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WCC Women's Volleyball Recaps

Nov. 4, 2006

Pepperdine - 3
San Diego - 1


MALIBU, Calif. - Sophia Milo scored 20.5 points and the Pepperdine Waves remained unbeaten at home in West Coast Conference (WCC) play with a 3-1 (30-22, 28-30, 30-19, 30-28) victory over the No. 15-ranked San Diego Toreros on Saturday afternoon in a match that ended with Kristen Carlson misfiring for the 16th time in the contest.

Milo (Portland, Ore.) recorded 15 kills one match after being held to just five kills on minus .053 hitting against Santa Clara. She added a career-high tying 11 block assists for the second double-double of her career.

But Pepperdine (12-10, 8-3 WCC) didn't win the match because of its blistering offense rather, the Waves recorded 11 service aces and equaled their season-high with 15 blocks.

San Diego (20-5, 10-1 WCC) saw its hopes of an undefeated conference season come to a crashing halt as the Toreros' big three were held in check all night. Carlson began to show her team's frustration after hitting an attack into the antenna late in game four as she was issued a yellow card for arguing with the down official. Calson ended the contest hitting minus .017 with 15 kills and 18 digs.

The Waves extending their games-won streak to 16 by holding San Diego to minus .032 hitting in game one. Pepperdine received four kills from Milo and Rachel Lumsden (Brea, Calif.) in the opening frame and Kiah Fiers and Cassi Chamberlain (Lakewood, Calif.) added two aces apiece in taking a 1-0 lead in the match. Milo opened the game with a kill as Pepperdine led wire-to-wire. The Toreros tied the match several times in the early going, but with the game knotted at 8-8, an attack error by Erin Wiskar gave the Waves the lead for good. Wiskar was the victim twice more in Pepperdine's 3-0 run, getting blocked by Kayla Walker (Kaysville, Utah) and Milo before being guilty of a reception error of a Chamberlain ace.

Chamberlain capped another 3-0 Waves' run with a kill and solo stuff of Christie Dawson, giving the home team an 18-13 lead. Pepperdine would put more distance between them and the conference front-runner with a 6-1 run for a 25-18 lead.

Game two started and ended as a battle with 15 ties to an 18-all stalemate. The Toreros broke the tie with a 3-0 run only to see Milo will her team to a 22-21 lead with three kills and a block with Julie Rubenstein (Camarillo, Calif.). USD answered with a 3-0 run of its own before a Caitlin Lawson (Walnut Creek, Calif.) ace locked the contest at 24-all. After a 4-1 USD run, the Waves fought off consecutive game-point tries but Dawson sent the match into the intermission at 1-1.

Pepperdine broke open a 6-6 tie in game three with a 5-0 run, capped by a Rubenstein solo stuff of Laurel Abrahamson. San Diego used a 3-0 run to cut the lead down to three, 21-18 before Nina Baltimore (Seal Beach, Calif.) served the final seven points of an 8-0 run to put the game out of reach, 29-18.

The Waves but on a blocking clinic in the fourth game turning back four San Diego attempts as they used a 6-0 run to take an 8-4 lead. The Toreros rallied back to tie the game at 13-13 before taking a 16-15 lead off a 6-2 run. Down by two, 20-18, Pepperdine scored the next three points. USD answered with a 3-0 spurt of its own to reclaim the lead, 23-21. Four kills by four different Waves opened a 6-0 run which appeared to seal the victory with a 27-23 lead. The Toreros went on to score five of the next six points to lock the game at 28-all but Milo gave the Waves the lead and Dawson's attempt at sending a free ball over to Pepperdine never made it to the net snapping USD's 10-match win streak.

Lumsden and Chamberlain recorded 12 kills apiece for Pepperdine, while Rubenstein chipped in with 11. Fiers logged eight kills, dished out a career-tying high three aces and added 17 digs. Kekai Crabbe (Honolulu, Hawaii) also picked up 17 digs in the victory.

Dawson led San Diego with 17 kills on .324 hitting, Abrahamson finished the night with 10 kills but hit just .143 in the loss.

Pepperdine will hit the road for the final time in league play next weekend when it travels to San Francisco and Saint Mary's. Pepperdine swept both the Dons and the Gaels in the team's first meeting of the season.


Gonzaga - 3
Portland - 0


SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University junior Becky Jones had her 12th double-double of the season to help the women's volleyball team earn a 3-0 (31-29, 34-32, 30-15) sweep of the University of Portland in a West Coast Conference match-up this afternoon at the Martin Centre. It was the Zags first 3-0 WCC victory in nearly five seasons. The last time Gonzaga earned a three-game sweep was on Oct. 6, 2001 when it defeated San Francisco.

With the win the Bulldogs improved to 8-17 overall and 3-7 in the WCC, while the loss dropped the Pilots to 8-15 overall and 1-9 in conference.

