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Busy Week Ahead For Toreros

Aug. 29, 2006

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STILL ON THE ROAD: The 20th-ranked University of San Diego will continue its 10-match road swing to open the 2006 season with a trip to Lincoln, Neb. to square off with the top-ranked Cornhuskers of the University of Nebraska on Tuesday in a 5 p.m. match. The Toreros will then head back to Southern California to compete in the UCI Nike Invitational hosted by UC Irvine. USD will open play in the tournament against the host Anteaters on Thursday evening at 7 p.m. On Friday, USD will take on the University of Michigan in a 4:00 p.m. match followed by a 4:30 p.m. match on Saturday against Iowa State University.

LAST TIME OUT: USD is off and running in the 2006 season as this past week they recorded a perfect 3-0 record. USD began its season with a sweep over Hofstra University at the San Diego State Tournament. In the match senior Christie Dawson led all players with a match-high 18 kills and both Laurel Abrahamson and Jessica Andersen chipped in six kills apiece. Laura Murphy dished out a match-best 32 assists. On Saturday, the Toreros continued to roll as they swept away the Matadors of Cal State Northridge. Dawson, Abrahamson and Kristen Carlson all recorded double digit kills with Dawson leading the way with her match-best 18 kills, Abrahamson had 12 kills and Carlson had 10 kills. Jessica Nyrop, playing in her first match of the season, recorded a match-best 35 assists and Kayleen Webster had a match-high 13 digs. In the second match on Saturday, the Toreros downed cross-town rival San Diego State, 3-1. Dawson recorded her first double-double of the season with 16 kills and 12 digs. Carlson had a match-high 21 kills on 43 attempts for an attack percentage of .395. Nyrop also had a double-double as she recorded a match-best 50 assists and 12 digs.

SCOUTING THE CORNHUSKERS: The University of Nebraska enters the match ranked No. 1 in the AVCA preseason top-25 poll. This will be their first match of the season. In 2005, NU finished the season as the national runner-up to Washington, tallying a 33-2 overall record and 19-1 Big-12 conference mark. The Huskers also claimed their eighth Big 12 crown. The Huskers are under the direction of John Cook, who was crowned as the 2005 AVCA National Coach of the Year. Nebraska also returns reigning conference player of the year, Sarah Pavan.

SCOUTING THE ANTEATERS: UC Irvine enters the week with a 0-2 record after being swept by both the University of Oregon and Portland State University this past weekend. Freshman McCall Miller has 19 kills and a 3.17 kills per-game average to lead the Anteaters. The outside hitter also tops the team in service aces with two and is second in digs with 17. The Anteaters and Toreros have met on 31 occasions with UCI holding a 21-10 series advantage.

SCOUTING THE WOLVERINES: The University of Michigan enters the week with a perfect 4-0 record after picking up wins against Western Kentucky University, Binghampton, Wright State and Toledo this past week. The Wolverines are led by Katie Bruzdzinski with her team-best 56 kills on 156 attempts for an attack percentage of .446. Stesha Selsky leads the team in digs with 68 and sets with 180. Michigan is under the direction of eighth-year head coach Mark Rosen who has posted a 331-136 career record.

SCOUTING THE CYCLONES: Iowa State University enters the week with a 3-0 record after picking up wins over the University of Iowa, Drake University, and Chicago State this past week. The Cyclones are led offensively by Erin Boeve who has a team-best 35 kills on 69 attempts for an attack percentage of .318. Nicole Lorenzen leads the team in digs with 32. Iowa State is under the direction of second-year head coach Christy Johnson who has posted a 19-15 overall record during her tenure at ISU. San Diego and Iowa State have never met before in the sport of women's volleyball.

2006 GAMETRACKER AVAILABLE: All San Diego volleyball home matches can be followed via Gametracker on the Toreros athletic web site at www.usdtoreros.com. Gametracker is a service of Online College Sports, the official web provider for San Diego athletics, and is a real time update of the action. Selected San Diego road games are also available via Gametracker. To see if Gametracker is available for a game go to San Diego Events at the top-right of the home page. If Gametracker is available there will be a Gametracker link.

