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Tough Tournaments Continue as Lions Host LMU Four Points Sheraton LAX Classic

Aug. 31, 2007

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Loyola Marymount volleyball opened the season last weekend at the USC Trojan Invitational and the tough competition continues this weekend as the Lions host the LMU Four Points Sheraton LAX Classic. LMU, along with UC Santa Barbara, UNLV, and Northwestern, will battle for the tournament title Friday and Saturday in Gersten Pavilion.

It's easy to follow the Lions throughout the 2007 season! Just log on to LMULions.com for all the latest Lion volleyball coverage. All of this weekend's matches will be carried live on the Lions' Audio Network and Gametracker, with links found on the volleyball schedule page. Just click on the current match on the schedule and the links will appear in the window on the right. There is also a special tournament central page dedicated to this weekend's LMU Four Points Sheraton LAX Classic. The link can be found on the top right of the LMU volleyball home page at LMULions.com.

The Lions, who went 12-5 in Gersten Pavilion in 2006, will play their first three home matches of the season this weekend. All three opponents in UC Santa Barbara, UNLV, and Northwestern enter the tournament with winning records after last weekend's season-opening invitationals.
UC SANTA BARBARA: The Gauchos enter the weekend 2-1 after posting wins over Long Island and Fairfield, both by 3-1 scores. UC Santa Barbara lost the season-opener to San Diego State in a five-game thriller in San Diego last Friday. UCSB is led by Lauren McLaughlin, who is averaging 5.23 kills per game.
UNLV: The Rebels also begin the LMU Four Points Sheraton LAX Classic with a record of 2-1. UNLV hosted Arizona State, Texas Tech, and Viriginia last weekend, falling only to Texas Tech in four games. UNLV is led by Maria Aladjova, who is averaging 4.10 kills and 3.20 digs per game.
NORTHWESTERN: The Wildcats are the tournament's only undefeated team, coming into Los Angeles with a 2-0 mark. Northwestern has yet to drop a game this season, topping both Loyola Chicago and Illinois-Chicago 3-0. Courtnie Paulus leads the Wildcats with 4.17 kills and 3.33 digs per game.
LMU: The Lions faced three teams last weekend who will likely see NCAA Tournament action this December and came away with a 3-1 victory over Michigan State. Senior and three-time All-West Coast Conference pick Heather Hughes leads the Lions early with 5.20 kills and 3.30 digs per game.

Senior Heather Hughes tallied 52 kills in 10 games against some of the nation's top competition last weekend at the USC Trojan Invitational. For her efforts, Hughes took home an all-tournament selection. In addition to her 5.20 kills per game, Hughes added 33 digs and five service aces.

Freshman setter Renee Horton was put to the test last weekend in her LMU debut. Horton was the Lions' only available setter after senior and returning starter Ashley Dutro was injured during the pre-match warm-up of Friday's season-opener against St. John's. Horton's response? A statistical double-double in both the match against the Red Storm and in the Lions' win over Michigan State the next morning. Horton finished the weekend with 11.50 assists and 3.20 digs per game. Fellow freshmen Whitney Leonard and Liberty McEntee, both defensive specialists, also saw quality time for the Lions last weekend at USC.

With 131 career service aces, Heather Hughes needs just six more to tie Leslie Wolford's (1985-88) second-place mark of 137. Kim Blankinship (1993-96) holds the LMU record with 157 career service aces.

LMU Head Coach Steve Stratos has posted 17 winning seasons in his 17 years at the helm of the Lion volleyball program. Stratos enters his 18th season with a career mark of 343-165, which ranks him among the nation's top-50 active Division I coaches in winning percentage.