Women's Volleyball

The Road Warriors

Heather Hughes and the Lions will face the greatest road test of the WCC season this weekend.
Heather Hughes and the Lions will face the greatest road test of the WCC season this weekend.

Oct. 28, 2005

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Briefly...
This weekend, Loyola Marymount volleyball begins the second half of West Coast Conference action with the toughest road challenge of the conference season. The Lions (15-6, 3-4 WCC) will start at 20th-ranked San Diego (15-4, 4-3 WCC) on Friday night, only to turn around and travel north to face the 12th-ranked Santa Clara Broncos (18-1, 7-0 WCC) Saturday. Fans can follow all of the action on Gametracker at www.LMULions.com.

The Weekend Update...
Not only does the weekend bring a tough travel weekend for the Lions, but a challenging weekend of volleyball as well. Not only are both opponents currently ranked in the nation's top-20, but each is recently known for its WCC run. San Diego made the perfect 14-0 run in 2004, while the Broncos are a perfect 7-0 in WCC play so far this season. The Lions are coming off a 3-0 week that saw them jump from seventh to fifth in the current WCC standings.

Stats Tell the Story...
Between the Lions and their opponents this weekend, the WCC is well-represented in the NCAA's national statistical rankings. All three teams rank in the nation's top-30 in kills per game, with Santa Clara leading the way in fifth place with 17.18 kills per game. The Broncos also rank in the top-20 in assists, hitting percentage, and service aces, with Crystal Matich, Cassie Perret, and Anna Cmaylo ranking in the above categories as individuals. Lindsey Sherburne and Kristen Carlson also rank individually in assists and kills per game for San Diego. The Lions are among the nation's top-30 in digs and kills.

A Back Row Wizard...
LMU fans should be on the lookout for a familar face in the upcoming issue of Volleyball Magazine. Head Coach Steve Stratos will be featured in the magazine's "Chalk Talk" story, where he discusses the strategy behind the libero position. The magazine feature showcases successful coaches from around the sport discussing different volleyball topics.

Three Straight Sweeps...
LMU closed a 3-0 week with its third 3-0 sweep, this time taking Portland as its victim in WCC action Saturday. The Lions hit .384 as a team to improve to 15-6 and 3-4 in WCC play. Heather Hughes and Sandy Krone each hit over .700 and combined for 22 kills on the match. Hughes finished with a triple double with 12 kills, 27 assists, and 10 digs. The Lions hit a match-high .452 in the final game to complete the three-game match. Scores were 30-23, 30-25, 30-26. Freshman Emily Day established a new career-high with 14 kills Saturday. The outside hitter has recorded double-digit kills in seven of her last eight matches. Senior Krista Houseman was also hot for the Lions, posting eight kills and hitting .462. Saturday's match was the third consecutive 3-0 win for LMU, as the Lions swept UC Irvine and Gonzaga earlier in the week.

Home Sweet Home...
The return to Gersten Pavilion proved sweet for LMU, as the Lions swept Gonzaga 3-0 in WCC action. The Lions hit .505 as a team, including .667 in the final set, to gain important ground in the WCC standings. LMU out-blocked the Bulldogs 10 to five, led by Heather Hughes' six blocks. The Lions finished the match hitting .505, with setters Hughes (24 assists) and K.C. Walsh (21 assists) at the helm of the offense. Krista Houseman tallied a match-high 12 kills while hitting .625 on the night.

LMU Wraps-Up Road Swing With Sweep of UCI...
LMU wrapped-up its four-match road swing with a 3-0 sweep of UC Irvine Tuesday night at Crawford Court. The Lions, ranked in the top-10 in the nation in digs all season, out-dug the Anteaters 52 to 37 led by Katie Glomb's 20 digs. Four Lions tallied double-digit kills, with DeBernardi, Day, and Hughes all hitting .500 or better. Hughes and Walsh shared the setting duties once again, recording 29 and 20 assists respectively.

Golden Diggers...
One of the stories of the season has been LMU's ability to prolong plays with some of the best defense in the nation. The Lions remain in the nation's top-15 in digs, averaging 18.47 per game. LMU has ranked as high as second in the nation in its digs per game average. Led by sophomores Christianna Reneau and Heather Hughes, and senior Michelle Look, the Lions led the conference in the overall statistics. Look ranks fourth in the WCC, while Reneau holds the seventh spot. Both need less than 100 more digs to make LMU's all-time top-10 leaders listing in season digs. Look already holds the eighth spot on that list from her 368 season dig mark in 2004.

