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USF Volleyball Takes on Saint Mary's Saturday in Moraga

Oct. 1, 2006

DONS TRAVEL ACROSS THE BAY BRIDGE TO TAKE ON THE GAELS: San Francisco dropped a pair of matches to top-25 opponents in the opening weekend of West Coast Conference play. In the league opener, No. 25 San Diego escaped War Memorial Gym with a 3-1 victory, snapping the Dons 14-match winning streak. USF battled No. 9 Santa Clara, but fell 3-1 to the defending league champions and 2005 NCAA Final-Four participant. USF looks to rebound in West Coast Conference play in its lone match of the week, with a trip across the Bay Bridge for a Saturday showdown against Bay Area rival Saint Mary's. First serve against the Gaels is set for 7:00 PM at McKeon Pavilion.

HASSELBERG SURPASSES 1,000 CAREER KILLS: Junior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg tallied 26 kills in the opening weekend of West Coast Conference play and became only the second player in program history to surpass 1,000 career kills as a junior, finishing Saturday's match against No. 9 Santa Clara with 1,007. Hasselberg enters week two of WCC play ranked eighth on the all-time USF kills chart and needs just five kills to pass Chiara Lawrence (1997-2000), who compiled 1,011 for seventh place. USF Hall-of-Famer Melanie Kaiser surpassed 1,000 career kills as a junior in 1990 and ranks second all-time with 1,468. For her career, Hasselberg averages 3.92 kills per game, the top mark in program history. On the season, Hasselberg averages 4.48 kills on .223 hitting with 2.10 digs per game.

MAURER EYES DONS CAREER DIGS LIST: Junior outside hitter Brynn Maurer recorded 24 digs during USF's opening week of West Coast Conference play and moved past USF Legend Brittanie Budinger (2000-03) for second place on the Dons career digs list, finishing the week with 1,197. Maurer needs 40 to become the Dons all-time leader, held by USF Hall-of-Famer Melanie Kaiser (1988-91) with 1,236. For her career, Maurer averages 4.60 digs per game, the top mark in program history. After moving to outside hitter for 2006, Maurer averages 2.32 kills and 3.29 digs.

SOPHOMORE MIDDLES IMPRESSIVE: USF's middle blocker tandem of Alix Gombos and Carly Babin are enjoying outstanding sophomore seasons. Gombos leads the team in kills (3.75) and blocks (2.00) during West Coast Conference play, while Babin ranks third in kills (2.38), leads the team in attack percentage (.385) and is second in blocks (1.38). Gombos turned in her second career double-double matching a career-high with 16 kills to go along with a career best 11 blocks against No. 25 San Diego (9/28). Babin enjoyed a strong outing against No. 9 Santa Clara (9/30) with 11 kills on .391 hitting with six blocks (two solo).

KARTCHNER CLOSING IN ON 3,000 CAREER ASSISTS: Senior setter Jamie Kartchner continues to climb the USF career assists chart and enters the second week of West Coast Conference play with 2,973. Kartchner currently ranks fourth on the USF career list and needs 17 to pass Sarah McCandless (1992-95), who tallied 2,989. Kartchner stands to become just the third Dons setter to reach 3,000 helpers and the first since April Scoggin (2000-03), who sits in second place with 3,199. Denise MacDougal (1989-92) is the all-time leader with 3,464.

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 SAINT MARY'S: The Gaels (6-7, 1-1 WCC) enter the second week West Coast Conference after shocking No. 9 Santa Clara Thursday in a five game classic before falling 3-1 to No. 25 San Diego at McKeon Pavilion. Senior setter Mandy Bible had a match for the ages against the Broncos coming just two kill shy of a quadruple-double and averages 11.42 assists 2.08 digs and 1.06 blocks for the Gaels. Senior middle blocker Christina Kirk leads SMC offensively with 3.37 kills on .342 hitting to go along with 1.07 blocks. Junior outside hitter Missie Stidham adds 3.02 kills and 2.47 digs. The Gaels average 14.10 kills per game and hit at a .229 clip with 13.29 digs and 2.89 blocks. Rob Browning is in his second season as head coach and owns a career record of 25-17 and guided the Gaels into the 2005 NCAA Tournament.

2005 SEASON RESULTS: at Saint Mary's 3, USF 0 (10/29); Saint Mary's 3, at USF 1 (10/1)

SERIES RECORD: SMC leads 26-20.

SERIES STREAK: SMC won four.

GAMETRACKER: Yes - USFDons.com

LIVE VIDEO: Yes - USFDons.com.

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 WIN 14 STRAIGHT: With its second straight 4-0 week to close out the non-conference schedule, San Francisco improved to 16-1 on the season and increased its winning streak to 14 games, the second longest in program history. The Dons opened the 2003 season at 15-0, 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 the three longest winning streaks in program history - including eight straight 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 55 times, including 13 matches with 20 or more and owns 17 double-doubles (kills/digs) with six already in 2006. Hasselberg enters the sixth week of her junior campaign averaging 4.48 kills on .223 hitting to go along with 2.10 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 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 seventh week of the year with the program's career digs record in sight and currently sits in second place with 1,197 behind USF Hall-of-Famer Melanie Kaiser (1988-91) who tallied 1,236. Maurer led the Dons with 5.06 digs per game in 2005, 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 61 times in 71 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) en route to winning West Coast Conference Player of the Week honors for the first time. The West Linn, Oregon native matched her career-high with 16 kills to go along with a career best 11 blocks against No. 25 San Diego (9/28). Gombos leads the team in hitting percentage (.349) and is second in kills (3.11).

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. 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 the program's first NCAA Tournament berth. 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 on the Hilltop 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 seventh week of the 2006 season with 2,973 and is chasing Sarah McCandless (1992-95), who currently sits in third place with 2,989. 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 7.69 assists and 1.93 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. 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 to go along with a career-high 19 digs against the host Blackbirds (9/22). Entering the seventh week of the 2006 season, Carroll leads the team averaging 8.05 assists per game in the Dons new 6-2 alignment, including a career-high 70 against San Jose State (9/1) to go along with 1.93 digs.

SISTER ACT 2: Sophomore setter Darcy Carroll enjoys seeing a very familiar face in the Dons backrow this season - younger sister freshman libero Haley. It is the second pair of sisters competing together 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 18 double-digit dig matches, including eight with 20 or more and with 358 digs so far this season, needs 10 to crack the single-season top-10 list and 36 to enter the top-five. The West Coast Conference digs leader (5.26) also leads the team in service aces (25).

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 (1.43). 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). On the year, Babin averages 1.92 kills per game on .337 hitting.

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 1.21 kills and 0.91 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 (2.67) and digs (2.13).

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 2.91 blocks per game this season.

USF 6-1 AGAINST DEFENDING CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS: San Francisco owns a 6-1 record against 2005 league champions, with wins against - Cornell (Ivy), Long Island (NEC), Sacramento State (Big Sky), Siena (MAAC), UC Santa Barbara (Big West) and Western Kentucky (Sun Belt). The Dons only setback came to No. 9 Santa Clara (9/30).

USF VOLLEYBALL CLOSING IN ON 300 PROGRAM VICTORIES: USF enters the second week of the West Coast Conference schedule needing just two victories for program win Nos. 299 and 300. San Francisco collected its 250th decision with a 3-1 victory at Portland (11/8/03).