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WCC Women's Volleyball Recaps

Nov. 9, 2006

Pepperdine - 3
Saint Mary's - 2

Moraga, CA - The Saint Mary's volleyball team rallied from one game down to force a fifth game, but ended up falling in the final game 15-11, as Pepperdine won 3-2 on Thursday night at McKeon Pavilion.

The Gaels were led by junior Missie Stidham, who recorded a match-high 20 kills and added 22 digs in the loss. Stidham also added two blocks and two aces.

With the loss the Gaels fall to 9-13 overall and 4-7 in West Coast Conference play. Pepperdine improved to 13-10 overall and 9-3 in conference play.

Offensively the Gaels were led by senior Mandy Bible, who had 53 assists, 17 digs and five blocks. Christina Kirk had 13 kills and added seven digs and five blocks.

Senior Cassandra Kolkka had nine kills and 17 digs and Alita Fisher recorded a career-high 28 digs as libero.

The Gaels return to action on Saturday, November 11 when they host Loyola Marymount at 1 p.m. Saint Mary's will honor its four seniors on Saturday, which includes Mandy Bible, Christina Kirk, Cassandra Kolkka and Lauren Holland.

San Diego - 3
Gonzaga - 1

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Four players recorded double-digit kills and four players recorded double-digit digs to help lead the 18th-ranked University of San Diego women's volleyball team to a 3-1 (30-32, 30-22, 30-27, 30-23) win over the visiting Bulldogs of Gonzaga University Thursday evening at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.

With the win, the Toreros move to 21-5 overall, 11-1 in the WCC and move their magic number to one in order to win the WCC crown for the second time in three years. Should USD defeat the University of Portland on Saturday, or should Pepperdine University lose on Saturday, then the Toreros will claim the 2006 WCC championship. With the loss, the Bulldogs fall to 8-18 overall and 3-8 in the WCC.

Christie Dawson led all players with 22 kills on 33 attempts, while only committing two attacking errors to post a match-best .606 attacking percentage. Laura Murphy was the second Torero in double-digit kills as she recorded a career-best 12 kills, while also picking up 10 digs for a double-double. Laurel Abrahamson was the third Torero in double-digit kills as she registered 16, the second most in the match. Kristen Carlson was the final Torero in double-digit kills as she recorded 10 kills and also recorded 11 digs for her 19th double-double of the season. Jessica Nyrop also recorded a double-double this evening as she racked up 65 assists and also recorded 12 digs.

For the Bulldogs, both Becky Jones and Briawna Mueller recorded double-digit kills with 13 for Jones and 14 for Mueller. Heather Dunn recorded 48 assists to help direct the Zags to a .308 team attacking percentage.

In the first game, it was pretty even keel in the early going, then with the score knotted at 12-12 the Bulldogs went on a 6-2 run to give them a four point lead at 18-14. The Toreros then slowly chipped away at the Bulldogs lead and would knot the score at 22-22 on a Murphy kill off a Nyrop set.

Murphy's kill then ignited a 6-1 USD run to put the Toreros in a 28-23 lead. However, the Zags wouldn't go away as they got right back in the game on a 6-1 run sparked by a Elaina Renuis kill to pull even with USD at 29-29. Abrahamson then recorded a kill off a Nyrop set and the Toreros again had the Bulldogs at game point, but the Bulldogs ripped of three straight points to win game one.

Game two was a different story as the Toreros jumped out to a commanding 8-2 lead and never looked back as they cruised tier way to a 30-22 win. USD had a team-attacking percentage of .295 in the second game to help them get back on even terms with Gonzaga.

In game three, San Diego again jumped out to a big early lead at 7-2, but the Zags went on a 5-2 run to gain the lead. GU would eventually build the lead to as many as four at 18-14, but Murphy put an end to that lead as she sparked a 5-1 run on a kill off a Nyrop set to allow USD to tie the game at 19-19. The Zags would keep things close, but USD was too strong to overcome as they recorded a 30-27 win and grabbed a 2-1 lead.

Game four was all Toreros as they jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. This was the best game of the four USD played as they recorded a .326 team attacking percentage.

The Toreros will look to capture the WCC championship on Saturday as they host Portland in a 1 p.m. match at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.

San Francisco - 3
Loyola Marymount - 0

San Francisco - USF volleyball made some history with a dominating 30-26, 30-19, 30-25 West Coast Conference sweep of Loyola Marymount Thursday night at War Memorial Gym. The Dons (21-7, 5-6 WCC) earn their first ever sweep against the Lions (17-10, 5-7 WCC) and take the first season series sweep against LMU since 1988. San Francisco owns a school record 13 3-0 victories on the season and have posted back-to-back league sweeps after blanking Bay Area rival Saint Mary's last Saturday.

Junior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg tallied a match-high 16 kills on .344 hitting to go along with five digs and a pair of blocks, while sophomore middle Alix Gombos added 10 kills on .391 hitting to go along with six blocks and junior outside hitter Brynn Maurer added nine kills and 10 digs.

USF's setting tandem of senior Jamie Kartchner and sophomore Darcy Carroll enjoyed strong nights running the offense which cruised at a remarkable .371 for the match including a .457 clip in game three with 19 kills and just three errors on 35 swings. Freshman outside hitter Anna Berger hit .438 with eight kills and one error in 16 attempts and added two aces and six digs.

