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USF Volleyball Opens 2007 Season Friday at Husky Invitational Vs. No. 8 Huskies

Aug. 19, 2007

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UP NEXT FOR THE DONS: USF opens the 2007 regular season in the Pacific Northwest when it travels to compete in the Husky Invitational hosted by the University of Washington beginning Friday, August 24 in Seattle. San Francisco will have a new head coach at the helm this season as Gilad Doron leads the Green and Gold into battle for the first time. USF kicks of tournament play against the host No. 8 Huskies in the 7:00 PM contest at the Bank of America Arena. San Francisco tackles Cal State Northridge and Fresno State on Saturday.

MEET USF HEAD COACH GILAD DORON: USF will have a completely different look on the bench for the 2007 campaign. After three seasons as the head coach at Villanova, Gilad Doron enters his first campaign on the Hilltop, replacing Jeff Nelson, who departed for the head coaching job at New Mexico after four years patrolling the sidelines. A coaching veteran with more than 10 years of coaching experience at the club, international, and Division I levels, Doron looks forward to building on the recent successes in a highly demanding conference.

Kristin Hasselberg FOCUSED ON STRONG FINISH: Senior All-American candidate Kristin Hasselberg continued to cement her reputation as one of the top outside hitters on the West Coast and ranked second among West Coast Conference kills (4.57) and points (5.13) leaders. For her efforts, Hasselberg earned All-WCC First Team honors - the first for a Don since Stephanie Voelckers earned selection in 2004. Hasselberg enters the 2007 regular season opener at No. 8 Washington ranked fifth in career kills with 1,219. Last season, Hasselberg became only the second player in program history to surpass 1,000 career kills as a junior after recording 13 kills against No. 9 Santa Clara (9/30). Since her arrival on the Hilltop, Hasselberg has notched double-figures in kills 67 times, including 14 matches with 20 or more and owns 19 double-doubles (kills/digs) with a team-high eight in 2006. The Dons career leader in kills per game at 4.04, Hasselberg led USF in kills 25 times with a season-high 27 at Loyola Marymount (10/14).

HASSELBERG RESUMES ASSAULT ON KILLS CHART: Senior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg enters the 2007 season ranked fifth in career kills with 1,219 and needs 26 to pass Teresa Russell (1999-03) for fourth place on the all-time list. USF Legend of the Hilltop Brittanie Budinger (2000-03) is the career leader with 1,518 and Hasselberg needs 300 terminations to overtake the top spot.

Alix Gombos ATTACKS WITH AUTHORITY: Junior middle blocker Alix Gombos turned in an exceptional sophomore season for the Dons, leading the team in attack percentage and ranking second among West Coast Conference leaders in attack percentage (.345) and seventh among league block leaders (1.14). Gombos rated second on the team in kills (3.08) and enters her junior campaign as the top attacker in program history (.335). A five-time all-tournament selection, Gombos averaged 3.14 kills and 1.16 blocks during WCC play. The West Linn, OR native set career-highs with 16 kills in four matches, hit .500 or better in four matches and recorded double-digit blocks twice, including a career-high 11 against WCC Champion San Diego (9/28) to go along with 16 kills.

Haley Carroll DIGS DEFENSE: Sophomore libero Haley Carroll enjoyed an outstanding freshman season, ranking third among league leaders in digs (4.79) and was fourth in service aces (0.38). A West Coast Conference All-Freshman Team pick in 2006, Carroll became just the second player in program history to surpass 500 in a season, finishing with 522, good for second place on the Dons single-season chart.

Carly Babin STRONG IN THE MIDDLE: Junior middle blocker Carly Babin enjoyed one of the most prolific blocking seasons in USF history as a sophomore in 2006, ranking second in single-season stuffs with 160. Babin ranked second among West Coast Conference blocks leaders averaging 1.30 per game and also averaged 2.01 kills on .313 hitting for the Dons.


