Aug. 20, 2007
Los Angeles - Loyola Marymount University Athletics made an exciting announcement at Saturday's volleyball alumnae match: on October 13, 2007, a fifth volleyball jersey will be unveiled in the rafters of Gersten Pavilion. That jersey will bear the number 16 and the name Noriega, in honor of LMU volleyball standout Sarah Noriega. The LMU alumna will be honored with a jersey retirement ceremony at 12:45pm, prior to the Lions' West Coast Conference match against San Diego.
Noriega will become just the fifth volleyball player in LMU history to have her number retired, an honor reserved for the top athlete, student, and person. Her jersey will join those of four other LMU volleyball greats: Tracy Holman (1994-97), Sarah McFarland (1997-2000), Mardell Wrensch (1992-95), and Kealani Kimball (2000-2003).
Noriega led the Lions from 1994 through 1997, but recently completed her degree in psychology from LMU in ¬¬the spring of 2007. She was an AVCA first-team All-American, a Volleyball Magazine All-American, a three-time All-West Coast Conference first-team selection and the 1997 WCC Player of the Year. She was also a three-time All-District VIII honoree and was LMU's Female Athlete of the Year for the 1997-98 school year.
The Ulysses, Kan., native was a member of three WCC Championship teams with the Lions. In her senior season, she was named the February National Player of the Month by Volleyball Magazine. That year she posted 614 kills and led the nation with a kill average of 6.90, both of which still rank her third in LMU history.
Noriega helped the Lions to their most successful season in program history in 1996, when the team advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. Playing opposite the setter, she led the Lions to a 26-3 overall record, a perfect 14-0 mark in conference play, and a WCC crown.
Noriega still pervades the LMU career record books, ranking third all-time in kills (1,446), second in kill average (4.71), third in attack percentage (.319), sixth in total attempts (3,019), sixth in block average (0.97), and ninth in total blocks (298). She also still holds the NCAA record for kills in a four-game match, when she recorded 47 kills on November 7, 1997, against San Diego. Thus, it is especially appropriate that her jersey will be retired prior to a match against the Toreros.
Before she could complete her undergraduate degree while at LMU, Noreiga went on to play with USA Volleyball and the United States National Team. In her first season with the squad, she played in 68 games and tallied 191 kills. Then in her second year, Noriega played in 144 games and led team USA with 409 kills, 82 blocks, and 28 service aces. The National team qualified for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, and Noreiga had an impressive performance at the Summer Games, recording 185 kills and a .393 kill percentage, which ranked her fourth on the team.
For Noriega, the jersey retirement ceremony will commemorate more than just outstanding athletic achievement. It will also celebrate athlete who competed at the very highest level, yet returned to complete her college education. Fans coming out to Gersten Pavilion will have the chance to be a part of this LMU Athletics history, when Noriega's jersey is unveiled in the rafters on October 13, just before the Lions take the court against San Diego.
The Lions open the 2007 season this weekend at the USC Trojan Invitational.