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Volleyball Hosts Invitational This Weekend

Aug. 29, 2006

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Gonzaga Volleyball InvitationalHosted by Gonzaga University - Spokane, WA

FRIDAY - Sept. 1Portland State (1-1) vs. Gardner-Webb (3-0), 5 p.m.GONZAGA (1-3) vs. Connecticut (1-0), 7 p.m.

SATURDAY - Sept. 2Portland State vs. Connecticut, 11 a.m.GONZAGA vs. Gardner-Webb University, 1 p.m.Connecticut vs. Gardner-Webb, 5 p.m.GONZAGA vs. Portland State, 7 p.m.

TOP STORY: Gonzaga University women's volleyball opens its 2006 home slate when it hosts the Gonzaga Volleyball Invitational Sept. 1-2. Its the first tournament the Bulldogs are hosting since the 2003 campaign. GU, who are currently 1-3 on the year, will face-off against the University of Connecticut, Gardner-Webb University and Portland State University in the tournament.

CONNECTICUT HUSKIES: This will be first meeting between the Gonzaga Bulldogs and the Connecticut Huskies and only the sixth match against a Big East Conference member. The Huskies come into the tournament with a 1-0 record after defeating Hartford 3-0 to open the season. UConn was led by Hina Hedierman who finished with 10 kills and Jessica Issac who tallied 13 digs. Connecticut is coached by second-year head coach Holly Strauss.

GARDNER-WEBB BULLDOGS: In its second match of the tournament, Gonzaga University will play Gardner-Webb University, members of the Atlantic Sun Conference. The two schools played each other for the first time last season. GU earned a 3-0 victory en route to the Over the Mountain Invitational championship. GWU currently holds a 0-3 record after dropping each match at the Duke Invitational this past weekend. Gardner-Webb is coached by second-year head coach Chris Phillips.

PORTLAND STATE VIKINGS: In its last match of the tournament, Gonzaga University will face-off against Portland State University, members of the Big Sky Conference. The two schools have meet eight times, with each winning on four occasions. The Vikings currently hold a 1-1 record after defeating UC Irvine 3-0 and falling to Oregon 3-0 at the Oregon Tournament this past weekend. Portland State is coached by 15th-year head coach Jeff Mozzochi.

A LOOK AHEAD: Gonzaga University will travel to Seattle, Wa., to participate in the Washington Tournament Sept. 8-9. The tournament, hosted by the University of Washington, the defending NCAA Division I champions, will also feature North Dakota State and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. The Bulldogs will play UMBC at 5 p.m. on Sept. 8 and then take on North Dakota State (11 a.m.) and Washington (7 p.m.) on Sept. 9.

HEAD COACH Kip Yoshimura: Kip Yoshimura enters his fifth year as Gonzaga University's head coach returns a strong squad for the 2006 season. Yoshimura has compiled a 22-96 record during his first four years with the Bulldogs. A former assistant coach at Gonzaga during the 1992 season, Yoshimura has complied a 273-168 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.

A FAMILIAR FACE ON THE SIDELINES: Kip Yoshimura has added one new coach to his staff in 2006. Abby Cullen returns to her alma mater as an assistant coach after one season as an assistant coach at Central Washington University. Cullen, a four-year starter for the Bulldogs from 2000-03, ranks in the top 10 in the Zags career record book for block assists (3rd, 341), block solos (3rd, 87), total blocks (3rd, 428), total kills (4th, 1,140), attack attempts (7th, 2,917) and games played (8th, 400). She also holds the single-match record for total blocks in a game with 15 and assisted blocks with 13; both recorded against Portland in 2002.

DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Outside hitter Becky Jones started off her junior season strong for Gonzaga University. Jones finished the Jackrabbit Kickoff Classic with 72 kills, 56 digs, three solo blocks, one block assist, three-straight double-doubles and earned all-tournament honors. In a 3-2 victory over Weber State, Jones finished with her first double-double of the season with a team-high 17 kills and a match-high 17 digs. In a tough 3-2 setback to North Dakota State, Jones again led the way for Gonzaga, this time with a match-high 21 kills and team-high 18 digs. Jones continued to dominate, closing out the tournament with a match-high 25 kills, two off her career-high, along with 15 digs in a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to South Dakota State.

SAME SCHOOL JUST DIFFERENT SPORT: After playing two seasons with the Gonzaga University women's basketball team, sophomore Elaina Renius stepped onto the volleyball court for the Bulldogs this past weekend. The 6-4 middle blocker was spectacular in her debut. Over the four games at the Jackrabbit Kickoff Classic she collected 50 kills, a team-high .333 hitting percentage, two solo blocks and 10 block assists. Her best game came in a 3-2 heartbreaking loss to North Dakota State University. She finished with career-high 17 kills, a match-high .583 hitting percentage and one block assist.

JUMPING RIGHT IN: Three freshmen made their Gonzaga University debut at the Jackrabbit Classic this past weekend. Right side hitter Layne Brosky played in all four matches over the weekend and finished with 48 total kills. a .297 hitting percentage, four service aces, eight blocks and eight digs. Brosky's best match was against North Dakota State where she had 17 kills, a team-high .536 attack percentage and four digs. Also playing in all four matches was outside hitter Emily Johnson. Johnson collected 35 kills, two service aces, 12 digs and five total blocks. Her best match was in the Bulldogs 3-2 win over Weber State. She finished with 15 kills, four digs and three total blocks. The final freshman earning her stripes was Caitlin Cozad who saw action in one match and tallied one kill.

A MINOR SETBACK: Gonzaga University was looking forward to the tandem star power of junior Becky Jones and sophomore Michelle Boevers this season, but Boevers suffered a season-ending knee injury late this summer. As a freshman, Boevers ranked second on the squad with 296 kills despite missing the final seven matches of the season. She had double-figure kills in 15 of the 24 matches she played in during 2005.

A STEADY SETTER: Junior Heather Dunn began her second season as the starting setter for Gonzaga University at the Jackrabbit Kickoff Classic. Starting all four matches for the Bulldogs, Dunn finished the tournament averaging 53 assists per game. She dished out a career-high 61 assists in GU's heartbreaking 3-2 loss to South Dakota State to close out the classic. Her previous best was 59 dished out against UC Davis on Sept. 10, 2005.

A NEW LIBERO: After two seasons as a starting defensive specialist for Gonzaga University, junior Alecia Douglas is now the starting libero. She averaged double-figure digs in each match at the Jackrabbit Kickoff Classic this past weekend, including a team-high 20 digs in GU's 3-2 setback to North Dakota State. The 20 digs is only three off her career-high of 23, collected Oct. 1, 2005 against Portland.

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. Santa Clara University was picked as the unanimous favorite to repeat as West Coast Conference champions in 2006.

Women's Volleyball 2006 Preseason Poll
1. Santa Clara - 64 (8)

2. Pepperdine - 55

3. San Diego - 45

4. Saint Mary¹s - 36

5. Loyola Marymount - 35

6. San Francisco - 27

7. Gonzaga - 17

8. Portland - 9