Aug. 30, 2006
DONS HOST SPARTANS AND GAUCHOS AT POWERADE/ASICS CLASSIC: San Francisco welcomes Bay Area rival San Jose State and perennial national power UC Santa Barbara to the Hilltop for the 2006 USF Powewrade/Asics Classic beginning Friday, September 1 with a 7:00 PM match against the Spartans and Dons. USF posted a 2-1 record last week at the Four Points Sheraton Arizona Invitational with sweeps against Northern Colorado and Siena before dropping a 3-1 thriller to No. 18 Arizona. Freshman outside hitter Anna Berger, sophomore middle blocker Alix Gombos and junior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg earned all-tournament honors for the Dons.
2006 USF Powerade/Asics Classic ScheduleFriday (9/1)San Jose State vs. USF7:00 PMSaturday (9/2)UC Santa Barbara vs. SJSU4:00 PMSunday (9/3)UC Santa Barbara vs. USF2:00 PM
HASSELBERG TIED FOR THIRD ON SINGLE-SEASON KILLS: Junior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg continued to produce for the Dons at the 2006 Arizona Invitational and earned all-tournament honors averaging 4.20 kills, 1.40 digs and 1.00 aces per game, including a match-high 18 kills against No. 18 Arizona. Hasselberg moved into 13th place on the career kills list against Siena (8/26), finishing the weekend with 767 and now needs 44 to move past former teammate KeLicia Shorts (2002-05) who sits in 12th place with 811; 90 to crack the top-10 list. The Carlsbad native emerged as a dominant force for the Dons last season, averaging 4.51 kills per game to go along with 2.21 digs and 44 service aces. Hasselberg ranked third among West Coast Conference kills and points (5.22) leaders, earning WCC Honorable Mention selection. Hasselberg reached double-figures in kills 28 times as a sophomore, including nine matches with 20 or more and led the Dons with 10 double-doubles (kills/digs).
DOUBLE-DOUBLE BERGER: Freshman outside hitter Anna Berger wasted no time in making her presence felt, recording her first career double-double with 16 kills on .333 hitting and tallied 16 digs at No. 18 Arizona. Berger earned all-tournament honors, averaging 3.67 kills on .234 hitting to go along with 3.33 digs and four aces.
GOMBOS ENJOYS STRONG SOPHOMORE START: Sophomore middle blocker Alix Gombos enjoyed a strong start to the 2006 season, averaging 3.10 kills on a team-best .481 hitting to go along with 0.90 blocks. Gombos matched her career-high with 12 kills on .474 hitting and added four blocks against No. 18 Arizona and earned all-tournament selection in the process. The West Linn, OR native is nine kills shy of matching her freshman tally.
HEAD COACH Jeff Nelson ENTERS FOURTH YEAR AT THE HELM: USF head coach Jeff Nelson enters his fourth season on the Hilltop focused on guiding the Dons back to the NCAA Tournament for the second time during his tenure on the Hilltop. Nelson propelled San Francisco to the first NCAA berth in program history in 2003. With a 3-2 victory against North Carolina (9/3) at the 2004 Powerade/Asics Classic, Nelson became the program's all-time wins leader (42) and ended the season with 53. Nelson captured his 200th career victory with a sweep of Portland November 6, 2004. In his 12th season as a head coach, Nelson needs seven West Coast Conference wins for the all-time league wins record currently held by Laurie Corbelli (1986-89).
ARIZONA INVITATIONAL RECAP: USF turned in a solid performance in its 2006 debut at the Four Points Sheraton Arizona Invitational last weekend. The Dons posted convincing sweeps against Northern Colorado and Siena before suffering a tough 3-1 setback against No. 18 Arizona. Three Dons earned all-tournament honors - freshman outside hitter Anna Berger (3.67 kpg, 3.33 dpg), sophomore middle blocker Alix Gombos (3.10 kpg, .481 attack, 0.90 blocks) and junior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg (4.20 kpg, 1.40 digs, 1.00 aces) - in collecting runner-up honors. San Francisco hit at a .214 clip for the weekend and allowed its opponents a .110 pace. The Dons held advantages in kills, 148-108, assists, 130-99, aces, 26-14 and digs 152-138. USF missed some key opportunities against the host Wildcats, squandering a couple big leads in game one before eventually falling 32-30. The Dons started two juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen during the opening weekend.