Besides Jones, who finished with 11 kills and a match-high 14 digs, the Bulldogs were led by freshman Emily Johnson. Johnson tallied a match-high 13 kills, her 11th double-figure kill match of the season, and added three block assists and two digs. Junior setter Heather Dunn passed out a match-high 38 assists as the Bulldogs finished with 49 team kills and a .268 hitting clip. Dunn also had 13 digs in the match.

Leading the way for the Pilots was Ashley Grayson with her team-high 10 kills. Nicole Thometz and Jennifer Sheedy added nine and eight kills, respectively. Thometz also added six digs and two blocks, while Sheedy had two service aces and five blocks. Kara Pein dished out 30 assists as Portland finished with 43 team kills and a .090 attacking percentage.

The Bulldogs closed out the match with the 47-36 advantage in digs and the 11-9 edge in team blocks.

Gonzaga will be back in action on Thursday, Nov. 9 when it plays at the University of San Diego. Match time is set for 7 p.m.


San Francisco - 3
Saint Mary's - 0


San Francisco, CA - USF volleyball opened its crucial three-match West Coast Conference homestand with an emphatic 30-24, 30-21, 30-20 seep of Bay Area rival Saint Mary's Saturday night at War Memorial Gym. The Dons (20-7, 4-6 WCC) collect their first win against the Gaels (9-12, 4-6 WCC) since completing a sweep during the 2003 campaign. The victory is the 20th of the season for USF in only the second 20-win season in program history, the first coming in a 23-victory season in 2003 when the Dons qualified for their first ever NCAA Tournament.

It was a huge night for USF sophomore middle blockers Carly Babin and Alix Gombos. Babin tallied a match-high 14 kills on .542 hitting with just two errors in 23 swings, while Gombos added a career-high 13 on .417 attacking. The pair combined for seven blocks, five by Babin, who entered the night ranked second in the WCC in blocks.

Junior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg enjoyed a strong night with 11 kills and nine digs, while freshman outside hitter Anna Berger recorded nine kills, five digs to go along with a pair of aces. Junior outside hitter Brynn Maurer tallied six kills on .455 hitting and 10 digs.

USF's setting tandem of senior Jamie Kartchner and sophomore Darcy Carroll both turned in strong matches as the Dons hit at an impressive .308 clip with a 60-37 kills advantage. The Dons owned a 54-42 digs edge, although the Gaels owned a 12.5-8.0 blocks lead.

"This is a terrific win for us," USF head coach Jeff Nelson said. "I am really proud of the way we competed tonight against a quality team. It was a great team win and everyone contributed."

Senior middle blocker Christina Kirk tallied 13 kills on .423 hitting for the Gaels, while junior outside hitter Missie Stidham and freshman middle blocker Megan Burton added eight apiece.

USF hosts Loyola Marymount Thursday, November 9 at War Memorial Gym in a crucial WCC contest. First serve against the Lions is set for 7:00 PM.


Santa Clara - 3
Loyola Marymount - 2


LOS ANGELES, Calif. - There is just no keeping the Santa Clara volleyball team down, as for the third time this season, the No. 20 Broncos fell behind 2-0 before picking themselves up and commandeering a stunning victory. Saturday afternoon, it was Loyola Marymount's turn to be heartbroken, as the Broncos triumphantly left Gersten Pavilion with a 3-2 (26-30, 30-32, 30-25, 30-23, 16-14) victory fueled by the leadership and grit of Anna Cmaylo and Caroline Walters.

Santa Clara (17-6, 7-4 WCC) will now return home for the rest of its WCC schedule, beginning with a weekend homestand that features a 6:30 p.m. match Thrusday night against the Portland Pilots followed by a 1 p.m. match Saturday against the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Tickets are available by calling (408) 554-4660 or by clicking here.

Cmaylo turned in another of her typically dominant performances Saturday with 21 kills at a .432 clip to go with four blocks, while Walters made 22 digs, served up three aces, and with her play instilled the fire and confidence the Broncos needed to rally for the dramatic victory.

Kim McGiven paced the team with 22 kills and 13 digs, her eighth double-double of the season, and Brittany Lowe also tallied a double-double of her own with 15 kills and 13 digs to go with four blocks. Crystal Matich and Lindsy Evans shared setting duties and passed out 38 and 20 assists, respectively. Nichole Clark also turned in a solid all-around performance with seven digs, five blocks, and four kills against the Lions.

"Today's victory was exciting again, and was mostly due to the efforts of Anna Cmaylo and Caroline Walters," said head coach Jon Wallace. "Anna's dominant hitting, her great net play, and her leadership out there really sparked our offense, and Caroline was really steady for us in the back row, and she provided the fire that got the girls to start believing in themselves after falling behind 0-2."

