LMU Visits UC Irvine, Hosts Pepperdine in WCC Action

Oct. 6, 2010


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After beginning the WCC slate with a 2-0 record last week, LMU (9-7, 2-0) will visit non-conference foe UC Irvine (5-12) on Friday before hosting cross-town rival and WCC member Pepperdine (10-5, 2-0) on Saturday in Gersten Pavilion. The Lions and Anteaters will meet at 7 p.m. on Friday before the Lions and Waves clash at 7 p.m. on Saturday in a battle for PCH Cup points.

• LMU went 2-0 last week to start the West Coast Conference slate
• The 2-0 start is the best from the Lions since starting the 2006 season 3-0
• The Lions have served-up a conference-best 102 aces (1.73 per set), good for 28th in the nation
• The Lions are 9-1 over their last 10 matches against UC Irvine, but 1-9 over the last 10 against Pepperdine
• The Lions currently lead Pepperdine, 1.5-1.0, in the 2010 PCH Cup standings
Jasmine Rankins leads the WCC in aces with 32 at a rate of .54 per set
Megan Nash ranks fifth in the WCC in hitting percentage with a mark of .306
• LMU will play only nine of its 30 regular-season matches at home this year
Jasmine Rankins has amassed a team-leading five double-doubles this year
• LMU is 187-77 (.708) at home since 1990
• LMU is 6-2 in neutral contests this year, and 33-8 on neutral ground over the last 10 seasons
• Senior Becky Stehling sits third all-time in career hitting percentage at .327

LMU began West Coast Conference play on Thursday by sweeping Santa Clara on the road by scores of 25-22, 25-18, 25-23. The victory marked the first time the Lions had started WCC play with a win since 2006. LMU posted a .279 team hitting percentage over the course of the three sets, holding Santa Clara to a .205 mark on the other side of the net. Junior Jasmine Rankins had an all-around solid match for the Lions, posting 11 kills with a service ace and a team-best 12 digs for a double-double. Sophomore Felicia Arriola led the Lions with 12 kills on the night, while setter Olivia Bailey dished-out 36 helpers with a kill and seven digs. Senior Becky Stehling also played extremely well for the Lions, managing seven kills on 15 swings for a .400 hitting percentage while also teaming for a match-best seven block assists. Nearly as impressive in terms of attack percentage, freshman Alyse Hensley hit .348 with nine kills and just one error.

The volleyball team defeated San Francisco on the road on Saturday afternoon by scores of 25-23, 23-25, 25-14, 25-20 to improve to 2-0 in WCC play. The 2-0 start in WCC play is the best from the Lions since starting the 2006 season 3-0. Hensley had an outstanding match for the Lions, posting a career-best 17 kills with just three errors on 35 attacks for a .400 hitting percentage. The native of San Diego, Calif. also managed five block assists for a total of 19.5 points. Always impressive, Rankins totaled 14 kills, a block solo, one block assist and a career-high six service aces. The Lions, who entered the week ranked first in the WCC in aces, managed 10 on Saturday afternoon. Bailey dished-out 41 assists while collecting 17 digs for a double-double.

One of Southern California's premier athletic facilities, Albert Gersten Pavilion is in its 29th year as home of the Loyola Marymount Lions. Since opening night, the Pavilion has become one of toughest places to play in the West Coast Conference. The Lions first moved into the facility in 1982, and recorded 14 wins in Gersten's inaugural season. Since 1990, the Lions have posted an overall record of 187-77 (.708) in the friendly confines of the Pavilion. In conference play, the record is equally impressive with a 99-42 (.702) home record in WCC action. In 28 years, the 1996 (WCC volleyball championship team and Sweet Sixteen participant) and 2003 (NCAA second round appearance) squads have been the most successful with 14-1 marks, for .933 winning percentages.

