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WCC Women's Volleyball Recaps

Oct. 28, 2006

Loyola Marymount - 3
Portland - 1

PORTLAND, Ore. - The University of Portland volleyball team dropped a 3-1 (30-24, 30-23, 24-30, 30-26) match to the Loyola Marymount Lions in the Chiles Center Saturday afternoon. Portland falls to 8-14 (1-8 WCC) while LMU improves to 17-7 (5-4 WCC).

Junior Nicole Thometz (13 kills) led three Portland players with double-digit kills with sophomore Jenn Sheedy contributing 12 kills and freshman Betsy Grasham recording a career high 10 kills. Senior Murphy McClenahan had 18 digs to lead the Pilot defense while Thometz added 16 digs to record her team-leading sixth double-double. Junior setter Kara Pein also notched her team-leading sixth double-double, finishing with 40 assists and 12 digs to go along with a pair of kills and two blocks.

For the Lions, Heather Hughes tallied a match-high 18 kills while Christianna Reneau had a match-high 24 digs. Both Hughes and Reneau had double-doubles--Hughes with 18 kills and 13 digs and Reneau with 14 kills and 24 digs. Sandy Krone narrowly missed a double-double of her own, tallying 11 kills and nine digs.

In game one, Loyola Marymount took a 9-8 lead early in the early going and never looked back, keeping Portland at arms-length the rest of the game, at one point building a 20-11 advantage. The Pilots cut the score to 24-20 but were unable to overcome the difference and lost 30-24.

Game two was similar to the first frame. Loyola Marymount took an early 10-9 lead that the team did not relinquish. The Pilots kept the game close, threatening to get back into contention several times, but Loyola kept its advantage with timely kills by Hughes and Reneau.

It was a complete role-reversal after the break, with Portland taking an early 10-9 lead and running all the way to the 30-24 win. The Pilots had a balanced attack in the game with five different players recording multiple kills as they cut Loyola Marymount's overall lead to 2-1.

Portland nearly forced a fifth game, but fell just short in game four. After fighting back from an early five point deficit at 4-9, the Pilots tied the game at 12-12 on a block by junior Kara Pein and sophomore Ashley Grayson. The Lions then took over, surging to a 21-14 lead. But the resilient Pilots once again fought back behind the strength of their work at the net. After three consecutive Portland blocks cut the Lion lead to 27-24, an attack error put the Pilots within two points at 27-25. Portland kept frustrating the Loyola Marymount attack, stuffing several attacks at the net over the game's tense final points, but the Lions remained calm and were able to escape with a 30-26 victory.

Portland had 14 blocks for the match, with Grayson tallying eight blocks (one solo) and Sheedy pitching in five (one solo). Grasham, making her second consecutive start in place of injured junior Kelly Whitehouse, also added five block assists. Loyola Marymount had eight blocks on the match.

The Pilots had a good game defensively, holding Loyola Marymount (which leads the WCC in kills per game and ranks seventh nationally in the statistic) to a .145 hitting percentage. But the Pilots also struggled with the attack, finishing with a .121 mark.

Individually for the Pilots, Grayson added seven kills to go along with her seven blocks and freshman Maria Clemens had five kills and nine digs.

Portland travels to Spokane, Wash., for its next WCC match, facing off against Pacific Northwest rival Gonzaga. That game is set to take place at 1:00 p.m. on Nov. 4.

Pepperdine - 3
Gonzaga - 0

SPOKANE, Wash. - Sophia Milo led all players with 17 kills and a .571 attack percentage as Pepperdine University defeated Gonzaga University in three games during a West Coast Conference match-up at the Martin Centre Saturday afternoon. The Waves, who improved to 10-10 on the year and 6-3 in the WCC, combined for 57 kills during the 30-23, 30-21, 30-24 victory. With the loss, the Bulldogs dropped to 7-17 on the year and 2-7 in conference.

The Bulldogs, who were coming off their first back-to-back WCC wins since the 2002 season, struggled to find any offense as they finished with 34 kills and a .141 hitting clip. Junior Becky Jones was the top GU hitter with 12 kills and five digs. Jones also added two block assists and one service ace.

