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WCC Women's Volleyball Notes

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Oct. 31, 2006

WCC Player of the Week

Laurel Abrahamson, San Diego
Middle hitter Laurel Abrahamson helped lead the Toreros to back-to-back wins last week, extending their winning streak to nine matches. Abrahamson was the hot hitter for San Diego, hitting at a .571 clip for the week and recording just three attack errors in seven games. In Thursday's sweep of Saint Mary's, Abrahamson hit at a .704 clip with 19 kills and no errors. The junior continued to lay down kills on Saturday, posting 16 kills on three errors. Abrahamson added four blocks for the week. The Bloomington, MN native averaged five kills per game and leads the WCC in hitting percentage in conference matches at .406. Abrahamson, along with teammates Kristen Carlson and Christie Dawson, has recorded double-digit kills in all nine WCC matches this season.

Upcoming Games

Nov. 2
*Santa Clara at Pepperdine$ - 7:00 PM
*San Diego at LMU - 7:00 PM

Nov. 4
*San Diego at Peppperdine - 1:00 PM
*Saint Mary's at San Francisco - 6:00 PM
*Portland at Gonzaga - 1:00 PM
*Santa Clara at LMU - 1:00 PM

Nov. 7
Santa Clara at UC Davis - 6:00 PM

* Denotes Conference Match
$ Televised on CSTV

Around the WCC

Lights, Camera, Action
For the third time this season, WCC teams will be featured on television, with CSTV carrying tape delayed coverage of Thursday's conference match between Pepperdine and No. 20 Santa Clara. The Broncos head to Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, CA looking to gain sole possession of second place in the WCC. The teams last met on October 7, when the Broncos swept the Waves in Santa Clara. Pepperdine holds a 29-16 advantage over Santa Clara since 1985, but the Broncos have taken six straight, including a win in the NCAA Sweet 16 last year. With both teams entering the matchup with 6-3 records in conference play, the winner will take hold of second place behind San Diego. The match is scheduled to air on Sunday beginning at 3:00 PM on CSTV.

Last week marked the beginning of the second half of the WCC season, and conference squads began to separate themselves in the standings. San Diego remains undefeated in conference play, gaining a three-game lead over the second place teams with two wins last week. Pepperdine and Santa Clara are knotted in a tie for second, after posting 2-0 records last week as well. LMU used a split last week and two losses by Saint Mary's to take control of fourth place in the WCC. The Gaels, San Francisco and Portland all dropped both their matches last week, putting SMC in fifth place at 4-5, the Dons in sixth and UP in eighth place with just one conference win. Gonzaga recorded its second win of the WCC season, to move ahead of Portland and into seventh place. This week, half of the WCC teams play just one match, while Santa Clara and Pepperdine will meet on CSTV for sole possession of second place and LMU hosts SoCal rival San Diego in the only matches on Thursday.

Rank and File
After extending its winning streak to nine-straight matches, San Diego jumped up three spots in the CSTV/AVCA National Poll to No. 15 this week. Santa Clara's 2-0 record last week gave them a boost as well, taking the No. 20 spot in the poll. The Toreros entered the Molten/Volleyball Magazine poll for the first time last week and remained at No. 18, while Santa Clara took the No. 19 spot for the second straight week. No. 1 Nebraska is the only remaining undefeated team in the polls, while Penn State fell from the No. 2 spot for the first time this season after recording its first loss this year.

WCC Team Notes

Gonzaga Bulldogs (7-17 / 2-7 WCC)
- The Zags scored their second WCC win of the season with a five-game victory over LMU before dropping a 3-0 decision to Pepperdine.

- The Bulldogs continued to press opponents to five games last week, earning their fourth win in a five-game match this season against LMU. The team is now 4-5 in five-game matches this year.

- Becky Jones posted her 11th double-double of the season against LMU. Jones recorded 21 kills and 11 digs and joined three other players in double digits in kills.

- The Bulldogs hold a 28-14 advantage in the all-time series with Portland but have lost six of their last eight matches against the Pilots.

- The Zags host Northwest rival Portland on Saturday in their only match this week.

Loyola Marymount Lions (17-7 / 5-4 WCC)
- After dropping a 3-2 decision to Gonzaga on Thursday, LMU bounced back with a sweep of Portland.

- Heather Hughes continued to lead the Lions last week, recording double-doubles in both matches, to give her a league-leading 17 on the season. Christianna Reneau joined Hughes to lead the team against Gonzaga with a match-high 25 kills.

- Thursday's loss marked Head Coach Steve Stratos' 500th match at the helm for Loyola Marymount.

- Gonzaga's 22.5 team blocks helped hold the Lions to just .154 hitting on the night despite four players reaching double digits in kills.

