing four attacking errors to post a hitting percentage of .306. Dawson recorded 11 kills and had a season-high seven blocks, one solo. Abrahamson recorded 12 kills and had four blocks. Jessica Nyrop recorded 50 assists to help direct the USD offense to a .249 team attacking percentage.

For the Lions, Heather Hughes, the defending WCC Player of the Month, recorded a team-best 17 kills. Emily Day and Christianna Reneau were the remaining Lions in double-digit kills with Day getting 16 and Reneau adding in 14. As a team the Lions had a .193 hitting percentage.

The Toreros will return to action on Thursday as they travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Pilots of the University of Portland in a 7 p.m. WCC match.

Santa Clara - 3
Pepperdine - 0

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - After Saturday afternoon's 3-0 (30-26, 30-25, 30-25) sweep of the No. 23 Pepperdine Waves, there is no doubt that the No. 12 Santa Clara Broncos are one resilient volleyball team. Two days after being swept themselves by Loyola Marymount, the Broncos responded to another gut-check with an even-keeled team effort that led to the sweep in front of their home fans.

No. 12 Santa Clara (12-4, 2-2 WCC) will now hit the road for the next two weeks, beginning with its annual trip to the Pacific Northwest. The Broncos will do battle with the Gonzaga Bulldogs Thursday night, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. before closing the weekend out with a 1 p.m. Saturday match at the Chiles Center against the Portland Pilots.

"We knew what we had to do and we came out and took care of it, just like we did last year against Pepperdine in the Sweet 16," said libero Caroline Walters. "We didn't feel like we had any pressure on us, we just went out there and played.

The ever-dependable Anna Cmaylo was the X-factor for the Bronco attack once again on Saturday, racking up 19 kills at a .630 clip and making three blocks up front. Kim McGiven posted her fifth double-double of the season with 13 kills and 11 digs, while defensively, Walters paced the team with 19 digs and Taylor O'Brien made 10 digs from the back row. Rachel Lumsden led the Waves (6-8, 2-2 WCC) with 13 kills and 12 digs.

"It wasn't an ultimatum as much as it was that we just played the way we know how to play. We were at home, and we were all upset about it, and we came back and we were ready to play today," said Cmaylo.

The win was Santa Clara's sixth in a row over the Waves, extending the team's longest winning streak against its Southern California rival.

"This win helped us a lot emotionally, to be able to come back and to play steady and win," said head coach Jon Wallace. "Probably even more so was the feeling on the court, that the girls found a rhythm that they're going to try to grab onto. I think the girls are excited and got a little more life back in them."

"Anna gave the whole team life, when she's hitting that well everybody thinks they are better out there, she just that type of player," Wallace continued, speaking of Anna Cmaylo's performance. "She took the team on her back and said `I'm going to play great tonight.'"

Cmaylo did the carrying from the match's first point, hammering a thunderous kill not only on the first rally, but two rallies later to provide SCU with its first points. The game, though, remained deadlocked up to the 9-9 mark, when Cmaylo's kill sparked a small 3-0 run that also included an ace from the Napa native. Even after the Waves managed to close the gap to one at 13-12, Brittany Lowe made a pair of kills and Nina Sevastopoulos, making her first collegiate start, made another to bring the lead back up to four.

The advantage got up to five at 20-15 after a Pepperdine attack error, before the Waves began chipping away, using two ball-handling errors on the Broncos to pull even at 25-25. But two straight kills from Cmaylo gave the Broncos the two-point lead, and she made another on the way to the 30-25 game one victory.

When the second stanza started out 6-6, little did most in the crowd realize that that moment was the closet the score was going to get between the two schools in game two. Two errors, plus another Cmaylo kill, gave the Broncos a 9-6 lead that they would not relinquish, using small runs through the game to keep the Waves at an arm's length before two kills from Cmaylo closed out the frame at 30-25.

Sensing the kill, the Broncos came out ready for the third game, with a vocal crowd behind them. Four kills from four different players plus a Walters ace were part of a 5-0 run that put the Broncos ahead 12-5 early on. But the Waves fought back behind a pair of Sophia Milos kills, cutting things to one at 15-14 before a Julie Rubenstein kill knotted the score up at 18-18.

The teams the next few points up to the 20-20 mark, when Lowe served up an ace and Cmaylo delivered again, putting down two kills to give SCU a three-point lead, which, a few rallies later, would get up to six at 27-21 after another kill was put down by Cmaylo. The lead never got to below four the rest of the way, as McGiven closed things out with a kill of her own to bring the Broncos back to .500 in the WCC standings.