DONS IN TOURNAMENTS: San Francisco won two of its three tournaments in 2005, while Hurricane Rita forced the postponement of the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Invitational featuring the host Islanders, Prairie View A&M and Texas Pan-American. The Dons opened the season in impressive fashion at the 2005 Delaware Invitational, winning the championship with sweeps of New Hampshire and Pittsburgh and a 3-1 victory against the host Blue Hens. USF improved to 7-0 on the season after capturing the title of the 2005 USF Powerade/Asics Classic dispatching William and Mary (3-1), Long Island (3-0), Fresno State (3-0) and North Carolina (3-2). Since Jeff Nelson's arrival on the Hilltop in 2003, San Francisco has won seven tournaments, including an unblemished 4-0 record in 2003. In his 11th season, Nelson has guided teams to 23 tournament titles.
USF VOLLEYBALL CELEBRATES 30 YEARS: San Francisco celebrates its 30th anniversary season in 2006 and will recognize the top-18 players in program history prior to the October 21 West Coast Conference match against Portland and will host a post match honors banquet. For more information, please contact Hannah Crutcher in the volleyball office at email@example.com or at (415) 422-2769.
UP NEXT FOR THE DONS: San Francisco travels to the state capitol for the 2006 Sacramento State Hornet Invitational beginning Friday, September 8 at Hornet Gym. The Dons take on Syracuse and the host Hornets on the opening day, before squaring off against UC Riverside and Western Kentucky on Saturday.
HAMMERING HASSELBERG: Junior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg looks to continue her emergence as one of the most dominant outside hitters in program history. A 2005 All-West Coast Conference Honorable Mention selection despite ranking third among league leaders in kills (4.51) and points (5.14), Hasselberg shattered the Dons underclassmen kills record, tallying 725 in her first two seasons on the Hilltop, 91 in front of Theresa Hart (2003-04). The two-time all-tournament selection earned MVP honors at the 2005 USF Powerade/Asics Classic after pounding a career-high 33 kills in a 3-2 win against North Carolina. Hasselberg eclipsed her freshman kills total (212) in the 13th match of the season with her third of 17 kills against Cal Poly (9/13). With 24 kills at UC Davis (11/22), Hasselberg reached 20 kills for the ninth time in 2005. The Carlsbad native paced the team in kills 26 times last season while posting a team-high 10 double-doubles. Hasselberg enters the second week of 2006 ranked 13th on the career kills list with 767 and needs 90 to crack the top-10.
MAURER DIGS DEFENSE: Already one of the elite defensive players to ever wear the Green and Gold, junior libero Brynn Maurer enters the 2006 season with the program's career digs record in sight. Maurer shattered the underclassmen digs record with 1,003, nearly 400 more than the runner-up and became the first player in school history to surpass 500 in a season, tallying 546 as a sophomore, breaking her own record of 457. USF Hall-of-Famer Melanie Kaiser (1988-91) is the career digs leader with 1,236. Maurer led the Dons with 5.06 digs per game, including a career-high 33 against San Jose State (9/6/05), good for fourth place on the USF single-match charts. Maurer recorded 32 digs against Sacramento State (9/20) marking the fourth time in her career she has tallied at least 30 in a single match. Since her arrival on the Hilltop, Maurer has surpassed 20 digs 21 times and has tallied double-digits 51 times in 55 career matches.
KARTCHNER CLIMBING THE CHARTS: Senior setter Jamie Kartchner enters her final season of collegiate volleyball focused on leading USF to the second NCAA appearance in program history. A two-year starter after transferring from Weber State, Kartchner became just the fourth setter in school history to record 1,000 assists in back-to-back seasons. Kartchner dished out 1,040 assists in 2005 after setting the single-season record with 1,479 in 2004 for a two-year total of 2,519 good for fifth place on the career charts. The Pleasant Grove, UT native enters the second week of the 2006 season with 2,535 and is chasing Molly McEnery (1994-96), who currently sits in fourth place with 2,928. Kartchner was named to the 2005 Delaware Invitational and the 2005 USF Powerade/Asics Classic all-tournament teams and averaged 10.51 assists and 1.91 digs.
