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Pair of Top-20 WCC Foes Visit Lions

Nov. 1, 2006

BRIEFLY...
The West Coast Conference volleyball season continues to get tougher, as the Lions host a pair of top-20 teams this week in Gersten Pavilion. The 15th-ranked San Diego Toreros come calling Thursday at 7:00 p.m., in a re-match of the televised contest between the two programs on October 7. Then, the Lions will celebrate Senior Saturday prior to the 1:00 p.m. match-up with the 20th-ranked Santa Clara Broncos.

FOLLOWWW THE LIONS...
Fans who can't make it to Gersten Pavilion for this week's WCC action can follow the Lions on Lions' All-Access. Both Thursday and Saturday's matches will feature live Gametracker stats and audio and video webcasts. All can be found on Lions' All-Access at www.LMULions.com.

THIS WEEK'S MATCH-UP...
LMU LIONS: The Lions returned from the Northwest road trip 1-1, falling in five at Gonzaga and topping Portland 3-1. Now, sitting in fourth place in the WCC standings, LMU must make a run to close out the remaining five WCC matches on a winning note. The Lions will look to keep their home record impressive this week, heading into the final two home WCC contests with a 7-1 overall record in Gersten Pavilion.

#15 SAN DIEGO TOREROS: The Toreros enter Thursday's match perfect in WCC action and on a nine-match winning streak. San Diego, ranked a season-high 15th in this week's national poll, topped Saint Mary's and San Francisco last week to record its 15th-straight WCC victory dating back to last season. The Lions were the last team to top the Toreros in WCC action, posting a 3-2 win on October 28 in Jenny Craig Pavilion. USD junior middle hitter Laurel Abrahamson was named the WCC Player of the Week.

#20 SANTA CLARA BRONCOS: Santa Clara travels to Los Angeles for its final road trip of 2006. The Broncos currently sit in a tie for second place in the WCC standings after wins over San Francisco and Saint Mary's last week. Since being swept by the Lions on October 5, Santa Clara has won five of six WCC matches.

STRATOS COACHES 500th CAREER MATCH...
Last Thursday's match at Gonzaga was 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 341-160.

QUICK SETS...
LMU is 13-0 when the Lions win the first two games... last week's loss to Gonzaga was the first time the Bulldogs have topped the Lions since 1992... LMU is 0-3 in five-game matches this season...

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, on October 23. 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 and was the Lions' 200th WCC win in program history. Hughes was last named WCC Player of the Week September 11, 2006. This second selection marks her fourth career selection.

LMU IN THE NATIONAL STATS...
The Lions have three top-25 rankings in the current NCAA stat categories. As a team, LMU ranks 12th in kills (16.79/game), 22nd in digs(18.93/game), and 23rd in assists (15.14/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-