Aug. 23, 2007
PEPPERDINE TABBED AS FAVORITE IN WCC PRESEASON POLL
Pepperdine was selected as the favorite to capture the 2007 West Coast Conference 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. San Diego, the defending WCC Champions, was tabbed second with 52 overall points and one first place vote. The Toreros edged Santa Clara, which was selected third with 50 overall points and also received one first place vote. Loyola Marymount was tabbed fourth with 37 overall points, followed by San Francisco (30). Saint Mary's was selected sixth with 27 overall points and picked up a first place vote. Gonzaga (23) and Portland (8) round out this year's poll in seventh and eighth place, respectively.
Women's Volleyball 2007 Preseason Poll
1. Pepperdine - 61 (5)
2. San Diego - 52 (1)
3. Santa Clara - 50 (1)
4. Loyola Marymount - 37
5. San Francisco - 30
6. Saint Mary's - 27 (1)
7. Gonzaga - 23
8. Portland - 8
(First place votes)
1 Portland vs. Northern Colorado - 12:30 PM
2 Saint Mary's vs. Eastern Washington - 12:30 PM
3 Pepperdine vs. Pittsburgh - 3:00 PM
4 Santa Clara vs. Cal State Fullerton - 3:00 PM
5 Gonzaga vs. Canisius - 3:30 PM
6 Loyola Marymount vs. St. John's - 5:00 PM
2 Saint Mary's vs. Utah State - 5:00 PM
1 Portland at Washington State - 7:00 PM
San Diego at Long Beach State - 7:00 PM
7 San Francisco at Washington - 7:00 PM
5 Gonzaga vs. UC Irvine - 9:00 AM
4 Santa Clara vs. Texas-San Antonio - 9:30 AM
6 Loyola Marymount vs. Michigan State - 10:00 AM
3 Pepperdine vs. Georgia Tech - 12:00 PM
7 San Francisco vs. CS Northridge - 1:00 PM
1 Portland vs. South Dakota State - 3:00 PM
3 Pepperdine at Arkansas - 5:00 PM
7 San Francisco vs. Fresno State - 5:00 PM
5 Gonzaga at Montana - 6:00 PM
4 Santa Clara at Boise State - 6:00 PM
6 Loyola Marymount at USC - 7:00 PM
2 Saint Mary's at Arizona - 7:00 PM
1 Baden Cougar Challenge; 2 Arizona Tournament; 3 Arkansas Invitational; 4 Boise State Tournament; 5 Montana Tournament; 6 USC Tournament; 7 Washington Tournament
AROUND THE WCC
WCC Among The Elite Volleyball Conferences In The Country
Over the last five seasons, the West Coast Conference has established itself as one of the premier women's volleyball conferences in the country. For the second consecutive season and the third time in the last four years, the WCC owned a national top five RPI.
WCC RPI Rankings
2006 - 5th
2005 - 4th
2004 - 6th
2003 - 4th
2002 - 7th
How Sweet It Is
Last season, San Diego advanced to the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals, marking the sixth consecutive season that the WCC was represented in the Sweet Sixteen, and the eighth time in the last nine years.
WCC Sweet Sixteen Teams
2006 - San Diego
2005 - Pepperdine and Santa Clara (NCAA Final Four participant)
2004 - Saint Mary's and San Diego
2003 - Pepperdine
2002 - Pepperdine
2001 - Pepperdine
1999 - Pepperdine
1998 - Pepperdine
All eight WCC teams return several key players in 2007. In all, the WCC returns five All-WCC first team members and eight of the 10 players who earned All-WCC honorable mention. The returning first team All-WCC members include: Laurel Abrahamson of San Diego, Anna Cmaylo from Santa Clara, Kristin Hasselberg from San Francisco, Heather Hughes of Loyola Marymount and Julie Rubenstein from Pepperdine.
WCC TEAM NOTES
Gonzaga Bulldogs (0-0 / 0-0 WCC) - The Zags will field one of the most experienced teams in the WCC, returning 14 letterwinners from last season.
- Gonzaga welcomes back seven starters from last season, including four seniors in Heather Dunn, Becky Jones, Briawna Mueller and Alecia Douglas. Both Dunn and Jones earned conference honorable mention accolades in 2006, the second such honor for Jones.
- Gonzaga posted a 4-10 mark in WCC action. The four conference wins were the most by the Bulldogs since the 2001 season.
- Dunn and Jones tied for fourth in the WCC in double-doubles last season with 15 apiece.
- Gonzaga tips off the season this weekend at the Montana Tournament where they will take on Canisuis (8/24), UC Irvine (8/25), and the host Grizzles (8/25).
Loyola Marymount (0-0 / 0-0 WCC) - The Lions return 11 letterwinners and seven starters from last season's squad that posted a 19-12 overall record.
- The Lions return two players that earned All-WCC honors last season in seniors Heather Hughes and Christianna Reneau. Hughes earned her second consecutive All-WCC first team honor, while Reneau was named to the honorable mention team.
