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WCC Women's Volleyball Weekly Notes

Aug. 23, 2006

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Santa Clara Tops 2006 WCC Preseason Coaches Poll
Santa Clara University was picked as the unanimous favorite to repeat as West Coast Conference champions in 2006. The Broncos racked up 64 points, receiving all eight first place votes to sweep the poll. Pepperdine was picked to finish second with 55 points. San Diego was tapped for third place with 45 points, while Saint Mary's (36) nudged past Loyola Marymount (35) for fourth. San Francisco (27), Gonzaga (17) and Portland (9) took the sixth through eighth spots, respectively.

Women's Volleyball 2006 Preseason Poll
1. Santa Clara - 64 (8)
2. Pepperdine - 55
3.San Diego - 45
4.Saint Mary's - 36
5.Loyola Marymount - 35
6. San Francisco - 27
7. Gonzaga - 17
8.Portland - 9
(First place votes)

Upcoming Games

Aug. 25
1Gonzaga vs. Washington St. - 8:00 AM
2Saint Mary's at Troy - 10:00 AM
3San Francisco vs. No. Colorado - 11:30 AM
1Gonzaga vs. Weber St. - 1:00 PM
2Saint Mary's vs. Florida A&M - 4:00 PM
4San Diego vs. Hofstra - 4:00 PM
5LMU vs. Utah Valley St. - 5:00 PM
Pepperdine at Hawai'i - 5:00 PM
3San Diego vs. Seattle - 7:00 PM
6Santa Clara vs. Pacific - 7:00 PM

Aug. 26
2Saint Mary's vs No. Florida - 6:00 AM
1Gonzaga vs. North Dakota St. - 7:00 AM
5LMU vs. Northeastern - 10:00 AM
3San Francisco vs. Siena - 10:00 AM
1Gonzaga at South Dakota St. - 12:00 PM
4San Diego vs. Cal St. Northridge - 12:30 PM
6Santa Clara vs. Kansas St. - 4:00 PM
Pepperdine at Hawai'i - 5:00 PM
5LMU at Arizona St. - 7:00 PM
3San Francisco at Arizona - 7:00 PM
4San Diego at San Diego St. - 7:00 PM

Aug. 27
6Santa Clara at Fresno St. - 1:00 PM

Tournament Key
1South Dakota State Jackrabbit Tournament
2 Troy Hampton Inn Spiketackular
3 Arizona Wildcat Classic
4 San Diego State Invitational
5 Arizona State Tournament
6 Fresno State Tournament

Gonzaga Bulldogs (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
-The Zags return four starters and 10 letterwinners.

-Gonzaga welcomes back junior outside hitter Becky Jones (4.10 kpg, 2.92 dpg) who earned All-WCC Honorable Mention honors last season and led the team in both kills and digs per game.

-The Zags also return junior middle blocker Briawna Mueller (2.13 kpg, 1.14 bpg) who held down the defense last year, posting 31 solo blocks. Look for Jones, Mueller and the rest of the Zags' junior class to lead the team on the floor.

-Junior setter Heather Dunn (10.29 apg, 1.98 dpg) spreads the ball around for Gonzaga, setting five different players for over 100 kills in 2005.

-Gonzaga open the season at South Dakota State's Jackrabbit Tournament.

Loyola Marymount (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
-LMU earned its third consecutive NCAA Tournament bid in 2005 and its seventh in 10 years.

-Junior opposite Heather Hughes (3.27 kpg, 4.18 apg, 2.42 dpg) was the Lions' only All-WCC first team selection in 2005 after leading the squad in kills.

-LMU loses five players who combined for 483 kills in 2005, but look for junior outside hitter Christianna Reneau (2.98 kpg, 3.99 dpg) to contribute again this year. Last season Reneau finished sixth in the conference in digs and was second on the team in both kill and dig average.

-Head Coach Steve Stratos begins his 17th season at the helm for LMU, where he has compiled a career record of 314-153.

-The Lions kick off 2006 at the Arizona State Tournament.

Pepperdine Waves (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
-Last season, the Waves made their eighth appearance in the NCAA Tournament in the past nine years and made the school's sixth visit to the Sweet 16.

-Pepperdine is ranked No. 19 in the CSTV/AVCA Division I Preseason Coaches Poll.

-Though the Waves lose five players from last season, they return five starters and welcome prepvolleyball.com's seventh-ranked recruiting class in the nation.

-Seniors middle blocker Sophia Milo (3.24 kpg, 1.38 bpg) and defensive specialist Kekai Crabbe (3.55 dpg) return to the Waves after training with the US A2 National Team over the summer. Milo was named to the All-WCC first team and finished the season as the third best blocker in the conference.

-Pepperdine tips of the season at perennial powerhouse Hawai'i on 8/25.

