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Volleyball Hosts WSU Wednesday

Aug. 27, 2007

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TOP STORY: Gonzaga University opens its 2007 home schedule when it welcomes Washington State University to the Martin Centre on Wednesday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. The Cougars, who are 3-0 after winning the Baden Cougar Challenge, are making only their third appearance to the Martin Centre in 16 years. After the WSU match, the Bulldogs will host the Gonzaga Volleyball Tournament Aug. 31-Sept. 1. The tournament features the University of Washington, currently ranked 8th in the CSTV/AVCA Top-25 poll, Morgan State University and Boise State University.

WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS: This will be the 28th meeting between Washington State University and Gonzaga University and only the third meeting at the Martin Centre in 16 seasons. The Cougars played at Gonzaga in 1991 and 2005; winning both contests. WSU won the Baden Cougar Challenge to open the 2007 season by defeating the University of Portland (3-0), Northern Colorado University (3-1) and South Dakota State University (3-0). Washington State is led by Tara West and Maureen Perez. West is averaging 4.50 kills per game and has a .452 hitting percentage. Setter Perez is averaging 13.30 assists and 2.00 digs per game. The Cougars will match-up against the University of Idaho on Tuesday, Aug. 28 before playing the Bulldogs.  

BOISE STATE BRONCOS: This will be the 18th meeting between Boise State University and Gonzaga University, with BSU holding the 12-6 advantage in the all-time series. The Broncos have won the last three meetings, including a 3-0 victory at the Boise State Tournament in 2006. Boise State enters the tournament with a 2-1 record after having defeated UTSA (3-0) and Cal State Fullerton (3-0) and falling to #24 Santa Clara University (3-0) to open the 2007 campaign.

MORGAN STATE BEARS: This will be the first meeting between Morgan State University and Gonzaga University. The Bears have yet to play a match in 2007, but did finish the 2006 season with a 22-8 overall record and an 8-1 record in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Morgan State was one match away from the NCAA Tournament, losing in the MEAC Championship to Florida A&M 3-0. The Bears are led by libero Ashley Preston and outside hitter Esther Johnson.

WASHINGTON HUSKIES: This will be the 11th meeting between the University of Washington and Gonzaga University. The Huskies lead the all-time series 8-2 and have won five-straight. Washington last played at the Martin Centre in 1990 in the Gonzaga September Classic; dropping a 3-2 decision to Gonzaga. The Huskies are coming off impressive back-to-back seasons. UW won it's first-ever NCAA Division I women's volleyball championship in 2005 finishing the season with an impressive 32-1 slate and nearly repeated in 2006 before falling in the final four. Washington enters the tournament with a 3-0 record after winning the Husky Classic. UW defeated the University of San Francisco (3-0), Fresno State (3-0) and Cal State Northridge (3-0). Freshman Becky Perry is leading the way for UW averaging 5.57 kills, 1.29 digs and 1.89 blocks per game.

A LOOK AHEAD: After the Gonzaga Volleyball Tournament, the Gonzaga University volleyball team will have one days rest before hosting the University of Montana on Monday, Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs then hit the road for the University of New Mexico Tournament; their third tournament of the season. The tournament will be Sept. 7-8 and will also feature host New Mexico, Bowling Green State University, and Northern Colorado University.

RUBY'S MONTANA TOURNAMENT RECAP: The Gonzaga University women's volleyball team got off to a great start in 2007 finishing the Ruby's Montana Invitational with a 2-1 record. The Bulldogs defeated both Canisus College and host University of Montana 3-0 and fell to tournament champion UC Irvine 3-1. Both Elaina Renius and Heather Dunn were named to the All-Tournament team.

OPEN THE SEASON WITH A W: The Gonzaga University women's volleyball team earned a 3-0 sweep of Canisius College to open its 2007 season. It was the first Bulldogs season-opening win since the 2001 campaign when they defeated Boise State University 3-1. It also was the first Zag season-opening sweep since the 1999 when they defeated Whitworth 3-0.

BEST START IN 10 YEARS: The Gonzaga University women's volleyball team has begun the 2007 season with a bang. The Bulldogs closed out their opening weekend at the Ruby's Montana Tournament with a 2-1 record; their best start in 10 years. GU swept both Canisius College and the University of Montana, while falling to UC Irvine. The last time the Zags started the season off 2-1 was during the 1997 campaign when they defeated Wichita State and Texas Arlington, before falling to Washington State. Gonzaga has never started the season out with two sweeps.

ALL-TOURNAMENT: Senior Heather Dunn and junior Elaina Renius, members of the Gonzaga University women's volleyball squad, were both named to the Ruby's Montana All-Tournament team. Dunn closed out the tournament averaging 12.10 assists, 1.80 kills, and 3.20 digs per game, while Renius averaged 4.20 kills and 0.70 blocks per game along with .507 attacking percentage. 

A STAR RETURNS: Outside hitter Michelle Boevers returned to the court for Gonzaga University for the first time in nearly a year and a half. Boevers, who redshirted 2006 season with a knee injury, seems to have jumped in exactly where she left off. The sophomore averaged 2.29 kills, 1.57 digs and 0.57 blocks over the three matches at the Ruby's Montana Tournament. She also had a team-best five service aces during the Tournament.

A MINOR SETBACK: The Gonzaga University women's volleyball squad was looking forward to redshirt freshman Kelsey Bashaw hitting the court again in 2007 but a late summer knee injury has sidelined her for the season. Bashaw was projected to be the back-up setter to senior setter Heather Dunn. Newcomer Allyson Powell, a defensive specialist, will now inherit the roll of back-up setter.

NEWCOMER MAKES HER MARK: Gonzaga University women's volleyball freshman Allyson Powell has made an immediate impact on the Bulldogs' squad. Powell played and started in all three matches at the Ruby's Montana Tournament. She finished the tournament with 18 digs, three service aces and three assists.

HEAD COACH Kip Yoshimura: Kip Yoshimura enters his sixth year as  Gonzaga University's head coach. Yoshimura has compiled a 33-117 record during his first five plus years with the Bulldogs. A former assistant coach at Gonzaga during the 1992 season, Yoshimura has complied a 282-188 career record which includes nine seasons at Lewis-Clark State College where he guided the Warriors to nine-straight NAIA tournament appearances. A 1990 graduate of Long Beach State University, Yoshimura entered the coaching ranks as a student-assistant on Long Beach State's 1989 NCAA National Championship team.

BULLDOGS TABBED 7TH IN WCC COACHES POLL: Gonzaga University's women's volleyball team has been picked to finish seventh in the West Coast Conference this season in a pre-season vote of the conference coaches. Pepperdine University was selected as the favorite to capture the 2007 WCC regular season title. The Waves garnered five first place votes and tallied 61 overall points to earn the top spot.

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