"The win felt so amazing, especially because lately our team has been so up-and-down at times, and coming off getting swept against Pepperdine, to come back and win feels so good," Cmaylo said after the win.

The close result of the match was foreshadowed right from the start of the first stanza, as the teams were tied a total of 12 times up until the 22-22 mark. Neither team had led by more than three up to that point, with the Lions taking a 15-12 lead early, but SCU's 4-1 run behind kills from Lowe and McGiven knotted things up at 16-apiece.

Yet the Broncos had led only after the first point of the game, and again at 18-17, but for the rest of the game played catch-up with the Lions. From the 16-16 mark, the teams alternated points until a three-point run by LMU gave them a 25-22 advantage, which grew to four at game point, at which point a Christianna Reneau kill gave the Lions the 30-25 win.

Game two was just as bitterly contested, as the Broncos played catch-up again from the start, ceding a 9-3 lead to LMU after the Lions' Heather Hughes began a 4-0 run with a kill. Slowly but surely the Broncos crept back into it, and a timely 4-0 run behind kills from Cmaylo and Lauryn Dowd and two errors by LMU gave SCU a 16-15 lead, the team's first since the game's initial rally.

From that point, things looked to be going SCU's way, as the shift in momentum propelled the Broncos to leads of 24-21 and 28-25 behind kills from Evans and more Lion errors. But the Lions roared back with a 3-0 burst behind a kill and block from Sandy Krone the tied the game at 28-apiece. McGiven's kill gave SCU a game-point chance at 29-28, but a service error gave LMU a new lease on life. After the Broncos fought off a game-point to tie things at 30-30, the Lions benefited from a service error and a block by Reneau to seal the second stanza.

Down 0-2 for the third match in a row, the Broncos were frustrated, yet still had that ember of hope flickering, as the team's comeback win against Saint Mary's last Saturday was still fresh on their minds. It was at this point that the team had to commit to action and getting the job done once more.

"We thought back to the previous two matches, and we believed each time that we could come back," Walters said. "And on this team we talk things over so much, but this time I told the team to just go out there and show each other why we want to win this match. No more talking."

"Caroline just said `No more talking, it doesn't matter right now, say what you have to say with how you play,' and that fired everyone up," Cmaylo added.

The comeback started in game three as the Broncos and Lions again battled back and forth up until the mid-point of the game. Tied at 14-all, McGiven stepped up with two kills and a block to help fuel a four-point run that gave the team an 18-14 lead and force LMU to burn a timeout. Upon resuming play, Evans and Clark combined to stuff an attack from Hughes and Walters delivered an ace to cap the 6-0 run which gave the Broncos control of the game.

The lead got all the way up to seven at 26-19 after a Lowe kill, and although LMU cut things down to 28-25 late, an Evans kill followed by another McGiven block sent the match to a fourth game.

In that fourth stanza, the Broncos walked the walk and demonstrated the extent of their resolve by overcoming a seven-point deficit on the way to the win. After the Lions had bolted out to an 11-4 lead, the Broncos hammered their way back, as a kill from Clark ignited a 13-6 run that evened the game at 17-17. The run was capped with three straight points from a pair of McGiven kills and a combined block from the sophomore duo of Clark and Lowe.

Even though the Lions briefly rebounded to take a 21-19 lead, their spirits were broken by an 8-0 run in which LMU was partly responsible for. Four attack and handling errors by LMU combined with two Lowe kills and a block and kill by Cmaylo to give SCU an impregnable 27-21 lead. Moments later, a combined block from Cmaylo and Matich along with a kill from McGiven evened the match at two games apiece heading into the deciding game.

At this point, the Broncos were riding a tidal wave of momentum while the Lions were staring down the barrel of their second five-game loss in a row in which they had the opportunity to close things out with a win in the fourth game.

Things didn't get any better for the Lions, as two Cmaylo kills and a Lowe ace gave SCU the early 4-1 lead. Yet LMU stayed with it, using a 5-2 stretch to even things at six. From there, the teams traded points, with neither one leading by more than two until an attack error by LMU gave SCU match point at 14-12.

The Lions called a timeout, and fired back with a Hughes kill and a block from Emily Day to stave off defeat, but the Broncos slammed the door on any LMU hopes right away, as McGiven delivered consecutive kills to nail down the dramatic victory.

"Today's win was huge for us because we still don't know exactly what our fate will be in making the NCAA Tournament, and winning these matches gives us so much confidence in terms of making the postseason," said Walters. "Also, knowing that we can win these types of close, gut-check matches gets us excited to go into the Tournament because we know what we're capable of."

"What we take from this weekend is that we are learning how to battle, and we're going to use these battles to catapult us into becoming better and finding a consistency for the rest of the season," Wallace said.