DAWSON STARTING OUT STRONG: Senior Christie Dawson has started yet another strong season for the Toreros. Over this past weekend Carlson racked up a team-best 52 kills on a 113 attempts for a attack percentage of .274 and also registered five service aces. Carlson, who is also second on the team in digs with 21, was a huge reason the Toreros are off and running to a 3-0 start. In this past Saturday's match against San Diego State University she recorded her first double-double of the season as she recorded 16 kills and 12 digs to help lead USD to the 3-1 win.

SHE'S BACK: USD's outside left-handed hitter Kristen Carlson has made a full recovery from her season-ending injury in 2005 and is picking up from where she left off. Before Carlson went down in 2005, she was ninth in the nation in kills, and through three matches she is second on the team in kills with 36. This past Saturday, against San Diego State she racked up a match-best 21 kills to help lead USD to a 3-1 win against their cross-town rival.

COACHING CHANGE: The Toreros are under the direction of a new/familiar face. Brent Hilliard, USD's top assistant for the past five seasons, has been moved to the interim head coach as USD's current head coach Jennifer Petrie who will be taking the semester off to spend time with her new born son Charles, her two-year old daughter Jane, as well as time with her husband Mark. Petrie, who just completed her seventh year, will return to her head coaching position for the 2007 season. Hilliard brings a wealth of volleyball experience to the head coaching position as he has won at the highest levels of volleyball. During his tenure at USD, the Toreros have advanced to the NCAA Tournament all five season's with a program-best Sweet 16 appearance in 2004. Hilliard was a catalyst for the 1991 Long Beach State men's volleyball national championship team en route to earning the NCAA Player of the Year award. In 1992, Hilliard was a member of the bronze medal winning U.S. Olympic team, and one year later, he helped the U.S. earn a silver medal at the Pan American Games. Hilliard continued his volleyball career as a professional in Europe from 1995-1998, playing two seasons in Belgium and one season in the Netherlands. In 1996, Hilliard and the Maasiek Volleyball club from Belgium won the country's championship and competed in the European Champions League.

NYROP'S "SWEET HANDS" LEADS SETTERS: Jessica Nyrop has waited a long time for this season to come, to finally be the starting setter for the Toreros. The past two season's Nyrop has been patiently waiting for this opportunity as she was the back-up setter to USD's all-time assists leader, Lindsay Sherburne. Now the wait is over and she had proven that the Toreros will not miss a beat with her as the primary setter. Thus far she leads the team in assists with 86, not bad considering she missed the first match of the season.

ABRAHAMSON PROVIDES ANOTHER THREAT: Laurel Abrahamson provides the Toreros with yet another solid force at the net. Abrahamson is third on the team in kills with 27 and has an attack percentage of .396.

ANDERSEN GETTING IT DONE: Jessica Andersen has splashed onto the scene at USD and is giving USD another weapon in the front line for opposing teams to worry about. Anderson is fourth on the team in kills with 19 and has 10 blocks on the season.

FRESHMAN SENSATION: Freshman middle hitter Amy DeGroot has came in and made an immediate impact for the Toreros in three matches. The Frenchtown, Mont. native has posted solid numbers in her first three collegiate games. She has 13 kills on 24 attempts for a attack percentage of .458, the highest among all USD players with double digit kills. DeGroot has also been a force on the defensive side of things as she has registered a team-leading 16 blocks.

TOREROS PICKED TO FINISH THIRD IN WCC: The University of San Diego was tabbed to finish third in the WCC, according to a preseason poll conducted by the conference head coaches. 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 University was picked to finish second with 55 points. San Diego was tapped for third place with 45 points, while Saint Mary's College (36) nudged past Loyola Marymount University (35) for fourth. The University of San Francisco (27), Gonzaga University (17) and the University of Portland (9) took the sixth through eighth spots, respectively.