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No. 25 San Diego Opens WCC Play on the Road

Sept. 25, 2006

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ON THE ROAD AGAIN: After a brief home stand, the 25th-ranked University of San Diego women's volleyball team (10-4) will once again head out on the road to open West Coast Conference play this week. USD will travel to the Bay Area for a pair of matches against the University of San Francisco and Saint Mary's College. The Toreros will face San Francisco on Thursday in a 7 p.m. match at the War Memorial Gym, and will conclude its Northern California road swing on Saturday with a 2 p.m. match against Saint Mary's College at the McKeon Pavilion.

LAST TIME OUT: The Toreros recorded a 3-1 record two weeks ago at the USD Invitational, picking up wins against UC Santa Barbara, then, No. 16, Ohio, Brown and dropping the final match to then, No. 11, Wisconsin. In the first match against UCSB, Kristen Carlson had match-high 20 kills to go along with 12 digs and had a .359 attack percentage. Christie Dawson recorded her second double-double of the season as she had 17 kills and 11 digs and Laurel Abrahamson had 14 kills on the evening with an attack percentage of .357. In the upset win over Ohio, Carlson led all players with a match-best 22 kills to go along with 20 digs and Erin Wiskar had 12 kills on 33 attempts while only committing two attack errors for a attack percentage of .303. Wiskar also chipped in 10 digs to record her first double-double of the season. Dawson had 18 kills and Abrahamson added 16 kills on 29 attempts for a match-best .414 attack percentage. Jessica Nyrop had a career-best 63 assists on the evening. USD then steam rolled past Brown, 3-0, and in the Saturday evening match against Wisconsin, Carlson led the team with 16 kills, Dawson had 15 kills and Abrahamson was the third Torero with double-digit kills, recording 10 kills on the evening. Nyrop had another solid performance as she registered 50 assists and Kayleen Webster had a team-high 18 digs.

SCOUTING THE DONS: The University of San Francisco enters the week with a 14-1 overall record and are riding a 14-match winning streak. This past week the Dons recorded wins over Cornell, Long Island University and New Jersey IT. USD holds the lead in the all-time series between the two at 31-13. The Dons are led offensively by junior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg, who has a team-leading 249 kills (4.45 kills per game) and 108 digs. The floor leader for the Dons is sophomore setter Darcy Carroll, who has a team-leading 405 assists (8.27 assists per game). The Dons are under the direction of fourth-year head coach Jeff Nelson. During his tenure in San Francisco, Nelson has amassed a 67-42 overall record.

SCOUTING THE GAELS: Saint Mary's College enters the week with a 6-6 overall record after splitting a pair this past week, picking up a win against the University of Montreal and dropping one to Sacramento State University. The Gaels are 5-34 all-time against the Toreros in head-to-head competition. SMC is led offensively by Missie Stidham who has a team-leading 136 kills (3.78 Kills per game) to go along with 86 digs. The floor leader for the Gales is senior setter Mandy Bible, who has a team-best 515 assists. SMC is under the direction of second-year head coach Rob Browning. During his tenure in Moraga he has posted a 25-16 overall record.

CARLSON EARNS INDIVIDUAL HONOR: Senior outside hitter Kristen Carlson earned the West Coast Conference Player of the Week honor for the week of Sept. 11-17 after helping lead USD to a 3-1 record at the USD Invitational. Carlson had a team-leading 58 kills (5.27 kills per game), five solo blocks and three service aces during the tournament. Carlson recorded double-double's in both the win against UC Santa Barbara and the upset win over, then No. 16, Ohio University. Against Santa Barbara, Carlson recorded 20 kills on 39 attempts to post a attack percentage of .359 to go along with 12 digs. Against Ohio, Carlson led all-players with 22 kills , while adding 20 digs and recording three solo blocks to help USD pull off the upset win. In the final match of the weekend against No. 11 Wisconsin, Carlson had 16 kills, nine digs and two solo blocks. On the season, Carlson has 202 kills (4.81 kills per game), 17 service aces, 128 digs and 18 blocks, 11 solo.

COMING ON STRONG FOR THE TOREROS: Junior middle hitter Laurel Abrahamson has been hot as of late for the Toreros. The junior from Bloomington, Minn., has become another offensive weapon for the Toreros as she posted big numbers for San Diego at the USD Invitational. During the tournament Abrahamson recorded 49 kills (3.50 kills per game), had three service aces and nine total blocks, two solo.

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.

FRESH FACES ON THE COURT: The sweep of Brown was not only beneficial to San Diego's win-loss record, but also to the younger members of the squad, who got to see a significant amount of playing time. Against Brown, Lauren McClure turned in two kills, one ace, and one solo block. Also seeing action was freshman Torey Ellick, who had two kills on seven attempts for an attack percentage of .286 and also recorded two block assists. Rachel Salcer also saw some action and registered three assists and two digs.

BACK IN THE RANKINGS: The University of San Diego women's volleyball team has returned to the nation's elite as they have been ranked No. 25 in the latest CSTV/AVCA top-25 poll.

HERE COMES THE BOOM: Senior middle hitter Christie Dawson continues to pick up from where she finished her All-American season of 2005, dominating the net. Dawson has registered a team-leading 203 kills (4.06 kills per game) and is third on the team in total blocks with 24. Dawson also had a solid performance at the USD Invitational as she had 57 kills (4.07 kills per game) six total blocks, two solo, and three service aces to earn all-tournament honors.

JESS' WORLD: Entering the 2006 season, sophomore setter Jessica Nyrop had some big shoes to fill at the starting setter position with the departure of Lindsay Sherburne, and all she has done is kept the San Diego offense rolling. Nyrop is averaging 12.75 assists per game to place second among all setters in the WCC. In USD's upset win over Ohio, the sophomore recorded a new career-high 63 assists. Nyrop has now eclipsed the 50 assist mark on nine occasions, and twice surpassed the 60 assist mark.

LIGHTS, CAMERA ACTION: All USD home matches will be streamed live via video on the athletics department website. Fans can watch all the action live from the comfort of their home by logging onto usdtoreros.com. Once on the home page, click the LIVE button on the top right of the page. This is a subscription service that will give you access to live video events of USD athletic teams, coaching interviews and much more. The cost for this service will be $6.95 per month or a yearly subscription can be purchased for $49.95.

COACHING CHANGE: The Toreros are under the direction of a new but familiar face. Brent Hilliard, USD's top assistant for the past five seasons, has been moved to interim head coach. Head coach Jennifer Petrie 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 seasons 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.

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.