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Second Half of WCC Play Starts in Northwest

Oct. 25, 2006

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BRIEFLY...
The first half of West Coast Conference play left the Lions 4-3 and in a four-way tie for second place. LMU volleyball will begin its second-half push this Thursday and Saturday, with road matches at Gonzaga and Portland.

FOLLOWWW THE LIONS...
Fans can follow Thursday's action on Gametracker at www.LMULions.com, while Saturday's match will be carried live on Portland's audio broadcast found at www.portlandpilots.com/broadcast/.

STRATOS NEARS MILESTONE...
Thursday's match at Gonzaga will be LMU Head Coach Steve Stratos' 500th career match. Stratos took the reigns of the LMU program in 1990 and has tallied a career record of 340-159 heading into Thursday's match No. 500.

HUGHES GETS SECOND WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK NOD...
For the second time this season, Heather Hughes was named the WCC Player of the Week, the conference announced Monday. Hughes led the Lions to their first 3-0 sweep of Pepperdine since 1995 in LMU's only match of the week last Thursday. The LMU junior posted 23 kills and 11 digs for her league-leading 15th double-double of the season. The victory came in front of over 1,000 fans Thursday. It was the Lions' 200th WCC win in program history. Hughes was last named WCC Player of the Week September 11, 2006. This week's honor marks her fourth career selection.

THIS WEEK'S MATCH-UP...
LMU LIONS: The Lions ended their three-match skid last week with an exclamation point, sweeping Pepperdine 3-0 for the first time since 1995. The win improved LMU to 4-3 in conference play, moving the Lions back into a four-way tie for second place in the conference standings. The Lions, who are 1-1 in WCC road action so far this season, hit the road for the first time since LMU's televised match in San Diego on October 7.

GONZAGA BULLDOGS: The Bulldogs open a three-match homestand with the Lions on Thursday. After being swept by San Francisco last Thursday, Gonzaga earned its only WCC win with a 3-2 thriller over Saint Mary's on the road Saturday. The Lions are 31-6 all-time against Gonzaga. LMU's longest-running WCC winning streak is against Gonzaga, as LMU has not dropped a match to the Bulldogs since 1992 for 27 straight wins.

PORTLAND PILOTS: The Pilots dropped two 3-0 matches last week on the road at Saint Mary's and San Francisco. Portland's lone WCC win so far came at the hands of Gonzaga on October 7 in the Chiles Center. Murphy McClenahan recorded 28 digs over two matches last week to lead the Pilots. The Lions are 32-8 all-time against Portland, splitting with the Pilots in 2005 and topping them 3-0 at home earlier this season.

LMU IN THE NATIONAL STATS...
The Lions have four top-20 rankings in the current NCAA stat categories. As a team, LMU ranks seventh in kills (16.95/game), 19th in assists (15.19/game), and 18th in digs (18.92/game). Junior Heather Hughes ranks 20th in service aces, averaging 0.62 a game.

HUGHES PASSES 1,000 CAREER KILLS...
Junior Heather Hughes joined an exclusive group when she passed the 1,000 career kill milestone against San Francisco on Saturday, October 14. Hughes, had seven kills in the first game without an error. 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).

-GO LIONS-