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USF Hosts Ancient Bay Area Rivals Saint Mary's and Santa Clara This Week

Oct. 2, 2007

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UP NEXT FOR THE DONS: USF opened the 2007 West Coast Conference play at No. 15 San Diego and dropped a 3-0 decision to the defending league champions Saturday at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. The Dons return home this week to tackle ancient WCC and Bay Area rivals Saint Mary's and Santa Clara in what figures to be some exciting volleyball on the Hilltop. San Francisco earned a split against the Gaels last season, but suffered a series sweep by the Broncos. Both Saint Mary's and Santa Clara opened league action with two straight wins against Gonzaga and Portland. Thursday's WCC home opener against Saint Mary's kicks off a month where the Dons play five of seven matches in the friendly confines of War Memorial Gym.

QUOTING HEAD COACH GILAD DORON: "I feel this is a huge weekend for us coming up with Saint Mary's and Santa Clara. Hopefully we can put forth a tremendous effort and compete against a pair of strong teams on our home court. We did some good things last weekend in San Diego, now we must continue to build off what we learned and put it to use this week at home against a couple of tough opponents."

MAURER FIFTH ON WCC DIGS CHART: Senior outside hitter Brynn Maurer moved past former Dons assistant coach Jackie Bernardin (1,464) for sole possession of fifth place on the West Coast Conference career digs list and enters Thursday's match against Saint Mary's with 1,593. Next up is Portland standout Laura Coyle, who recorded 1,630 during her career on the Bluff. Playing primarily libero this season, the Dons all-time digs leader rates second on the club in digs (4.11) and aces (0.33).

Kristin Hasselberg THIRD IN USF CAREER KILLS: Senior honors candidate Kristin Hasselberg continued to cement her reputation as one of the top outside hitters on the West Coast and ranked second among West Coast Conference kills (4.57) and points (5.13) leaders. For her efforts, Hasselberg earned All-WCC First Team honors. Hasselberg enters Thursday's match against Saint Mary's ranked third in USF career kills with 1,376. Since her arrival on the Hilltop, Hasselberg has notched double-figures in kills 73 times, including 17 matches with 20 or more and owns 21 double-doubles (kills/digs) with a team-high eight in 2006. The Dons career leader in kills per game at 4.02, Hasselberg averaged 5.00 kills on .321 hitting with 1.71 digs and 1.14 blocks in wins against Cal State Bakersfield (9/21) and Cornell (9/22).

HASSELBERG RESUMES ASSAULT ON KILLS CHART: Senior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg enters Thursday's match against Saint Mary's ranked third in career kills with 1,376 and needs 93 to pass USF Legend of the Hilltop Melanie Kaiser (1988-91), who recorded 1,468. Brittanie Budinger (2000-03) is the career leader with 1,518 and Hasselberg needs 143 to overtake the top spot. The Carlsbad native averages a team-best 3.92 kills this season.

Carly Babin CRACKS CAREER BLOCKS LIST: Junior middle blocker Carly Babin enjoyed one of the most prolific blocking seasons in USF history as a sophomore in 2006, ranking second in single-season stuffs with 160. Babin ranked second among West Coast Conference blocks leaders averaging 1.30 per game and also averaged 2.01 kills on .313 hitting for the Dons. Babin enjoyed a strong weekend at the Husky Classic, averaging a team-high 3.64 kills per game on .325 hitting to go along with 1.09 blocks. Babin shattered her career-high with 20 kills on .429 hitting against Cal State Northridge (8/25) to go along with five blocks (three solo) and a pair of service aces. Babin averages 3.28 kills on .350 hitting to go along with 1.35 blocks on the year. With 237 career total blocks, Babin ranks 10th on the USF all-time list, averaging 1.12 per game and her 36 solo stuffs rank ninth in the career annals.

