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WCC Title Hopes Still Alive With Trip to Pacific Northwest

Nov. 12, 2007

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WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE: The 18th-ranked University of San Diego women's volleyball team (19-7, 9-3 WCC) will hit the road for the final weekend of regular-season action this week with a trip to the Pacific Northwest. West Coast Conference title hopes are still alive after a sweep of the Los Angeles based WCC schools this past week, as USD only trails Santa Clara by one match for the conference lead. On Thursday, USD will head to Spokane, Wash. to compete against the Gonzaga Bulldogs in a 7 p.m. match. Then on Saturday, the Toreros will head to Portland, Ore. to play the University of Portland in the regular-season finale at 2 p.m.

LAST TIME OUT: The Toreros picked up a pair of 3-2 wins over Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine this past week. In Thursday's win, Amy DeGroot led the team with her 16 kills to go along with 17 digs to post a double-double. Erin Wiskar was the second USD player to record a double-double with 10 kills and a career-high 20 digs. Laurel Abrahamson was the third Torero in double digit kills with 11, Torey Ellick added in 10 kills and freshman right side Ali Troost was the final USD player in double digit kills with 12. Sophomore libero Andrea Csaszi led the team with 23 digs. As a team, USD hit for a .128 clip. In Saturday's win, DeGroot led the team with her 25 kills on 62 attempts to post a .339 attack percentage. Abrahamson was the second Torero with double-digit kills as she has 13 on 26 attempts to post a .308 attack percentage. Torey Ellick also had a solid match, as she had 10 kills to post a .400 attack percentage, while Ali Troost added in 12 kills and Jaimarie Sutherland recorded 10 kills. Andrea Csaszi had a solid match defensively, as she racked up a match-best 24 digs and Jessica Nyrop recorded 57 assists in helping direct the USD offense to a .326 attack percentage.

SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS: Gonzaga enters the week with an overall record of 17-11 and a 5-7 mark in the WCC after picking up a sweep over Portland in their lone match of the week. San Diego holds a 30-9 all-time record against the Zags, including a 3-2 win earlier this season in San Diego. The Bulldogs are led offensively by Becky Jones, who has a team-best 317 kills and has 340 digs. The floor leader for the Zags is Heather Dunn, who has 1,231 assists in helping the team to a .230 attack percentage. Gonzaga is under the direction of sixth-year head coach Kip Yoshimura. During his tenure in Spokane, Yoshimura has posted an overall record of 48-127.

SCOUTING THE PILOTS: Portland enters the week with an overall record of 7-19 and are winless in the WCC at 0-12 after being swept by Gonzaga this past week. The Pilots are currently riding a 13-match losing streak. San Diego owns a 33-7 all-time record against the Pilots including picking up a sweep earlier this season in San Diego. The Pilots are led offensively by Ashley Grayson, who has a team-best 291 kills and is hitting for a .288 clip. The floor leader for the Pilots is Kara Pein, who has a team-leading 877 assists to help direct the team to a .164 attack percentage. Portland is under the direction of eighth-year head coach Doug Sparks. During his tenure in Portland, Sparks has recorded an overall record of 71-151. Also on coaching staff for the Pilots is former Torero All-American Lindsey Sherburne.

THE POLLS: The University of San Diego women's volleyball team has moved up one spot to No. 18 in the latest CSTV/AVCA top-25 poll. This marks the 13th consecutive week USD has appeared in the top-25. Neither Gonzaga nor Portland are ranked.

DEGROOT NAMED WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore outside hitter Amy DeGroot of the 18th-ranked University of San Diego women's volleyball team was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week, the conference announced Monday afternoon. DeGroot, a native of Frenchtown, Mont., helped lead the Toreros to back-to-back 3-2 wins over Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine this past week. The sophomore recorded a team-best 41 kills, 25 digs and five blocks. In the match against Loyola Marymount, DeGroot recorded a double-double with 16 kills and 17 digs. In Saturday's win over Pepperdine, she recorded a team-leading 25 kills, had eight digs and hit for a .339 clip. On the season, DeGroot leads the team with 409 kills and is second in digs with 217.

APPROACHING 1,000: Senior middle hitter Laurel Abrahamson is closing in on the 1,000 kills mark for her career. With her 368 kills on the season, she now has moved her career total to 988. With her current average of 14.2 kills per match, she should surpass this mark during the match against the Gonzaga on Thursday.

THREE IN A ROW: Freshman right side Ali Troost has been hot as of late for the Toreros, having posted double-digit kills in three consecutive matches. In the loss to Santa Clara, she recorded 10 kills and hit for a .421 clip. This past week she recorded back-to-back 12-kill performances in wins over Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine. On the season, Troost has racked up 234 kills and is hitting at a .238 clip.

CHAMPIONSHIP HOPES STILL ALIVE: With the two wins this past week, combined with a Santa Clara loss, USD's hope for another West Coast Conference championship were kept alive, as the Toreros have now moved to within one game of the Broncos with just two matches to go. Here is how USD can claim at least a share of the conference crown: If USD wins both matches and SCU loses one match, they will be co-champs, or if USD wins two and SCU loses two, then USD is the outright conference champion. However, should USD lose one match and SCU win at least one match, then the Broncos will claim the title. Pepperdine figures into the race as well, but they would need both USD and SCU to lose both matches in order to have a chance at the title.

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.