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Lions Wrap-Up WCC Play at #25 Pepperdine

Nov. 14, 2006

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BRIEFLY...
The Lions will play their final West Coast Conference match this Thursday at 25th-ranked Pepperdine at 7:00 p.m. Loyola Marymount (17-11, 5-8 WCC) was the last team to top the Waves (14-10, 10-3 WCC), sweeping Pepperdine 3-0 at home before the Waves strung together their current six-match winning streak.

FOLLOWWW THE LIONS...
Lions' All-Access will bring you all of the action from Thursday's Malibu road match, with audio and Gametracker coverage available at www.LMULions.com

THIS WEEK'S MATCH-UP...
LMU LIONS: The Lions are coming off a tough week on the road that saw them drop 3-0 matches at San Francisco and Saint Mary's. Entering the week, the Lions were the only WCC team to escape all of September and October without suffering a 3-0 sweep. Now the Lions sit in sixth place in the WCC standings, but can finish as high as fourth after this week's WCC finale at Pepperdine.

#25 PEPPERDINE WAVES: Sitting in second place in the WCC standings, 25th-ranked Pepperdine enters the week on a six-match winning streak. The Waves have not dropped a match since losing 3-0 to LMU in Gersten Pavilion on October 19. Pepperdine's six-match streak is its longest winning streak since the 2003 season and ensures the Waves of at least a tie for second in the WCC.

LAST MEETING...
In the first meeting between the two rivals this season, LMU swept Pepperdine 3-0 (32-30, 30-28, 30-27). With the win, the Lions and Waves both moved to 4-3 in WCC play, as the first half of conference action came to a close. For LMU, it was the first 3-0 sweep of Pepperdine since November 4, 1995. LMU junior Heather Hughes posted a match-high 23 kills. The impressive numbers came on a night where she moved to a new position, playing outside hitter instead of her usual opposite. Also impressive Thursday was the defense of sophomore Lauren Kirk, who brought up a team-high 12 digs. Senior Sandy Krone hit .421 with nine kills, nine digs, and three service aces. Junior Jania Motton was impressive in the middle, tallying seven blocks and five kills. One dig shy of a double-double herself, LMU setter Ashley Dutro had 42 assists and nine digs. Pepperdine was led by Sophia Milo, who had 11 kills (.368) and four block assists.

HUGHES APPROACHES ALL-TIME LEADER CLUB IN KILLS & DIGS...
Only a junior, Heather Hughes already ranks seventh all-time at LMU in career kills with 1,111. But she is poised to enter another exclusive club: just four Lions all-time rank in the top-10 on both the career kills and career digs list, a tribute to those with outstanding all-around skills. Hughes needs just 14 more digs to reach 900 career digs, which would place her in the company of former standouts Leslie Wolford (1985-88), Kim Blankinship (1993-96), Deanna Doolittle (1990-93), and Kealani Kimball (2000-03).

STRATOS COACHES 500th CAREER MATCH...
The Thursday, October 26 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 341-164.

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...
This week, LMU ranks 21st in the nation as a team with 16.5 kills per 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 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 Florida 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-