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USF Volleyball Hosts No. 25 San Diego and No. 9 Santa Clara In First Week of WCC Play

Sept. 26, 2006

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WEST COAST CONFERENCE PLAY OPENS THIS WEEKEND: After posting the best start (16-1) in program history, USF opens the 2006 West Coast Conference slate against a pair of ranked opponents. The Dons take on No. 25 San Diego Thursday night and welcome ancient Bay Area rival No. 9 Santa Clara to War Memorial Gym for a Saturday matinee. Winners of 14 straight matches, San Francisco captured its fourth consecutive tournament title after winning the 2006 Long Island Blackbird Invitational after posting a 3-0 record against host LIU (3-2), Cornell (3-1) and St. Francis (3-0). Junior outside hitter Brynn Mauer earned tournament MVP honors for the first time in her Green and Gold career, while sophomore Darcy Carroll, sophomore middle blocker Alix Gombos and junior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg collected all-tournament selection.

Brynn Maurer NAMED LONG ISLAND BLACKBIRD MVP: Junior outside hitter Brynn Maurer earned MVP honors at the 2006 Long Island Blackbird Invitational after directing USF to its fourth straight tournament title. Maurer averaged 2.17 kills, hit .317 and ranked second on the team with 3.67 digs per game. Maurer turned in back-to-back double-doubles with 10 kills and 17 digs against LIU (9/22) and 13 kills and 22 digs against Cornell (9/23).

HASSELBERG 19 KILLS SHY OF 1,000: Junior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg earned all-tournament honors for the fifth straight week at the 2006 Long Island Blackbird Invitational. Hasselberg averaged 5.12 kills on .245 hitting to go along with 1.62 digs. In the Dons 4-0 week, Hasselberg averaged 5.30 kills on .258 hitting to go along with 1.90 digs. Hasselberg surpassed 900 career kills against Stony Brook (9/16) and heads into week six of the season with 981, good for eighth place on the USF career list. Next up is Chiara Lawrence (1993-96), who compiled 1,011, good for seventh place. The Carlsbad native looks to become just the second junior in program history to surpass 1,000 career kills and first since USF Hall-of-Famer Melanie Kaiser achieved the feat in 1990. For her career, Hasselberg averages 3.94 kills per game, the top mark in program history. On the season, Hasselberg averages 4.65 kills on .244 hitting with 1.98 digs per game.

MAURER EYES DONS CAREER DIGS LIST: Junior outside hitter Brynn Maurer enters week six with 1,173 career digs, good for third place on the USF career digs list. Maurer needs 64 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 2.41 kills and 3.33 digs.

Alix Gombos NAMED WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore middle blocker Alix Gombos earned West Coast Conference Player of the Week honors after leading USF to its 14th consecutive win, fourth straight tournament title and captured all-tournament accolades for the fourth time this season. For the week, Gombos averaged 2.50 kills on .343 hitting to go along with an impressive 1.25 blocks per game and matched a career-high with 16 kills against defending Ivy League champion Cornell on .394 attacking. Gombos enjoyed a strong outing against defending NEC champ Long Island with 10 kills and added eight blocks. During the Long Island Blackbird Invitational, Gombos averaged 2.60 kills on .345 hitting to go along with 1.30 blocks en route to all-tournament honors.

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).

SCOUTING No. 25 SAN DIEGO: The Toreros (10-4) enter West Coast Conference play on a Northern California swing and celebrated their bye last week by re-entering the AVCA top-25 poll. In its last action, USD won its own tournament, dispatching UC Santa Barbara (3-0), Ohio (3-1), Brown (3-0), before falling to Wisconsin (3-1). Senior outside hitter Kristen Carlson leads the WCC in kills (4.81) and the Toreros rank third in the league in kills per game (16.06). Senior middle hitter Christie Dawson adds 4.06 kills per game. Brent Hilliard is in his sixth season on the Torero coaching staff and first serving as the interim head coach, stepping in for Jen Petrie, who is on maternity leave.

2005 SEASON RESULTS: at No. 20 San Diego 3, USF 0 (9/18/05); No. 18 San Diego 3, at USF 1 (10/22/05)

SERIES RECORD: USD leads 31-13.

SERIES STREAK: USD won four.

GAMETRACKER: Yes - USFDons.com

LIVE VIDEO: Yes - USFDons.com.

SCOUTING No. 9 SANTA CLARA: The Broncos (10-2) start West Coast Conference play by taking on Bay Area rivals Saint Mary's and San Francisco on the road. In its last action, Santa Clara played its first home match of the season, dispatching Sacramento State (3-1) Tuesday in its lone contest of the week. Junior middle blocker Anna Cmaylo leads the WCC in attack percentage (.494) to go along with 3.57 kills and 0.97 blocks, while senior outside hitter Kim McGiven leads the team with 4.63 kills per game. The Broncos lead the WCC in attack percentage (.308) and rate second in kills (16.92). Jon Wallace guided Santa Clara to the 2005 NCAA Final-Four and owns a career record of 166-60 in his eighth season on the Mission Campus.

2005 SEASON RESULTS: at No. 12 Santa Clara 3, USF 1 (9/19/05); No. 13 Santa Clara 3, at USF 1 (10/21/05)

BEFORE USF: at Saint Mary's (9/28)

SERIES RECORD: SCU leads 38-4.

SERIES STREAK: SCU won 32.

GAMETRACKER: Yes - USFDons.com

LIVE VIDEO: Yes - USFDons.com.

