Lions Return Home to Host Portland, Gonzaga

After four straight matches on the road, LMU will return home to Gersten Pavilion this week to host Portland and Gonzaga in West Coast Conference action.

Oct. 26, 2011


2011 LMU Volleyball Weekly Release - 10 Get Acrobat Reader

LMU (11-11, 4-5) will return home to Gersten Pavilion this week after four straight matches on the road. The Lions will host Portland (8-14, 2-7) on Thursday night at 7 p.m. before welcoming Gonzaga (7-13, 1-8) to town on Saturday at 1 p.m.

• Check out LMU's AVCA Tip of the Week at
Betsi Metter leads the WCC in digs (379/4.80 ps) and is second in aces (30/.38 ps)
• The Lions are 8-0 when winning the first set of a match this year
• LMU defeated both Portland and Gonzaga earlier this year
Betsi Metter posted a career-best 34 digs on October 7, good for ninth in LMU's single match record book
• LMU is celebrating its centennial year throughout the 2011-12 athletic season

The LMU volleyball team was swept by Santa Clara on the road by scores of 25-21, 25-18, 25-23 on Thursday night at Santa Clara's Leavey Center. No Lion player finished with double-digit kills, as senior Emily Cheek led LMU with nine kills on 15 swings for a blistering .533 percentage. The Lions, who hit .245 over the course of the match, also received four kills on seven attacks from freshman Alessandra Dietz for a .571 clip. Junior Olivia Bailey and freshman Ashley Maxfeldt split time setting the offense, as Bailey notched 17 assists and Maxfeldt collected 18. As she has done all season, Betsi Metter continued to get her work done from the libero position, posting a match-best 18 digs to improve upon her WCC-leading digs per set mark. Santa Clara used a balanced attack on Thursday en route to the sweep, receiving a match-high 14 kills from Kayla Lommori to accompany 10 apeice from Kaleigh Durket and Dana Knudsen. Knudsen posted the 10 kills on just 15 swings without an error to manage a .667 hitting percentage, while Lommori made just two errors on 21 attacks for a .571 percentage. Alyssa Anderson nearly posted a double-double from the setter position, dishing-out 44 assists to accompany eight digs and one service ace.

On Saturday, the LMU volleyball team got the second-half of WCC play off to a good start, defeating Saint Mary's on the road on Saturday afternoon in five sets by scores of 20-25, 25-21, 26-24, 16-25, 19-17. LMU trailed 10-6 in the final set before digging its heels in and fighting back to take the period and the match in five. With the victory, LMU swept the season series between the two teams this year. The Lions received 19 kills from senior Jasmine Rankins, while freshman Litara Keil and senior Emily Cheek each pitched-in 13. Junior Olivia Bailey had a stellar match for the Lions, dishing-out 57 assists to accompany 15 digs for a double-double. Running the offense over the course of the match, Bailey set the Lions to a .223 hitting percentage. Nearly as important as her 13 kills, Cheek contributed a career-high three block solos to pace LMU to six block solos and 10 total team blocks on Saturday. Senior Diana Hiromoto also played a pivotal role in the victory, securing 10 digs and serving-up three of LMU's five aces. Jordan Shaw, one of three Gael players with a double-double, paced all players in kills for Saint Mary's, collecting 20 on 49 attacks for a .286 hitting percentage. The Gaels, who hit .257 over the course of the match, also received 15 kills, six block solos and six block assists from Gabby Jolly. Saint Mary's finished the match with eight block solos, 21 block assists and 18.5 total team blocks. Missy White, SMC's setter, dished-out 50 assists to go along with 15 digs for a double-double.

LMU is celebrating its Centennial in 2011-12 and athletics will honor the anniversary all season long. LMUat100 will feature a Centennial Game for each of the varsity programs, which included more than 900 fans at the Sept. 10 men's water polo game against Pepperdine in the Wells Fargo PCH Cup. Women's volleyball hosted conference newcomer BYU on Sept. 29 for their Centennial Match, falling in a thrilling five-set match in front of a crowd of 720. Up next is cross country at the WCC Championships on October 29 in Belmont, Calif. Pre-race coverage will feature special promotions, giveaways and honor the history of LMU athletics and LMU cross country. For more information, visit

One of Southern California's premier athletic facilities, Albert Gersten Pavilion is in its 30th 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 1982, the Lions have posted an overall record of 251-135 (.650) in the friendly confines of the Pavilion. In conference play, the record is even more impressive with a 125-58 (.683) home record in WCC action. In 29 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.