Portland Pilots (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
-Portland returns three starters and eight total letterwinners from its team that went 5-22 last season.

-Returning to the back row for Portland is senior libero Murphy McClenahan (5.07 dpg) who was third in the WCC in dig average and helped the Pilots finish second in the conference in the same category.

-With the loss of two starting outside hitters, junior Kelly Whitehouse (2.16 kpg, 2.57 ppg) should play a bigger role in the Pilots' offense in 2006.

-Junior outside hitter Nicole Thometz (2.96 kpg, 2.60 dpg) is a top returner for Portland, racking up 26 service aces to finish eighth in the conference in ace average.

-Portland begins the season hosting Pacific Northwest rival Washington State on 8/29.

Saint Mary's Gaels (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
-Saint Mary's, which finshed last year as the fourth place team in the WCC, returns six starters including three All-WCC selections.

-The Gaels became the first team in school history to reach the NCAA Tournament in three consecutive years in 2005.

-Junior outside hitter Missie Stidham (4.64 kpg, 3.08 dpg, 0.80 bpg) returns for Saint Mary's after leading the team in kills and digs per game last year. Stidham joined senior setter Mandy Bible (12.53 apg) on the all-conference first team in 2005.

-Senior outside hitter Cassandra Kolkka (2.58 kpg, 2.62 dpg) returns after her 259 digs last season placed her at No. 4 on the Gaels' all-time list with 1,057 career digs.

-Saint Mary's kicks off 2006 at the Troy University Hampton Inn Spiketackular this weekend.

San Diego Toreros (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
-The Toreros tied for second place in the WCC last season with a 10-4 conference record.

-San Diego named Brent Hilliard as its interim head coach for the 2006 season while Jennifer Petrie takes the year off.

-Look for senior middle hitter Christie Dawson (4.27 kpg, .74 bpg) to lead the Toreros this season. Dawson had the fourth best kill average in the conference and led the team in blocks per game on her way to becoming an All-America honorable mention selection last year.

-Senior outside hitter Kristen Carlson (5.36 kpg) earned both the Golden Bear and San Diego Invitational Most Valuable Player awards before an injury cut her 2005 season short.

-San Diego begins its season at the San Diego State Invitational this weekend.

San Francisco Dons (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
-With all six returning starters, San Francisco looks to improve upon last season's sixth place finish in the WCC. The Dons welcome back an experienced roster featuring one senior, five juniors and five sophomores.

-Junior libero Brynn Maurer (5.06 dpg) enters the 2006 season in the hunt for the school's career digs record after breaking her own single-season record with 546 in 2005. Maurer needs just 234 digs this season to break the record of 1,236 set by Melanie Kaiser in 1991.

-Junior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg (4.51 kpg, 2.21 dpg) is the top returner for USF after earning a spot on the All-WCC honorable mention team with the third best kill average in the conference in 2005.

-USF opens 2006 in Tucson at the Arizona Wildcat Classic on 8/25.

Santa Clara Broncos (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
-The defending WCC champions enter the 2006 season ranked No. 6 in the nation, their highest preseason ranking ever. Head Coach Jon Wallace led the Broncos to the school's and conference's first-ever Final Four appearance in 2005.

-Although the Broncos lost All-American opposite Cassie Perret to graduation, they welcome back six starters including four 2005 All-WCC selections.

-Juniors middle blocker Anna Cmaylo (3.26 kpg, 1.14 bpg) and setter Crystal Matich (13.92 apg, 1.81 dpg) were AVCA All-America honorable mention selections for their efforts last season.

-Sophomore outside hitter Brittany Lowe (3.39 kpg, 3.06 dpg), the 2005 WCC Freshman of the Year, provides a double-threat for Santa Clara with her offensive and defensive abilities.

-Santa Clara starts the season this Saturday at the Fresno State Tournament.

Three WCC Teams Ranked Among The Nation's Elite
Coming off of its most successful volleyball season in history, the WCC placed three schools in the 2006 CSTV/AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll for the second straight year. Santa Clara garnered a No. 6 ranking after its trip to the Final Four in 2005. Pepperdine checked in at the No. 19 spot, while San Diego earned a No. 20 ranking. The three teams were also ranked in the final AVCA poll of 2005. The WCC was one of just four conferences to place at least three teams in the poll.

WCC Among The Elite Volleyball Conferences In The Country
In 2005, the WCC proved itself again as one of the top volleyball conferences in the country. The WCC sent five of its eight volleyball teams to the NCAA Tournament in 2005, giving the conference 18 tournament teams in the past four years with five appearances in the Sweet 16. Adding to the conference's elite status is its fourth-straight top 10 women's volleyball RPI ranking in 2005.

WCC RPI Rankings
20054th
20046th
20034th
20027th