Oct. 30, 2006
WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE: The 15th-ranked University of San Diego women's volleyball team (19-4, 9-0 WCC) will look to extend its nine-match winning streak this week as they travel to play a pair of Southern California West Coast Conference rivals this week. USD will first head to Los Angeles for a 7 p.m. showdown with Loyola Marymount University. The Toreros will then head to Malibu for a 1 p.m. match with Pepperdine University.
LAST TIME OUT: USD continues to roll as they began the second half of conference play this past week posting a 3-0 win over Saint Mary's College and a 3-1 win over the University of San Francisco. With the two wins the Toreros run their WCC win streak to 17 matches. On Thursday, Laurel Abrahamson recorded a .704 attacking percentage by recording 19 kills on 27 attempts and committing no attacking errors, while also recorded two blocks, one solo. Kristen Carlson also had a big night for the Toreros as she recorded a match-best 20 kills on 37 attempts for an attacking percentage of .324, and also recorded a double-double as she added 10 digs. Christie Dawson was the third Torero in double-digit kills with 13 on 31 attempts while only committing three attacking errors for a .323 attacking percentage. Jessica Nyrop recorded a match-best 54 assists to help direct the San Diego offense to a .308 team attacking percentage. Nyrop also recorded a match-best 13 digs on the evening. On Saturday, Carlson led all players with 20 kills on 41 attempts to post a .366 attack percentage. She also recorded a match-best 18 digs to register her 16th double-double of the season. Dawson turned in yet another dominating performance as she recorded 17 kills on 28 attempts while only committing two attacking errors to post a .536 hitting percentage. Dawson also recorded six blocks in the match. Abrahamson racked up 16 kills on 29 attempts, while committing three attacking errors to post a .448 attacking percentage. Nyrop recorded 58 assists to help direct USD to a .354 team attacking percentage.
SCOUTING THE LIONS: Loyola Marymount enters the week with a 17-7 overall record and a 5-4 mark in the WCC after recording a split this past week. LMU began the week with a 3-2 loss to Gonzaga, then bounced back with a 3-1 win over Portland. USD claimed the first meeting of the season against the Lions, 3-1 in a televised match on Fox Sports West, but the Lions hold the all-time series between the two at 36-16. Loyola Marymount is led offensively by Christianna Reneau, who has a team-leading 338 kills (3.89 kills per game) to post a .275 attacking percentage. The floor leader for the Lions is Ashley Dutro, who has a team-leading 263 assists (10.65 assists per game). LMU is under the direction of 17th-year head coach Steve Stratos. During his tenure in Los Angeles, Stratos has recorded a 341-160 overall record.
SCOUTING THE WAVES: Pepperdine enters the week with a 10-10 overall record and a 6-3 mark in the WCC after picking up a pair of wins over Gonzaga and Portland this past week. USD claimed the first meeting between the two earlier this season with a 3-1 win at the Jenny Craig Pavilion, but Pepperdine holds the all-time series edge at 32-13. The Waves are led offensively by Sophia Milo, who has a team-leading 3.34 kills per game (234 total kills) and a team-leading .338 attacking percentage. The floor leader for the Waves is Kiah Fiers who has a team-leading 853 assists (12.01 assists per game) to help direct the Pepperdine offense to a team attacking percentage of .224. Pepperdine is under the direction of 24th-year head coach Nina Matthies. During her tenure in Malibu, Matthies has posted an overall record of 472-276.
ABRAHAMSON NAMED WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: The University of San Diego's junior middle hitter Laurel Abrahamson was named as the West Coast Conference Player of the Week, it was announced Monday morning by the conference office. Abrahamson helped lead the women's volleyball team to a perfect 2-0 record this past week to remain unbeaten in WCC action at 9-0. The junior from Bloomington, Minn., recorded 35 kills (5.00 kills per game), only committed three attacking errors to post a outstanding .571 attacking percentage. Abrahamson also threw in four blocks, one solo. In Thursday's sweep over Saint Mary's, Abrahamson was simply amazing as she posted 19 kills on 27 attempts, committed no attacking errors and posted a match-best .704 attacking percentage. In Saturday's 3-1 win over San Francisco, Abrahamson again was a dominating force at the net for the Toreros as she recorded 16 kills, committed three attacking errors on 29 attempts for a .448 attacking percentage.
HITTIN' MACHINE: Senior middle hitter Christie Dawson had been hot as of late for the Toreros. Over the past five matches, Dawson has recorded 70 kills (4.38 kills per game) and hitting a .432 clip.