- LMU returns its top three kills leaders from last season in junior outside hitter Emily Day, Hughes, and Reneau. The trio combined for 1,247 kills last season, the most of any three returning teammates in the WCC. In addition, Hughes ranked second in the WCC with 20 double-doubles in 2006, while Day and Reneau tied for sixth with 13 apiece.
- The Lions open the season at the Trojan Invitational where they will take on St. John's (8/24), Michigan State (8/25), and USC (8/25).
Pepperdine Waves (0-0 / 0-0 WCC) - The Waves received five first place votes to earn the top spot in the 2007 WCC volleyball preseason poll, as selected by the conference coaches.
- The Waves welcome back 9 letterwinners, including five starters from last season's 16-12 squad that advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 18th time and the ninth time in the last 10 seasons.
- Four players that earned All-WCC honors in 2006 return to lead the Waves in 2007, including All-WCC first team member Julie Rubenstein. Setter Kiah Fiers is the reigning WCC Freshman of the Year and earned all-conference honorable mention status, along with sophomore outside hitter Rachel Lumsden, while Kayla Walker was selected to the All-WCC freshman team.
- The Waves open the season at the Arkansas Invitational where they will take on Pittsburgh (8/24), Georgia Tech (8/25), and the host Razorbacks (8/25).
Portland Pilots (0-0 / 0-0 WCC) - The Pilots return six starters and 10 letterwinners overall from last season's squad.
- Senior outside hitter Nicole Thometz, senior setter Kara Pein, and sophomore outside hitter Maria Clemens each tallied seven double-doubles last season to lead the Pilots.
- Thometz lead UP last season with 3.19 kpg, while chipping in 2.77 dpg.
- Thometz also boasts one of the most effective serves in the WCC, tallying 48 service aces last season to lead the WCC with a .53 service aces per game average. Led by Thometz, the Pilots led the WCC in service aces with 1.94 per game.
- The Pilots tip off the season at the Baden Cougar Challenge where they will face Northern Colorado (8/24), host Washington State (8/24), and South Dakota State (8/25).
Saint Mary's Gaels (0-0 / 0-0 WCC) - The Gaels return four starters and eight letterwinners overall from last season's 11-14 squad.
- SMC boasts one of the best blockers in the nation in junior middle blocker Brittany Barker. Barker led the WCC and ranked 11th in the nation in blocks with 1.59 blocks per game, while chipping in 1.69 kills per game. Led by Barker, the Gaels paced the WCC in blocks for the fifth straight season, averaging 3.25 per game.
- Sophomore middle blocker Megan Burton led all WCC freshman with a .258 attack percentage. Burton, who was named to the All-WCC freshman team, averaged 1.26 kills per game and ranked 10th in the conference in blocks with 1.02 blocks per game.
- Saint Mary's heads to Tucson, AZ to participate in the Arizona Tournament. The Gaels will face Eastern Washington (8/24), Utah State (8/24), and the host Wildcats (8/25).
San Diego Toreros (0-0 / 0-0 WCC) - The Toreros enter the 2007 season ranked No. 15 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) preseason poll.
- USD, coming off of its second trip to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 in the past three seasons, returns 11 letterwinners and three starters from last season's WCC championship team.
- The Toreros return three players that earned All-WCC honors last season in senior middle blocker Laurel Abrahamson (All-WCC first team), junior setter Jessica Nyrop (All-WCC honorable mention) and sophomore libero Andrea Csaszi (All-WCC freshman team).
- San Diego has posted a 37-5 (.881) record during conference play the last three seasons, while capturing two WCC titles.
- San Diego opens the season at Long Beach State (8/24).
San Francisco Dons (0-0 / 0-0 WCC) - Gilad Doron became the ninth head coach in program history, replacing Jeff Nelson, who departed to take the head job at New Mexico.
- The Dons return six starters and 12 letterwinners overall from last season's squad that tied a school record with 23 wins (23-10).
- The Dons return one of the top players in the conference in senior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg. Hasselberg averaged 4.57 kills per game to rank second in the conference en route to All-WCC first team honors. She enters the season ranked fifth on the Dons' career kills chart with 1,219 and needs 300 to vault into first place, currently held by former USF standout Brittanie Budinger (2000-03) at 1,518.
- USF opens the season in the Pacific Northwest as the Dons take on Washington (8/24), Cal State Northridge (8/25) and Fresno State (8/25) at the Husky Invitational.
Santa Clara Broncos (0-0 / 0-0 WCC) - Santa Clara opens the season ranked No. 24 in the preseason AVCA preseason poll.
- The Broncos, picked third in the WCC preseason coaches poll, welcomes back 11 letterwinners from last season's squad that posted a 20-8 overall record and finished third in the WCC with a 9-5 mark.
- Senior libero Caroline Walters earned All-WCC honorable mention status for the third consecutive season in 2006. Walters led the Broncos and ranked fourth in the WCC with 4.54 digs per game. Walters enters the season with 1,456 career digs, already ranking her second on Santa Clara's all-time list and fifth on the WCC's career charts.
- The Broncos begin the 2007 campaign at the Boise State Tournament where they will face Cal State Fullerton (8/24), Texas-San Antonio (8/25), and Boise State (8/25).