Fans can still be a part of LMU's Centennial Celebration with the 2011-12 Centennial Scarf Season Ticket. Pick up the limited edition Centennial Scarf and gain access to more than 60 LMU home events, including the rest of the 2011 women's volleyball season. For just $30 fans get the Centennial Scarf which is also a season ticket to five LMU programs, including men's and women's soccer, men's and women's water polo and women's volleyball. Stop by the ticket office or call 310-338-LION today!

Friday's women's soccer match against Portland is this week's TEAM LMU Game of the Week. 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:

LMU finished last year ranked first in the WCC in service aces with 171 (1.53 per set), a mark that also placed 34th in nation in terms of aces per set. LMU looks poised to sit atop the conference in that category once again this year, having posted 118 service aces at a rate of 1.49 per set to lead the conference in that category. That mark also ranks 44th in the nation this week. Sophomore Betsi Metter currently sits second in the WCC in terms of aces per set, collecting 30 at a rate of .38 per set. Jasmine Rankins, who led the WCC in aces last year, has posted 28 at a rate of .35 per set to rank third in the WCC. The Lions have collected six or more service aces in 10 of their 22 matches this year.

Portland enters the week carrying an 8-14 overall record and a 2-7 mark in the WCC, having dropped four of its last five matches. The Pilots defeated Gonzaga most recently after dropping each of their previous four matches. Ariel Usher leads the Portland attack, collecting 225 kills at a rate of 2.59 per set. Usher also leads the team in aces with 19, followed closely by Marissa Plummer with 17. Plummer is the team's leading blocker, notching 18 block solos and 65 block assists to the tune of .88 blocks per set. Monica Jordan sets the Portland offense, dishing-out 758 assists to help the Pilots to a .217 attack percentage. Portland is led by head coach Joe Houck. LMU leads the all-time series between the two teams, 40-11. The Lions are 3-2 over the last five matches against the Pilots and 8-2 over the last 10. LMU defeated Portland in five sets on September 24 of this year after Portland beat LMU in straight sets on November 13, 2010 in the previous meeting.

Gonzaga enters the week toting a 7-13 overall record and a 1-8 mark in the WCC, having lost nine of its last 10 matches overall. Gonzaga's lone victory in WCC play came over Portland in five sets on October 13. Laura Day, the sister of former Lion Emily Day, is one of four players with nearly identical offensive outputs. Day has accumulated 179 kills to match Terran Poindexter, while Kylie Edinger has 178 and Meredith Crenshaw has 175. Denise Van De Mortel sets the offense, dishing-out 755 assists at a rate of 9.44 per set. The Bulldogs are hitting .179 as a team. Kristina Lavrisha is a threat from the service area, serving-up 26 aces to lead the team in that category. Crenshaw provides a spark on the block, posting eight block solos and 74 block assists to pace Gonzaga to 166 team blocks. Gonzaga is led by third-year head coach Dave Gantt. LMU leads the all-time series between the two teams, 37-12. The Lions are 3-2 over the last five matches against the Bulldogs and 5-5 over the last 10. LMU defeated Gonzaga in four sets on September 22 of this year after Gonzaga beat LMU on November 11, 2011 in four sets in the previous meeting between the two teams.

LMU has seen 13 of its 21 matches this year settled in three sets. Outside of the sweeps, LMU has played five four-set matches and just four five-set matches. LMU is 5-8 in three-set matches, 3-2 in four-set matches, and 3-1 in five-set matches this year. The average time of match for LMU is 1:42, with the quickest match coming on September 4 versus Seattle - a sweep for the Lions in 1:05.

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. The Waves have won each of the first two competitions, and currently lead the Lions, 4.5-0, in 2011-12. To learn more about the PCH Challenge and view the current scorecard, please visit:

For the fifth consecutive year, LMU volleyball helped raise awareness and funds for the fight against breast cancer through the DiG PiNK campaign. LMU's DiG PiNK event was played on October 5 versus Pepperdine. To view LMU's team page, and to make a donation, please visit:
LMU's DiG PiNK Page