SCOUTING SAINT MARY'S: The Gaels enter the second week of West Coast Conference play with a 10-4 overall record and got off to a 2-0 start in league action with a home wins against Gonzaga (3-0) and Portland (3-1). Saint Mary's is on a five-match winning streak and have not lost since a 3-2 setback against UC Santa Barbara (9/13). The Gaels average 14.9 kills per game on .231 attacking with 3.4 blocks per game. Freshman outside hitter Megan York leads the way for the Gaels, averaging 4.81 kills and 3.71 digs per game, while junior outside hitter Taylor Groess adds 3.65 kills per game. Freshman setter Kapua Kamana'o does a nice job running the SMC offense, dishing out a team-high 9.58 assists to go along with 1.96 digs. Rob Browning is in his third year guiding Saint Mary's and directed the Gaels into the 2005 NCAA Tournament.

LAST TIME AGAINST THE GAELS: USF got its first win against Saint Mary's since 2003 with a home sweep. It was a huge night for sophomore middle blockers Carly Babin and Alix Gombos. Babin tallied a match-high 14 kills on .542 hitting, while Gombos added a career-high 13 on .417 attacking.

SCOUTING SANTA CLARA: The Broncos enter the second week of West Coast Conference play with a 10-7 overall record and rolled to a 2-0 start in league action with a home wins against Portland (3-1) and Gonzaga (3-0). Santa Clara has won three of its last four. The Broncos 16.22 kills on .220 hitting to go along with 1.76 blocks per game. Sophomore opposite hitter Lindsy Evans leads the way for the Broncos, averaging 3.69 kills, while sophomore outside hitter Nina Sevastopoulos adds 3.47 kills per game. All-American senior setter Crystal Matich averages 12.76 assists and 2.29 digs per game. Jon Wallace is in his ninth year on the Mission Campus and has directed the Broncos to eight straight NCAA Tournament berths including a Final Four trip in 2005.

LAST TIME AGAINST THE BRONCOS: USF opened the second half of the West Coast Conference season with a 3-0 loss at No. 21 Santa Clara. The Dons could not slow down a hot-hitting Broncos squad as their three-match league winning streak came to an end. Junior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg tallied eight kills and six digs to lead the Dons.

GILAD DORON ENTERS FIRST YEAR IN THE GREEN AND GOLD: Gilad Doron enters his first season on the Hilltop after being named USF's new head volleyball coach on March 14, 2007. Doron readies for his second Division I head coaching assignment after spending the last three years as the head coach at Villanova, guiding the Wildcats to back-to-back winning seasons in the Big East. Doron is assisted on the bench by former US National Team setter Dan Fisher, who enters his first season on the Hilltop after spending three seasons as the top assistant with the Pacific men's program and Sam Hastings, who enters her first year at USF after playing Doron at Villanova. Doron captured his first Dons win against Cal State Northridge (8/25).

HAMMERING HASSELBERG: Senior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg enters the seventh week of the 2007 regular season established as one of the most dominant outside hitters in program history. A 2006 All-West Coast Conference First Team selection, the All-American candidate ranked second among league leaders in kills (4.57) and points (5.13) as a junior. A 10-time all-tournament selection and a 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). Since her arrival on the Hilltop, Hasselberg has notched double-figures in kills 73 times, including 17 matches with 20 or more and owns 21 double-doubles (kills/digs). Hasselberg is the Dons career leader in kills per game at 4.02 and shattered the Dons underclassmen kills record, tallying 725 in her first two seasons.

MAURER ADDS TO DONS CAREER DIGS RECORD: Senior outside hitter Brynn Maurer enjoyed a strong year at outside hitter in 2006 after spending her first two seasons on the Hilltop as the libero. The USF career digs leader enters the seventh week of the 2007 season with 1,593, good for fifth place on the West Coast Conference career chart. For her career, Maurer averages 4.37 digs per game, the top mark in program history. Since her arrival on the Hilltop, Maurer has surpassed 20 digs 28 times and has tallied double-digits 81 times in 102 career matches. Maurer shared the team double-double lead in 2006 with eight, averaging 2.22 kills and 3.36 digs per game. Maurer registered a season-high 28 digs against No. 14 Cal Poly (9/15).

