Oct. 30, 2007
UP NEXT FOR THE DONS: USF opened the second half of the demanding West Coast Conference schedule with a remarkable sweep of defending West Coast Conference Champion No. 12 San Diego Saturday at War Memorial Gym. The victory is the highest ranked opponent dispatched by San Francisco in program history and is the team's first ranked win since 2003 - also against the Toreros. The Dons now shift their focus to a difficult Bay Area road swing against ancient Bay Area rivals Santa Clara and Saint Mary's. USF swept the Broncos and Gaels in the last meetings between the two teams at War Memorial Gym. The win against Santa Clara was the first for the Dons since 1989 and snapped a 34-match losing streak to the Broncos.
QUOTING HEAD COACH GILAD DORON: "Every match becomes more and more important for our chances to get into the NCAA tournament. Last weekend was a great start for the WCC second round, but we must keep playing at a high level throughout the rest of the league schedule to improve our chances which is our main goal this year. Santa Clara and Saint Mary's are also in the hunt and will look to take advantage of their home court to even the season series. We are looking forward to the challenges ahead of us this weekend on the road against two very tough teams at tough places to play."
MAURER FOURTH ON WCC CAREER DIGS CHART: USF senior outside hitter Brynn Maurer continues her climb up the WCC career digs list and currently owns sole possession of fourth place on the career list with 1,645. Next up on the chart is Portland's Murphy McClenahan (2003-06), who finished with 1,684. Playing primarily libero this season, the Dons all-time digs leader rates second on the club in digs (3.45) and is third in aces (0.25).
Sarah Mandala NAMED WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK - AGAIN: Freshman opposite hitter Sarah Mandala continues to stake her claim as one of the most dynamic first year players on the West Coast. A two-time all-tournament selection, Mandala ranks second on the team in kills (3.35), while hitting at a .233 clip. Mandala earned WCC Player of the Week honors leading the Dons to victory against Saint Mary's (10/4) and Santa Clara (10/6), averaging 4.17 kills on .340 hitting to go along with 3.33 digs and 1.50 blocks. Mandala turned in a 15-kill night against No. 14 Cal Poly (9/15) and tied her career-high with 18 kills in a sweep of No. 12 San Diego (10/27) en route to her second WCC Player of the Week nod. With six matches remaining in the regular season, Mandala needs just 13 kills to set the USF freshman kills record currently held by Theresa Hart (2003-05), who tallied 277 in 2003. During WCC play, Mandala averages a team-best 3.52 kills to go along with 1.76 digs and 1.03 blocks per game.
HASSELBERG RESUMES ASSAULT ON KILLS CHART: Senior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg enters Thursday's match at Santa Clara ranked third in career kills with 1,450 and needs 19 to move into second place past USF Legend of the Hilltop Melanie Kaiser (1988-91), who recorded 1,468. Brittanie Budinger (2000-03) is the career leader with 1,518 and Hasselberg needs 69 to pass her. The Carlsbad native averages a team-best 3.73 kills and 4.30 points this season and ranks ninth among West Coast Conference kills leaders.
Carly Babin CRACKS CAREER BLOCKS LIST: Junior middle blocker Carly Babin enjoyed one of the most prolific blocking seasons in USF history as a sophomore in 2006, ranking second in single-season stuffs with 160. Babin ranked second among West Coast Conference blocks leaders averaging 1.30 per game and also averaged 2.01 kills on .313 hitting for the Dons. Babin shattered her career-high with 20 kills on .429 hitting against Cal State Northridge (8/25) to go along with five blocks (three solo) and a pair of service aces. Babin averages 3.02 kills on .338 hitting to go along with 1.23 blocks on the year and ranks among WCC leaders in attack percentage (third) and blocks (fifth). With 262 career total blocks, Babin ranks 10th on the USF all-time list, averaging 1.10 per game and her 41 solo stuffs also rate 10th in the career annals.
