Sept. 19, 2006
USF HEADS TO EAST COAST FOR LIU BLACKBIRD INVITATIONAL: USF travels to the East Coast this week for four matches beginning Thursday with a non-conference contest at New Jersey IT before competing in the Long Island Blackbird Invitational, starting Friday in Brooklyn. Winners of 10 straight matches, the Dons are fresh off their third consecutive tournament title after winning the 2006 Marquette Challenge after posting a 3-0 record against the host Golden Eagles (3-1), Stony Brook (3-0) and Manitoba (3-0). Senior setter Jamie Kartchner earned tournament MVP honors for the first time in her Green and Gold career, while freshman libero Haley Carroll and junior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg collected all-tournament selection.
Jamie Kartchner NAMED MARQUETTE CHALLENGE MVP: Senior setter Jamie Kartchner earned MVP honors at the 2006 Marquette Challenge after directing USF to its third straight tournament title. Kartchner set the Dons to a impressive .500 attack percentage in a sweep against Stony Brook (9/17). For the week, Kartchner averaged 9.00 assists and 2.31 digs. Her assist numbers are deceiving as the Dons used a 6-2 system against UC Davis (9/12) and Marquette (9/16). Kartchner averaged 12.3 assists per game when USF used a 6-1 against the Seawolves and Manitoba.
HASSELBERG NINTH ON USF CAREER KILLS LIST: Junior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg earned all-tournament honors for the fourth straight week at the 2006 Marquette Challenge. Hasselberg averaged 4.25 kills on a remarkable .215 hitting to go along with 1.93 digs and 0.63 blocks. In the Dons 4-0 week, Hasselberg averaged 4.45 kills on .288 hitting to go along with 1.91 digs. The Carlsbad native hit a career-high .520 (15/2/25) against UC Davis (9/12) and hit .500 (12/2/20) against Stony Brook (9/16). Hasselberg surpassed 900 career kills against Stony Brook (9/16) and heads into week five of the season with 928, good for ninth place on the USF career list. Next up is Laura Tinetti (1997-2000), who compiled 976, good for eighth place. For her career, Hasselberg averages 3.87kills per game, the top mark in program history. So far this season, Hasselberg averages 4.51 kills on .240 hitting and adds 2.00 digs per game.
MAURER EYES DONS CAREER DIGS LIST: Junior outside hitter Brynn Maurer enters week five with 1,122 career digs, good for third place on the USF career digs list. Maurer needs 115 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 2.56 kills and 3.31 digs.
HALEY CARROL CAPTURES FIRST ALL-TOURNAMENT SELECTION: Freshman libero Haley Carroll earned all-tournament honors at the 2006 Marquette Challenge averaging a ridiculous 7.40 digs per game. Carroll tallied 30 twice in three matches - against Marquette (9/15) and Manitoba (9/16). For the season, Carroll averages 5.62 digs per game - tops in the West Coast Conference - and shares the team lead in aces with 17.
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 2005 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).
MARQUETTE CHALLENGE RECAP: USF captured its third straight tournament title at the 2006 Marquette Challenge. The Dons went 3-0 with wins against the host Golden Eagles (3-1), Stony Brook (3-0) and Manitoba (3-0). USF hit .247 for the week and held a 243-186 kills advantage. Tournament MVP senior setter Jamie Kartchner set the Dons to a .233 attack percentage for the weekend, including a program single-match record of .500 against Stony Brook (9/16) and dished out 9.00 assists and 2.40 digs per game. Junior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg led the way offensively, averaging 4.25 kills and 1.88 digs en route to her fourth straight all-tournament selection. Freshman libero Haley Carroll recorded a mind boggling 7.40 digs per game to earn all-tournament selection for the first time in her brief Green and Gold career. Sophomore middle blocker Alix Gombos added 3.17 kills to go along with 1.33 blocks, while sophomore setter Darcy Carroll added 6.20 assists and 2.20 digs for the Dons.
DONS IN TOURNAMENTS: San Francisco earned its third straight tournament victory of 2006 at the Marquette Challenge. USF opened the home 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 10 tournaments, including an unblemished 4-0 record in 2003. In his 12th season, Nelson has guided teams to 26 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 Stony Brook (9/16) at the Marquette Challenge, the Dons improved to a remarkable 23-3 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 11 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 email@example.com or at (415) 422-2769.
DONS GOING STREAKING: With its 4-0 week, San Francisco improved to 12-1 on the season and increased its winning streak to 10 games, the second longest in programhistory. The Dons opened the 2003 season on a 15-0 streak, the longest opening streak in West Coast Conference history. Since his arrival on the Hilltop, USF head coach Jeff Nelson has guided the Dons to three of the longest winning streaks in program history - 15 games, the current 10-game skein and eight straight W's last season.
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 six-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 four already in 2006. Hasselberg enters the fifth week of her junior campaign averaging 4.51 kills on .240 hitting to go along with 2.00 digs.
MAURER DIGS DEFENSE: Already one of the elite defensive players to ever wear the Green and Gold, junior libero Brynn Maurer has shifted 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 fifth week of the year with the program's career digs record in sight and currently sits in third place with 1,122. 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 57 times in 65 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 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 (.357) and is second in kills (3.17).
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 2006 Marquette Challenge MVP enters the fifth week of the 2006 season with 2,788 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 in 2006, Kartchner averages 7.47 assists and 1.83 digs per game 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 8.95 assists per game, including a career-high 70 against San Jose State (9/1) to go along with 1.85 digs. With 349 assists in 39 games this season, Carroll is just 31 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 Hart (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 1.05 kills and 1.02 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 third on the team in kills (2.97) and is third in digs (2.41).
Haley Carroll ENJOYS STRONG START: Freshman libero Haley Carroll enjoyed a strong start to the 2006 season, leading the team with 26 digs against San Jose State (9/1) and followed it up with 24 digs and four aces against UC Santa Barbara (9/3) in the 2006 USF Powerade/Asics Classic. Carroll recorded a career-high 34 digs at Sacramento State (9/8), the fourth best single-match tally in program history. Carroll earned all-tournament honors at the 2006 Marquette Challenge averaging a ridiculous 7.40 digs per game and twice tallied 30 digs - against Marquette (9/15) and Manitoba (9/16).The West Coast Conference digs leader (5.62) also leads the team in service aces (17).
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 fifth week of 2006 leading USF and ranking second in the West Coast Conference in blocks (1.27). 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) and Manitoba (9/16).
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 2.71 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 9/17):Attack percentage: 3rd (.241); Assists: 4th (14.66); Opponent hitting percentage: 1st (.139); Kills: 3rd (16.09); Service Aces: 3rd (1.83) Blocks: 2nd (2.76) and Digs: 2nd (17.11).
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 9/17):Carly Babin - Blocks: 2nd (1.27);Darcy Carroll - Assists: 8th (8.95); Aces: 10th (0.38);Haley Carroll - Digs: 1st (5.62);Alix Gombos - Attack Percentage: 4th (.357); Blocks: 4th (1.10);Kristin Hasselberg - Kills: 2nd (4.51); Points: 3rd (5.19);Jamie Kartchner - Assists: 9th (7.47);Linzy Kearney - Blocks: T-6th (1.02);Brynn Maurer - Digs: 10th (3.31)
WEST COAST CONFERENCE PLAY ON TAP FOR THE DONS: San Francisco kicks off the 2006 West Coast Conference slate when it hosts San Diego and No. 9 Santa Clara, beginning Thursday, September 28 at War Memorial Gym. The Dons take on the Toreros at 7:00 PM and host their ancient rivals and defending league champion Broncos Saturday in a 1:00 PM first serve.