Darcy Carroll CRACKS CAREER ASSISTS TOP-10 CHART: Junior setter Darcy Carroll enters the seventh week of the 2007 season with 1,703 assists, good for seventh place on the Dons career list. Carroll needs 109 to move into sixth place, held by Margaret Hillhouse (1986-88). Carroll led San Francisco in assists (7.47) in the Dons 6-2 alignment last season. A 2005 West Coast Conference Freshman Team selection, Carroll dished out a career-high 70 assists in USF's 3-2 victory against Bay Area rival San Jose State (9/1/06) and turned in her first double-double of 2007 with 45 assists and 11 digs in a sweep of Xavier (9/14).

GOOD GOLLY GOMBOS: Junior middle blocker Alix Gombos turned in one of the top offensive seasons by a USF middle in program history last season. The 2006 All-West Coast Conference Honorable Mention selection ranked second among league leaders in attack percentage (.345) and was seventh in blocks (1.15). Gombos registered double-digit kills 21 times as a sophomore, hit .400 or better in 12 matches, .500 or better six times and recorded three matches of .600 or better. Gombos averages 2.04 kills on .319 hitting with 1.10 blocks per game so far in her junior campaign.

Sarah Mandala MAKING AN IMPACT: Freshman opposite hitter Sarah Mandala has just started her USF career, but she is already making an impact. A two-time all-tournament selection, Mandala ranks third on the team in kills (3.19), while hitting at a .225 clip. In week six against Cal State Bakersfield (9/21) and Cornell (9/22) Mandala averaged 3.43 kills on .362 hitting, 2.57 digs and 0.57 blocks for the Dons. Mandala turned in a 15-kill night against No. 14 Cal Poly (9/15) and established a career-high with 18 kills and nine digs in a sweep of Xavier (9/15).

Addie Webster VERSATILE FOR USF: Junior outside hitter Addie Webster shook off a slow start to enjoy a strong first tournament for USF. A transfer from Eastern Washington, Webster captured Big Sky Newcomer of the Year honors in 2005 and turned in back-to-back double-double matches for the Dons. Webster recorded 13 kills on .306 hitting to go along with 16 digs against Fresno State (8/25) and turned in 12 kills and 17 digs against Cal State Northridge (8/25). Webster tallied nine kills and nine digs against Oregon (9/4) and turned in her third double-double of the year with 11 kills and 11 digs against No. 14 Cal Poly (9/15). Entering the seventh week of 2007, Webster averages 2.28 kills and 2.33 digs per game.

Haley Carroll DIGS DEFENSE: Sophomore libero Haley Carroll enjoyed an outstanding freshman season, ranking third among league leaders in digs (4.79) and was fourth in service aces (0.38). A West Coast Conference All-Freshman Team pick in 2006, Carroll became just the second player in program history to surpass 500 in a season, finishing with 522, good for second place on the Dons single-season chart. With 40 digs at San Jose State (9/12), Carroll turned in the second highest single-match tally in school history behind Denise Pardoen who recorded 46 against Oklahoma (9/19/87). As a sophomore, Carroll leads the team in digs (4.25) and service aces (0.40).

Carly Babin CLOGGING THE MIDDLE: Junior middle blocker Carly Babin had a big sophomore season for the Dons in the middle. Babin ranked second among West Coast Conference leaders in blocks (1.30), rated second on the team in hitting percentage (.313) and was fourth in kills (2.15) during league matches. The Las Vegas native recorded a career-high 11 blocks in a win against UC Santa Barbara (9/3) - tied for fifth place among USF single-match leaders and hammered a career-high 14 kills in a WCC sweep of Saint Mary's (10/4). Babin enjoyed a strong match in a league win at Loyola Marymount, tallying 11 kills, 0 errors on 21 swings (.524) to go along with six blocks (three solo). Babin's 143 total blocks were the second best tally in school history behind only Tracy Harrison (1982-85), who set a WCC record 186 as a senior. Babin ranks ninth in USF career solo (36) and 10th in total (237) blocks.

