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Volleyball Opens WCC Play

Sept. 27, 2006

THURSDAY - SEPT. 28  - 7 p.m.
Gonzaga (4-10) vs. #23 Pepperdine University (4-6)SATURDAY - SEPT. 30 - 1 p.m.ALBERT GERSTEN PAVILION, Los Angeles, CAGONZAGA vs. Loyola Marymount (12-2)

Last Week's Results9/19 - at Montana University (L, 3-2)

TOP STORY: Gonzaga University women's volleyball begins West Coast Conference action this week as it plays at #23 Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount. The Bulldogs will face the Waves on Thursday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. and Lions on Saturday, Sept. 30 at 1 p.m. Pepperdine, who finished the 2005 season with a 10-4 conference record, and Loyola Marymount, who had a 7-7 WCC record a season ago, both earned NCAA Tournament bids in 2005.

PEPPERDINE WAVES: This will be the 39th meeting between Gonzaga University and Pepperdine University. The Waves hold a 35-3 lead in the all-time series and have won the last 18 matches dating back to the 1996 season. Pepperdine, who is ranked 23 in the latest AVCA/USA Today Top 25, currently holds a 4-6 record on the year. Each loss has been to an opponent ranked 14 or higher in the AVCA poll. The Waves are led by Sophia Milco who is averaging 3.59 kills and 1.02 blocks per game.

LOYOLA MARYMOUNT: This will be the 39th meeting between Gonzaga University and Loyola Marymount University. The Lions hold a 31-7 lead in the all-time series and have won the last 26 matches dating back to the 1992 season. Loyola Marymount currently holds a 12-2 record, including 10-straight wins. The Lions are led by Heather Hughes who is averaging 4.33 kills and 3.44 digs per contest.

A RECAP OF LAST WEEK: Gonzaga University lost its lone match of the week; a 3-2 heartbreaker to the University of Montana. Montana, who is coached by Jerry Wagner, former GU assistant, won the first two games, before Gonzaga fought back to win the third and fourth games to push the match to the fifth and deciding game. The Bulldogs could not keep the momentum as Montana earned the close contest win.

A LOOK AHEAD: After its matches against Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount, Gonzaga University welcomes the University of Idaho to the Martin Centre on Tuesday, Oct. 3 for its final non-conference match of the season.

BREAKING A STREAK: Gonzaga University's 3-2 victory over Eastern Washington University on Tuesday, Sept. 12 broke a 15-match losing streak to the Eagles that dated back to the 1996 season. The last time the Bulldogs had defeated the Eagles was on Oct. 1, 1996 when they earned a 3-1 victory. With Eastern Washington leading 2-1 in last week's match, Gonzaga won the final two games to earn the five-game victory and break the streak.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Gonzaga University sophomore Elaina Renius was the strength behind the Bulldogs impressive 3-2 victory over Eastern Washington University on Sept. 12. Renius finished with a match and career-high 19 kills, a match-high .533 attacking percentage, along with two assists, one solo block and two block assists. On the season, Renius leads the team in attack percentage (.327) and solo blocks (16) and is second in total kills (149) and block assists (37).

DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Outside hitter Becky Jones has had a strong start to her junior season for Gonzaga University. Jones has had double-digit kills in 11 matches and double-digit digs in eight matches. She also has accumulated seven double-doubles this season. On the year, Jones leads the Bulldogs in kills (215) and is second in digs (172).

A STEADY SETTER: Junior Heather Dunn began her second season as the starting setter for Gonzaga University in 2006. She has dished out 30 or more assists in all 14 Bulldog matches this season. Dunn has broke her career-high assists twice this season. She dished out a then career-high 61 assists in GU's heartbreaking 3-2 loss to South Dakota State and bested that when she passed out 62 assists in a 3-2 loss to North Dakota State on Sept. 9. Her previous best was 59 dished out against UC Davis on Sept. 10, 2005. Dunn is currently averaging 11.70 assists per game.

A NEW LIBERO: After two seasons as a starting defensive specialist for Gonzaga University, junior Alecia Douglas is now the starting libero for the Bulldogs. On the season, Douglas, who has had double-digit digs in all but four matches this season, is averaging a team-best 3.23 digs per game. She collected a season-high 20 digs against North Dakota State University on Aug. 26.

ALL-TOURNAMENT: Gonzaga University junior Becky Jones earned Jackrabbit Kickoff Classic all-tournament honors, while junior Briawna Mueller and junior Heather Dunn were both named to the Gonzaga Volleyball Invitational All-Tournament Team. Jones and Elaina Renius also earned all-tournament honors at the Boise State Tournament.

CAREER-HIGHS: Multiple Gonzaga University players have broken personal career-highs this season. Junior Megan Thompson collected a career-high 15 digs against Weber State. Junior Briawna Mueller served-up a career-high five aces against Weber State and collected a career-high nine digs against UMBC. Junior Alecia Douglas had a career-high four service aces against Gardner-Webb. Sophomore Francis Garcia tallied a career-high 10 digs at South Dakota State. Sophomore Tianna Tuatagaloa finished with a career-high 11 kills and four aces against North Dakota State. Sophomore Paige Dillingham had a career-high 12 digs against North Dakota State.

A MINOR SETBACK: Gonzaga University was looking forward to the tandem star power of junior Becky Jones and sophomore Michelle Boevers this season, but Boevers suffered a season-ending knee injury late this summer. As a freshman, Boevers ranked second on the squad with 296 kills despite missing the final seven matches of the season. She had double-figure kills in 15 of the 24 matches she played in during 2005.

HEAD COACH Kip Yoshimura: Kip Yoshimura, who enters his fifth year as Gonzaga University's head coach, returns a strong squad for the 2006 season. Yoshimura has compiled a 22-96 record during his first four years with the Bulldogs. A former assistant coach at Gonzaga during the 1992 season, Yoshimura has complied a 273-168 career record which includes nine seasons at Lewis-Clark State College where he guided the Warriors to nine-straight NAIA tournament appearances. A 1990 graduate of Long Beach State University, Yoshimura entered the coaching ranks as a student-assistant on Long Beach State's 1989 NCAA National Championship team.

A FAMILIAR FACE ON THE SIDELINES: Kip Yoshimura has added one new coach to his staff in 2006. Abby Cullen returns to her alma mater as an assistant coach after one season as an assistant coach at Central Washington University. Cullen, a four-year starter for the Bulldogs from 2000-03, ranks in the top 10 in the Zags career record book for block assists (3rd, 341), block solos (3rd, 87), total blocks (3rd, 428), total kills (4th, 1,140), attack attempts (7th, 2,917) and games played (8th, 400). She also holds the single-match record for total blocks in a game with 15 and assisted blocks with 13; both recorded against Portland in 2002.

LIVE ON THE INTERNET: All Gonzaga University home matches will be available via Gametracker on the internet at http://www.gozags.com. Check the Gonzaga web site for all Gametracker links.