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Lions Host Four Points Sheraton-LAX Classic

Sept. 7, 2006

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BRIEFLY...
Loyola Marymount volleyball (5-2) continues tournament play at home this weekend, hosting the LMU Four Points Sheraton-LAX Classic Friday and Saturday in Gersten Pavilion. LMU will face UC Irvine (0-5) Friday, and SMU (6-1) and Nevada (4-2) on Saturday. The Lions have won three straight matches and will look to extend that streak in Gersten Pavilion this weekend.

THE LMU FOUR POINTS SHERATON-LAX CLASSIC...
For the second straight weekend, the Lions will host three teams in tournament play. In this weekend's LMU Four Points Sheraton-LAX Classic, SMU and Nevada kick things off with a 4:30 p.m. match on Friday. The Lions follow, playing UC Irvine at 7:00 p.m. Saturday morning opens with a 10:00 match featuring Nevada and UC Irvine. The Lions and Mustangs follow at 12:30 p.m. Following the afternoon break, SMU and UC Irvine play at 5:00 p.m. LMU and Nevada close the tournament with a match at 7:30 p.m. An awards ceremony follows the 7:30 p.m. match. The Lions hold the advantage in the all-time series with all three opponents at this weekend's Classic.

THE LMU FOUR POINTS SHERATON-LAX CLASSIC MATCH-UPS...

LMU: The Lions have won three straight matches, and will look to improve upon their 3-1 home record. Last week saw the Lions top Fresno State, Cal State Fullerton, and defending ACC Champion North Carolina. LMU only fell to 11th-ranked Tennessee, pushing the Lady Volunteers to four games after winning the first game 30-14. In LMU's last four matches, Heather Hughes has averaged 4.29 kills and 3.29 digs per game, while hitting .295. She has also tallied 12 aces in four matches.

NEVADA: The Wolf Pack enters the weekend's tournament 4-2 under the leadership of Coach Devin Scruggs. Nevada won its own At&T Invitational last weekend, defeating Montana 3-1 and sweeping Pacific 3-0. Teal Ericson, Karly Sipherd, and Jorgan Staker were named to the all-tournament team. LMU leads the all-time series with Nevada 5-1, with the last meeting coming in 2005 at the Sacramento State Invitational. The Lions won that meeting 3-0.

SMU: The Mustangs begin the Classic 6-1, marking the best program start in program history. SMU has won two straight tournaments at home, featuring wins over Auburn, Texas-Arlington, and Toledo. The Mustangs' duo of Rachel Giubilato and Caitlin Rainbird led the team with three double-doubles each. LMU leads the all-time series with SMU 1-0, after defeating the Mustangs at last year's Cal State Fullerton Invitational.

UC IRVINE: The Anteaters come into the Classic with an 0-5 record. UCI suffered three straight losses last weekend, including a 3-2 thriller to then-20th-ranked San Diego before falling to Iowa State and Michigan at the UCI Nike Invitational. The Anteaters' Devon Sutherland ranks fourth in the Big West in digs per game (4.65). LMU leads the all-time series with UCI 12-8, including a 3-0 road win in 2005.

HUGHES HUGE IN FIRST HOME TOURNEY...
Heather Hughes led the Lions to the 2-1 finish in last weekend's LMU-USC Hilton LAX Invitational. The junior co-captain averaged 4.18 kills per game and 3.00 digs, while hitting .271. Most notably, Hughes tallied 10 service aces in three matches. She now ranks third in aces in the WCC. She also ranks fourth in kills and eighth in digs.

SVORINICH SET FOR STELLAR SENIOR SEASON...
In her fourth year with the Lions' volleyball program, senior Cat Svorinich is set to go out with a bang. For three seasons, the 5-6 Svorinich has been a defensive specialist for the Lions, playing in 74 matches as a freshman, sophomore, and junior. But last weekend at the 2006 LMU-USC Hilton LAX Invitational, Lion fans got a glimpse of what the LMU coaching staff saw during the spring season: Svorinich can really set. The senior shared the setting duties in LMU's sweep of Fresno State Saturday morning, earning the start later that night against North Carolina. She finished the weekend with 48 assists, averaging 6.00 a game. Against Fresno State, Svorinich led the LMU offense to hit .358 as a team.

AMONG THE NATION'S BEST...
The Lions opened the 2006 season among the nation's best, earning votes in the AVCA preseason top-25 poll. Eight of the Lions' 2006 opponents also appeared in the poll, either ranking in the top-25 or earning votes.

WCC SENDS FIVE TO 2005 NCAA TOURNAMENT...
Led by Head Coach Steve Stratos, the Lions were one of five West Coast Conference programs to make the postseason in 2005, as LMU joined Santa Clara, San Diego, Pepperdine, and Saint Mary's in the NCAA tournament. For the second time in three seasons, the WCC led all conferences in percentage of teams to qualify for the tournament, sending 62.5 percent of its programs to the postseason. The Big 12 Conference leads all leagues in number of participating teams, with seven teams selected. The WCC finished the 2005 season ranked fourth in the final volleyball conference RPI rankings.

GREAT SCHEDULING...
The Lions have once again compiled a challenging schedule for the 2006 season. LMU will play seven matches against teams ranked in the 2006 AVCA preseason top-25 poll. The WCC coaches picked the Lions to finish fifth in conference action.

THE STATS ON STRAT...
Head Coach Steve Stratos led the Lions to a third-straight NCAA postseason in his 16th campaign at the helm of the program with a 16th straight winning season. In his time at LMU, Stratos has led the Lions to nine 20-win seasons and 11 postseason appearances. Stratos entered the 2006 season with a career record of 324-153, the most victories in LMU volleyball history and second among current WCC coaches. In league action, he owns a mark of 157-67, good for a .701 winning percentage. Posting 157 career conference victories, Stratos again ranks second among current WCC coaches. During the 2004, Stratos reached the 300-win milestone with a 3-0 win over the University of Portland in Gersten Pavilion. Among Division I active coaches, Stratos began 2006 ranking 37th by winning percentage (.679) and 58th by victories (324).

-GO LIONS-