SCOUTING SANTA CLARA: The Broncos enter the sixth week of West Coast Conference play with a 16-9 overall record and sit atop the league standings at 8-1 after securing road sweeps at Gonzaga and Portland last weekend in the Pacific Northwest. Santa Clara has won five straight matches. The Broncos average 16.5 kills on .223 hitting to go along with 2.0 blocks per game. Junior outside hitter Brittany Lowe leads the way for the Broncos, averaging 3.89 kills and 2.97 digs, while sophomore opposite hitter Lindsy Evans adds 3.53 kills per game. All-American senior setter Crystal Matich averages 13.14 assists and 2.12 digs per game. Jon Wallace is in his ninth year on the Mission Campus and has directed the Broncos to eight straight NCAA Tournament berths including a Final Four trip in 2005.
SCOUTING SAINT MARY'S: The Gaels enter the sixth week of West Coast Conference play with a 12-9 overall record and own a 4-5 league slate after downing Portland (3-1) before falling at Gonzaga (3-1) last weekend. Saint Mary's has won two of its last three, including a 3-2 home victory against Pepperdine (11/20). The Gaels average 14.5 kills per game on .218 attacking with 3.0 blocks per game. Freshman outside hitter Megan York leads the way for the Gaels, averaging 4.78 kills and 3.59 digs per game, while junior outside hitter Taylor Groess adds 3.36 kills per game. Freshman setter Kapua Kamana'o does a nice job running the SMC offense, dishing out a team-high 9.97 assists to go along with 1.99 digs. Rob Browning is in his third year guiding Saint Mary's and directed the Gaels into the 2005 NCAA Tournament.
GILAD DORON ENTERS FIRST YEAR IN THE GREEN AND GOLD: Gilad Doron enters his first season on the Hilltop after being named USF's new head volleyball coach on March 14, 2007. Doron readies for his second Division I head coaching assignment after spending the last three years as the head coach at Villanova, guiding the Wildcats to back-to-back winning seasons in the Big East. Doron is assisted on the bench by former US National Team setter Dan Fisher, who enters his first season on the Hilltop after spending three seasons as the top assistant with the Pacific men's program and Sam Hastings, who enters her first year at USF after playing Doron at Villanova. Doron captured his first Dons win against Cal State Northridge (8/25).
HAMMERING HASSELBERG: Senior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg enters the 11th week of the 2007 regular season established as one of the most dominant outside hitters in program history. A 2006 All-West Coast Conference First Team selection, the All-American candidate ranked second among league leaders in kills (4.57) and points (5.13) as a junior. A 10-time all-tournament selection and a three-time MVP, Hasselberg set a career-high with 33 kills in a 3-2 win against North Carolina (9/3/05) and posted the first 20-20 match of her career with 24 kills and 22 digs at UC Davis (11/22/05). Since her arrival on the Hilltop, Hasselberg has notched double-figures in kills 77 times, including 17 matches with 20 or more and owns 21 double-doubles (kills/digs). Hasselberg is the Dons career leader in kills per game at 4.00 and shattered the Dons underclassmen kills record, tallying 725 in her first two seasons.
MAURER ADDS TO DONS CAREER DIGS RECORD: Senior outside hitter Brynn Maurer enjoyed a strong year at outside hitter in 2006 after spending her first two seasons on the Hilltop as the libero. The USF career digs leader enters the 11th week of the 2007 season with 1,645, good for fourth place on the West Coast Conference career chart. For her career, Maurer averages 4.20 digs per game, the top mark in program history. Since her arrival on the Hilltop, Maurer has surpassed 20 digs 28 times and has tallied double-digits 82 times in 108 career matches. Maurer shared the team double-double lead in 2006 with eight, averaging 2.22 kills and 3.36 digs per game. Maurer registered a season-high 28 digs against No. 14 Cal Poly (9/15).
Darcy Carroll SIXTH IN USF CAREER ASSISTS: Junior setter Darcy Carroll enters the 11th week of the 2007 season with 1,991 assists, good for sixth place on the Dons career list. Carroll passed Margaret Hillhouse (1986-88), who recorded 1,791 in a in the Dons sweep against Santa Clara (10/06). Carroll led San Francisco in assists (7.47) in the Dons 6-2 alignment last season. A 2005 West Coast Conference Freshman Team selection, Carroll dished out a career-high 70 assists in USF's 3-2 victory against Bay Area rival San Jose State (9/1/06) and turned in her fifth double-double of the season against Portland (10/20) with 29 assists and 10 digs.
