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Lions Open Season at Arizona State Tournament

Aug. 24, 2006

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BRIEFLY...
Loyola Marymount volleyball opens its 2006 season on the road this weekend at Arizona State'sHilton Phoenix/East Mesa Sun Devil Volleyball Classic (HPEMSDVC). Joining the Lions in thetournament field include the Utah Valley State College Wolverines, the Northeastern UniversityHuskies, and the host Sun Devils. LMU returns five starters plus its libero from last season's NCAAteam, including All-West Coast Conference first-team selection Heather Hughes.

THE HILTON PHOENIX/EAST MESA SUN DEVIL VOLLEYBALL CLASSIC...
This weekend's tournament hosted by Arizona State has the Lions starting competition Fridayagainst Utah Valley State. LMU continues Saturday morning with a match against Northeastern,before facing the Sun Devils in the 7:00 p.m. match Saturday night.

THE HPEMSDVC MATCH-UPS...
LMU: The Lions open the 2006 season coming off their third straight NCAA appearance. Theyfinished fifth in the competitive WCC last season, going 7-7 in conference play. LMU returns fivestarters plus its libero. Head Coach Steve Stratos is 324-153 in his 16 seasons with the Lions.
UVSC: The Wolverines open the 2006 season after going 18-11 as an indepent program last season.UVSC also returns five starters. Head Coach Sam Atoa is 177-72 in his seven seasons with theWolverines. This weekend will mark the first meeting between LMU and UVSC.
NU: The Huskies open the 2006 season after going 11-16 in 2005. Four starters return for HeadCoach Ken Nichols, who is 114-80 in his five seasons at Northeaster. LMU leads the all-time serieswith the Huskies 2-0.
ASU: The Sun Devils open the 2006 season after going 8-20 in 2005. They finished eighth in the Pac-10 after posting a 3-15 record in conference last season. ASU returns 12 letterwinners for Head CoachBrad Saindon, who is 27-55 in his three seasons at ASU. LMU leads the all-time series with the SunDevils 4-3.

AMONG THE NATION'S BEST...
The Lions are already among the nation's best, beginning the season earning votes in the AVCA'stop-25 preseason poll. LMU earned 18 votes, placing them in the nation's top-35 vote-getters. TheLions are also ranked 42nd in the Rich Kern.com preseason poll.

WCC SENDS FIVE TO 2005 NCAA TOURNAMENT...
Led by Head Coach Steve Stratos, the Lions were one of five West Coast Conference programsto make the postseason in 2005, as LMU joined Santa Clara, San Diego, Pepperdine, and SaintMary's in the NCAA tournament. For the second time in three seasons, the WCC led allconferences in percentage of teams to qualify for the tournament, sending 62.5 percent of itsprograms to the postseason. The Big 12 Conference leads all leagues in number of participatingteams, with seven teams selected. The WCC finished the 2005 season ranked fourth in thefinal volleyball conference RPI rankings.

GREAT SCHEDULING...
The Lions have once again compiled a challenging schedule for the 2006 season. LMU will playseven matches against teams ranked in the 2006 AVCA preseason top-25 poll. The WCCcoaches picked the Lions to finish fifth in conference action.

TRIO OF LIONS AMONG 2005 ALL-WCC SELECTIONS...
Three Lions were among those honored by the West Coast Conference for their performanceduring the 2005 conference season. Heather Hughes was a first-team selection, while thenseniorDina DeBernardi received her third career honorable mention recognition. Emily Daywas selected to the conference's All-Freshman team.

THE NEWS ON THE NEWCOMERS...
This season, the Lions welcome five newcomers to the program. One comes in the form of atransfer, in setter Ashley Dutro (UC Santa Barbara). Dutro will share the setting duties withreturning starter sophomore K.C. Walsh. Tina Moger, Megan Nash, Becky Stehling, and MorganKelly come to LMU as freshman, with Nash among the early possibilities for a starting job asthe Lions' libero.

THE STATS ON STRAT...
Head Coach Steve Stratos led the Lions to a third-straight NCAA postseason in his 16thcampaign at the helm of the program with a 16th straight winning season. In his time at LMU,Stratos has led the Lions to nine 20-win seasons and 11 postseason appearances. Stratos hastallied a career record of 324-153, the most victories in LMU volleyball history and secondamong current WCC coaches. In league action, he owns a mark of 157-67, good for a .701winning percentage. Posting 157 career conference victories, Stratos again ranks second amongcurrent WCC coaches. During the 2004, Stratos reached the 300-win milestone with a 3-0 winover the University of Portland in Gersten Pavilion.

-GO LIONS-