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Volleyball Preps For New Mexico State Tournament

Sept. 6, 2006

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STILL ON THE ROAD: The University of San Diego (3-2) will conclude its 10-match road swing to open the 2006 season with a trip to Las Cruces, N.M. to square off against the University of Wyoming, the host, New Mexico State University, and Idaho State University this upcoming weekend. The Toreros will open play in the Tournament on Friday with a 12:00 p.m. match against Wyoming, followed by a 6:00 p.m. match with the host New Mexico State. USD will conclude play in the tournament with a 10:30 a.m. match against Idaho State on Saturday.

LAST TIME OUT: USD recorded a 2-2 record this past week picking up wins against UC Irvine and Iowa State University, and dropping matches to Nebraska and Michigan University. USD began the week at top-ranked Nebraska, but were swept by the Cornhuskers. In the match, Kristen Carlson had a double-double for the Toreros with her match-best 13 kills and also had 12 digs. Christie Dawson chipped in with nine kills and Jessica Nyrop had a team-best 26 assists. The Toreros then bounced back with a 3-2 win against UCI. In this match, Jessica Andersen led all Toreros in kills with 12, while Carlson was the only other Torero to register double digit kills with 11. Dawson and Erin Wiskar chipped in eight kills a piece to help lead USD to victory. Nyrop had a match-high 53 assists and Laurel Abrahamson had a match-high four blocks. As a team, USD had a hitting percentage of .188. The Toreros were then upset by Michigan, 3-0. In the loss, Carlson led the team in kills with 12 and both Moira McCarthy and Andersen each chipped in with eight kills. Nyrop had a team-best 24 assists. USD as a team had an attack percentage of .200. The Toreros then closed out the week on a winning note as they beat Iowa State 3-2. In the match, Carlson had a double-double as she added 11 digs to go along with her 23 kills and attack percentage of .228. Dawson had a match-best attack percentage of .577 and Abrahamson was the third Torero in double-digit kills with 16. Nyrop had a team-best 61 assists.

SCOUTING THE COWGIRLS: Wyoming enters the week with a record of 5-1 after posting wins against Southern Illinois, Birmingham Southern and New Orleans this past week. With the three wins UW is riding a five match win streak. The Cowgirls are led offensively by Rachel Smith who has a team-best 107 kills (4.86 kills per game) on 279 attempts for an attack percentage of .276. Wyoming is under the direction of third-year head coach Pat Stangle who has posted a 30-31 overall record while in Laramie.

SCOUTING THE AGGIES: The New Mexico State University Aggies enter the week with a perfect 6-0 record after winning four matches this past week against Eastern Michigan, Sacramento State, Texas Tech and UTEP. NMSU is led offensively by Alice Borden who has a team-best 82 kills (3.90 kills per game) on 183 attempts for a .268 attack percentage. New Mexico State is 1-2 all-time against the Toreros with the last meeting coming in the 2004 NCAA Tournament first round match in which USD recorded a 3-0 sweep over the Aggies. NMSU is under the direction of ninth-year head coach Mike Jordan. During his tenure in Las Cruces, he has posted a 112-22 record.

SCOUTING THE BENGALS: Idaho State University enters the week with a 3-5 overall record after dropping their past four contests to Boise State, Murray State, Appalachian State and North Florida. The Bengals are led offensively by Jessica Gurney who has a team-high 78 kills (3.00 Kills per game) on 170 total attempts for an attack percentage of .312. Idaho State is under the direction of seventh-year head coach Mike Welch.

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 matches 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.

CARLSON KILLING THE COMPETITION: San Diego senior outside left-handed hitter Kristen Carlson has been giving opposing teams something to worry about as she has an team best 4.32 kills per game average. This past week, Carlson posted three double-doubles against Nebraska, Michigan and Iowa State, thus giving her season averages of 5.36 kills and 3.03 digs per game. Carlson is also second on the team in digs with 57.

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.

DAWSON STILL LOOKING STRONG: Senior Christie Dawson has continued from where she left off last season, simply dominating. Her 3.92 kills per game average is second highest on the team and she only trails Kristen Carlson by one kill at 94 for the team-lead.

ABRAHAMSON IN THE MIDDLE: Through five matches this season, USD junior middle hitter Laurel Abrahamson has a team-best seven solo blocks and is tied for the team-lead in assisted blocks with 19 for a team-best total of 26. She is averaging 1.04 blocks per game, compared to a career-average of 0.73 per game. Through seven matches, she has a more then half as many solo blocks (seven) as she did in 29 matches last season (13).

YOU GOT SERVED: In her senior year, outside hitter Laura Murphy (Palos Verdes, Calif.) has shown early improvement this season. Her 11 service aces, not only leads the team, but it almost doubles that of her career total of six. Thus far through the young season, Murphy has been a catalyst for several Torero rally's as opposing teams appear to be struggling handling her serves.

SETTING THE TABLE: Junior setter Jessica Nyrop has been successfully coordinating the San Diego attack in her first full season as a starter. Nyrop has been patiently awaiting her time to become the starting setter as she sat behind USD's all-time leader in assists, Lindsay Sherburne, for the past two seasons. Now she is making the most of her opportunity and is proving that the Toreros have not lost a step with Sherburne gone. Over the first five matches of the young season, she is averaging 11.32 assists per game and has helped the Toreros to a team hitting percentage of .228.

JESSICA'S WALL: Junior right side hitter Jessica Andersen has been a huge help for the Toreros this season up front. She is second on the team in total blocks with 23, 19 of which are assisted blocks. On the offensive side of things she has also been a big presence for the Toreros. She has recorded 47 kills on 117 attempts for a attack percentage of .308.

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.

VOLLEYBALL NOW A TICKETED SPORT: All USD volleyball home matches are now a ticketed event, effective at the start of the 2006 season. General Admission tickets will available to the general public on the day of each match. USD faculty, staff, and student tickets will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. General admission tickets are $5 per person.