USF AGAINST 2005 NCAA TOURNAMENT TEAMS: With a pair of wins at the 2006 Long Island Blackbird Invitational, USF improves to 5-1 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), Western Kentucky, 3-1 (9/9) and Long Island (9/22). The Dons only loss came at No. 18 Arizona (8/26).

DONS TOUGH AGAINST THE EAST COAST: With a 4-0 week on the East Coast - Cornell (3-1), Long Island (3-2), New Jersey IT (3-0) and Saint Francis (3-0), the Dons improved to a remarkable 27-3 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 15 straight against the right coast.

LONG ISLAND INVITATIONAL RECAP: San Francisco won its fourth straight tournament, going undefeated at the 2006 Long Island Blackbird Invitational. The Dons dispatched the host Blackbirds (3-2), Cornell (3-1), and Saint Francis (NY) (3-0). The Dons hit .256 for the tournament and limited opponents to a .148 clip, while holding a 185-153 kills advantage.Sophomore setter Darcy Carroll earned her first all-tournament selection, leading the Dons to a pair of wins against 2005 NCAA Tournament teams, while sophomore middle blocker Alix Gombos earned her fourth all-tournament selection, averaging 2.60 kills on .345 hitting to go along with 1.30 blocks. Junior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg averaged 5.12 kills in earning her fifth all-tournament accolades of the season. Junior outside hitter Brynn Maurer was named tournament MVP after a pair of double-double performances against the Blackbirds and the Big Red.

DONS IN TOURNAMENTS: San Francisco earned its fourth straight tournament victory of 2006 at the Long Island Blackbird Invitational. 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 11 tournaments, including an unblemished 4-0 record in 2003. In his 12th season, Nelson has guided teams to 27 tournament titles.

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.

DONS GOING STREAKING: With its second straight 4-0 week, San Francisco improved to 12-1 on the season and increased its winning streak to 10 games, the second longest in program history. 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 - including eight consecutive W's last season.

HAMMERING HASSELBERG: Junior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg enters the 2006 West Coast Conference season established 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. A seven-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). For her career, Hasselberg has notched double-figures in kills 53 times, including 13 matches with 20 or more and owns 15 double-doubles (kills/digs) with four already in 2006. Hasselberg enters the sixth week of her junior campaign averaging 4.65 kills on .244 hitting to go along with 1.98 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 tournament last week at Long Island, averaging 2.17 kills on .317 hitting to go along with 3.67 digs, earning her first MVP honor. Maurer enters the sixth week of the year with the program's career digs record in sight and currently sits in third place with 1,173. 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, Maurer has surpassed 20 digs 24 times and has tallied double-digits 59 times in 69 career matches.

GOOD GOLLY GOMBOS: Sophomore middle blocker Alix Gombos continued a strong start to the 2006 season, earning her fourth all-tournament selection at the Long Island Blackbird Invitational, averaging 2.60 kills on .345 hitting to go along with 1.30 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) and matched it with 16 against Cornell (9/23). Gombos leads the team in hitting percentage (.354) and is second in kills (3.02).

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 sixth week of the 2006 season with 2,926 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 7.98 assists and 1.86 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 season-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 8.27 assists per game, including a career-high 70 against San Jose State (9/1) to go along with 2.04 digs. Carroll earned the first all-tournament honors of her career at Long Island, after leading the Dons to their fourth straight title. Carroll dished out 24 assists top go along with a career-high 19 digs against the host Blackbirds (9/22).

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 ninth straight five-game match victory with a thriller at Long Island (9/22) at the 2006 LIU Blackbird Invitational, improving to 3-0 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 14-6 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.

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). Carroll has recorded 16 double-digit dig matches, including seven with 20 or more and with 319 digs so far this season, needs 49 to crack the single-season top-10 list. The West Coast Conference digs leader (5.32) also leads the team in service aces (24).

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 sixth week of 2006 leading the West Coast Conference in blocks (1.44). 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).

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 1.30 kills and 0.94 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 (2.77) and digs (2.12).

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 2.82 blocks per game this season.

USF 6-0 AGAINST DEFENDING CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS: San Francisco owns an unblemished 6-0 record against 2005 league champions - Cornell (Ivy), Long Island (NEC), Sacramento State (Big Sky), Siena (MAAC), UC Santa Barbara (Big West) and Western Kentucky (Sun Belt).

DONS AMONG WCC TEAM LEADERS: USF ranks in the top four among West Coast Conference statistical leaders in the following categories (As of 9/25): Attack percentage: 2nd (.247); Assists: 4th (14.63); Opponent hitting percentage: 1st (.133); Kills: 4th (16.02); Service Aces: 3rd (1.97) Blocks: 2nd (2.85) and Digs: 2nd (16.97).

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 9/25): Carly Babin - Blocks: 1st (1.43); Attack Percentage: 6th (.329); Darcy Carroll - Assists: 8th (8.27); Haley Carroll - Digs: 1st (5.32); Alix Gombos - Attack Percentage: 3rd (.354); Blocks: 4th (1.13); Kristin Hasselberg - Kills: 2nd (4.65); Points: 3rd (5.19);Jamie Kartchner - Assists: 9th (7.98); Brynn Maurer - Digs: T-8th (3.33)

WEST COAST CONFERENCE WEEK TWO ON TAP FOR THE DONS: San Francisco travels across the Bay for week two of the 2006 West Coast Conference slate when it takes on Saint Mary's in Moraga Saturday, October 7. First serve against the Gaels is set for 7:00 PM at McKeon Pavilion.