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LMU Hosts UC Irvine Wednesday

Sept. 19, 2006

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BRIEFLY...
Winners of back-to-back tournament titles and nine straight matches, Loyola Marymount volleyball (11-2) will host UC Irvine (3-8) in its lone match of the week this Wednesday in Gersten Pavilion. First serve is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. for a match that features two programs that just met two weeks ago.

UC IRVINE AT LMU...
Wednesday's battle is a rematch from less than two weeks ago, as LMU and UC Irvine met in the Friday night match of the LMU Four Points Sheraton-LAX Classic. The Anteaters took game one, before LMU won three straight games to seal the 3-1 (28-30, 30-21, 30-18, 30-23) victory. Those three games began a game-winning streak that would run 11 frames for the Lions, as LMU went on to sweep SMU and Nevada. After the September 8 victory over the Anteaters, LMU owns the all-time series record between the two programs 13-8.

THE UCI VS. LMU MATCH-UP...
LMU: The Lions are coming off their second straight tournament title, with the most recent one coming at the 2006 Miami Hurricane Invitational. Their three wins there gave the Lions a nine-match winning streak heading into Wednesday's match-up. LMU has not dropped a match since the Lions faced 11th-ranked Tennessee on September 1. Junior opposite Heather Hughes had led the Lions the last two weeks, earning back-to-back MVP selections.

UC IRVINE: The Anteaters travel to Los Angeles Wednesday, continuing road action. Most recently, UC Irvine defeated Georgetown, but fell to West Coast Conference teams Saint Mary's and ninth-ranked Santa Clara at the Stanford Touranment. Sophomore outside hitter Lauren Kellerman has 151 kills and a 3.60 average to lead UC Irvine. The Anteaters had a rough start to start 2006, dropping their first six matches. But they turned things around to win three straight, beginning at the LMU Four Points Sheraton-LAX Classic with wins over Nevada and SMU to earn the runners-up trophy.

LMU IN THE NATIONAL STATS...
The Lions have four top-25 rankings in the current NCAA stat categories. As a team, LMU ranks sixth in kills (17.03/game), eighth in digs (19.59/game), and 24th in assists (14.94/game). Junior Heather Hughes ranks 19th in service aces, averaging 0.74 a game.

NOT SO NEUTRAL...
With neutral court wins over Jacksonville and Flordia A&M last weekend in Miami, the Lions extended their streak of neutral court victories. Dating back to 2005, the Lions have accumulated a 8-0 record on neutral courts.

HUGHES NAMED WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK...
LMU's Heather Hughes was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week (9/11/06). Hughes led the Lions to a 4-0 week and the 2006 LMU Four Points Sheraton-LAX Classic title. The Lions' junior took home the Classic's MVP award after her all-around play led LMU to the championship. The Lions defeated all three opponents (UC Irvine, SMU, and Nevada) in tournament play, dropping only one game all weekend. LMU also swept Cal State Fullerton Tuesday night in Gersten Pavilion. On the week, Hughes finished with 61 kills (4.69 per game) and 50 digs (3.85 per game), while hitting .343. Even more impressive was her tough serving, as Hughes tallied 12 aces in the Lions' four matches (13 games). The Fallbrook, Calif. native becomes the first Lion of the 2006 season to earn the weekly WCC selection. It was her third career selection.

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...Now in his 17th season with LMU, 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 (through 2005) 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).