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WCC Volleyball Recaps

Nov. 17, 2007

LMU - 3
Saint Mary's - 1

LOS ANGELES, CA - LMU (16-11, 8-6 WCC) defeated Saint Mary's (14-12, 6-8 WCC) 3-1 by scores of 30-26, 30-23, 27-30, 30-25 on Saturday afternoon on "Senior Day" in Gersten Pavilion. Emily Day collected a match-high 21 kills, including her 1,000th career tally in the third game of the match. Day added a season-high 18 digs to record a double-double in the victory. She becomes just the 11th player in LMU history to reach the 1,000-kill plateau, joining teammates Heather Hughes and Christianna Reneau.

Seniors Hughes, Reneau, Jania Motton and Ashley Dutro were all honored prior to the match against the Gaels. Reneau finished with 17 kills and six digs, while freshman setter Renee Horton recorded a double-double with a match-best 52 assists and 12 digs. Whitney Leonard collected a match-high 26 digs in the win. Shannon Lowell and Megan York each collected 16 kills to lead the Gaels offensively. York recorded a double-double by adding 17 digs, while Taylor Groess added 15 kills for Saint Mary's. Nikki Gonzalez led the team with 20 digs in the match and Kapua Kamana'o recorded a team-high 45 assists.

Day collected a game-high six kills in game one and Reneau added four of her own as LMU earned a 30-26 victory in the frame. The Lions held Saint Mary's to a hitting percentage of .054 in the game, but they trailed early, as a Day attack error made the score 6-2 in favor of the Gaels. LMU would roar back to within two at 12-10 on a Day kill before knotting the frame at 20-20 on a Reneau kill that forced a Saint Mary's timeout. The two teams battled back-and-forth to stalemates at 24 and 25 before LMU rattled-off four straight points, capped by a Day kill and a Gael attack error to make it game-point at 29-25. LMU took the game two plays later when Becky Stehling connected on one of her two kills in the frame.

Reneau led all hitters in game two with six kills and a .556 hitting percentage in the frame, while LMU held the Gaels to just 12 kills at .159. Day and Leonard each collected seven digs in the frame, while Horton recorded four kills. The Lions as a team hit .250 over the span. LMU jumped-out to a 10-5 lead on an Erin Downey kill before extending the advantage to 17-10 on a Day tally. A York service error made it 20-13 in favor of the Lions en route to a 25-17 LMU lead on a Hughes kill. Kamana'o collected a kill late in the match to run the score to 27-22, but the Lions quickly made it game point at 29-22 on a Saint Mary's attack error. Reneau finished the game off for the Lions just two plays later with a kill from Horton.

Saint Mary's took game three by a count of 30-27, fueled by Groess' game-high seven kills. Day led all LMU hitters with five kills in the frame, including her 1,000th career kill to make the score 3-1 in favor of LMU. The Lion lead would not last long, as a Lowell kill gave the Gaels a 7-5 lead just a few plays later. LMU would even the score at 9-9 on a Saint Mary's attack error before the Gaels recorded three straight points to take a 12-9 advantage. The two teams battled to deadlocks at 15, 18 and 22 before Groess gave the Gaels a 24-22 advantage with a kill. Once again the Lions evened the game at 24-24, but a bad set by Horton ran the tally to 28-25 to force a LMU timeout. After the break, the Gaels made it match point at 29-26 on another Lowell kill before taking the game two plays later on a kill by York.

Day once again led all Lions with six kills in game four. York collected a game-high seven kills for the Gaels, but it was not enough as the Lions completed the four-game victory with a 30-25 game-four win. Horton dished-out 13 assists in the frame, including one to Reneau to give LMU an early 9-6 advantage. The two teams battled to a tie at 12-12 before LMU took an 18-15 lead on a Hughes kill to force a Saint Mary's timeout. The Gaels played well after the break, knotting the game at 19-19 on a York kill. LMU regained the lead at 24-20 on a Day kill that forced another Saint Mary's timeout. The stoppage did little to slow the roaring Lions, as LMU raced to a 29-23 advantage on another Hughes tally. Saint Mary's managed to collect the next two points before Reneau sealed the victory with her 17th kill of the match.

The Lions will return to action this Tuesday and Wednesday when they travel to Hawai'i to take on the University of Hawai'i in their final regular season matches. Both matches are slated for 10:00 p.m. starts.