UC Irvine enters the Friday match toting a 5-12 overall record and a 1-4 mark in the Big West Conference. Prior to Tuesday's victory over UC Riverside, the Anteaters had lost six straight matches, including a pair of sweeps on the road last week at Pacific and UC Davis. Kari Pestolesi leads the UC Irvine offense with 198 kills at a rate of 3.30 per set. The Anteaters as a team are hitting just .140, and feature only two regular attackers with percentages over .150 . Marissa Alvarez sets the UCI attack, dishing-out 366 assists at a rate of 6.42 per set. Pestolesi and Alvaraze have each served-up 12 aces to lead the team in that category. Head coach Paula Weishoff is 27-20 in her second year at UC Irvine. LMU leads the all-time series between the two teams, 17-7. The Lions have dominated the series as of late, going 4-1 over the last five and 9-1 of the last 10 matches between the two squads. Despite the lopsided numbers, UC Irvine (ranked 20th in the nation at that point) defeated LMU in four sets on September 12, 2009, the last meeting between the teams. LMU's last victory over the Anteaters came via sweep on September 13, 2008.

Cross-town rival Pepperdine enters the week toting a 10-5 overall record and a 2-0 mark in the West Coast Conference. Most recently, Pepperdine defeated San Francisco and Santa Clara to open conference play. The Waves have won three straight matches, and seven of their last eight. Sporting a balanced attack, Pepperdine features four players with 100 kills or better, led by Kim Hill with 182 at a rate of 3.57 per set. Kellie Woolever sets the offense for Pepperdine, dishing-out 580 assists at a rate of 11.37 per set. Hill also leads the team in service aces, serving-up 19 so far this year. Lilla Frederick, who has 137 kills, has added 14 aces, as has Stevi Robinson. Brittney Clark and Victoria Adelhelm provide support on the block, totaling 56 and 53 blocks, respectively. Nina Matthies is in her 28th year at the helm of the program, sporting a 520-310 overall record. Pepperdine has dominated the all-time series, leading 43-16. Even more impressive, the Waves are 9-1 over the last 10 matches, including 5-0 over the last five. The two teams last met on November 13, 2009 as the Waves defeated the Lions in four sets. LMU's last victory over Pepperdine, a sweep, came on October 19, 2006.

Separated by 19.1 miles of scenic coastline, longtime cross-town adversaries Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine have come together in an effort to boost their decades-long rivalry with the creation of the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) Challenge. The series, which is in its second year, serves as an annual scorecard for the NCAA-sponsored athletic contests between the Lions and Waves, and challenges each institution to rise above the other within the West Coast Conference. LMU and Pepperdine will be represented by over 12 of their intercollegiate athletic teams through both regular and post-season competitions over the course of the academic calendar. Any head-to-head competition, including matches in the post-season and tournaments throughout the year, will be counted toward the scoring and added to the scorecard as they occur. For the sports in which the two teams do not meet head-to-head, the teams will battle for points that will be awarded on the basis of overall finish at their respective post-season championships. LMU currently leads Pepperdine in the 2010-11 standings, 1.5-1.0. To learn more about the PCH Challenge and view the current scorecard, please visit:
PCH Cup Homepage

LMU entered the week ranked first in the WCC in service aces with 102, a mark that also places 28th in nation. Saint Mary's sits second in that category with 92 aces this season. While aces are flowing freely for the Lions, service errors are often a result of such an aggressive serving attack. The Lions also lead the conference in service errors, serving-up 159 so far this year. Pepperdine sits second in the WCC in errors with 132. The Lions have served-up six or more aces in 11 of their 16 matches so far this year, including a season-best 10 on two occasions (September 17 at Utah State and October 2 at San Francisco). Jasmine Rankins and Betsi Metter lead the way for the Lions in that category, serving-up 32 and 27 aces, respectively. They not only lead the Lions, but they also rank first and second in the conference. At a higher level, Rankins places 10th in the nation, while Metter sits 28th overall.

