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Battle for First Place on the Line this Week With a Trip to SMC and SCU

Oct. 31, 2007

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WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE: The 15th-ranked University of San Diego women's volleyball team (16-6, 6-2 WCC) travel to the Bay Area to take on Saint Mary's College and Santa Clara University. Thursday's match against SMC will be at 7 p.m., then on Saturday it will be a battle for first place in conference with first place SCU hosting second place USD at 1 p.m.

LAST TIME OUT: The, then 12th-ranked, University of San Diego women's volleyball was swept by the University of San Francisco Saturday afternoon in a West Coast Conference match. With the 26-30, 22-30, 26-30 loss, the Toreros fall to 16-6 overall and 6-2 in the WCC. With the win, the Dons improve to 15-9 overall and 4-4 in the WCC. Senior middle hitter Laurel Abrahamson led the team's offense as she tied for a match-best 18 kills on 34 attempts while only committing two attack errors to post a .471 attack percentage. Sophomore libero Andrea Csaszi recorded a team-best 19 digs, while the team posted a season-low .092 attack percentage. For the Dons, Sarah Mandala tied for a match-best 18 kills and Haley Carroll had a match-best 26 digs, while the Dons hit for a .241 clip.

2007 GAMETRACKER AVAILABLE: All San Diego volleyball home matches can be followed via Gametracker on the Toreros athletic web site at www.usdtoreros.com. Gametracker is a service of Online College Sports, the official web provider for San Diego athletics, and is a real time update of the action. Selected San Diego road matches are also available via Gametracker. To see if Gametracker is available for a game, go to San Diego Events at the top-right of the home page. If Gametracker is available there will be a Gametracker link.

SCOUTING THE GAELS: Saint Mary's enters the week with an overall record of 12-9 and a 4-5 mark in the WCC after splitting a pair this past week, picking up a 3-1 win over Portland and dropping a 3-1 contest to Gonzaga. USD owns a 37-5 all-time record against the Gaels, including a 3-2 win earlier this season. Offensively for the Gaels, freshman outside hitter Megan York leads the charge, as she had a team-leading 378 kills (4.78 kpg) and his hitting at a .226 clip. The floor leader for the Gales is freshman setter Kapua Kamana'o, who has a team-leading 718 assists. Saint Mary's is under the direction of third-year head coach Rob Browning. During his tenure in Moraga, Browning has an overall record of 42-35.

SCOUTING THE BRONCOS: Santa Clara enters the week with an overall record of 16-9 and a 8-1 mark in the WCC, good for first place. This past week, the Broncos picked back-to-back 3-0 wins over Portland and Gonzaga. The SCU offense is led by freshman outside hitter Krista Kelley, who has a team-best 296 kills and his hitting at a .231 clip. The floor leader for the Broncos is senior setter Crystal Matich, who has a team-leading 1,025 assists in helping direct the team's offense to a .223 attack percentage. Santa Clara is under the direction of eighth-year head coach Jon Wallace. During his tenure in Santa Clara, Wallace has amassed an overall record of 192-75.

THE POLLS: The University of San Diego women's volleyball team fell three spots to No. 15 in the latest CSTV/AVCA top-25 poll. This marks the 11th consecutive week USD has appeared in the top-25. Neither Santa Clara nor Saint Mary's are ranked.

APPROACHING 1,000: Senior middle hitter Laurel Abrahamson is closing in on the 1,000 kills mark for her career. With her 325 kills on the season, she now has moved her career total to 945. With her current average of 14.7 kills per match, she should surpass this mark during her final match at the Jenny Craig Pavilion against Pepperdine on Nov. 10.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Many Toreros, as well as the combined team itself, hold lofty spots in the West Coast Conference statistics. In team standings, the Toreros are second in hitting percentage at .250, are second in kills per game at 16.70 and third in digs per game at 16.36. Individually, Laurel Abrahamson leads the conference in attack percentage at .397, Andrea Csaszi leads the conference in digs per game at 4.94 and Amy DeGroot is fifth in kills per game at 4.11.

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 and follow the instructions. There is no cost for this service.

OPPONENT WOES: Opponents have had a difficult time getting much going offensively against San Diego, a fact shown not only by the Toreros' 16-6 record, but by the list of opponents' hitting percentages. Thirteen of San Diego's 21 opponents have hit below .200, with three not even able to hit .100. Stanford (.371), Oklahoma (.261) and Santa Clara (.276) are the only three clubs to hit more than .250 against the Toreros this year. By contrast, San Diego has hit above .300 five times, and have been held below .250 only nine times this season. San Diego's season-high was a .395 clip against Fairfield on August 28. The Toreros' season hitting percentage (.250) currently ranks second in the WCC.

PETRIE RETURNS TO THE SIDELINES: Ninth-Year head coach Jennifer Petrie took the fall semester of 2006 off to spend time with her new born son Charles, her three-year old daughter Jane, as well as time with her husband Mark, and let her top assistant for the previous five seasons, Brent Hilliard, take the reigns for the season. She has now returned to continue to lead the USD volleyball program. Petrie has done an outstanding job directing the fortunes of San Diego volleyball since taking over as the Toreros head coach in 1999. Honored as the 2004 West Coast Conference Coach of the Year, Petrie continues to establish the University of San Diego as one of the top volleyball programs in the nation. In seven complete seasons as head coach, Petrie has led San Diego to six appearances in the NCAA Tournament (1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, & 2005).

TOREROS PICKED TO FINISH SECOND IN WCC: Pepperdine University was selected as the favorite to capture the 2007 WCC women's volleyball regular season title, as selected by the conference coaches. The Waves garnered five first place votes and tallied 61 overall points to earn the top spot. USD, the defending WCC Champions, was tabbed second with 52 overall points and one first place vote. The Toreros edged Santa Clara University, which was selected third with 50 overall points and also received one first place vote. Loyola Marymount University was tabbed fourth with 37 overall points, followed by the University of San Francisco (30). Saint Mary's College was selected sixth with 27 overall points and picked up a first place vote. Gonzaga University (23) and the University of Portland (8) round out this year's poll in seventh and eighth place, respectively.