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WCC Women's Volleyball Recaps

Oct. 26, 2006

Gonzaga - 3
Loyola Marymount - 2

SPOKANE, Wash. - It is safe to say that the Gonzaga University women's volleyball team has a knack for breaking streaks this season. First the Bulldogs broke a 15-match losing streak to Eastern Washington on Sept. 12, then ended a 10-match losing streak to Idaho on Oct. 3, and followed that up with winning their first road West Coast Conference match in 31 matches against Saint Mary's on Oct. 21. Tonight was no different. Gonzaga broke a 27-match losing streak to Loyola Marymount University that dated back to the 1992 season when it came back from a 2-1 deficit to defeat the visiting Lions 3-2 (26-30, 30-26, 22-30, 30-24, 16-14). With the win the Bulldogs improved to 7-16 overall and 2-6 in the WCC, while the Lions dropped to 16-7 overall and 4-4 in conference.

The Bulldogs had four players finish in double figure kills, including junior Becky Jones who finished with her 11th double-double of the season and second-straight. Jones had a team-high 21 kills along with 11 digs to lead GU to the victory.

Also finishing in double figure kills was freshman Emily Johnson, junior Briawna Mueller and sophomore Elaina Renius. Johnson had 15 kills, along with four blocks, while Mueller and Renius both chipped in 11 kills. Mueller also added eight blocks and two digs and Renuis had 10 blocks. Junior Heather Dunn closed out the match with 61 assists as the Bulldogs finished with 66 team kills and a .225 hitting percentage.

Leading the way defensively for Gonzaga was junior Alecia Douglas who collected a team-high 18 digs. Dunn also contributed 10 digs.

The Lions had four players also finish in double figure kills, including Christianna Reneau who tallied a match-high 25 kills. Reneau added nine digs, one assist, one block assist and one service ace. Sandy Krone chipped in 16 kills for LMU, while Jania Motton had 15 and Heather Hughes finished with 14. Ashley Dutro passed out a match-high 66 assists as Loyola Marymount finished with 78 total kills and a .154 attacking percentage.

Gonzaga will be back in action this Saturday when it welcomes WCC opponent Pepperdine to the Martin Centre. Match time is set to begin at 1:00 p.m.

Pepperdine - 3
Portland - 0

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Pepperdine Waves won three straight games to sweep the Portland Pilots 3-0 in a West Coast Conference volleyball match on Thursday night at the Chiles Center. The Waves won 30-24, 30-18 and 30-24 to drop Portland's record to 8-13 (1-7 WCC).

The Waves improve to 9-10 overall and 5-3 in the conference.

Sophomore Ashley Grayson led the UP attack with 11 kills. Senior libero Murphy McClenahan had a match-high 21 digs and junior Kara Pein recorded 30 assists. Junior Nicole Thometz chipped in with 12 digs.

Pepperdine's Julie Rubenstein converted on match-high 13 kills, while Kiah Fiers added 29 assists.

The Pilots jumped out to the early lead in the first game. Up 8-6, Portland rattled off four straight points. Sophomore Jennifer Sheedy, Grayson and Pein each posted kills during the string as the Pilots took a 12-6 advantage. Pepperdine battled back to gain the lead, but the Pilots were able to even the score at 18-18 after a service error by the Waves. Pepperdine again gained the advantage, but UP pulled within one at 22-23 after a kill by Grayson and another Pepperdine service error. The Waves out scored the Pilots 7-2 the rest of the way to claim the first game. Grayson had six kills during game one and Sheedy claimed five.

Pepperdine featured a balanced attack en route to the 30-18 victory in game two. Five different Waves had multiple kills, led by Cassi Chamberlain and Rubenstein with four each. Thometz led Portland's attack with three kills and McClenahan had 10 digs.

The Waves jumped out to an early lead in the third game, but Portland battled back, fueled by kills from Pein and Sheedy to pull the Pilots within 8-9. Portland hung around and made it a two point game at 16-18 after a kill by junior Kelly Whitehouse. That's as close Portland would get the rest of the way.

The Pilots next host Loyola Marymount for a conference match at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday at the Chiles Center.

San Diego - 3
Saint Mary's - 0

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Laurel Abrahamson had a huge night for the 18th-ranked University of San Diego women's volleyball team as her season-best 19 kills and season-best .704 attacking percentage helped lead the Toreros to a 3-0 West Coast Conference win over the visiting Gaels of Saint Mary's College Thursday evening at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.

With the 30-23, 30-24, 30-23 win, the Toreros run their season-long winning streak to eight matches, improving to 18-4 overall, and move to 8-0 in WCC play. With the loss, the Gaels fall to 9-10 overall and 4-4 in the WCC.

Abrahamson recorded her .704 attacking percentage by recording 19 kills on 27 attempts and committing no attacking errors, while also recorded two blocks, one solo. Kristen Carlson also had a big night for the Toreros as she recorded a match-best 20 kills on 37 attempts for an attacking percentage of .324, and also recorded her 15th double-double of the season as she added 10 digs. Christie Dawson was the third Torero in double-digit kills with 13 on 31 attempts while only committing three attacking errors for a .323 attacking percentage. Jessica Nyrop recorded a match-best 54 assists to help direct the San Diego offense to a .308 team attacking percentage. Nyrop also recorded a match-best 13 digs on the evening.

For the Gaels, Missie Stidham led the offense with her 18 kills on 39 attempts for a .359 attacking percentage. Mandy Bible recorded a team-best 29 assists to help direct the SMC offense to a .259 team attacking percentage.