Sophomore Elaina Renius chipped in seven kills, while junior Briawana Mueller and freshman Emily Johnson each tallied four kills in the loss. Setter Heather Dunn finished with 30 assists, a team-high 10 digs, two kills and one service ace for the Bulldogs.

Milo and the Waves were on fire all day as the team combined for a .306 hitting percentage. Julie Rubenstein and Rachel Lumsden also reached double figure kills with 17 and 11, respectively. Pepperdine was led defensively by Kekai Crabbe who collected a match-high 13 digs

Gonzaga will be back in action Saturday, Nov. 4 when it welcomes the University of Portland to the Martin Centre for a West Coast Conference match. Match time is set for 1:00 p.m.

San Diego - 3
San Francisco - 1

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - For the ninth consecutive match, the big three of Kristen Carlson, Christie Dawson and Laurel Abrahamson all recorded double-digit kills to help lead the 18th-ranked University of San Diego women's volleyball team to a 3-1 (30-16, 30-26, 23-30, 30-19) West Coast Conference win over the University of San Francisco Saturday afternoon.

With the win, the Toreros have now reeled off their 17th consecutive WCC win dating back to last season, move to 19-4 overall and remain unbeaten in the WCC with a 9-0 record. With the loss, the Dons fall to 19-7 overall and 3-6 in the WCC.

Carlson led all players with 20 kills on 41 attempts to post a .366 attack percentage. She also recorded a match-best 18 digs to register her 16th double-double of the season. Dawson turned in yet another dominating performance as she recorded 17 kills on 28 attempts while only committing two attacking errors to post a .536 hitting percentage. Dawson also recorded six blocks in the match. Abrahamson racked up 16 kills on 29 attempts, while committing three attacking errors to post a .448 attacking percentage. Jessica Nyrop recorded 58 assists to help direct USD to a .354 team attacking percentage.

For the Dons, Kristin Hasselberg recorded a team-best 19 kills and the only other San Francisco player in double-digit kills was Anna Berger, who had 15 kills. Darcy Carroll recorded a team-best 22 assists to help direct the USF offense to a .178 team attacking percentage.

In the first game, the Toreros dominated the Dons from the get-go as the Toreros jumped out to a five point lead at 12-7 and continued to roll as they posted a .487 team attacking percentage. The Toreros defense put the San Francisco attack on ice as the Dons posted a .150 team attacking percentage.

Game two was a bit different as the Dons made a game out of it, staying close to the Toreros throughout. Late in the game both teams were knotted at 20-20, then Dawson sparked a 10-6 USD run with a kill off a set by Nyrop to allow the Toreros to take a 2-0 lead with a 30-26 win.

With their backs against the wall, the Dons then forced a game four by taking game three, 30-23. The two teams were engaged in a seesaw battle with both teams taking their turn with the lead. There were a total of eight ties in this game and three lead changes. Then with the score tied at 14-14, the Dons took the lead for good with a Hasselberg kill.

In game four, the Toreros again dominated the Dons posting a team attacking percentage of .448, compared to that of the Dons, who posted a .000 team attacking percentage. The Toreros grabbed the lead early and never looked back as they cruised to a 30-19 win.

The Toreros will return to action on Thursday as they travel to Los Angeles to play the Loyola Marymount University Lions in a 7 p.m. WCC match.

Santa Clara - 3
Saint Mary's - 2

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Karma came full circle in Saturday afternoon's volleyball match between Santa Clara and Saint Mary's at the Leavey Center. After the Gaels came back from a 0-2 hole to win in five back on Sept. 28, the No. 21 Broncos returned the favor today, recovering from a sluggish start and capturing a riveting 3-2 (18-30, 25-30, 30-27, 30-28, 15-12) decision.

The Broncos will now travel to the greater Los Angeles area next weekend, battling the Pepperdine Waves in a nationally-televised match Thursday night, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. on CSTV, then finishing the weekend off with a 1 p.m. match at Loyola Marymount on Saturday, Nov. 4.

