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Lions Hit the Road, Continue West Coast Conference Play

Oct. 17, 2007

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -

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THIS WEEK
Thursday, October 18
LMU at Saint Mary's at 7:00 p.m
Saturday, October 20
LMU at Santa Clara at 1:00 p.m.

BRIEFLY...
After splitting two home matches against West Coast Conference opponents San Francisco and then 17th-ranked San Diego, Loyola Marymount volleyball will hit the road this week to take on WCC foes Saint Mary's and Santa Clara. The Lions will visit the Gaels on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. before taking on the Broncos in a 1:00 p.m. start Saturday afternoon.

DIG FOR THE CURE...
The Lions, who participated in the "Dig for the Cure" effort Thursday night, finished with 66 digs in the game, including a career-high 24 from freshman libero Whitney Leonard. In all, the Lions raised approximately $2,700 from Thursday night's event. Loyola Marymount would like to thank all who contributed to the national effort for Susan G. Komen For The Cure.

FOLLOWWW THE LIONS...
It's easy to follow the Lions throughout the 2007 season! Just log on to LMULions.com for all the latest Lion volleyball coverage. Both of this week's WCC matches will be carried live on Gametracker, with links found on the volleyball schedule page. Just click on the current match on the schedule and the links will appear in the window on the right.

A LOOK AT THE LIONS...
LMU is coming off a 1-1 week in which it split two home matches against San Francisco and San Diego. The Lions defeated San Francisco 3-1 in Thursday's "Dig for the Cure" match, before falling 3-1 to previously ranked No. 17 San Diego in Saturday afternoon's affair. Prior to Saturday's match against the Toreros, Loyola Marymount held a special jersey retirement ceremony for Olympian Sarah Noriega, who led the 1996 Lions to the Sweet Sixteen. Senior Heather Hughes continued her outstanding play, collecting a double-double (18 kills and 13 digs) in the victory over the Dons. After splitting the two conference home matches, Loyola Marymount will attempt to improve on its 2-3 start in WCC play this week on the road.

HUGHES LEADS NATION IN KILLS PER GAME...
LMU senior Heather Hughes leads the nation in kills per game, an honor she has held since the week of September 9. Through 18 matches and 68 games played, Hughes has collected 391 kills to the tune of a 5.75 kills per game average.

SCOUTING SAINT MARY'S...
Saint Mary's is one of four teams tied for fourth place in the West Coast Conference with a record of 2-3 and an overall mark of 10-7. The Gaels were swept by Santa Clara in their only match this past weekend by scores of 30-26, 30-26, 30-21. Freshman Megan York recorded her 12th double-double of the season (15 kills and 10 digs) in the loss. Saint Mary's currently ranks 10th in blocks per game (3.31) in the NCAA Division I. Megan Burton and Shannon Lowell lead the way in blocks, with Burton ranking first in the WCC and 12th in the Nation in blocks per game (1.57) and Lowell holding the top spot in WCC play with 1.94 per game. On the offensive side of the ball, the Gaels are paced by York, who is averaging 4.65 kills per game, which is good for 35th in the NCAA Division I rankings and second in the WCC. Saint Mary's is coached by third-year head coach Rob Browning.

BREAKING THE BRONCOS...
Santa Clara split two matches last week, but improved to 4-1 in conference play, after being swept in a non-conference match against Sacramento State on Tuesday and blanking WCC foe Saint Mary's on Friday. With the victory over Saint Mary's, the Broncos find themselves knotted with No. 16 San Diego and Pepperdine for the top spot in the WCC standings. Brittany Lowe and Lindsy Evans lead the Santa Clara attack, ranking seventh (3.71) and ninth (3.63) in the WCC in kills per game, respectively. Crystal Matich and Caroline Walters are also among the leaders in the WCC, ranking second in assists (12.83) and digs (4.73) per game, in that order. In conference matches alone, Santa Clara holds the lowest opponent hitting percentage, limiting opposition to a .167 mark, while also collecting a conference-leading 40 service aces. The Broncos are coached by Jon Wallace, who is in his ninth season at Santa Clara.

