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WCC Volleyball Recaps

Nov. 18, 2006

Gonzaga - 3
San Francisco - 0

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Gonzaga University women's volleyball team closed out its 2006 season on a high note this afternoon with a sweep of the University of San Francisco at the Martin Centre. The Bulldogs, who swept the match 30-20, 30-25, 30-27, finishes the season with a 9-20 overall record and a 4-10 record in the West Coast Conference. It's the best WCC finish in six years for the Zags and the first time in nine seasons the Bulldogs swept two West Coast Conference matches.

Junior Becky Jones collected her 15th double-double of the season and seventh double-double in a WCC match with a match-high 16 kills and 11 digs. Also tallying double-digit kills for the Zags was junior Briawna Mueller and freshman Layne Brosky. Mueller finished with 14 kills, along with an impressive .500 hitting clip, while Brosky added 10 kills. Mueller was also strong above the net for GU, finishing with nine block assists and one solo block.

Junior setter Heather Dunn dished out a match-high 47 assists as the Bulldogs finished the match with 51 total team kills and a .287 attacking percentage. Dunn also added four block assists and one kill during the match.

Junior classmates Alecia Douglas and Megan Thompson led the Bulldogs defensively. Douglas collected a team-high 12 digs; her fourth-straight double-digit dig performance and 21st of the season, while Thompson chipped in 10 digs.

The visiting Dons were led by Kristin Hasselberg and Alix Gombos. Hasselberg finished with 13 kills, eight digs and one block assist and Gombos had 12 kills and four block assists.

Darcy Carroll and Jamie Kartchner combined for 40 assists as San Francisco finished with 47 total team kills and a .146 hitting percentage.

Brynn Maurer was the lone Don to finish in double-figure digs (16).

Portland - 3
Saint Mary's - 2

PORTLAND, Ore. - The University of Portland volleyball team ended its season in thrilling fashion, winning an intense five game match (30-26, 30-28, 28-30, 24-30, 17-15) over the Saint Mary's Gaels. Portland finishes the year with a 9-18 (2-12 WCC) record, while Saint Mary's ends at 11-14 (6-8 WCC).

The match marked the end of a brilliant career for Portland's lone senior and team captain Murphy McClenahan (pictured). McClenahan led the team with 25 digs, upping her career total to 1,684. She ranks second all-time in the school record books for career digs and also has the third highest dig total in the history of the West Coast Conference.

The match was a see-saw battle all the way to the final points, with Portland winning the first two games and Saint Mary's responding to tie it up by recording victories in games three and four. Each team had match points in the exhilarating fifth game before Portland sophomore Ashley Grayson finally sealed the victory with a resounding solo block.

It was a banner day for several Pilots as five different players set new career-highs.

Maria Clemens ended her freshman campaign on a high point, recording a career-high 20 kills on a .333 attack percentage to go along with 16 digs and two block assists. It was Clemens' seventh double-double of the year, tied for the team lead.

Junior Nicole Thometz also had a strong match for Portland, also tallying her seventh double-double of the year with 16 kills and 19 digs to go along with a career-high six service aces.

Two other Pilots had double-doubles: junior setter Kara Pein, who notched a career high 68 assists and 10 digs, and sophomore K.C. Fox, who had a career high 12 kills to go along with 11 digs. It was Pein's seventh double-double of the season, tied for the team lead, and the first of Fox's career.

Portland also set a season high with 83 kills in the match as five different players recorded double-digit kills. Sophomore Jenn Sheedy had 15 kills and four total blocks while Grayson had a career-high 14 kills to go along with a match-high nine total blocks.

For Saint Mary's, Missie Stidham led all players with 24 kills, while Alita Fisher paced the back line with 23 digs. Stidham (24 kills, 11 digs), Cassandra Kolkka (11 kills, 16 digs) and Mandy Bible (56 assists, 12 digs) all recorded double-doubles for the Gaels. Megan Burton and Taylor Groess each added 11 kills, while Burton (one solo) and Christina Kirk (three solo) added seven total blocks apiece.

For the match, Saint Mary's, the top blocking team in the WCC, had 14 total team blocks while Portland had 13.

Game one was a tightly contested affair as neither team was able to establish a significant lead until Portland scored five consecutive points to take a 23-19 advantage. Portland held on to capture the 30-26 win. Thometz was the star of the game, recording five kills and no errors for a .500 attack percentage while also recording four aces, including three in a row early in the game.