Jeff Nelson ENTERS FOURTH YEAR: When the Jeff Nelson era began at USF February 13, 2003, few could have anticipated the radical changes he would make on a team coming off just six victories in 2002. In just his first season on the Hilltop, Nelson transformed the Dons into one of the greatest stories in volleyball during the 2003 campaign, guiding San Francisco to the best start (15-0) and the greatest record turnaround (+17) in the history of volleyball in the West Coast Conference. The Dons magical "Season of Firsts" was capped by a berth in the 2003 NCAA Tournament - the first in program history. After three highly successful recruiting classes, Nelson looks to lead the Dons back to the postseason in 2006. Nelson is assisted on the bench by Steve Hendricks, in his second season on the Hilltop after spending eight seasons as the top assistant at Notre Dame and Jackie Bernardin, who enters her first year at USF after a standout playing career at San Diego.
KEARNEY COMES ON FOR THE DONS: Junior middle blocker/opposite hitter Linzy Kearney enters 2006 ready to build upon a strong sophomore campaign. Kearney, who was named a team co-captain, erupted for 15 kills on .700 hitting to go along with two blocks against William and Mary (9/2) and then set a career-high with 16 kills in a win against San Jose State (9/6). Kearney established career-highs in virtually every statistical category last season, averaging 1.65 kills to go along with 0.97 blocks per game. Kearney tied a three-game match record with 11 blocks against Cal Poly (9/13).
GOOD GOING GOMBOS: After a monster spring season and a standout preseason, sophomore middle blocker Alix Gombos looks poised for a big year in 2006. Last season, the PrepVolleyball.com All-American wasted little time etching her name in the USF record books. In her first career start against Delaware (8/27), Gombos tied the program single-match record for attack percentage at .833 (10 kills, 0 errors, 12 attempts). Gombos equaled setter Kristina Bognar (15, 0, 18) who accomplished the feat at Gonzaga (10/12/00).
CARROLL COMING ON STRONG: Sophomore setter Darcy Carroll turned in a solid freshman season running the offense. During West Coast Conference play, Carroll averaged 8.61 assists and 1.70 digs per game and earned 2005 West Coast Conference Freshman Team honors. Carroll turned in the first double-double of her career against Portland (11/11) with 43 assists and a career-high 11 digs. The Gilroy native set her career-high in assists the next night against Gonzaga (11/12) with 49.
DONS EARN VOTES IN 2006 AVCA PRESEASON POLL: San Francisco earned votes in the 2006 AVCA Preseason Poll for the first time in program history. Six West Coast Conference teams earned votes, headlined by No. 6 Santa Clara, No. 19 Pepperdine and No. 20 San Diego. Loyola Marymount and Saint Mary's also collected votes along with the Dons. Five teams advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season from the WCC, which ended the season ranked No. 4 in RPI. At least three schools have advanced to the NCAA Tournament each year since 1997 with a league all-sport record of six qualifying in 2003.
USF THROWS HUGE BLOCK PARTY IN 2005: San Francisco broke the program total blocks record in 2005 with 293.0, 10 more than the 1999 squad and rated third in blocks per game with 2.55. Since Jeff Nelson arrived on the Hilltop for the 2003 season, USF has recorded top statistical seasons in six of 12 overall categories and has posted 23 top-five season marks.
TAKING THE FIFTH: USF turned in an impressive 6-0 record in five-game matches in 2005 after going 0-4 during the 2004 campaign. Since head coach Jeff Nelson took over the reigns in 2003, the Dons are 11-6 in matches going the distance. USF was 5-2 in five sets during its "Season of Firsts", with its only two setbacks coming against No. 13 Loyola Marymount and No. 5 Pepperdine.