WEST COAST CONFERENCE CHATTER...
Senior middle hitter Laurel Abrahamson was selected as this week's WCC Player of the Week after helping lead the then 17th-ranked University of San Diego women's volleyball team to wins over Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount. Abrahamson averaged 4.71 kills per game on an outstanding .459 hitting percentage, while also tallying 11 blocks on the week. Pepperdine's loss to San Diego was the Waves' first conference loss of the season, leaving them tied with the Toreros and Santa Clara, which lost to Sacramento State and defeated Saint Mary's last week, for the top spot in the standings. San Francisco and Portland were each winless last week, with the Dons falling to LMU and Pepperdine and Portland losing to Portland State and Gonzaga. In addition to the victory over the Pilots, Gonzaga also swept Eastern Washington to complete a perfect week of play.

AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS...
Catch Emily Day and Heather Hughes in this month's issue of the nationwide publication, Volleyball Magazine (www.volleyballmag.com). In the issue, Day and Hughes are featured for their record-breaking summer AVP run, where they became the lowest-seeded pair to ever advance to an AVP main draw. Once qualifying for the main draw, the Lion duo faced 2004 Olympic gold medalists Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor in the first round.

RENEAU, HUGHES NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT SQUAD...
Christianna Reneau and Heather Hughes were named to the Asics Tournament's All-Tournament Team. Against Pacific and Oregon State, Reneau averaged an impressive 5.00 digs per game with 45 total over the nine games played. She added 27 kills, four service aces, and three block assists. Reneau tallied a career-high 33 digs Friday night against the Beavers. While Reneau was busy on the defensive end, Hughes was racking up kills, averaging 5.44 per game in the two matches. The national leader in kills per game, Hughes finished with 49 total. She added 19 digs, two block assists, and one ace. It was Hughes' fourth all-tournament selection in four weekends. The Lions were named runners-up after going 1-1.

HUGHES JOINS EXCLUSIVE 1000/1000 CLUB...
Earlier this season, Heather Hughes became just the fifth player in LMU volleyball history to pass the 1,000 milestone in both career kills and career digs. The senior passed the kill mark last season, but recorded career dig No. 1000 with her first dig at UC Irvine on September 4. Hughes joins Deanna Doolittle (1990-93), Kim Blankinship (1993-96), Leslie Wohlford (1985-88), and Kealani Kimball (2000-03) in the 1,000 kill/1,000 dig club.

RENEAU, HUGHES NAMED LMU INVITE ALL-TOURNAMENT...
Seniors Christianna Reneau and Heather Hughes were honored for their play at the LMU Hilton LAX Invitational when they were named all-tournament selections. Reneau averaged 3.17 kills and 3.92 digs per game, while hitting .357 on the weekend. Hughes added 4.67 kills and 3.17 digs over the three matches.

HORTON, HUGHES NAMED ALL-TOURNEY...
Heather Hughes and Renee Horton were named to the all-tournament team following the LMU Four Points Sheraton Classic title tilt. Hughes averaged 7.80 kills and 4.60 digs per game while hitting .462 over the course of the tournament. She tallied a career-high 31 kills en route to a statistical triple-double with 10 assists and 15 digs in the four-game match Saturday night. Horton also had an impressive weekend with 148 assists, 20 kills, 20 digs, and a team-high four aces. She was just two digs shy of her own triple-double against UNLV.

HUGHES NAMED NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK...
The honors continued for Heather Hughes, as the senior was named Collegiate Volleyball Update's National Player of the Week on Sept. 4. The selection marks the first such honor for a Lion since Olympian Sarah Noriega (1994-97) was awarded the national player of the week distinction in 1997. Hughes earned the title of WCC Player of the Week after leading the Lions to a 2-1 run in the tournament, featuring 3-0 wins over UCSB and Northwestern. Over the Lions' 10 games played, Hughes had 78 kills, averaging 7.80 kills per game while hitting .405 on the weekend. She added 46 digs, 12 assists, eight blocks, and two service aces. In the tournament title match against the Rebels, Hughes tallied a triple-double with a career-high 31 kills, along with 10 assists, and 15 digs. The WCC Player of the Week selection was the first of the young 2007 season for the Lions, and the fourth career selection for the senior Hughes.

HUGHES NAMED USC ALL-TOURNEY...
Senior Heather Hughes tallied 52 kills in 10 games against some of the nation's top competition at the USC Trojan Invitational. For her efforts, Hughes took home an all-tournament selection. In addition to her 5.20 kills per game, Hughes added 33 digs and five service aces.

THE STATS ON STRAT...
LMU Head Coach Steve Stratos has posted 17 winning seasons in his 17 years at the helm of the Lion volleyball program. Stratos entered his 18th season with a career mark of 343-165, which ranks him among the nation's top-50 active Division I coaches in winning percentage.