SOLID & RELIABLE: Naturally teams will look to their captains for that extra motivation and to push themselves the extra mile, and senior outside hitter Kristen Carlson fits the bill perfectly for San Diego. Through the first 21 matches of the season, Carlson leads the team and the WCC with 5.19 kills a game and is hitting .275. She has also put up a team-leading 16 double-doubles for the Toreros this season and is averaging 3.51 digs a game. Her 16 double-double's is second best in the WCC. In the nation Carlson also ranks among the best. As of Oct. 22 Carlson was ranked 12th in the nation kills per game.
JESS' WORLD: Sophomore setter Jessica Nyrop, continues to show why she is one of the best setters not only in the WCC, but in the nation as well. Nyrop currently leads the WCC with her 13.70 assists per game average. And as os Oct. 22 Nyrop ranked eighth in the nation in assists per game. Nyrop recorded back-to-back 50 plus assists this past week to help lead USD to a 2-0 record. On the season, she has recorded 50 or more assists on 15 occasions, and of those 15 matches, she has gone over the 60 assist mark five times including a career-high 64 in a win against Saint Mary's on Sept. 30.
THE POLLS: The University of San Diego women's volleyball team is up three spots in the latest CSTV/AVCA top-25 poll to No. 15 after posting a 3-0 sweep over Saint Mary's this past Thursday and a 3-1 win over San Francisco this past Saturday in West Coast Conference action. This marks the sixth consecutive week the Toreros have been ranked in the top-25 and is the highest ranking of the season for San Diego.
GOING STREAKING: The University of San Diego women's volleyball team is in the midst of a season-high nine-match winning streak. USD is also running a 17 match WCC winning streak, dating back to last season.The Toreros will look to extend on this streak this week as they travel to play Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine.
THREE-HEADED MONSTER: For the ninth consecutive match, the big three of Laurel Abrahamson, Kristen Carlson and Christie Dawson all recorded double-digit kills in the same match. These three make it difficult on opposing defenses to focus on one specific attacker, because there are two more who can hurt them. Carlson leads the three with her conference-leading 5.19 kills per game, followed by Dawson who is averaging 4.00 kills per game and Abrahamson is averaging 3.11 kills per game.
LIGHTS, CAMERA ACTION: All USD home matches, as well as select road matches, will be streamed live via video on the athletics department website. Fans can watch all the action live from the comfort of their home by logging onto usdtoreros.com. Once on the home page, click the LIVE button on the top right of the page. This is a subscription service that will give you access to live video events of USD athletic teams, coaching interviews and much more. The cost for this service will be $6.95 per month or a yearly subscription can be purchased for $49.95.
COACHING CHANGE: The Toreros are under the direction of a new but familiar face. Brent Hilliard, USD's top assistant for the past five seasons, has been moved to interim head coach. Head coach Jennifer Petrie will be taking the semester off to spend time with her new born son Charles, her two-year old daughter Jane, as well as time with her husband Mark. Petrie, who just completed her seventh year, will return to her head coaching position for the 2007 season. Hilliard brings a wealth of volleyball experience to the head coaching position as he has won at the highest levels of volleyball. During his tenure at USD, the Toreros have advanced to the NCAA Tournament all five seasons with a program-best Sweet 16 appearance in 2004. Hilliard was a catalyst for the 1991 Long Beach State men's volleyball national championship team en route to earning the NCAA Player of the Year award. In 1992, Hilliard was a member of the bronze medal winning U.S. Olympic team, and one year later, he helped the U.S. earn a silver medal at the Pan American Games. Hilliard continued his volleyball career as a professional in Europe from 1995-1998, playing two seasons in Belgium and one season in the Netherlands. In 1996, Hilliard and the Maasiek Volleyball club from Belgium won the country's championship and competed in the European Champions League.
TOREROS PICKED TO FINISH THIRD IN WCC: The University of San Diego was tabbed to finish third in the WCC, according to a preseason poll conducted by the conference head coaches. Santa Clara University was picked as the unanimous favorite to repeat as West Coast Conference champions in 2006. The Broncos racked up 64 points, receiving all eight first place votes to sweep the poll. Pepperdine University was picked to finish second with 55 points. San Diego was tapped for third place with 45 points, while Saint Mary's College (36) nudged past Loyola Marymount University (35) for fourth. The University of San Francisco (27), Gonzaga University (17) and the University of Portland (9) took the sixth through eighth spots, respectively.