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Toreros Prep For NCAA Tournament

Nov. 26, 2007

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WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE: The 16th-ranked University of San Diego women's volleyball team (21-7) will head to Madision, Wisc. and to the campus of the eighth-ranked University of Wisconsin to compete in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament this upcoming week. The Toreros will square off against Iowa State University on Friday in the opening game at 3 p.m. (PT). Should the Toreros win, they will face the winner of the Wisconsin and the University of Northern Iowa match on Saturday at 5 p.m. (PT).

LAST TIME OUT: The Toreros concluded regular-season action with a pair of sweeps over Gonzaga University and the University of Portland two weeks ago. With both wins, the Toreros claimed a share of the West Coast Conference Championship with Santa Clara University. In Thursday's win over Gonzaga, Jaimarie Sutherland recorded a match-best 15 kills on 29 attempts to post a .345 attack percentage. Laurel Abrahamson and Ali Troost were the two other USD players in double-digit kills, as each had 11. Jessica Nyrop recorded a match-best 50 assists to help direct the team to a .277 attack percentage. In Saturday's win over Portland, Abrahamson recorded her 15 kills on 21 attempts, while only committing one attack error to post a .667 attack percentage. Sutherland recorded her 15 kills on 34 attempts to post a .324 attack percentage. Sophomore middle hitter Torey Ellick was the final USD player in double-digit kills as she had 10 on 21 attempts to post a .429 attack percentage. Nyrop recorded 45 assists in the match, while helping lead USD to a .265 team attack percentage.

SCOUTING THE CYCLONES: Iowa State enters the match with an overall record of 17-13 after upsetting No. 21 Oklahoma this past Saturday to finish 11-9 in the Big-12 and a fifth place finish in conference. The Toreros are 1-0 all-time against the Cyclones, claiming a 3-2 win in 2006 at the Nike Invitational in Irvine, Calif. Offensively, the Cyclones are led by Erin Boeve, who has 409 kills and hits at a .215 clip. Kaylee Hanns is the floor leader for ISU as she has a team-best 1,273 assists in helping direct the team to a .213 attack percentage. The Cyclones are under the direction of third-year head coach Christy Johnson. During her time at Iowa State, Johnson has posted an overall record of 54-35.

SCOUTING THE BADGERS: Wisconsin enters the tournament with an overall record of 25-4 and are ranked No. 8 in the latest CSTV/AVCA top-25 poll. The Badgers are also the No. 7 National Seed in this season's field of 64. USD has met Wisconsin on three prior occasions, and is 0-3 in those meetings. Brittany Dolgner leads the offensive charge for the Badgers, who has a team-best 461 kills and is hitting at a .272 clip. The floor leader for Wisconsin is Jackie Simpson, who has a team-leading 1,264 assists in helping direct the team to a .272 attack percentage. The Badgers are under the direction of ninth-year head coach Pete Waite. During his tenure in Madison, Waite has posted an overall record of 227-66.

SCOUTING THE PANTHERS: Northern Iowa enters the Tournament with an overall record of 22-10 and are the champions of the Missouri Valley Conference. USD has split two matches with UNI in the history of the program. The offensive leader for the Panthers is Ashten Stelken, who has a team-leading 399 kills and has a .352 attack percentage. The floor leader for UNI is Kristen Belzung, who has a team-leading 1,404 assists to help direct the team to a .269 attack percentage.

NEW 1,000 KILLS MEMBER: Senior middle hitter Laurel Abrahamson became the newest member of the Toreros 1,000 kills club in the final weekend of play. She has now amassed 1,014 kills for her career. She also currently ranks second all-time in hitting percentage at .329 for her career. On the season, Abrahamson has recorded the second most kills on the team with 394 and is hitting at a team-best .379 clip.

GOING STREAKING: San Diego is currently riding a four-match winning streak into the NCAA postseason. The Toreros will look to improve upon that streak with the NCAA first-round match against Iowa State this Friday at 3 p.m.

FIVE TOREROS TAKE HOME ALL-WCC HONORS: The University of San Diego women's volleyball team had five players take home All-West Coast Conference honors highlighted by first-team selections Laurel Abrahamson and Amy DeGroot. Freshman right side Ali Troost was named to the All-Freshman team and both Andrea Csaszi and Torey Ellick were named All-WCC honorable mentions.

- Abrahamson, a 6-4 senior from Bloomington, Minn., helped lead the Toreros to a share of the WCC championship this season. For the season, Abrahamson was second on the team in kills with 394 and led the team in hitting percentage at .379. Abrahamson also led the team in blocks with 117. For August, Abrahamson took home the WCC Player of the Month award and was selected as the WCC Player of the Week four times throughout the season.

- DeGroot, a 6-1 sophomore from Frenchtown, Mont., also helped lead the Toreros to their second consecutive WCC crown. DeGroot led the team in kills with 423 (3.99 kpg) and was also a huge defensive help for USD as she was second on the team in digs with 286 (2.70 dpg). DeGroot took home the WCC Player of the Week award on two different occasions and recorded a team-best 13 double-doubles during the season.

- Troost, a 6-2 freshman from Hemet, Calif., was also a huge help in leading the Toreros to their third WCC title in four years. Troost recorded the third highest kill total on the team with 248, while hitting at a .244 clip. Troost also recorded 58 blocks on the season, five solo.

- Csaszi, a 5-10 sophomore from Oceanside, Calif., helped lead USD to the 2007 WCC championship this season. She proved to be the defensive leader for the Toreros as she recorded a team-leading 510 digs, tying her for second at USD in single-season digs with Jackie Bernardine (2004). With Csaszi's leadership on the floor, the Torero defense held their opponents to a .183 clip.

- Ellick, a 6-2 sophomore from Capistrano Beach, Calif., helped lead the Toreros to their fifth WCC championship in program history this season. Ellick was a huge help in the middle for the Toreros as she recorded 203 kills, while hitting for a .335 clip. The sophomore was also second on the team in blocks with 89, 22 solo.

OPPONENT WOES: Opponents have had a difficult time getting much going offensively against San Diego, a fact shown not only by the Toreros' 21-7 record, but by the list of opponents' hitting percentages. Fourteen of San Diego's 20 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 11 times this season. San Diego's season-high was a .395 clip against Fairfield on August 28.

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.