- LMU hosts to No. 15 San Diego (11/2) and No. 20 Santa Clara (11/4).

Pepperdine Waves (10-10 / 6-3 WCC)
- The Waves went 2-0 last week, recording back-to-back sweeps in the Northwest over Portland and Gonzaga.

- Julie Rubenstein led the way for Pepperdine, averaging five kills and one block per game, while hitting at a .377 clip in the two sweeps.

- The two wins marked the Waves' first road victories of the season. Pepperdine entered last week 0-7 away from Firestone Fieldhouse.

- Freshman Kiah Fiers dished out 70 assists last week, setting the Waves to above .300 hitting percentages in three games. Pepperdine hit .300 as a team for the week.

- Pepperdine hosts No. 20 Santa Clara on Thursday in a nationally televised match to determine possession of second place before looking to hand No. 15 San Diego its first loss on Saturday.

Portland Pilots (8-14 / 1-8 WCC)
- Portland dropped two matches for the third straight week, extending their losing streak to six with losses to Pepperdine and LMU.

- Murphy McClenahan's 39 digs last week puts her 26 away from second place on the UP all-time chart and third in the WCC in career digs.

- With 11 kills against Pepperdine Ashley Grayson was the lone Pilot to reach double digits in kills and hit better than .200 in the match.

- Freshman Betsy Grasham recorded double-digit kills for the first time in her collegiate career with 10 against LMU. Grasham added seven digs and five blocks to her totals for the match.

- Portland looks to end its losing streak, traveling to face rival Gonzaga on Saturday.

Saint Mary's Gaels (9-11 / 4-5 WCC)
- The Gaels dropped a 3-0 decision at San Diego and a heartbreaker in five games at Santa Clara last week.

- Missie Stidham was the only Gael to reach double digits in kills against then-No. 18 San Diego, recording 18 kills on .359 hitting. The next highest SMC kills total was eight.

- The Gaels outblocked San Diego 9-5 thanks to four total blocks each from Brittany Barker, Mandy Bible and Christina Kirk.

- SMC took the first two games in the loss to Santa Clara, hitting .444 and .345 in games one and two, respectively. The Gaels outblocked the Broncos by 25.5-9.0 in the match, but the momentum turned after Saint Mary's hit .088 in game three.

- This week SMC travels across the Bay to take on San Francisco on Saturday.

San Diego Toreros (19-4 / 9-0 WCC)
- The Toreros kicked off the second half of WCC play by continuing to dominate conference opponents, topping Saint Mary's and San Francisco.

- Laurel Abrahamson led San Diego in extending its winning streak to nine matches, earning the WCC Player of the Week award. Abrahamson recorded just three hitting errors last week, while attacking at a .571 clip and posting 35 kills (5 kpg) over seven games.

- San Diego earned its highest ranking of the season at No. 15 in this week's CSTV/AVCA Top 25 Poll.

- Kristen Carlson and Christie Dawson again joined Abrahamson in double-digits in kills in both matches, giving each player nine-straight matches with double-digit kills.

- USD looks to remain atop the WCC, traveling to LMU (11/2) and Pepperdine (11/4).

San Francisco Dons (18-7 / 3-6 WCC)
- San Francisco lost back-to-back matches last week, getting swept by Santa Clara and dropping a 3-1 decision to San Diego.

- Last weekend's losses dropped USF to sixth place in the conference with a 3-6 record in WCC play.

- Despite the losses last week, the Dons are ranked first in the WCC in hitting percentage defense, holding opposing teams to a .170 attack percentage this season.

- Haley Carroll is fifth on the USF single-season digs chart with 469 this season. Carroll is chasing Brynn Maurer's single-season record of 544 set last year and is first in the WCC with 5.15 digs per game.

- In its only match this week USF hosts Bay Area rival Saint Mary's on Saturday night.

Santa Clara Broncos (16-5 / 6-3 WCC)
- The Broncos bounced back from a loss to first-place USD last week with a sweep of San Francisco and a 3-2 comeback win over Saint Mary's.

- Santa Clara now shares second place with Pepperdine. The two face off this week to determine sole possession of second in the WCC.

- SCU's wins last week earned them the No. 20 spot in the CSTV/AVCA poll and No. 19 ranking the Molten/Volleyball Magazine poll this week.

- Brittany Lowe led the Broncos in the come-from-behind win over SMC, recording a career-high 26 kills to go along with 16 digs and four blocks while hitting at a .356 clip. Kim McGiven added her seventh double-double of the season in the victory.

- SCU travels to Southern California to face Pepperdine (11/2) and LMU (11/4) this week.