The Lions were scheduled to play 10 matches this year against teams that at least received votes in the 2011 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 2011 season against tournament-qualifier and vote-receiver Cal State Fullerton. Non-conference adversaries UCLA (#11), Long Beach State (#22) and Kentucky all at least received votes, as the Lions' third match of the year was against the Bruins. WCC-foe San Diego ranked 20th according to the preseason poll, while Pepperdine and Saint Mary's also received votes. LMU played four matches against ranked foes 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 29 consecutive matches against those teams, including three this year against then-No. 11 UCLA on August 27, then-No. 20 Pepperdine on October 5, and then-No. 17 San Diego on October 15. 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's home volleyball match against rival Pepperdine, originally scheduled for October 6, was played on October 5 and was aired on ESPNU. The match, which was LMU's annual DiG PiNK match and was part of the PCH Cup that pits LMU versus Pepperdine throughout the year, was part of ESPN's Wednesday Night Women's Volleyball package. The televised match, which the Waves won in three sets, was the first for the Lions since October 7, 2006 when they traveled to then-No. 22 San Diego for a televised match on FSN West. A season-high 817 fans were in attendance for the match.

Senior Jasmine Rankins took home her third All-Tournament selection of the year at the Hilton Stockton Invitational. The native of Oceanside, Calif. managed a combined 38 kills at a rate of 3.80 per set while posting three service aces and collecting 30 digs. Rankins posted a pair of double-doubles in the tournament, teaming 12 kills with 14 digs against Pacific on September 16 before combining 17 kills with 14 digs against San Jose State on September 17.

LMU has been extremely impressive in matches played at neutral sites, in which neither team is playing on their home court. LMU is 4-2 in neutral matches this year after finishing 6-2 last year. Overall, LMU is 37-10 (.787) over the last 11 seasons. The Lions have posted perfect neutral records in five of the last 11 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.

Senior Emily Cheek was the lone Lion named to the UK Invitational All-Tournament team after posting a team-best 26 kills at a rate of 2.89 per set. Active on the block, the native of Sequin, Texas managed two block solos and five block assists at a rate of .78 blocks per set. Not normally used on the serve, Cheek contributed one service ace at Kentucky on September 10. The 6'3 opposite had her best match against West Virginia on September 9 to open tournament play, posting nine kills and four block assists en route to guiding LMU to a sweep of the Mountaineers.

Senior Jasmine Rankins and freshman Litara Keil proved they were up to the challenge at the Active Ankle Challenge hosted by Oregon State, garnering All-Tournament honors and leading LMU to a 2-1 record. For Rankins, the selection is the second in as many tournaments this year, while Keil claims the first of her young career at LMU. Rankins posted 41 kills over the course of the three matches, averaging 4.10 per set while hitting an incredible .435 in a sweep of Seattle and .333 in a sweep of Cal State Bakersfield. Always a threat from the service area, Rankins notched seven aces at a rate of .70 per set, including five aces against Oregon State on September 4. The native of Oceanside, Calif. managed a double-double in each of the first two matches of the tournament. Keil was equally impressive, hitting .413 over the three matches while posting 31 kills at a rate of 3.10 per set. The native of Long Beach, Calif. served-up five aces against Seattle to open the tournament while posting five total blocks on the weekend.

Senior Jasmine Rankins and sophomore Alyse Hensley each garnered All-Tournament honors after leading LMU to a 2-1 record at the conclusion of the Four Points by Sheraton LA Westside Invitational. Rankins collected a team-best 34 kills over the three matches, averaging 3.40 kills per set while hitting .255. She posted a double-double against Cal State Fullerton on August 26 in the first match of the year for LMU, teaming 17 kills with 10 digs while hitting .421 (17-1/38). She also served up three of her five aces on the weekend in that match against the Titans. Hensley connected for 27 kills at a rate of 2.70 per set over the three matches, including an incredible .471 hitting percentage and 17 kills against Cal State Fullerton to open the season.

Senior Jasmine Rankins was the lone Lion named to the 2011 WCC Preseason All-Conference team. Rankins led the Lions last year in attacks (1,202), kills (425), service aces (50), block solos (12) and points (510). Her aces and kills marks also led all players in the West Coast Conference. The conference-best 50 service aces placed Rankins tied for fifth in the LMU single-season record books, matched with Cindy Weglarz (1997). Her .45 service aces per set, which ranked 16th in the nation, also placed in the Top-10 in the LMU single-season books, ranking sixth. The outside hitter averaged 3.79 kills per set, good for 67th in the nation and second in the conference. Rankins took home three All-Tournament selections over the course of the 2010 campaign, earning the honor at the Luxe City Center Trojan Invite, Varney's Kansas State Invitational and BYU Molten Classic. The native of Oceanside, Calif., who led the Lions with nine double-doubles, finished second in the WCC in terms of kills in conference matches alone with 203. As she did over the entire 2010 season, Rankins led all players in service aces in WCC play with 20 (.40 per set).

