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USF Volleyball Travels to Milwaukee for Marquette Challenge

Sept. 12, 2006

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SAN FRANCISCO HEADS NORTH FOR HORNET INVITATIONAL: USF travels to the Midwest this weekend to compete in the Marquette Challenge. The Dons captured their second straight tournament title of the season, winning the 2006 Sacramento State Hornet Invitational after posting a 4-0 record against Syracuse (3-0), the host Hornets (3-2), UC Riverside (3-0) and Western Kentucky (3-1). Junior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg earned MVP honors for the second consecutive weekend, while sophomore middle blocker Alix Gombos earned her third consecutive all-tournament selection. Junior outside hitter Brynn Maurer also was named to the all-tournament for the second time this season.

2006 MARQUETTE CHALLENGE ScheduleFriday, Sept. 15Stony Brook vs. Manitoba  - 4:00 p.m. CTSan Francisco vs. Marquette - 7:00 p.m. CTSaturday, Sept. 16San Francisco vs. Stony Brook  - 10:30 a.m. CTManitoba vs. Marquette - 12:30 p.m. CTSan Francisco vs Manitoba - 4:30 p.m. CTStony Brook vs. Marquette - 7:00 p.m. CT

HASSELBERG NINTH ON USF CAREER KILLS LIST: Junior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg elevated her game at the right time, helping the Dons capture its second consecutive tournament title at the 2006 Sacramento State Hornet Invitational. Hasselberg collected MVP honors - for the second straight weekend - averaging 4.27 kills on .285 hitting to go along with 1.93 digs. Hasselberg cracked the career top-10 kills list against UC Riverside and then moved into ninth place with her 13th kill against Western Kentucky (9/9), passing Sharon Mellen (1984-87), who recorded 876 and finished the day with 879. Next up is Laura Tinetti (1997-2000), who compiled 976, good for eighth place. For her career, Hasselberg averages 3.86 kills per game, the top mark in program history. So far this season, Hasselberg averages 4.53 kills and 2.03 digs per game.

MAURER EYES DONS CAREER DIGS LIST: Junior outside hitter Brynn Maurer moved into third place on the USF career digs list, passing Amanda Willnerd (1998-2001), who recorded 1,059. Maurer enters the fourth week of the season with 1,079 and needs 158 to become the Dons all-time leader. USF Hall-of-Famer Melanie Kaiser (1988-91) owns the record with 1,236. After moving to outside hitter for 2006, Maurer averages 2.83 kills on .248 hitting and 3.17 digs.

GOMBOS AND MAURER EARN ALL-TOURNAMENT SELECTION: Sophomore middle blocker Alix Gombos and junior outside hitter Brynn Maurer earned all-tournament honors for the second consecutive week after helping the Dons post a 4-0 record en route to the Sacramento State Hornet Invitational title. It is the third straight all-tournament nod of the season for Gombos who averaged 3.07 kills on .327 hitting to go along with 0.80 blocks, while Maurer earned her second all-tournament nod, averaging 2.93 kills and 2.73 digs.

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).

SACRAMENTO STATE HORNET RECAP: USF captured its second straight tournament title at the 2006 Sacramento State Hornet Invitational. The Dons went 4-0 with wins against Syracuse (3-0), the host Hornets (3-2), UC Riverside (3-0) and Western Kentucky (3-1). USF hit .247 for the week and held a 243-186 kills advantage. Tournament MVP Kristin Hasselberg led the way offensively, averaging 4.27 kills, while all-tournament pick sophomore middle blocker Alix Gombos added 3.07 kills on .327 hitting to go along with 0.80 blocks. Junior outside hitter Brynn Maurer earned all-tournament honors, averaging 2.93 kills and 2.73 digs. Freshman libero Haley Carroll turned in a strong weekend, leading the tourney in digs (5.53) and added eight aces, while sophomore setter Darcy Carroll added 7.67 assists and 1.67 digs for the Dons.

DONS IN TOURNAMENTS: San Francisco earned its second straight tournament victory of 2006 at the Sacramento State Hornet Invitational. USF opened the season with its second straight win at the Powerade/Asics Classic. The Dons 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, winning the 2005 Delaware Invitational and the 2005 USF Powerade/Asics Classic in back-to-back weeks. Since Jeff Nelson's arrival on the Hilltop in 2003, San Francisco has won nine tournaments, including an unblemished 4-0 record in 2003. In his 12th season, Nelson has guided teams to 25 tournament titles.

USF AGAINST 2005 NCAA TOURNAMENT TEAMS: With a pair of wins at the 2006 Sacramento State Hornet Invitational, USF improved to 4-0 on the season against 2005 NCAA Tournament teams - Siena, 3-0 (8/26), UC Santa Barbara, 3-1 (9/3), Sacramento State, 3-2 (9/8) and Western Kentucky, 3-1 (9/9).

DONS TOUGH AGAINST THE EAST COAST: With USF's victory against Syracuse (9/8) at the Sacramento State Hornet Invitational, the Dons improved to a remarkable 22-3 against East Coast schools since 2000. USF's last setback came to perennial national power No. 7 Penn State in 2004. San Francisco has won 10 straight matches against the right coast.

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 hbxrutcher@usfca.edu or at (415) 422-2769.

UP NEXT FOR THE DONS: San Francisco begins a busy week traveling to the East Coast for four matches. The Dons take on New Jersey I&T on Thursday, before competing in the Long Island Blackbird Invitational beginning Friday, September 22 in Brooklyn. USF will take on Cornell, the host Blackbirds and Saint Francis.

