Nov. 21, 2006
(San Francisco) - Junior outside hitter Kristin Hasselberg (Carlsbad, CA) earned All-West Coast Conference First Team honors, while sophomore middle blocker Alix Gombos (West Linn, OR) captured honorable mention selection, while freshman libero Haley Carroll (Gilroy, CA) was named to the All-Freshman Team as announced Tuesday by the league office. A second team selection as a sophomore, Hasselberg becomes the first Don on the first team since Stephanie Voelckers in 2004 and is the first USF junior on the list since USF Legend of the Hilltop Brittanie Budinger (2000-03) was tabbed in 2002.
With two matches remaining in the 2006 regular season, San Francisco (22-9, 6-8 WCC) already owns the second best wins tally in school history and notched a fourth place finish in the elite WCC. It marks the first upper echelon conference finish for the Dons since 2003 and only the fifth overall. The upper division finish is the second posted in USF head coach Jeff Nelson's four seasons on the Hilltop. The Dons learn their postseason fate Sunday when the NCAA unveils the 2006 tournament field announced on ESPN News Sunday, November 26 between noon and 1:00 PM.
"I am very happy for Kristin, Alix and Haley," Nelson said. "They are all very deserving of recognition. Players get these kinds of awards because teammates around them do a great job."
Hasselberg continued to cement her reputation as one of the top outside hitters on the West Coast this season and ranked second among WCC kills (4.61) and points (5.20) leaders marking the second straight season the Carlsbad native has ranked in the league top-five. Hasselberg moved into sole possession of fifth place on the USF career kills chart against Portland (10/21) and enters the final week of the 2006 regular season with 1,186. Earlier this season, Hasselberg became only the second player in program history to surpass 1,000 career kills as a junior after recording 13 kills against No. 9 Santa Clara (9/30). Since her arrival on the Hilltop, Hasselberg has notched double-figures in kills 65 times, including 14 matches with 20 or more and owns 19 double-doubles (kills/digs) with a team-high eight already in 2006. Hasselberg is the Dons career leader in kills per game at 4.03 and averages 4.61 kills on .230 hitting to go along with 2.20 digs during her junior campaign.
"Kristin turned in another big season for us. I am glad she got recognized as one of the most reliable outside hitters in the conference. She made a tremendous impact on our team," Nelson said.
Gombos turned in an exceptional year for the Dons, leading the team in attack percentage (.343) and ranked second in kills (3.07) and blocks (1.11). The West Linn, OR native ranked third among league leaders in attack percentage and was seventh in blocks. Gombos needs just two more kills to reach 300 for the season, just one year removed from recording 40 kills on .268 hitting as a freshman on the Hilltop. A four-time all-tournament selection, Gombos averaged 3.14 kills and 1.16 blocks during WCC play. Gombos established a career-high with 16 kills in four matches, hit .500 or better in four matches and recorded double-digit blocks twice, including a career-high 11 against WCC Champion San Diego (9/28) to go along with 16 kills.
"Alix enjoyed one of the most consistent seasons turned in by any middle blocker in the West Coast Conference," Nelson said. "I think she deserved a first team nod, but it just goes to show how deep the talent in this league is."
Carroll becomes the second family member to earn WCC Freshman Team honors in two years, following her sister and USF sophomore setter Darcy Carroll. Haley enjoyed an outstanding freshman and ranked second among league leaders in digs (4.78) and was sixth in service aces (0.38). enters the final week of the 2006 regular season needing just two digs to become the second player in program history to surpass 500 in a season. Carroll already ranks second on the single-season chart with 498 and is chasing current teammate junior outside hitter Brynn Maurer, who set the standard with 544 last year. Carroll averaged an amazing 8.33 digs (50 total) in back-to-back WCC sweeps of the Bulldogs and Portland (10/21) en route to conference player of the week honors.
"Haley had a great season for us and stepped right in and made an instant impact from her very first match. She established herself as one of the top defensive players in the conference," Nelson said.
San Francisco concludes the 2006 regular season at the Baker's Classic hosted by Pacific. The Dons open tournament play Friday, November 24 against Houston. First serve against the Cougars is set for 5:00 PM at the Spanos Center.