No. 8 WASHINGTON HUSKIESHead Coach: Jim McLaughlin, 8th YearCareer Record (Years)/School Record (Years):  225-88 (10 Years)/143-45 (7 Years)2006 Overall/Conference (Place): 29-5; 15-3 Pac-10 (T-2)NCAA/Final Ranking: NCAA National Semifinals/No. 3Returning letter-winners/Starters: 10/6Predicted 2007 Pac-10 Finish: FourthLast Time vs. USF: UW 3, USF 0 (9/6/02)

CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE MATADORSHead Coach: Jeff Stork, 6th YearCareer Record (Years)/School Record (Years): 86-81 (6 Years)/64-75 (5 Years)2006 Overall/Conference (Place): 16-12, 7-7 Big West (T-4)NCAA/Final Ranking: N/A / N/AReturning letter-winners/Starters: 9/3Predicted 2007 Finish: Fifth Big WestLast Time vs. USF: CSN 3, USF 1 (8/30/02)

FRESNO STATE BULLDOGSHead Coach: Ruben Nieves, 3rd YearCareer Record (Years)/School Record (Years): 13-45 (2 Years)/13-45 (2 Years)2006 Overall/Conference (Place): 6-24, 3-13 WAC (8th)NCAA/Final Ranking: N/A/N/AReturning letter-winners/Starters: 8/4Predicted 2007 WAC Finish: EighthLast Time vs. USF: USF 3, FS 0 (9/16/04)

USF competed in six tournaments during the 2006 season, capturing four titles and two runner-up showings. San Francisco fell in the title match at the Arizona Tournament, falling 3-1 to the No. 18 Wildcats and dropped a disappointing 3-2 decision to Portland State in the Banker's Classic to end the 2006 regular season. USF won titles at the Hornet Invitational, the Marquette Challenge and the Long Island Blackbird Invitational. USF also captured its second straight win at the PowerAde/Asics Classic. The Dons won two of its three tournaments in 2005, while Hurricane Rita forced the postponement of the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Invitational. The Dons opened the season in impressive fashion, winning the 2005 Delaware Invitational and the 2005 USF Powerade/Asics Classic in back-to-back weeks. Since 2003, San Francisco has won 11 tournaments, including a perfect 4-0 record in 2003.

DONS HOST PAIR OF 2007 TOURNAMENTS: USF hosts two tournaments for the first time in school history. The Dons host their first event when they welcome Colgate, Eastern Washington and Oral Roberts for the USF Asics/PowerAde Challenge. The event, now in its fifth year, kicks off Friday August 31 when USF plays its home opener against the Golden Eagles at 7:00 PM in War Memorial Gym. USF hosts its second tournament of the year September 14-15 with the inaugural Asics/Coca-Cola Invitational. Two 2006 NCAA Tournament teams - Cal Poly and Sacramento State - make up a highly competitive field along with Xavier. The Dons open tournament play when they tackle the defending Big Sky champion Hornets Friday in a 7:00 PM match.

GILAD DORON ENTERS FIRST YEAR IN THE GREEN AND GOLD: Gilad Doron enters his first season on the Hilltop after being named USF's new head volleyball coach on March 14, 2007. Doron readies for his second Division I head coaching assignment after spending the last three years as the head coach at Villanova, guiding the Wildcats to back-to-back winning seasons in the Big East. Doron is assisted on the bench by former US National Team setter Dan Fisher, who enters his first season on the Hilltop after spending three seasons as the top assistant with the Pacific men's program and Sam Hastings, who enters her first year at USF after playing Doron at Villanova.

HAMMERING HASSELBERG: Senior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg enters the first week of the 2007 regular season established as one of the most dominant outside hitters in program history. A 2006 All-West Coast Conference First Team selection, the All-American candidate ranked second among league leaders in kills (4.57) and points (5.13) as a junior. A seven-time all-tournament selection and a three-time MVP, Hasselberg set a career-high with 33 kills in a 3-2 win against North Carolina (9/3/05) and posted the first 20-20 match of her career with 24 kills and 22 digs at UC Davis (11/22/05). Since her arrival on the Hilltop, Hasselberg has notched double-figures in kills 67 times, including 14 matches with 20 or more and owns 19 double-doubles (kills/digs). Hasselberg is the Dons career leader in kills per game at 4.04 and shattered the Dons underclassmen kills record, tallying 725 in her first two seasons on the Hilltop.