Linzy Kearney NINTH IN USF CAREER BLOCKS: Senior opposite Linzy Kearney continued to produce for the Dons and enters the seventh week of the 2007 regular season ranked ninth in USF career total blocks with 262. Next up is Jeanette Sargenti (1994-97), who recorded 296. A team co-captain for the second straight season, Kearney hammered a season-high 10 kills in a sweep of Xavier (9/15). So far in 2007, Kearney averages 1.22 kills and 0.57 blocks per game.

Anna Berger ENJOYS SOLID FRESHMAN SEASON: Sophomore outside hitter Anna Berger produced for USF as a redshirt freshman, ranking third on the team in kills (2.48), second in aces (0.28) and was fourth in digs (1.98). Berger hammered a career-high 18 kills to go along with 14 digs in a 3-2 win at Sacramento State (9/8). Berger recorded 15 kills and 11 digs at No. 18 San Diego (10/28) and finished the season with three double-double matches, the first a 17-kill, 16-dig effort at No. 18 Arizona (9/1/06).

TAKING THE FIFTH: With a thrilling five-game victory against San Jose State (9/12)), USF has won 11 of its last 12 matches going the distance. San Francisco's streak of nine consecutive five-game match wins came to an end in the 2006 regular season finale against Portland State in the Banker's Classic. The Dons posted its ninth straight five set decision with a thriller at Long Island (9/22) at the 2006 LIU Blackbird Invitational. The Dons turned in an impressive 6-0 record in five-game matches in 2005 after going 0-4 during the 2004 campaign. Since 2003, the Dons are 16-7 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.

DONS TOUGH AGAINST THE EAST COAST: After a 3-0 win against Cornell (9/22), San Francisco has now won 17 straight matches against East Coast opponents. In 2006, the Dons posted 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), improving to a remarkable 28-3 against East Coast schools since 2000. USF's last setback to the right coast came to perennial national power No. 7 Penn State in 2004 at the Stanford Invitational.

San Francisco captured a tournament title at the Asics/PowerAde Challenge and a pair of runner-up showings at the Husky Classic and the Hallmark Aggie Invitational. USF competed in six tournaments during the 2006 season, capturing four titles and two runner-up showings. San Francisco fell in the title match at the Arizona Tournament, falling 3-1 to the No. 18 Wildcats and dropped a disappointing 3-2 decision to Portland State in the Banker's Classic to end the 2006 regular season. USF won titles at the Hornet Invitational, the Marquette Challenge and the Long Island Blackbird Invitational. USF also captured its second straight win at the PowerAde/Asics Classic. Since 2003, San Francisco has won 12 tournaments, including a perfect 4-0 record in 2003.

DONS HOSTED PAIR OF 2007 TOURNAMENTS: USF hosted its second tournament of the year September 14-15 with the inaugural Asics/Coca-Cola Invitational. Two 2006 NCAA Tournament teams - Cal Poly and Sacramento State - made up a highly competitive field along with Xavier. The defending Big Sky champion Hornets won the tournament title with a 3-0 record, while the Musketeers, Mustangs and Dons finished with a 1-2 mark. USF dropped a tough 3-1 decision to No. 14 Cal Poly in the finale as senior libero Brynn Maurer earned all-tournament selection. San Francisco hosted two tournaments for the first time in school history in 2007. The Dons swept all opponents in their first event, dispatching Colgate, Eastern Washington and Oral Roberts in the USF Asics/PowerAde Challenge. The Dons posted their third win in the popular event's fourth year.