The Pilots cruised out to a 14-7 lead early in game two, but Saint Mary's stormed back to cut the lead to two points at 18-16 after a Stidham ace. Portland regrouped to reestablish a five point lead at 24-19 with the help of back-to-back Pein kills, but Saint Mary's then took control, using a 9-3 run to grab a late 28-27 lead.After a Stidham service error, Grayson and Thometz each recorded kills as the Pilots won three consecutive points to take the game.

Saint Mary's came out slow after the break, with Portland spurting to a 4-0 early lead. The Pilots kept the Gaels at arm's length for much of the early going, building a five point advantage at 18-13 midway through the game. The Gaels then scored five of the next six points to cut the lead to 19-18.

The next point featured an extended rally that had historical significance for McClenahan, as the senior's three digs during the rally pushed her 2006 campaign into eighth place on Portland's single-season digs charts. McClenahan finished the season with 440 digs and now has three seasons in Portland's Top Ten.

Saint Mary's took its first lead of game three at 22-21, and after three ties and two lead changes, the Gaels used a Taylor Groess kill to seal the victory at 30-28. Both teams hit over .300 in the game, with Saint Mary's recording 18 kills and Portland 21.

Game four proved to be a role reversal of game three as Saint Mary's charged to an early 18-9 lead only to see the Pilots battle back with a 10-2 run to cut the deficit to one point at 20-19. But the Gaels regrouped to rattle off four of the next five points and cruised to the 30-26 victory.

With the stage set for a dramatic deciding game, the teams did not disappoint. It was back-and-forth all the way as Saint Mary's took an early 5-3 lead only to see Portland claim an 8-6 advantage after consecutive Grayson kills. Saint Mary's then pushed out to a 13-11 lead, but Portland tallied three straight points to have a chance to serve for the match at 14-13. The Pilots were unable to convert as the Gaels scored consecutive points to grab a 15-14 lead and their own chance to take the match. Clemens came through with a clutch kill to keep the Pilots alive, and then Grayson took over at the net, recording consecutive blocks to clinch the 17-15 victory and the match.

San Diego - 3
Santa Clara - 0

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Fresh off claiming the West Coast Conference Championship a week ago, the 17th-ranked University of San Diego women's volleyball team didn't letup as senior Christie Dawson's 17 kills and her .571 attacking percentage helped lead the Toreros to a 3-0 (32-20, 30-27, 30-28) sweep over No. 22 Santa Clara University Saturday afternoon in the WCC finale for both teams.

With the win, the Toreros improve to 23-5 overall, conclude conference play with a 13-1 record and have now won three consecutive matches. With the loss, the Broncos fall to 20-7 overall and 9-5 in the WCC.

Dawson led all players with her 17 kills on 28 attempts while only committed one attacking error to post a .571 attacking percentage. Laurel Abrahamson also recorded double-digit kills as she racked up 14 kills on 25 attempts while only committing three attacking errors to post a .440 hitting percentage. Kristen Carlson recorded her 20th double-double of the season as she recorded 11 kills and racked up 10 digs. Jessica Nyrop recorded 50 assists to help direct the San Diego offense to a .308 team attacking percentage.

For the Broncos, Kim McGiven led the offensive charge with her team-best 16 kills and she also added in seven digs. Crystal Matich recorded 39 assists to help direct the Broncos offense to a team attacking percentage of .193.

The first game was a barn burner as the Broncos were able to keep up with the Toreros not allowing the San Diego offense to pull to far ahead. With the score knotted at 18-18, the Broncos took their first lead on a Lindsay Evans kill. SCU built their lead to as many as four before Evans committed a serving error that sparked a 4-0 USD run capped by a Abrahamson service ace.

The two teams then keep the score within two until San Diego had three chances to end the game. Finally with the score at 31-30, Carlson and Dawson ended the game with a block assist, to give the Toreros the early advantage.

Santa Clara then caught fire in the start of the second game as they jumped out to an 8-3 lead, but USD began to chip away at the Bronco lead and eventually tied the game on an Amy DeGroot kill. The Toreros wouldn't get their first lead until Dawson recorded a kill off of a Nyrop set to give the Toreros the 20-19 lead. San Diego did not look back as they went on to record the 30-27 win.

Game three was close throughout with each team taking their turn with the lead, but San Diego proved to be too strong for the Broncos as they picked up a tough 30-28 win, completing the sweep.

The Toreros will have one final game in the regular-season on Tuesday as they host Cal State Fullerton in a 7 p.m. non-conference match at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. Then on Sunday Nov. 26, the Toreros will learn who they will face and where they will go for the first round of the NCAA tournament in a selection show between 12-1 p.m. on ESPNEWS.