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BATTLE FOR FIRST PLACE ON THE LINE THIS WEEK

Oct. 2, 2006

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TOREROS RETURN HOME: The University of San Diego women's volleyball team (12-4, 2-0 WCC) will return to the friendly confines of the Jenny Craig Pavilion this week as they host No. 23 Pepperdine University on Thursday in a 7 p.m. match and then host Loyola Marymount University in a 1 p.m. match that will be televised on Fox Sports Net West.

LAST TIME OUT: The Toreros recorded a perfect 2-0 record this past week as they recorded 3-1 wins over both the University of San Francisco and Saint Mary's College. On Thursday, senior Kristen Carlson led all players with a match-best 23 kills to go along with a match-high 24 digs and posted an attack percentage of .246. Junior Laurel Abrahamson had a season-best 17 kills on the evening on 33 attempts while only committing seven errors to post a .303 attack percentage. Senior Christie Dawson had 16 kills on the night and also registered two solo blocks in helping lead USD to victory. Jessica Nyrop had another outstanding match for USD as she registered 60 assists, which is the third time this season she has recorded at least 60 assists. In Saturday's win, Carlson led the way with her match-best 25 kills on 46 attempts while only committing seven errors for a .391 attack percentage and added 12 digs. Dawson poured in 16 kills on 32 attempts while committing only two errors for .438 attack percentage. Abrahamson had 11 kills and added seven digs while recording a .364 attack percentage and Jessica Andersen had 12 kills on 26 attempts to boast a .269 attack percentage. Nyrop set a new career-best in assists with 64 to help direct the San Diego offense to a .352 team hitting percentage. The Toreros defense held the Gaels to a .192 team attack percentage.

SCOUTING THE WAVES: The Pepperdine University Waves enter the contest with a 6-6 overall record and a 2-0 mark in the WCC after recording back-to-back sweeps over Gonzaga University and the University of Portland this past week. Pepperdine is ranked No. 23 in the latest CSTV/AVCA top-25 poll. The Waves are led offensively by Sophia Milo, who has a team-leading 162 kills (3.52 kills per game) and a team-leading 48 blocks. The floor leader for Pepperdine is Kiah Fiers who has a team-best 540 assists while helping direct the team to a .218 attack percentage. The Waves are under the direction of 24th-year head coach Nina Matthies. During her tenure in Malibu, Matthies has recorded a 446-269 career record.

SCOUTING THE LIONS: Loyola Marymount enters the week with a 14-3 overall record and a 2-0 mark in the WCC after recording sweeps over both Gonzaga and Portland this past week. The Lions are led by Heather Hughes who has a team-leading 261 kills (4.42 kills per game) and a team-best 202 digs (3.47 digs per game). The floor leader for the Lions is Emily Day, who has a team-leading 582 assists. Loyola Marymount is under the direction of 17th-year head coach Steve Stratos. During his tenure in Los Angeles, Stratos has posted a 338-156 overall record.

CARLSON NAMED WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Senior outside hitter Kristen Carlson was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week, it was announced Monday morning. This is the second time Carlson has earned this honor in the past three weeks. Carlson helped lead USD to a perfect 2-0 record this past week with 3-1 wins over both the University of San Francisco and Saint Mary's College. Carlson recorded a WCC-leading 6.00 kills per game (48 total kills) on 103 attempts while only committing 16 errors to post a .311 hitting percentage. Carlson also recorded 36 digs (4.50 digs per game), had six total blocks, four solo, and two service aces to go along with four assists. In the match against San Francisco, Carlson had a 20-20 performance with her match-best 23 kills and match-best 24 digs. She also recorded a second double-double in the 3-1 win over Saint Mary's on Saturday, recording 25 kills and 12 digs while also recording four solo blocks.

THE GREAT WALL: Middle hitters Christie Dawson, Laurel Abrahamson and Erin Wiskar make up a formidable defense up front as they pace a defense that is averaging 2.37 blocks a game. Saturday evening against San Francisco, the trio combined for seven blocks. The trio also poses an offensive threat, as Dawson is second on the team in kills with 235 (4.05 kills per game) while Abrahamson is third on the team in kills at 164 and she leads the team in blocks with 49. Wiskar is fourth on the team in kills with 87 and is tied for second in blocks with 29.

SATURDAY'S MATCH TO BE TELEVISED ON FSN WEST: Saturday's West Coast Conference volleyball match between Loyola Marymount and 22nd-ranked San Diego will be televised live on Fox Sports Net West. The Toreros are asking fans to join them in San Diego's Jenny Craig Pavilion for the 1:00 p.m. televised match. The Saturday match-up will be the fourth WCC contest of the season for both teams. Both programs are currently 2-0 in conference play. Torero fans are encouraged to make Jenny Craig Pavilion a sea of blue by wearing blue Torero gear. Paul Sunderland and Mike Dodd will have the call Saturday for FSN West. Sunderland was the Los Angeles Lakers' play-by-play announcer from 2002-2005, while the Manhattan Beach, Calif. native Dodd, was a 1996 Olympic volleyball silver medalist.

TOREROS MOVE UP IN NATIONAL RANKINGS: The University of San Diego women's volleyball team has moved up three spots in the latest CSTV/AVCA top-25 poll to No. 22 after posting a perfect 2-0 record this past week to open West Coast Conference play.

ALL SET UP: Sophomore setter Jessica Nyrop continues to show why she is one of the top setters in the nation, as she dished out a career-high 64 assists Saturday evening against Saint Mary's. Behind Nyrop's efficient running of the USD attack, the Toreros are third in the WCC with a .237 team hitting percentage and Nyrop also second in the conference with 13.14 assists per game.

IN THE CONFERENCE STATISTICS: Many Toreros, as well as the combined team itself, hold lofty spots in the West Coast Conference statistics. In team standings, the Toreros are third in hitting percentage (.237), assists (15.12 per game) and kills (16.50 per game). Individually, San Diego has two of the top-5 in kills with Kristen Carlson paceing the WCC at 5.00 kills per game, and Christie Dawson fifth with 4.05 kills per game. Jessica Nyrop is second in assists with 13.14 assists per game and Kayleen Webster is fifth in digs per game at 4.06.

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK: Although the Toreros returned four of their seven starters from last season's NCAA Tournament team, two faces have worked their way into the regular rotation and are making their presence felt. Freshmen Amy DeGroot and Andrea Csaszi are seeing significant time on the court, with DeGroot averaging 1.35 kills aper game, including twice recording a seven-kill performance, one against San Diego State and the other against Wisconsin. Csaszi has been inserted as a serving specialist and this past Thursday, she was a catalyst for the Toreros making late runs against USF to claim the 3-1 win.

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.

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.

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.

VOLLEYBALL NOW A TICKETED SPORT: All USD volleyball home matches are now a ticketed event, effective at the start of the 2006 season. General Admission tickets will available to the general public on the day of each match. USD faculty, staff, and student tickets will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. General admission tickets are $5 per person.