San Diego - 3
Portland - 0

PORTLAND, Ore. - Laurel Abrahamson and Jaimarie Sutherland each recorded 15 kills to help lead the 18th-ranked University of San Diego women's volleyball team to a 3-0 win over the University of Portland in the regular-season finale Saturday afternoon.

With the 30-23, 30-20, 30-25 win, the Toreros conclude the regular-season with a 21-7 overall record and are 11-3 in the WCC. Coupled with a Santa Clara win, the Toreros have now claimed a share of the 2008 WCC championship with the Broncos, who are also 11-3 in the WCC. With the loss, the Pilots fall to 7-21 overall and 0-14 in the WCC.

Abrahamson recorded her 15 kills on 21 attempts, while only committing one attack error to post a .667 attack percentage. Sutherland recorded her 15 kills on 34 attempts to post a .324 attack percentage. Sophomore middle hitter Torey Ellick was the final USD player in double-digit kills as she had 10 on 21 attempts to post a .429 attack percentage. Jessica Nyrop recorded 45 assists in the match, while helping lead USD to a .265 team attack percentage.

In game one, with the score knotted at 6-6, the Toreros dug in and went to work as they put together a 11-4 run to go up by seven at 17-10. The Toreros run was sparked by a Abrahamson kill and capped on a Ali Troost kill. USD never looked back as they cruised their way to a 30-23 victory.

In game two, the Torero came out firing on all cylinders as they opened things up with a 9-3 run. A service error by Portland ignited the run and a Abrahamson kill off a set from Nyrop capped off the run. The Pilots then went on a 7-3 run to pull back to within two at 12-10, but San Diego went on a 8-2 run to regain all the momentum. The Toreros then eased their way to a 30-20 win.

In the third and final game, the Pilots jumped out to a quick 6-1 lead thanks to several USD miscues. But the Toreros responded with a 5-1 run sparked by a Ellick kill and capped with a Portland service error to pull within one at 7-6. San Diego would eventually tie things up at 12-12 on a Abrahamson kill and finally took the lead at 13-12 on a Erin Wiskar service ace. The Pilots held close to the Toreros not allowing USD to get more than two points ahead. Then with the score at 27-25 in favor of USD, a Amy DeGroot kill and a Ellick kill gave USD match point, and finally Portland committed an attack error to give USD the win.

The Toreros will now wait for the NCAA Selection committee to determine where and when the Toreros will play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament that begins on Nov. 30.

San Francisco - 3
Gonzaga - 0

Spokane, WA - Senior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg recorded a match-high 16 kills on .438 hitting, powering USF to a 30-25, 30-22, 30-19 road sweep of Gonzaga Saturday afternoon at the Kennel and became the program's all-time kills leader in the process, finishing with 1,530 in her final match. The Dons (17-13, 6-8 WCC) dropped a heartbreaking 3-2 decision to the Bulldogs (17-13, 5-9 WCC) earlier in the season, but returned the favor on Gonzaga's senior day.

Hasselberg's fifth kill of the match moved her past USF Legend of the Hilltop Brittanie Budinger (2000-03), who amassed 1,518 during her stellar career in the Green and Gold. The Carlsbad native wasn't done and hammered 11 more, turning in her 80th career double-digit kill match - the most in Dons history.

Freshman opposite hitter Sarah Mandala closed out her first full season in the Green and Gold on a high note, recording 13 kills on .600 hitting. Mandala shattered the USF freshman kills record with a team-high 350 on the season and ranked second on the team at 3.40 kills on .253 hitting with 0.70 blocks per game.

Junior middle blocker Carly Babin added nine kills on .467 attacking with four blocks, wrapping up the season averaging a career-best 2.82 kills and 1.18 blocks per game. Junior setter Darcy Carroll dished out 45 assists with eight digs, wrapping up the campaign with career bests in assists (1,101) - the 6th best mark in USF single-season history.

Sophomore libero Haley Carroll finished with a match-high 16 digs, finishing with 522 on the season - the same tally as her freshman season. Her 1,044 career kills are a new underclassmen record and rank fifth on the all-time digs list.

Senior libero Brynn Maurer recorded two kills and three digs Saturday. The Dons all-time digs leader (1,891) ended her four-years on the Hilltop ranked third on the WCC career digs chart.