MAURER ADDS TO DONS CAREER DIGS RECORD: Senior outside hitter Brynn Maurer enjoyed a strong year at outside hitter in 2006 after spending her first two seasons on the Hilltop as the libero. The USF career digs leader enters the 2007 regular season opener with 1,359, good for eighth place on the West Coast Conference career chart. Maurer needs 13 to past Pepperdine's Carolyn Hueth for sole possession of seventh place. For her career, Maurer averages 4.40 digs per game, the top mark in program history. Since her arrival on the Hilltop, Maurer has surpassed 20 digs 24 times and has tallied double-digits 71 times in 85 career matches. In her first season at outside hitter, Maurer shared the team double-double lead with eight averaging 2.22 kills and 3.36 digs per game.

GOOD GOLLY GOMBOS: Junior middle blocker Alix Gombos turned in one of the top offensive seasons by a USF middle in program history last season. The 2006 All-West Coast Conference Honorable Mention selection ranked second among league leaders in attack percentage (.345) and was seventh in blocks (1.15). Gombos registered double-digit kills 21 times as a sophomore, hit .400 or better in 12 matches, .500 or better six times and recorded three matches of .600 or better. The West Linn, OR native tallied five or more blocks 10 times. Gombos rated second on the team in kills (3.06).

Darcy Carroll CRACKS CAREER ASSISTS TOP-10 CHART: Junior setter Darcy Carroll enters the first week of the 2007 regular season with 1,148 assists, good for seventh place on the Dons career list. Carroll needs 644 to move into sixth place, held by Margaret Hillhouse (1986-88). Carroll led San Francisco in assists (7.47) in the Dons 6-2 alignment last season. A 2005 West Coast Conference Freshman Team selection, Carroll dished out a career-high 70 assists in USF's 3-2 victory against Bay Area rival San Jose State (9/1/06).

Linzy Kearney NINTH IN USF CAREER BLOCKS: Senior opposite Linzy Kearney continued to produce for the Dons and enters the first week of the 2007 regular season ranked ninth in USF career total blocks with 234. Next up is Jeanette Sargenti (1994-97), who recorded 296. Kearney averaged 1.33 kills and ranked third on the team with 0.89 blocks per game as a junior, while serving as team co-captain.

Anna Berger ENJOYS SOLID FRESHMAN SEASON: Sophomore outside hitter Anna Berger produced for USF as a redshirt freshman, ranking third on the team in kills (2.48), second in aces (0.28) and was fourth in digs (1.98). Berger hammered a career-high 18 kills to go along with 14 digs in a 3-2 win at Sacramento State (9/8) and turned in a strong 12-kill, six-dig effort in a win at Loyola Marymount (10/14). Berger recorded 15 kills and 11 digs at No. 18 San Diego (10/28) and finished the season with three double-double matches, the first a 17-kill, 16-dig effort at No. 18 Arizona (9/1/06).

Carly Babin CLOGGING THE MIDDLE: Junior middle blocker Carly Babin had a big sophomore season for the Dons in the middle. Babin ranked second among West Coast Conference leaders in blocks (1.30), rated second on the team in hitting percentage (.313) and was fourth in kills (2.15) during league matches. The Las Vegas native recorded a career-high 11 blocks in a win against UC Santa Barbara (9/3) - tied for fifth place among USF single-match leaders and hammered a career-high 14 kills in a WCC sweep of Saint Mary's (10/4). Babin enjoyed a strong match in a league win at Loyola Marymount, tallying 11 kills, 0 errors on 21 swings (.524) to go along with six blocks (three solo). Babin's 143 total blocks were the second best tally in school history behind only Tracy Harrison (1982-85), who set a WCC record 186 as a senior.