GOOD GOLLY GOMBOS: Junior middle blocker Alix Gombos turned in one of the top offensive seasons by a USF middle in program history last season. The 2006 All-West Coast Conference Honorable Mention selection ranked second among league leaders in attack percentage (.345) and was seventh in blocks (1.15). Gombos registered double-digit kills 21 times as a sophomore, hit .400 or better in 12 matches, .500 or better six times and recorded three matches of .600 or better. Gombos averages 2.06 kills on .331 hitting with 1.31 blocks per game so far in her junior campaign.
Addie Webster VERSATILE FOR USF: Junior outside hitter Addie Webster shook off a slow start to enjoy a strong first tournament for USF. A transfer from Eastern Washington, Webster captured Big Sky Newcomer of the Year honors in 2005 and turned in back-to-back double-double matches for the Dons. Webster recorded 13 kills on .306 hitting to go along with 16 digs against Fresno State (8/25) and turned in 12 kills and 17 digs against Cal State Northridge (8/25). Webster tallied nine kills and nine digs against Oregon (9/4) and turned in her third double-double of the year with 11 kills and 11 digs against No. 14 Cal Poly (9/15). Entering the 11th week of 2007, Webster averages 2.41 kills and 2.45 digs per game.
Haley Carroll DIGS DEFENSE: Sophomore libero Haley Carroll enjoyed an outstanding freshman season, ranking third among league leaders in digs (4.79) and was fourth in service aces (0.38). A West Coast Conference All-Freshman Team pick in 2006, Carroll became just the second player in program history to surpass 500 in a season, finishing with 522, good for second place on the Dons single-season chart. With 40 digs at San Jose State (9/12), Carroll turned in the second highest single-match tally in school history behind Denise Pardoen who recorded 46 against Oklahoma (9/19/87). Entering the 11th week of the 2007 season, Carroll leads the team in digs (4.72) and service aces (0.40).
Carly Babin CLOGGING THE MIDDLE: Junior middle blocker Carly Babin had a big sophomore season for the Dons in the middle. Babin ranked second among West Coast Conference leaders in blocks (1.30), rated second on the team in hitting percentage (.313) and was fourth in kills (2.15) during league matches. The Las Vegas native recorded a career-high 11 blocks in a win against UC Santa Barbara (9/3) - tied for fifth place among USF single-match leaders and hammered a career-high 14 kills in a WCC sweep of Saint Mary's (10/4). Babin's 143 total blocks were the second best tally in school history behind only Tracy Harrison (1982-85), who set a WCC record 186 as a senior. Babin ranks 10th in USF career solo (41) and total (262) blocks.
Linzy Kearney NINTH IN USF CAREER BLOCKS: Senior opposite Linzy Kearney continued to produce for the Dons and enters the 11th week of the 2007 regular season ranked ninth in USF career total blocks with 271. Next up is Jeanette Sargenti (1994-97), who recorded 296. A team co-captain for the second straight season, Kearney hammered a season-high 10 kills in a sweep of Xavier (9/15). So far in 2007, Kearney averages 0.96 kills and 0.48 blocks per game.
DONS HALTING STREAKS: San Francisco has enjoyed success against West Coast Conference opponents it historically struggles against so far in the 2007 schedule. The Dons snapped a 34-match losing streak to ancient Bay Area rival Santa Clara (10/6), seizing their first victory in the series since 1989. USF swept No. 12 San Diego (10/27), dispatching the highest ranked opponent in school history in its first win against the Toreros since 2003. San Francisco has another opportunity to snap another long losing skid when perennial WCC power Pepperdine visits the Hilltop Thursday, November 8. The Dons trail the all-time series 44-1 with USF's lone win coming in 1993.