The Lions are scheduled to play 13 matches this year against teams that at least received votes in the 2010 AVCA Division I Coaches Top-25 Preseason Poll. The ranked foes wasted no time making their presence known this year, as the Lions opened the 2010 season with a three-set loss to then-No. 10 USC on August 27. Non-conference adversaries Georgia Tech, Long Beach State, UC Irvine and Wichita State all received votes in the preseason poll, while WCC-foes San Diego (No. 22) and Saint Mary's (No. 25) both found a spot in the top-25. Pepperdine and Santa Clara are the final two WCC teams on the list, earning votes to start the year. LMU, which is 0-2 so far this year against ranked opponents, played four matches against ranked teams last year, finishing 0-4 in those contests. Rankings have been nothing short of perfect in the recent past when predicting LMU's fate against ranked opponents, as the Lions have dropped 24 consecutive matches against those teams. The last Lion victory against a ranked opponent came on October 5, 2006 at Santa Clara, as the Lions earned a sweep of the then-No. 12 Broncos.

LMU has been extremely impressive in matches played at neutral sites, in which neither team is playing on their home court. Despite a pair of losses at the BYU Molten Classic, LMU is 6-2 so far this year on neutral court, and is 33-8 (.805) over the last 10 seasons. LMU has posted perfect neutral records in five of the last 10 seasons. Over that span, the only year in which LMU did not manage at least a .500 record was in 2004, playing to a 0-2 mark.

Saturday's women's soccer match and volleyball match against Pepperdine are this week's TEAM LMU Games of the Week. The soccer match is slated to begin at 1 p.m. while the volleyball match will start at 7 p.m. The purpose of TEAM LMU is to bring Lion fans together as one, creating an atmosphere that helps build the Lions into champions, while allowing all to enjoy the benefits of our corporate partners. For more information about TEAM LMU, log on to:

Senior Becky Stehling has already made a name for herself in the record books as she plays her final year as a Lion. Stehling's .369 hitting percentage in 2008 placed her fourth in the books for a single season, and also set the sophomore record in that category. Entering this week, her .327 career hitting percentage places third in LMU history amongst players with at least 350 attacks. Only Kelli Nerison (2001-04) and Mardell Wrensch (1992-95) have posted better marks in a career, finishing with percentages of .357 and .355, respectively. Stehling also places 10th in career block assists (215) and career total blocks (261). In addition, she is in position to enter the career books for block solos and blocks per set, sitting 12th in the latter and 14th in the former.

LMU posted an unbelievable .800 hitting percentage in the third set of a sweep over Oral Roberts on September 4 at the Varney's Kansas State Invitational. The Lions connected for 17 kills with only one error on 20 swings. Senior Becky Stehling and junior Emily Cheek both hit a perfect 1.000 with four and three kills, respectively. The .800 hitting percentage was the highest by the Lions since entering the "rally scoring" era in 2001. With set records being tracked since 1998, the percentage is second only to an .889 mark in the first set against Portland on November 14, 1998.

Junior Jasmine Rankins collected three straight All-Tournament selections this year, including earning the last at the BYU Molten Classic. Rankins totaled 38 kills at a rate of 3.45 per set, leading the team in that category during that tournament. She also managed a team-high five service aces as the Lions went 0-3. The native of Oceanside, Calif. averaged 2.73 digs per set en route to collecting 30 over the weekend. Rankins started the weekend strong, posting a double-double of 21 kills with 15 digs against BYU in a five-set loss. She went on to notch three of her five service aces for the week in the match against Wichita State on September 11, teaming that mark with eight kills.

Junior Jasmine Rankins was named to the Varney's Kansas State Invitational All-Tournament team after helping the Lions to a 2-1 week. LMU dropped a three-set match to Kansas State on Friday before defeating Georgia Tech in five sets later that day, and sweeping Oral Roberts on Saturday. The only Lion selected, Rankins notched 48 kills on 107 attacks for a .299 hitting percentage. She averaged 4.36 kills per set, while also serving-up six aces at a rate of .55 per set. She managed 28 digs (2.55 per set) and six block assists (.55 per set). The outside hitter posted two double-doubles, teaming 11 kills and 10 digs against Kansas State, and 24 kills and 11 digs against Georgia Tech. Rankins led the team in attack percentage (.299), kills (48), service aces (6) and digs (28) over the course of the three matches. In addition, she led all players on the court in kills in all three matches. She had a career match against Georgia Tech, connecting for a match-high and career-best 24 kills on 47 attacks for a .383 hitting percentage. The native of Oceanside, Calif. also served-up a career-high three aces in the five-set victory.