USF WELCOMES TALENTED TRIO OF NEWCOMERS: USF welcomes an outstanding trio of newcomers to the fold this season. Addie Webster, a junior outside hitter, transfers to the Hilltop after two strong seasons at Eastern Washington. The 2005 Big Sky Newcomer of the Year, Webster earned Big Sky Second Team honors last season, averaging 3.76 kills and 3.62 digs for the Eagles. San Francisco's 2007 recruiting classes in one of the best in school history and features a pair of players energized and ready to compete immediately. Freshman opposite Sarah Mandala is one of the top recruits landed by the Dons, capturing Sierra League MVP honors in her senior season at St. Lucy's Priory High School, averaging 4.1 kills and 1.7 blocks per game. A two-time All-CIF selection, Mandala propelled the Regents to three straight league titles and the first CIF Semifinals appearance in school history in 2006. Freshman setter Alaina Sully captured All-CIF Division I Second Team honors after a strong senior campaign at Woodbridge High School. The Sea View League and All-City MVP set the Warriors to their third straight league title in 2006.

TAKING THE FIFTH: San Francisco's streak of nine consecutive five-game match wins came to an end in the 2006 regular season finale against Portland State in the Banker's Classic. The Dons posted its ninth straight five set decision with a thriller at Long Island (9/22) at the 2006 LIU Blackbird Invitational. The Dons turned in an impressive 6-0 record in five-game matches in 2005 after going 0-4 during the 2004 campaign. Since 2003, the Dons are 14-7 in matches going the distance. USF was 5-2 in five sets during its "Season of Firsts", with its only two setbacks coming against No. 13 Loyola Marymount and No. 5 Pepperdine.

USF swept Gonzaga (10/19) at home for program win No. 300. San Francisco collected its 250th decision with a 3-1 victory at Portland (11/8/03). From 2003-2006 the Dons posted 76 wins.

BALANCED OFFENSE KEYS USF'S 2006 SUCCESS: Sophomore middle blocker Carly Babin's first kill at Gonzaga (11/18) gave USF another program first. Five Dons - Kristin Hasselberg (494), Alix Gombos (323), Anna Berger (263), Brynn Maurer (235) and Babin (221) - surpassed 200 kills on the season, the most in school history. The previous best was four, accomplished seven times, with the last coming in 2005.

DONS BLOCKS RECORD TEETERS & FALLS... AGAIN: USF's team blocks record fell for the third consecutive year. The Dons amassed 312.5 blocks, passing the 2005 squad (293.0). Five USF players - Carly Babin (143), Alix Gombos (120), Linzy Kearney (90), Kristin Hasselberg (58) and Brynn Maurer (42) - recorded at least 40 during the 2006 season.

USF CLIMBING THE TEAM RECORD BOOKS: USF continued to rewrite the team record books during its 30th anniversary season. San Francisco set the all-time assists record with 1,691, while primarily running a 6-2 offensive scheme. The Dons also amassed 1,845 kills, good for second place on the single-season charts just shy of the all-time record of 1,862 was set by San Francisco's 2003 NCAA team. The 2006 edition of the Green and Gold ranked second in team attack percentage (.231) with the high water mark set in 2003 (.240).

USF FINISHES FOURTH IN THE WEST COAST CONFERENCE: USF finished fourth in the demanding West Coast Conference standings behind No. 17 San Diego (13-1), No. 25 Pepperdine (11-3) and No. 22 Santa Clara (9-5). It marked the first upper echelon conference finish for the Dons since 2003, when USF qualified for its inaugural NCAA Tournament berth, and only the fifth overall. The upper division finish was the second posted in Nelson's four seasons on the Hilltop.

DONS TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS AGAINST ELITE TEAMS: USF owned a 5-6 record against 2006 AVCA Division I Regionally Ranked Teams with a 3-3 record on the road (wins at Marquette and Loyola Marymount with a neutral site win against Houston). USF posted victories against the following regionally ranked opponents: Loyola Marymount (3-1, 3-0), Marquette (3-1), UC Santa Barbara (3-1) and Houston (3-0).