Oct. 15, 2007
WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE: The 16th-ranked University of San Diego women's volleyball team (14-5, 4-1 WCC) will return to the friendly confines of the Jenny Craig Pavilion this week as they continue West Coast Conference play against Portland and Gonzaga. On Thursday, the Toreros will welcome the Portland Pilots to town for a 7 p.m. match, then on Saturday, the Toreros will host Gonzaga in a 1 p.m. match. Saturday's match will be deemed as the "Dig for the Cure" match to help raise money for Breast Cancer. Fans who wish to donate money, can go to usdtoreros.com and look for the "Dig for the Cure" button on the right side of the page and click on it to find out how to donate money for this cause.
LAST TIME OUT: San Diego moved themselves back into a tie for first place in conference as they swept the Los Angeles based WCC schools, picking up a 3-0 win over Pepperdine and a 3-1 win over Loyola Marymount. In Thursday's sweep over Pepperdine, Amy DeGroot led the team with 16 kills and Laurel Abrahamson was the second USD player in double-digit kills as she had 12 kills on 23 attempts to post a .391 attack percentage. Both of USD's right side players, Jessica Andersen and Ali Troost, were also an offensive help as Andersen posted eight kills and Troost added in nine more. Jessica Nyrop recorded 27 assists and Kelsi Myers added in 21 more assists to help direct the USD offense to a .292 attack percentage. In Saturday's 3-1 win over LMU, Abrahamson led all players with her 21 kills on 38 attempts while only committing two attack errors to post a resounding .500 attack percentage. DeGroot recorded 18 kills and added in 12 digs for her team-leading 10th double-double of the season and she hit for a .311 clip. Sophomore libero Andrea Csaszi racked up a match-best 23 digs and as a team, USD hit for a .305 clip.
SCOUTING THE PILOTS: Portland enters the week with an overall record of 7-10 and are winless in the WCC with an 0-5 record after dropping a pair of matches to Portland State and Gonzaga this past week. USD owns a 32-7 all-time record over the Pilots. Portland is led offensively by Jennifer Sheedy, who has a team-leading 209 kills (3.03 kpg) and is hitting for a .305 clip. The floor leader for the Pilots is Kara Pein, who has a team-leading 669 assists, while helping direct the team to a .177 attack percentage. The Pilots are under the direction of eighth-year head coach Doug Sparks. During his tenure at Portland, Sparks has posted an overall record of 71-142. Also on the Portland coaching staff is former Torero All-American Lindsey Sherburne.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS: Gonzaga enters the week with an overall record of 13-7 and a 2-3 mark in the WCC, after picking up a pair of wins over Eastern Washington and Portland this past week. The Toreros own a 29-9 all-time record over Gonzaga. The Zags are led offensively by Elaina Renius, who has a team-leading 235 kills (3.41 kpg) and is hitting for a .307 clip. The floor leader for the Bulldogs is Heather Dunn, who had a team-leading 899 assists to help lead the Zags to a .230 team attack percentage. Gonzaga is under the direction of sixth-year head coach Kip Yoshimura. During his tenure in Spokane, Yoshimura has posted an overall record of 44-123.
THE POLLS: San Diego moved up one spot in the latest CSTV/AVCA top-25 poll to No. 16 after posting a 2-0 record this past week. This marks the ninth consecutive week the Toreros have appeared in the top-25 this season. Neither Portland or Gonzaga are ranked in the latest polls.
Laurel Abrahamson NAMED WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Senior middle hitter Laurel Abrahamson was named as the West Coast Conference Player of the Week after helping lead the 16th-ranked University of San Diego women's volleyball team to a 2-0 record this past week. Abrahamson, a native of Bloomington, Minn., averaged 4.71 kills per game on an outstanding .459 hitting percentage, while also tallying 11 blocks on the week. In Friday's sweep over Pepperdine, Abrahamson posted 12 kills on 23 attempts to post a .391 attack percentage and in Saturday's 3-1 win over Loyola Marymount, Abrahamson led all players with her 21 kills on 38 attempts while only committing two attack errors to post a resounding .500 attack percentage. On the season, Abrahamson has 272 kills (3.78 kpg) and is hitting a conference-leading .395 attack percentage.
HARD TO HANDLE: Laurel Abrahamson is the hardest hitters in the West Coast Conference for opponents to handle, as the senior middle blocker leads the WCC in hitting percentage (.395). She has hit above .400 in nine of the Toreros' 19 matches, with her season-high (.810) being 17 kills on 21 attempts with no errors on Aug. 28 against Fairfield. The .810 attack percentage was the second highest single-match attack percentage in program history.
EVERYWHERE TO TURN: With five different hitters - Amy DeGroot, Laurel Abrahamson, Ali Troost, Torey Ellick and Jaimarie Sutherland - all stepping up to take their turn with the team-lead in kills in a match, San Diego setters Jessica Nyrop and Kelsi Myers have plenty of weapons at their disposal and San Diego has one of the most balanced offenses in the WCC as they lead the conference in kills per game at 16.97.
GOING STREAKING: San Diego is in the midst of a three-game winning streak after defeating Saint Mary's, this past week. USD will look to increase that streak this week as they host Portland and Gonzaga at USD's Jenny Craig Pavilion.
PETRIE RETURNS TO THE SIDELINES: Ninth-Year head coach Jennifer Petrie took the fall semester of 2006 off to spend time with her new born son Charles, her three-year old daughter Jane, as well as time with her husband Mark, and let her top assistant for the previous five seasons, Brent Hilliard, take the reigns for the season. She has now returned to continue to lead the USD volleyball program. Petrie has done an outstanding job directing the fortunes of San Diego volleyball since taking over as the Toreros head coach in 1999. Honored as the 2004 West Coast Conference Coach of the Year, Petrie continues to establish the University of San Diego as one of the top volleyball programs in the nation. In seven complete seasons as head coach, Petrie has led San Diego to six appearances in the NCAA Tournament (1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, & 2005).
TOREROS PICKED TO FINISH SECOND IN WCC: Pepperdine University was selected as the favorite to capture the 2007 WCC women's volleyball regular season title, as selected by the conference coaches. The Waves garnered five first place votes and tallied 61 overall points to earn the top spot. USD, the defending WCC Champions, was tabbed second with 52 overall points and one first place vote. The Toreros edged Santa Clara University, which was selected third with 50 overall points and also received one first place vote. Loyola Marymount University was tabbed fourth with 37 overall points, followed by the University of San Francisco (30). Saint Mary's College was selected sixth with 27 overall points and picked up a first place vote. Gonzaga University (23) and the University of Portland (8) round out this year's poll in seventh and eighth place, respectively.