Brittany Lowe had her finest performance of the season to date as she put down a career-high 26 kills at a clip of .353 along with 16 digs and four blocks. Kim McGiven posted her seventh double-double of the year with 20 kills and 18 digs, while freshman Lauryn Dowd had a career-high 13 kills. Caroline Walters led the way from the back row again, making 20 digs, providing a strong defensive effort combined with the 12 digs of Taylor O'Brien.

"It feels really, really good, everyone was very happy in the locker room afterwards, because during the break we talked about how the first two games didn't matter and that we could still come back and win," Lowe said after the victory. "We worked so hard in our last few practices, and it feels so good to win."

"Brittany Lowe played with an amazing amount of aggression today, got a lot of rattles through the net, and that gave our team a real positive boost," said head coach Jon Wallace. "That aggressiveness fed into the rest of the girls."

Santa Clara showed significant grit and character in plowing ahead despite being outblocked 25.5-9.0 by Saint Mary's. Three separate blocks by the Gaels broke open a 4-3 affair in the opening stanza, fueling an 8-1 run that essentially carried SMC to a win in game one. The Broncos were limited to a .220 hitting percentage while the Gaels hit .444 behind Missie Stidham making eight of her 21 kills on the day in the first game. After the initial SMC run, the Broncos never got within less than seven points in dropping the first game 30-18.

The Broncos opened up the second game with a 4-1 burst behind a pair of kills from Lowe and a block from Anna Cmaylo, who led the team with four on the day, and Dowd. But the Gaels answered with a 4-0 run to take the one-point lead, and from that point, the game became a dogfight as the score was tied a total of 10 times and the teams exchanged the lead seven times up until a handling error on SCU gave the Gaels a 23-22 lead they would not relinquish the rest of the way. A crucial 3-0 run gave Saint Mary's a four-point advantage at 27-23, and a few points later, a block by Megan Burton and Cassandra Kolkka put the Broncos in a 0-2 hole.

After the break, the two teams continued to play neck-and-neck, as neither school led the third game by more than two points until an SMC attack error gave SCU a 21-18 lead late. That moment came in the middle of a 4-0 Santa Clara run which featured a pair of kills from Dowd and two blocks from Lowe. A 3-0 run by Saint Mary's cut it to 24-22, but a 5-1 SCU run behind two kills by McGiven and one by Cmaylo gave the Broncos some breathing room at 29-23, and McGiven again stepped up with the deciding kill to quell a 4-0 run by the Gaels to end the game.

The momentum kept up on the Broncos' end in the fourth stanza, as Lowe's outstanding play helped carry the team to a 16-10 lead. But Saint Mary's continued to fight, going for the deciding win as the Gaels battled back from a 24-18 deficit later in the game. An 8-3 run which featured four blocks on defense knotted things up at 27-apiece, but Cmaylo and Dowd responded on the next point with a block of their own to put the Broncos back in front at 28-27, and after SMC tied it again on the ensuing rally, a McGiven kill followed by a Gael attack error gave SCU 30 points and sent things to a deciding fifth game.

With the Leavey Center crowd rocking and the SCU Pep Band getting the crowd whipped up into a frenzy, the Broncos stormed out to a 4-1 lead in the deciding frame after a pair of SMC attack errors. But, as was the case in the final four games Satruday, things drew even, and SCU fought hard to hold off repeated SMC attempts to overcome the deficit. Finally, with the score 9-8 in Santa Clara's favor, two kills from Lowe and an ace from McGiven got SCU out to a 12-8 lead. After a kill from Kolkka, Lowe responded on SCU's behalf with two kills of her own to put SCU at match point at 14-9. Despite a 3-0 run which made things interesting at the end, Lowe capped off her dominating performance with her final kill to complete Santa Clara's dramatic come-from-behind win.

"This win is huge, we have to get a certain number of wins to even make the tournament right now, and this is one of those that we had to have before we go on the road," Wallace said. "Hopefully now we will be much better with the energy from this win carrying over into next weekend, and hopefully for the rest of this conference season and into the NCAA Tournament."

"We stayed steady but stepped it up more. We didn't play badly the first two games, we just didn't play hard enough," added Lowe. "We just went for it in the last three games and that helped us win."