In the first game, the Gaels jumped out to an early four-point lead at 9-5, but Abrahamson sparked a 6-2 USD run with a kill that put the Toreros back on even playing terms with the Gaels. The Toreros then gradually built a five-point lead and never looked back as they cruised to a 30-23 win.

In game two, the Gaels again took the early momentum as they built a four-point lead at 16-12. The Toreros then dug in and went to work as Dawson sparked a 5-1 USD run with a kill off of a back set by Nyrop to pull even with SMC at 17-17. The two teams would then battle back and fourth for the next several points, and USD took the lead for good at 20-19 on a Carlson kill, then cruised to a 30-24 win.

In game three, Saint Mary's again jumped out to an early lead as they built a five-point lead at 8-3. After a USD timeout, the Toreros went on a tear, putting together a dominating 19-6 run. During this run the Gaels didn't score a single point on their serve. It wasn't until the score was 24-16 that the Gaels were finally able to score a point on their own serve when Kristina Kirk recorded her eighth kill of the evening, moving the score to 24-17. USD would then outscored the Gaels, 6-5, to claim the three-game sweep over SMC.

The Toreros will return to action on Saturday as they host the University of San Francisco in a 1 p.m. WCC match at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.

Santa Clara - 3
San Francisco - 0

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Whatever the No. 21 Santa Clara volleyball team did in meetings and practices between Saturday's tough loss and Thursday's emphatic 3-0 (30-18, 30-21, 30-22) win over the San Francisco Dons, it worked wonders. The "Big Three" of Anna Cmaylo, Kim McGiven, and Brittany Lowe powered the Broncos to an inspired victory.

The Broncos (15-5, 5-3 WCC), now alone in second place in the conference standings after losses by both Saint Mary's and Loyola Marymount, return to action Saturday afternoon as they battle the Gaels in a 1 p.m. contest at the Leavey Center. The Dons (19-6, 3-5 WCC) fell into fifth in the WCC.

McGiven led the squad with 13 kills, hitting at a .419 clip while Cmaylo put down 12 kills at a clip of .550 to go with three blocks. Lowe also posted 12 kills to go with six digs, but made her biggest impact of the night at the service line, serving up seven aces on the night. Freshman Lauryn Dowd hit .500 with six kills and eight digs, while fellow rookie Lindsy Evans passed out 43 assists and engineered the team's .374 hitting percentage on the night. Caroline Walters paced the team defensively with 11 digs.

"This win means a lot to this team, as tough as we are, we needed to play well and not only improve our quality of volleyball but also our self-esteem, and I think we got off to a good start in doing that tonight," said head coach Jon Wallace. "We're not where we need to be, but tonight's a good start of us climbing back and getting on the ball here."

"We were better physically today, than we have been," Cmaylo said after the win. "It really helps when people are putting balls away and passing really well, but on top of that we just had really good energy out there."

SCU came out smoking in the opening stanza, as two kills from Cmaylo made it 4-2 Broncos and the team never really looked back from there. A pair of kills from Megan Pura got the lead to 10-4, and moments later, back-to-back kills from McGiven gave SCU an eight-point lead at 13-5.

The Broncos coasted the rest of the way, as a 3-0 run in the later stages of the game put them in front 27-16, and a few rallies later, a Cmaylo kill followed by a Dowd ace gave SCU the first frame.

The Dons bounced back at the start of game two, taking an early 5-2 lead. But behind a service ace from Lowe and a McGiven kill, the Broncos battled back to knot things up at 6-apiece. A 5-0 run featuring a block from Cmaylo and Dowd along with a pair of Lowe kills forced San Francisco to call a timeout with the score 11-6 SCU.

Cmaylo welcomed the Dons back to the court with three straight kills, widening the Bronco lead to eight at 14-6. An attack error two rallies later extended the SCU run to 10-0, as USF called their second and final timeout of the game in an effort to slow the Bronco attack.

After a Don attack error made it 17-6 Broncos, a (No. 11) kill finally ended the SCU run after 11 consecutive points. USF managed to put together a 6-0 run, benefiting from a pair of Bronco errors to cut the deficit to five at 20-15. The Bronco lead got down to 22-18 before the dependable Cmaylo came through with a clutch kill to stop the bleeding. Dowd followed with a kill of her own to get the lead back to six, and a Lowe ace continued the run. The teams traded points for the next few rallies, before a Pura kill gave the Broncos game point, which they converted on the ensuing rally thanks to a USF attack error.

Game three was Santa Clara all the way, as the Broncos took advantage of Don attack errors and used kills from Cmaylo and Dowd to get out to an 8-3 lead. Yet USF refused to roll over, making a 6-2 run to cut the Bronco lead to one at 10-9.

Lowe's kill and an ace from Walters got SCU some breathing room at 12-9, and moments later, the Broncos extended their lead to 17-12 after kills from Dowd, Lowe, and a block from Cmaylo and McGiven. But the Dons again crept closer, getting a 4-0 run capped by an ace from Haley Carroll to cut things to one at 18-17. Things stayed close up to the 22-21 mark, but a 3-1 run kick-started by a Dowd kill and an ace from Lowe got the SCU lead to 25-21, prompting the Dons to burn a timeout.

Lowe again served up an ace upon play resuming, and the ensuing kill from McGiven increased the lead to six at 27-21. A USF attack error and Cmaylo kill brought the Broncos to match point at 29-21, and two rallies later, a kill from Evans secured the Bronco victory.

"As a team, we still have high expectations for ourselves, and a lot of that comes down to what we can do together," said McGiven. "I thought Caroline [Walters] did a great job leading the team tonight, and if she can continue to do that the rest of the year, it is really going to help us. Offensively, Anna and I need to carry a heavy load and bring it every match."