After a breakout season that resulted in a first team All-West Coast Conference selection and a spot on the 2010 COBRA Magazine All-Region team, senior Jasmine Rankins has been tabbed to COBRA's All-Preseason Third Team this year. COBRA Magazine begins its third season of volleyball coverage in 2011. Founded by Gezus Zaire, COBRA's goal is to tell inspiring stories of black volleyball players that show young African American players that they too have opportunities to thrive in the sport despite cultural differences and economic disadvantages.

The 26th Universiade, or the 2011 World University Games, concluded on Aug. 24 and with it athletes from LMU took home three Silver Medals - led by former volleyball stars Heather Hughes (2004-07) and Emily Day (2005-08). All told seven LMU Lions participated in the 26th University Games in Shenzhen, China. The Universiade is an International multi-sport event, organized for university athletes by the International University Sports Federation (FISU). Hughes and Day joined forces to capture a pair of silver medals - the first beach volleyball medals ever for the United States at the World University Games. Day and Hughes made it to the gold medal match, where they fell to Germany's Karla Borger and Britta Buethe, 21-19, 21-14. It was the second time that the pair had faced the German team, defeating Borger and Buethe in the third round, 21-14, 17-21, 17-15. Day and Hughes advanced to the s final by defeating China's Jin Jieqiong and Miao Chenchen in the semifinals, 18-21, 21-19, 15-10. No stranger to working together on the beach, the duo made history in 2007 when they became the lowest-seeded team to advance from the qualifier to an AVP event. The two also reunited in the sand on May 2 to win the 2010 College Beach Volleyball Championship at West Beach in Santa Barbara, Calif.

After playing just nine of 30 matches in 2010 at home, LMU will once again spend the majority of the schedule on the road. The Lions will host 12 home matches this year, but will be on the road for 18 more to fill the 30-match schedule. Out-of-state voyages include a visit to Oregon State (September 4-5), a trip to Kentucky (September 9-10), the annual trek up to Gonzaga and Portland in conference play (September 22 and 24), and a trip to the newest member of the WCC, BYU, in Provo, Utah on November 3.

For the second year in a row, LMU Athletics, in conjunction with, is proud to offer fans a new interactive publication viewing experience. All LMU yearbooks in 2011-12 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 books 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,, to offer up-to-date statistics and news. Additionally, the publications are easily downloadable and printable, allowing fans to take the documents with them. Both the interactive Yearbook and a second Media Almanac can be found at:

The Lions have had a knack for coming out of the gates strong in recent memory, having won 13 of their last 15 season-openers, including a four-set victory over Cal State Fullerton to open the 2011 season. The only losses over that span came in 2007 to St. John's and then-No. 10 USC in 2010. In addition, LMU has recorded seven sweeps and won in four sets on five occasions.

In addition to Jasmine Rankins, LMU's Alyse Hensley also received postseason honors from the West Coast Conference. Hensley earned a spot on the honorable mention All-WCC squad, while also taking home All-Freshman team honors. Hensley burst onto the scene in 2010, collecting 258 kills at a rate of 2.50 per set. She hit .290 over the course of the year, second on the team in that category and 10th in the West Coast Conference. Hensley also hit .322 with 149 kills (3.04 per set) in West Coast Conference matches, claiming seventh in both categories. A native of San Diego, Calif., she totaled three block solos and 54 total blocks en route to 289 points. Hensley's 258 kills placed second on the team in that category, while her hitting percentage was tops amongst freshmen on the LMU roster and second only to San Diego's Freshman of the Year winner Chloe Ferrari in the conference ranks.

According to the 2011 Coaches Preseason Poll, the LMU volleyball team is picked to finish fifth this year in the newly expanded West Coast Conference. Pepperdine received seven first place votes and a total of 62 points to earn the top spot in the preseason poll. The Waves finished third last year, but will be returning the most Preseason All-Conference selections of all nine teams. Saint Mary's and San Diego split the remaining first place votes, with the Gaels expected to finish second again this year, in front of reigning WCC champion San Diego. Last year's fifth place finisher Santa Clara came ahead of LMU and newcomer BYU, securing the fourth place spot. The Lions secured fourth place in the WCC last season, while BYU also finished fourth last season in its final year with the Mountain West Conference. Portland and San Francisco shared the seventh place spot in the preseason poll, while Gonzaga landed in ninth.




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