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). A five-time all-tournament selection and three-time MVP Hasselberg set a career-high with 33 kills in a 3-2 win against North Carolina (9/3/05) and posted the first 20-20 match of her career with 24 kills and 22 digs at UC Davis (11/22/05). 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) and has three already in 2006. Hasselberg enters the fourth week of her junior campaign averaging 4.53 kills on .227 hitting to go along with 2.03 digs.

MAURER DIGS DEFENSE: Already one of the elite defensive players to ever wear the Green and Gold, junior libero Brynn Maurer will shift to outside hitter for the 2006 season. Maurer enjoyed a strong debut outside, averaging 2.67 kills on .264 hitting to go along with 3.89 digs in the USF Powerade/Asics Classic. Maurer enters the fourth week of the year with the program's career digs record in sight and currently sits in third place with 1,079. 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 23 times and has tallied double-digits 55 times in 61 career matches.

GOOD GOLLY GOMBOS: Sophomore middle blocker Alix Gombos continued a strong start to the 2006 season, earning her third consecutive all-tournament selection at the Sacramento State Hornet Invitational, averaging 3.07 kills on .3275 hitting to go along with 0.80 blocks per game. Gombos recorded 15 kills on .419 hitting to go along with a career-high 10 blocks against San Jose State (9/1). Gombos also collected all-tournament selection at the Arizona Invitational, averaging 3.10 kills on a team-best .481 hitting to go along with 0.90 blocks and recorded 12 kills on .474 hitting against No. 18 Arizona (8/26). Gombos hammered a career-high 16 kills in a win at Sacramento State (9/8). Gombos leads the team in hitting percentage (.379) and is second in kills (3.03).

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.

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 fourth week of the 2006 season with 2,671 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. So far, Kartchner averages 6.61 assists and 1.57 digs per game as a senior in the Dons new 6-2 alignment.

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 season-high in assists the next night against Gonzaga (11/12) with 49. Entering the fourth week of the 2006 season, Carroll leads the team averaging 9.45 assists per game, including a career-high 70 against San Jose State (9/1) to go along with 1.81 digs. With 293 assists in 31 games this season, Carroll is just 87 shy of surpassing her freshman tally established in 63 games.

SISTER ACT 2: Sophomore Darcy Carroll will likely see a very familiar face in the lineup this season - younger sister freshman libero Haley. It is the second pair of sisters competing on the same team for the Dons in the last four seasons. The first pair were Theresa (2003-05) and Katherine (2004-present).

TAKING THE FIFTH: San Francisco posted its eighth straight five-game match victory with a thriller at Sacramento State (9/8) at the 2006 Hornet Invitational, improving to 2-0 on the season in five games. The Dons 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 13-6 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.

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.

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). So far in 2006, the Colorado native averages 1.06 kills and 1.00 blocks per game.

DOUBLE-DOUBLE BERGER: Redshirt 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. Berger hammered a career-high 18 kills to go along with 14 digs in a 3-2 win at Sacramento State (9/8) for her second double-double. On the year Berger ranks second on the team in kills (3.11) and is third in digs (2.43).

Haley Carroll ENJOYS STRONG START: Freshman libero Haley Carroll enjoyed a strong start to the 2006 season, leading the team in digs with 4.50 per game at the 2006 Arizona Invitational. The younger Carroll was even better during the USF Powerade/Asics Classic recording 26 digs against San Jose State (9/1) and followed it up with 24 digs and four aces against UC Santa Barbara (9/3). Carroll recorded a career-high 34 digs at Sacramento State (9/8), the fourth best single-match tally in program history. Carroll leads the team in digs (5.24) and service aces (17). Carroll leads the West Coast Conference in digs and is fifth in aces (0.50).

Carly Babin CLOGGING THE MIDDLE: Sophomore middle blocker Carly Babin had big shoes to fill in replacing three-year starter KeLicia Shorts and so far has done a solid job for the Dons. Babin enters the fourth week of 2006 leading USF and the West Coast Conference in blocks (1.22). The Las Vegas native recorded a career-high 11 blocks against UC Santa Barbara (9/3) tied for fifth place among USF single-match leaders and recorded a career-high 12 kills against San Jose State (9/1).

LOTTA BLOCKS: USF is getting solid production out of sophomore middle blockers Carly Babin and Alix Gombos. In the 2006 USF Powerade/Asics Classic Gombos recorded a career-high 10 blocks against San Jose State (9/1). Not to be outdone, Babin responded with 11 in the title match against UC Santa Barbara (9/3), good for a share of fifth place in the Dons single-match record books. Babin reached double-digit blocks for the second time in less than a week with 10 at Sacramento State (9/8). San Francisco averages 2.41 blocks per game this season.

DONS AMONG WCC TEAM LEADERS: USF ranks in the top four among West Coast Conference statistical leaders in the following categories (As of 9/11):

Assists: 3rd (14.56); Opponent hitting percentage: 2nd (.157); Kills: 3rd (15.91); Service Aces: 3rd (1.94) Blocks: 2nd (2.47) and Digs: 2nd (16.29).

DONS AMONG WCC INDIVIDUAL LEADERS: USF has several players ranked in the top-10 among West Coast Conference leaders in the following categories (As of 9/11):

Carly Babin - Blocks: 1st (1.22);Darcy Carroll - Assists: 7th (9.45); Aces: 9th (0.42);Haley Carroll - Aces: 5th (0.50); Digs: 1st (5.24);Alix Gombos - Attack Percentage: 3rd (.379); Blocks: 5th (1.03);Kristin Hasselberg - Kills: 3rd (4.53); Points: 3rd (5.19);Linzy Kearney - Blocks: T-6th (1.00)