Senior defensive specialist Ally Henthorn finished with four digs in her final match in the Green and Gold, while opposite hitter Linzy Kearney added three kills, three digs and a block in her curtain call in Spokane.

USF Volleyball's Class of 2007 - Hasselberg, Henthorn, Kearney and Maurer - departs campus after compiling the most wins in program history with a four-year tally of 70.

San Francisco hit at a .344 clip for the match with 58 kills and just 15 errors in 125 swings. USF's defense limited the Bulldogs to an anemic .157 rate, including a .025 percentage in game three.

Santa Clara - 3
Pepperdine - 2

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - For the fifth time since 1977 and third time under head coach Jon Wallace, the Santa Clara volleyball team finished atop the West Coast Conference standings. The Broncos posted a 3-2 (30-27, 23-30, 25-30, 30-26, 18-16) victory over the Waves of Pepperdine Saturday afternoon to improve their WCC record to 11-3 and tie the No. 18 Toreros for first place in the league.

Although SCU and San Diego will share the conference title, the Broncos earn the WCC's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament since they went 2-0 against the Toreros in regular season play. This will be Santa Clara's 10th consecutive postseason appearance.

"It's unbelievable," said junior outside hitter Brittany Lowe, who earns her second conference title with the Broncos. "A lot of us instantly started crying as the final whistle blew. We worked so hard today and all season long to get to this point. We just can't stop smiling."

Freshman Krista Kelley notched her fifth double-double of the season with a match-high 32 kills and 10 digs, while posting four total blocks. Lowe led the team with three service aces, while earning her 14th double-double of the year with 27 kills and 10 digs. Senior libero Caroline Walters led the match with a season-best 25 digs, while setter Crystal Matich collected 14 digs and dished out 57 assists. The triplet of Lauryn Dowd, Nichole Clark and Lindsy Evans led the match in blocks as they combined for 20.

The first game started out close as both teams fought to gain possession of the scoreboard. The Waves earned four-point lead over the Broncos, 15-11; before SCU began to rally back and knot the score 19-19 on a block assists from Matich and Dowd. Back-to-back Santa Clara kills from Dowd and Lowe, gave SCU a two-point edge, 22-20. The Broncos tired to distance themselves farther from the Waves, but a Bronco error and a kill from Julie Rubenstein gave the Waves a one-point lead, 25-24. Santa Clara tied the game again, 26-26, and a triplet of kills from Kelley gave the Broncos the jolt they needed to win the first game, 30-27.

Once again, the score was kept tight at the start of the second game, until a service ace from Rubenstein gave Pepperdine a 9-7 lead. Rachel Lumsen pushed the Waves lead to four points, 13-9, but the Broncos kept fight to tie the score and a solo block from Kelley brought SCU within one-point, 17-16. However, that was the closest Santa Clara would get as Pepperdine won game two, 30-23.

SCU started the third game with a 4-1 lead and, although Pepperdine tied the score, 7-7, held the advantage for most of the game. It wasn't until a kill from Kiah Fiers tied the score, 24-24, and a service ace from Lumsen gave the Waves enough momentum to take game three, 30-25.

The start of the fourth game was quite similar to the previous games, the Broncos and Waves battled to gain the edge. Santa Clara did begin the game with a 3-1 lead, but after a kill from Lowe tied the 18-18, the Broncos were able to break free. SCU produced a 5-1 run which started on a kill from Kim Courtney to make the score 26-21. Pepperdine was able to add on five more points, but a Waves error gave the Broncos game point and a kill from Kelley ended the fourth game, 30-26.

In the fifth and final game, Pepperdine was the first team to reach eight points, 8-7, on an attacking error by SCU. The Waves then earned an 11-9 lead over the Broncos, but a service ace from Lowe tied the score and forced the Waves to take a timeout. Returning from the short break, the two teams battled point-for-point and tied the score four times. A block from Kristen Seaton and Kayla Walker tied the score for the final time for the Waves, 16-16. A kill from Lowe brought SCU to match-point once again and a service ace from Dowd closed out the match, 18-16, in Santa Clara's favor.

For Pepperdine, Walker and Rubenstein registered 17 kills each, while Cassi Chamberlain added 14 kills and six total blocks.

Santa Clara will find out its first round opponent on Sunday, Nov. 25 when the NCAA announces the 2007 tournament field. Fans can watch the selection show on ESPNews at 5 p.m. PT.