The Lions opened the 2010 season close to home at USC, but home matches will be hard to come by this year. The Lions will play 30 regular-season matches in 2010, but only nine home matches, including seven in West Coast Conference play. Out-of-state voyages included a visit to Kansas, back-to-back weekend trips to the state of Utah, and of course the annual trek up to Gonzaga and Portland in conference play (November 11 and 13). The Lions are 3-4 so far this year in road matches.

LMU Athletics, in conjunction with zmags.com, is proud to offer fans a new interactive publication viewing experience. All LMU media guides in 2010-11 will incorporate zmags' Flash-enabled technology to bring fans clickable content featuring videos and live updated weblinks. Despite the transition from printed guides to online content, LMU interactive guides will continue to feature player and coach biographies, team histories, and information about Loyola Marymount University and its athletics programs. The publications will work in tandem with LMU's official athletics website, www.LMULions.com, to offer up-to-date statistics and news. Additionally, the publications are easily downloadable and printable, allowing fans to take the documents with them. All historical information is available in a second PDF publication, also on www.LMULions.com. To view the volleyball online publication, please visit:
2010 LMU Media Guide

For the fourth consecutive year, LMU volleyball will help raise awareness and funds for the fight against breast cancer through the DiG PiNK campaign. LMU's DiG PiNK event is scheduled for October 30 versus Santa Clara at 1 p.m. To view LMU's team page, and to make a donation, please visit:
LMU's DiG PiNK Page

LMU won the Utah State Invitational Tournament Championship on September 18 by earning a 2-1 record over the three-match span...the same record as host Utah State and Utah Valley. With three teams tied atop the tournament standings, the decision on what team would become Champion was left to a tie-breaker rule - sets won and lost. LMU won eight sets over the course of the three matches and lost four. Utah State and Utah Valley both won eight sets...but at the expense of five losses.

After LMU won the Utah State Invitational Tournament Championship, sophomore Felicia Arriola was named Tournament MVP, while Arriola and setter Olivia Bailey were named to the All-Tournament team. Arriola notched 41 kills on 91 attacks for a .330 hitting percentage over the course of the tournament. She averaged 3.42 kills per set, while also managing 26 digs (2.17 per set) and four block assists (.33 per set). The native of Laguna Niguel, Calif. was a key piece in LMU's two victories that weekend, as she hit for an efficient .348 percentage, posting nine kills on 23 attacks against UC Riverside in a sweep. She nearly collected a double-double in the three-set affair, managing a match-high 14 digs. The outside hitter picked up right where she left off against Utah Valley, leading all players with a career-best 23 kills on just 38 swings for a career-high .553 hitting percentage. Arriola also posted a service ace and six digs in that match en route to being named Tournament MVP. Bailey, LMU's primary setter, finished the weekend with 142 assists and nine kills. She averaged 11.83 assists per set, while also serving-up one ace and collecting 18 digs. The team hit .300 over the course of the three matches while Bailey set the offense. The native of Dallas, Texas finished just two assists shy of a career high against Utah State in the first of the three matches, posting 56 to guide LMU to a .260 hitting percentage. Bailey hit .444 with four kills and 34 assists from the setter position against UC Riverside, helping LMU to a .323 team hitting percentage in a sweep of the Highlanders. In the final match of the tournament, Bailey passed-out another 52 assists as the Lions hit .360 as a team to defeat Utah Valley.

