Women's Volleyball

Big Week Ahead for Lions

Sandy Krone and the Lions host their WCC openers Thursday and Friday in Gersten Pavilion.
Sandy Krone and the Lions host their WCC openers Thursday and Friday in Gersten Pavilion.

Sept. 25, 2006

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BRIEFLY...
Loyola Marymount volleyball (12-2) faces a jam-packed week of three matches in five days, as the Lions put their 10-match winning streak to the test. The week starts Tuesday at UC Santa Barbara (6-6), before the Lions return home to host Portland (7-6) Thursday and Gonzaga (4-10) Saturday in their first West Coast Conference matches of 2006. All matches will be carried on Lions' All-Access, available at www.LMULions.com.

THE WEEK AHEAD...
The Lions begin the tough week Tuesday at UC Santa Barbara. The match will mark the Lions' first weekday road match of the season. Currently, the Lions are 1-1 on the road, with all other tournament matches being played on neutral ground. Tuesday's match is slated for a 7:00 p.m. start. UC Santa Barbara does not offer Gametracker, so LMU fans can catch all of the action on the audio broadcast Lions' All-Access at www.LMULions.com. LMU then returns home to begin WCC action, hosting Portland Thursday and Gonzaga Saturday. The matches mark the start of the WCC's new Thursday-Saturday format. Against the two Pacific Northwest programs, LMU is a combined 61-14.

AMONG THE NATION'S BEST...
The Lions opened the 2006 season among the nation's best, earning votes in the AVCA preseason top-25 poll. And this week, LMU is back, earning seven votes in the poll after stringing together 10 straight victories. The Lions have not dropped a match since facing then-11th-ranked Tennessee on September 1.

THIS WEEK'S STREAK...
The Lions' current winning steak of 10 straight victories is 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.

LMU IN THE NATIONAL STATS...
The Lions have six top-30 rankings in the current NCAA stat categories. As a team, LMU ranks seventh in kills (17.07/game), eighth in digs (19.57/game), 18th in service aces (2.41/game), 21st in assists (15.14/game), and 29th in winning percentage (.846). Junior Heather Hughes ranks 10th in service aces, averaging 0.77 a game.

THIS WEEK'S MATCH-UPS...
LMU: The Lions have won 10 straight, including last week's 3-1 win over UC Irvine. Sandy Krone led the Lions in the match, posting nine kills, six digs, and five blocks. Now Krone and the Lions will be tested with three matches in five days.

UC SANTA BARBARA: After 10-straight road matches at the beginning of the season, the Gauchos opened at home in the Thunderdome last week against UC Davis. UCSB defeated the Aggies 3-0 (30-24, 30-17, 30-19) to extend its home win streak to sixteen matches. But in the Gauchos' conference opener on Saturday, No. 21 Cal Poly snapped UCSB's streak as the Mustangs captured a 3-1 (30-15, 26-30,32-30, 30-16) win in the Thunderdome. The Gauchos begin the week 6-6 overall and 0-1 in Big West play. The Lions trail UC Santa Barbara 26-6 in the all-time series record, but LMU and the Gauchos have traded wins in the annual battle the last five seasons. LMU earned the victory in 2001, 2003, and 2004, with UCSB winning in 2002 and 2005.

PORTLAND: The Pilots improved to 7-6 on the season with a road win over Portland State. The 7-6 record marks the Portland program's fourth winning non-conference record over the last five seasons. The Pilots are led by Nicole Thometz, who ranks seventh in the WCC in kills, averaging 3.83. Thometz and teammate Kara Pein have also combined for 51 service aces. THe Lions are 31-8 all-time against Portland, splitting with the Pilots in 2005.

GONZAGA: The Bulldogs enter the week 4-10 after dropping three straight matches, including their most recent 3-2 loss to Montana. Gonzaga is led by Becky Jones, who ranks sixth in the WCC with 3.84 kills per game. The Lions are 30-6 all-time against Gonzaga. The Lions' longest-running WCC winning streak is against Gonzaga, as LMU has not dropped a match to the Bulldogs since 1992 for 26 straight wins.

HUGHES MAKES HER MARK...
LMU junior Heather Hughes already has her mark on the Lion all-time record book. This week, the Lions' opposite appears in the career kills and career attempts categories. Hughes also needs just two more service aces to crack into the all-time top-10 in career service aces. To track Hughes' and other Lions as they move up the rankings, see page five of this release.

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 West Coast Conference Player of the Week (9/11/06). 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.

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-

 

 

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