Sophomore middle Carly Babin also enjoyed a good night with seven kills and three blocks (one solo) as the Dons posted a 9.0 - 2.5 blocking advantage and limited the Lions to a .164 attack percentage for the night. Sophomore libero Tiffany Woo helped key a solid defensive effort with a match-high 12 digs and added two aces.

"I am really pleased with how we played tonight," USF head coach Jeff Nelson said. "This was a great win for us against a team we have not enjoyed a lot of success against in the past. I am impressed with how we competed and now we have another big test against Pepperdine Saturday."

San Francisco trailed 12-8 in game one, but broke out of a 19-19 tie going on a 5-1 run to seize a 24-20 lead it would not surrender. The Dons hit .279 in a game featuring six ties and four lead changes.

USF rolled the Lions in game two. Carroll served 11 straight points as the Dons reeled off 12 unanswered points to break out of an 8-8 tie. San Francisco hit .395 in the second set with 18 kills on 38 attempts and just three errors. Although game three was tighter as the Lions attempted to rally, USF led wire-to-wire.

Sophomore hitter Emily Day turned in a 12-kill, 10-dig night for the Lions, while Christianna Reneau added 12 kills. Junior opposite Heather Hughes chipped in nine kills and eight digs.

San Francisco returns to WCC action when it hosts Pepperdine Saturday, November 11 at War Memorial Gym. First serve against the Waves is set for 1:00 PM. A special ceremony honoring Kartchner, the Dons lone senior, will begin at approximately 12:45 PM.

NOTES: With her third kill against the Lions, Hasselberg became the first Don since Brittanie Budinger (2000-03) to surpass 400 kills in consecutive seasons and only third overall... USF Hall-of-Famer Melanie Kaiser also accomplished the feat 1990-91. ...USF collects its fifth league victory of the season, the most since the 2003 NCAA Tournament squad tallied seven...

Santa Clara - 3
Portland - 0


SANTA CLARA, Calif. - It was as if setter Crystal Matich had never left Tuesday night, passing out 42 assists as the No. 22 Santa Clara volleyball team continued to roll by hitting a combined .385 on its way to a 3-0 (30-21, 30-21, 30-18) sweep of the Portland Pilots at the Leavey Center. With the win, the Broncos have now won three in a row and five of their last six matches, creating a significant amount of momentum heading into the final two matches of the 2006 regular season.

Santa Clara (19-6, 8-4 WCC) will return to the Leavey Center Saturday afternoon for a 1 p.m. match against the Gonzaga Bulldogs.

Behind the crisp passing of Matich, the Bronco attack thrived. Anna Cmaylo continued to pound the ball with authority, putting down 18 kills at a .556 clip while Kim McGiven hit .393 and posted her ninth double-double of the year with 13 kills and 10 digs. Brittany Lowe added eight kills at a .286 clip while defensively, Lindsy Evans and Megan Pura led the effort up front with four and three blocks, respectively.

"I love the rhythm that Crystal has again with her hitters, by far tonight was the most comfortable match she's played since her return," said head coach Jon Wallace. "Her performance shows with only 10 team hitting errors in three games. The connection between her and Anna throughout the match brought us back to the form we had before her injury."

"I think that most importantly everyone else feels a lot more comfortable, so that helps in making me feel comfortable out on the court," Matich said afterwards. "I'm connecting a lot better with my hitters and that's a good thing to keep going."

The connection between Matich and Cmaylo was solid from the start of the match, as the duo teamed up for three kills over a 7-0 run that also featured three aces by Evans to break the first game open early and give SCU a 9-1 lead.

"At the LMU match, Jon told Kim, Brittany and me that we had to play better for the team, and I know that there's no reason why I shouldn't be hitting over .500 for a match," said Cmaylo. "I know that I can play great every night, and Crystal has been a big part of that since she's been back."

Although Portland offered a short rally to cut things to six at 13-7, a 3-0 run by SCU behind a block from Evans and Pura and an ace from McGiven put the Broncos back up by nine. Another three-point run gave them an 11-point lead at 22-11, and from there the Broncos stifled any Pilot comeback attempt on their way to the 30-21 game one victory.

The second stanza stayed close at the start, until with the Broncos ahead 10-8, a 6-1 run helped by Portland errors gave SCU control of the game at 16-9. With an eight-point lead moments later at 20-12, the Broncos reeled off five straight points behind kills from Matich, Cmaylo, and McGiven to take a 13-point lead at 25-12. Despite the Pilots stealing a few points on the ensuing rallies, the Broncos stayed the course and finished off the game with a Lowe kill and an ace from Nichole Clark.

Santa Clara and Portland battled back-and-forth in the third game, as it was knotted at 10-10 with neither team taking the advantage over the other. But at that moment, the Broncos grabbed the next three point, helped by another combined block from Matich and Pura, and after Portland cut the lead to 13-11 on the next rally, SCU came right back with a 6-0 run featuring three Cmaylo kills. This put SCU firmly ahead 19-11, and the lead was run up to 11 soon after at 25-14. From there the win was academic, as the Broncos continued to apply pressure, until a Clark kill sealed the sweep.

"Its not just winning the last couple matches to get into the tournament, what is important is finishing on a high note and having that winning, smooth feeling going into the postseason," Cmaylo noted on the team's winning run.