Junior Jasmine Rankins and sophomore Felicia Arriola garnered 2010 Luxe City Center Trojan Invitational All-Tournament selections after helping the Lions to a 2-1 record over the course of the two-day tournament. Rankins notched 37 kills on 102 attacks for a .235 hitting percentage in the three matches against then-No. 10 USC, Cal State Fullerton and Bucknell. The native of Oceanside, Calif. averaged 3.36 kills per set, while also serving-up three aces at a rate of .27 per set. Stellar on defense, she posted 23 digs (2.09 per set) and six total blocks (.55 per set). Her only double-double came against Fullerton, teaming her 18 kills with a match-best 16 digs. Arriola managed a team-best 39 kills (3.55 per set) on 96 swings for a .240 hitting percentage. On defense, she captured a team-high 31 digs (2.82 per set) and one block assist. The native of Laguna Niguel, Calif. posted a pair of double-doubles, teaming a career-best 19 kills with 14 digs against Cal State Fullerton before notching 10 kills and 10 digs against Bucknell for the only double-double of the match.

Coach Black and his staff have both inherited and built a newcomer class featuring five new options in freshmen Paige Craine, Alyse Hensley, Betsi Metter and Taylor Scioscia, in addition to junior transfer Alex Ferraco. Craine, a 2010 graduate of Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, Calif., was a three-year varsity letterwinner playing for Todd Garrett. She served as team captain in her final season, while also garnering All-City recognition as a junior and senior. Craine was also named All-CIF as a senior after claiming All-League honors in each of her final two campaigns as a Charger. Hensley, a 2010 graduate of Torrey Pines High School in San Diego, Calif., earned a total of three varsity letters in volleyball, one from Maria Carrillo High School and the final two from Torrey Pines. Named All-League in all three seasons playing high school volleyball, Hensley helped Torrey Pines to the 2009 Avocado League Championship. Metter, a 2010 graduate of Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, Ariz., was a four-year varsity letterwinner playing for Molly West. A team captain as a junior and senior, Metter was named All-City and All-State after both of those campaigns. She left high school owning five Desert Vista school records, including that for career kills at 1,317. Selected 2008 Southeast Valley Player of the Year and Desert Vista Female Athlete of the Year, she led the state of Arizona and was second in the nation in digs with 708 as a junior. A two-time All-Central Region selection, she twice garnered a spot on the Arizona Republic All-Arizona Top-Six Team, a list of Arizona's top-six players regardless of school size. Scioscia, a 2010 graduate of Louisville High School in Woodland Hills, Calif., was a four-year varsity letterwinner in high school. Scioscia served as team captain in her final season, and was named Team MVP as a junior and senior. After garnering second team All-Mission League honors in 2009, she was named honorable mention All-Area by the LA Daily News following her final campaign. Ferraco, who carries junior eligibility after transferring into the program from Fairfield University, had a solid sophomore campaign, appearing in 79 sets, forging 73 kills and 50 total blocks. Ferraco tallied six kills, three blocks and three assists in the MAAC Championship semifinal against Marist on November 22. As a freshman, Ferraco appeared in 14 sets with 13 kills, six blocks, and five digs.

Despite a three-set setback against then-No. 10 USC to begin the 2010 season, the Lions have had a knack for coming out of the gates strong in recent memory, having won 12 of their last 14 season-openers. The only losses over that span came this year and in 2007 to St. John's. LMU has had a winning record through the first three matches in 15 of its last 16 years, including starting the year 3-0 on seven occasions. In addition, the Lions have not started a season winless over its first three matches since 1989.

According to the 2010 Coaches Preseason Poll, the LMU volleyball team is picked to finish eighth this year in the competitive West Coast Conference. After finishing in second place last season, the San Diego Toreros have been selected to regain the top-spot and earn their fourth WCC title in six years. The Toreros received six first-place votes and a total of 48 points from the conference coaches, as they return 2009 WCC Player of the Year and All-American Ali Troost. Reigning WCC Champion Saint Mary's took the second-place spot with one first-place vote and a total of 43 points. Pepperdine, which received the remaining first-place vote, tallied 36 points to earn the third-place spot. Rounding out the top half of the poll for the second year in a row was Santa Clara with 33 points. San Francisco landed in the fifth-spot with 23 points. Gonzaga tallied 18 points for a sixth-place finish, while Portland edged LMU for the seventh-place spot.




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