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Rivalry Continues Thursday

Oct. 18, 2006

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BRIEFLY...
One game separates fifth-place Loyola Marymount and second-place Pepperdine in the West Coast Conference volleyball standings, and Thursday's 7:00 p.m. match-up between the two rivals could really shake things up. The Waves are the only WCC opponent the Lions have yet to meet, as the first half of conference action wraps up this week in Gersten Pavilion.

WCC GAME OF THE WEEK...
Thursday's match-up between the Lions and Pepperdine is one of the WCC's Games of the Week. Becauase of this distinction, Gametracker and live video streaming is only available at the WCC website at www.WCCsports.com. LMU's live audio broadcast will still be carried on Lions' All-Access at www.LMULions.com.

LMU MOURNS LOSS OF FORMER STANDOUT KIM BLANKINSHIP...
LMU is morning the loss of former standout Kim Blankinship (1993-96), who died Monday night from heart failure. The Lions will observe a moment of silence prior to Thursday night's match against the Waves. Friends, former teammates, and fans can visit the LMU website at www.LMULions.com to submit memories or condolences to be posted on the memorial page. For more on Blankinship and her contributions to the LMU program, see the PDF version of this release.

THIS WEEK'S MATCH-UP...
LMU: The Lions will look to turn things around in their only match of the week, this Thursday against Pepperdine. The Lions started WCC play 3-0, including a 3-0 sweep of then-12th-ranked Santa Clara, but have since dropped three-straight WCC contests, including matches against Saint Mary's and San Francisco last week. LMU is still within one match of second-place Pepperdine. The Lions are led by reigning WCC Player of the Month Heather Hughes, who passed the 1,000 career kill mark Saturday against San Francisco.

PEPPERDINE: Pepperdine dropped a mid-week match-up to UC Santa Barbara 3-0 (30-24, 30-24, 30-19) in Santa Barbara before rebounding to sweep San Francisco (30-27, 30-28, 30-22) and Saint Mary's (30-18, 30-23, 30-28) last week. Sophomore middle blocker Cassi Chamberlain was named WCC Player of the Week after posting 19 kills on .486 hitting in the two conference matches. The Waves are still winless in road matches in 2006.

LMU IN THE NATIONAL STATS...
The Lions have four top-20 rankings in the current NCAA stat categories. As a team, LMU ranks eighth in kills (16.91/game), 19th in assists (15.13/game), and 19th in digs (18.85/game). Junior Heather Hughes ranks 16th in service aces, averaging 0.63 a game.

HUGHES PASSES 1,000 CAREER KILLS...
Junior Heather Hughes joined an exclusive group last week when she passed the 1,000 career kill milestone against San Francisco on Saturday, October 14, 2006. Hughes, who had seven kills in the first game without an error, reached the 1,000 career kill mark early Saturday. She became just the ninth Lion all-time to reach the milestone.

SEPTEMBER STREAKING...
The Lions' September winning steak of 10 straight victories was the program's longest winning streak since the LMU record of 16 was set back in 1996. That season, the Lions won 16 straight en route to the NCAA Championship's Sweet Sixteen.

HUGHES NAMED WCC PLAYER OF THE MONTH...
Heather Hughes led the Lions to a 12-2 record in September, including a perfect 2-0 start to WCC action. For her efforts, the WCC named her its first Player of the Month of the 2006 season. Hughes tallied 218 kills (4.45/gm), 164 digs (3.35/gm), 56 assists (1.14/gm), and 38 service aces (.78/gm). She totaled 267.5 points during the month of September. Her service ace mark ranked her as high as sixth in the nation in aces during the month. Hughes lead the WCC in double-doubles, posting 11 through September 30th. She also ranked in the WCC's top-6 in both kills and digs. Hughes was named the WCC Player of the Week (9/11), the LMU Four Points Sheraton-LAX Classic MVP, and the Miami Hurricane Invitational MVP.

NOT SO NEUTRAL...
With neutral court wins over Jacksonville and Flordia A&M in Miami September 15-16, the Lions extended their streak of neutral court victories. Dating back to 2005, the Lions have accumulated a 8-0 record on neutral courts.

HUGHES NAMED WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK...
LMU's Heather Hughes was named the WCC Player of the Week for the week of September 11th. Hughes led the Lions to a 4-0 week and the 2006 LMU Four Points Sheraton-LAX Classic title. The Lions' junior took home the Classic's MVP award after her all-around play led LMU to the championship. The Lions defeated all three opponents (UC Irvine, SMU, and Nevada) in tournament play, dropping only one game all weekend. LMU also swept Cal State Fullerton Tuesday night in Gersten Pavilion. On the week, Hughes finished with 61 kills (4.69 per game) and 50 digs (3.85 per game), while hitting .343. Even more impressive was her tough serving, as Hughes tallied 12 aces in the Lions' four matches (13 games). The Fallbrook, Calif. native becomes the first Lion of the 2006 season to earn the weekly WCC selection. It was her third career selection.

WCC SENDS FIVE TO 2005 NCAA TOURNAMENT...
Led by Head Coach Steve Stratos, the Lions were one of five West Coast Conference programs to make the postseason in 2005, as LMU joined Santa Clara, San Diego, Pepperdine, and Saint Mary's in the NCAA tournament. For the second time in three seasons, the WCC led all conferences in percentage of teams to qualify for the tournament, sending 62.5 percent of its programs to the postseason. The Big 12 Conference leads all leagues in number of participating teams, with seven teams selected. The WCC finished the 2005 season ranked fourth in the final volleyball conference RPI rankings. This 2006 season, six of the eight WCC teams have earned votes in the AVCA top-25 coaches' poll.

GREAT SCHEDULING...
The Lions have once again compiled a challenging schedule for the 2006 season. LMU will play seven matches against teams ranked in the 2006 AVCA preseason top-25 poll. The WCC coaches picked the Lions to finish fifth in conference action.

THE STATS ON STRAT...
In 2005, Head Coach Steve Stratos led the Lions to a third-straight NCAA postseason in his 16th campaign at the helm of the program with a 16th straight winning season. In his time at LMU, Stratos has led the Lions to nine 20-win seasons and 11 postseason appearances. Stratos entered the 2006 season with a career record of 324-153, the most victories in LMU volleyball history and second among current WCC coaches. In league action, he owns a mark of 157-67, good for a .701 winning percentage. Posting 157 career conference victories, Stratos again ranks second among current WCC coaches. During the 2004, Stratos reached the 300-win milestone with a 3-0 win over the University of Portland in Gersten Pavilion. Among Division I active coaches, Stratos began 2006 ranking 37th by winning percentage (.679) and 58th by victories (324).