Aug. 23, 2007
WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE: The 15th-ranked University of San Diego women's volleyball team will open their 2007 campaign on the road this Friday at No. 19 Long Beach State. The Toreros and 49ers will square off for a 7 p.m. match inside of the old Gold Mine on the campus of LBSU.
PETRIE RETURNS TO THE SIDELINES: Ninth-Year head coach Jennifer Petrie took the fall semester of 2006 off to spend time with her new born son Charles, her three-year old daughter Jane, as well as time with her husband Mark, and let her top assistant for the previous five seasons, Brent Hilliard, take the reigns for the season. She has now returned to continue to lead the USD volleyball program. Petrie has done an outstanding job directing the fortunes of San Diego volleyball since taking over as the Toreros head coach in 1999. Honored as the 2004 West Coast Conference Coach of the Year, Petrie continues to establish the University of San Diego as one of the top volleyball programs in the nation. In seven complete seasons as head coach, Petrie has led San Diego to six appearances in the NCAA Tournament (1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, & 2005).
TOREROS PICKED TO FINISH THIRD IN WCC: Pepperdine University was selected as the favorite to capture the 2007 WCC women's volleyball regular season title, as selected by the conference coaches. The Waves garnered five first place votes and tallied 61 overall points to earn the top spot. USD, the defending WCC Champions, was tabbed second with 52 overall points and one first place vote. The Toreros edged Santa Clara University, which was selected third with 50 overall points and also received one first place vote. Loyola Marymount University was tabbed fourth with 37 overall points, followed by the University of San Francisco (30). Saint Mary's College was selected sixth with 27 overall points and picked up a first place vote. Gonzaga University (23) and the University of Portland (8) round out this year's poll in seventh and eighth place, respectively.
SCOUTING THE BEACH: Long Beach State will also open their 2007 season this Friday against the Toreros. LBSU is coming off its 20th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament and have received a preseason ranking of No. 19 by the AVCA. Long Beach State returns five seniors from last season's team including All-American Alexis Crimes, who posted 411 kills (3.7 kpg) and hit for a .377 clip in 2006. The 49ers also welcome back first-team All-Big West honoree Michaela Hasalikova, who posted 318 kills (2.92 kpg) in 2006 in helping LBSU to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. This will mark the 14th meeting between the two programs with LBSU holding a 10-3 edge over the Toreros. Long Beach State is under the direction of 23rd-year head coach Brian Gimmillaro. During his tenure at The Beach, Gimmillaro has posted a record of 604-141.
LAST TIME VS. LBSU: The last time USD squared off against Long Beach State was during the first round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament, when USD received 24 kills from former Torero great Christie Dawson, to oust the 49ers by game scores of 30-28, 25-30, 30-26 and 30-28.
THREE ALL-WCC PLAYERS RETURN: The Toreros return three All-WCC performers from a year ago, in senior middle hitter Laurel Abrahamson, junior setter Jessica Nyrop and sophomore libero, Andrea Csaszi. Entering her final season in a Torero uniform, Abrahamson enjoyed a break-out type season in 2006 as she posted career-best numbers with 363 kills (3.13 kpg), a team-leading .326 attack percentage and team best 89 blocks en route to a first-team All-WCC selection. Nyrop, an All-WCC honorable mention honoree in 2006, set a new program record for single-season assists with 1,546 while directing the Toreros offense to a .255 team attacking percentage. Csaszi posted 285 digs in her freshman season, ranking her second on the team en route to a All-WCC Freshman team selection.
TWO FAB-50 FRESHMAN ON THE ROSTER: Freshmen Ashton Basch and Ali Troost have been tabbed as two of the Fab-50 freshman, according to Volleyball Magazine. Basch joins the Toreros after having a standout career at El Toro High School. While at El Toro, she helped the Chargers win the Orange County Championship, a CIF Southern Section final appearance and a trip to the CIF State tournament. The coaching staff is excited to add Basch to their roster and expect good things from her. Troost comes to San Diego after taking home first-team All-CIF and All-Riverside county honors as a sophomore, junior and senior. She also helped lead her team to the CIF simi finals during her junior campaign and was named the Sunkist League MVP during both her junior and senior season's.
THE POLLS: The American Volleyball Coaches Association has released their preseason top-25 poll and the University of San Diego checks in at No. 15, the highest preseason ranking in the history of the program. Long Beach State also is ranked in the preseason poll, as they come in at No. 19. USD will play eight teams on the preseason poll, including a home match with No. 5 UCLA on Sept. 15 at 7 p.m.
TOREROS IN OPENERS: The University of San Diego women's volleyball team has posted a 6-1 record in season-openers under the direction of ninth-year head coach Jennifer Petire, with the only loss coming in the 2004 season when they lost their season-opener to the University of Hawaii.
ONE CARLSON GONE, ANOTHER ARRIVES: The 2006 WCC Player of the Year, Kristen Carlson, has graduated and left USD, but the Toreros are not without a Carlson, as the younger sister of Kristen, Collen Carlson, has arrived on campus. The younger Carlson joins the Toreros after taking home first-team All-Sierra League honors all four years at Damonte Ranch High School. She was named Sierra League MVP as a senior en route to leading her team to the league and state championship. Collen will compete for playing time in the middle and outside positions.
DeGROOT LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT: Sophomore outside hitter, Amy DeGroot came on strong towards the end of the 2006 season and played a big role in USD advancing into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. In the postseason, DeGroot averaged 2.09 kills per game and led the team in attacking percentage at a .328 clip. Overall, she posted 99 kills, a .242 attack percentage and had 34 blocks in the 2006 season. Taking great strides this spring converting from a middle hitter to the outside hitter position, head coach Jennifer Petrie feels DeGroot is ready to make a big impact.
RIGHT SIDE HELP: The Toreros are looking to be a more diversified team in the 2007 season, and USD can look to the right side players to assist in this. On the right side, the Toreros will turn to some senior experience in Jessica Andersen to help get the job done. Andersen posted 141 kills and 42 blocks in 2006, her first full season as a starter. The coaching staff is looking forward to her competitive attitude and desire to win to help propel the Torero team to another successful season. Freshman Ali Troost is also expected to see time on the court in the right side position.
WISKAR BACK FOR HER FOURTH YEAR: The outside hitters will also be a valuable asset to the 2007 Toreros. Senior Erin Wiskar, a three-year starter for the Toreros, will make her return for her final season after a very successful junior campaign in which she posted 147 kills, 199 digs and 50 blocks.