Hughes Named Enterprise Rent-A-Car/LMU Female Athlete of the Month...
The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (S.A.A.C.) of LMU announced that Bobby Burling of men's soccer and Heather Hughes of volleyball have been selected as the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Student-Athletes of the Month. Burling and Hughes are honored for their athletic excellence throughout September. Hughes helped LMU volleyball equal its program-best 11-2 start after tallying 211 kills, 69 assists, 18 service aces, 146 digs, and 22 blocks in 54 games playing opposite the setter for the Lions. The sophomore finished the month ranking fifth in the WCC in kills per game (3.91) and eighth in service aces per game (0.33). She also averaged 1.28 assists, 2.70 digs, and 0.41 blocks per game. Hughes played her best in big matches, recording a career-high 29 kills to lead LMU to the win over ninth-ranked Hawaii. She took over setting duties for part of the match against 15th-ranked Santa Clara to post a season-high 27 assists. Hughes also equaled a career-high four service aces against Cal State Fullerton to lead the Lions to their second tournament title of the month, and a career-high 27 digs in the tournament championship game at Sacramento State. Each month during the academic calendar, the S.A.A.C. selects a male and female Enterprise Rent-A-Car Student-Athlete of the Month whose performance best represents the athletic traditions of LMU.

LMU Earns Top-20 Ranking...
After becoming the first unranked team to beat ninth-ranked Hawaii since 1997, LMU earned a ranking of 20th in the nation, Volleyball Magazine announced on September 27. LMU's effort against Hawaii led to its first national ranking this season.

LMU Tops #9 Hawaii...
Though local flood warnings kept the NCAA-leading attendance slightly lower than usual, over 6,500 fans were on hand at the Stan Sheriff Center for the five-game, nearly three-hour thriller between LMU and ninth-ranked Hawaii. Four Lions tallied double-digit kills, including Heather Hughes' career-best 29 to lead LMU to the 3-2 (30-26, 26-30, 31-39, 23-30, 15-13) win. Hughes' combination of 29 kills and 16 digs made her one of three Lions to post double-doubles. K.C. Walsh (62 assists, 17 digs) and Christianna Reneau (14 kills, 28 digs) joined her. Houseman was the fourth to record double-digit kills, finishing with 12 and hitting .385.

LMU Stops #9 Hawaii's Streak...
The Lions became the first unranked team in eight years to defeat UH. Hawaii had not lost to an unranked team since Pepperdine in 1997. Since that loss, the Rainbow Wahine had won 206 straight matches against unranked opponents.

11-2 Start Equals Program Best...
LMU's 11-2 start to the 2005 season equals the program's best start, as both the 1996 and 2003 squads also began with 11-2 records. The 1996 team went on to a perfect 14-0 WCC season and an NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance, while the 2003 squad advanced to the NCAA's second round.

LMU Wins Second Tourney Title of Season...
LMU went a perfect 3-0 at the Hawthorne Suites Cal State Fullerton Invitational to claim its second tournament title of the season after a 3-2 (27-30, 30-20, 16-30, 30-17, 15-12) win over the host Titans. It was the third five-game contest in as many matches for the Lions. LMU, who played 15 games in two days, defeated a Cal State Fullerton team that has been nearly unstoppable on its home court over the last two seasons. Following the thriller, senior Dina DeBernardi was named tournament MVP, while Heather Hughes and Krista Houseman joined her on the all-tournament team. Hughes helped secure the Saturday night victory with 21 kills and 11 digs. Christianna Reneau also added a double-double with 14 kills and 16 digs. Houseman hit .455 while tallying 12 kills. Defensive specialist Michelle Look contributed 27 digs. In the earlier 3:00 p.m. match, LMU topped San Jose State (5-6) in a five-game battle (25-30, 30-17, 30-19, 24-30, 15-13) that went down to the wire and ended in a two-point victory for the Lions. Krista Houseman (.528) and Dina DeBernardi (.500) collected 24 and 21 kills respectively, and Michelle Look dug 25 kill attempts in the victory.

DeBernardi Makes History in 3-2 Thriller...
LMU rallied to win two straight games at the end of a two hour, 15 minute thriller to earn the 3-2 (30-24, 26-30, 22-30, 30-19, 15-11) win over Southern Methodist University at the Hawthorne Suites Cal State Fullerton Invitational. Senior Dina DeBernardi made history in the LMU win, becoming the first Lion to reach 1,000 career kills and 300 career total blocks.DeBernardi's 16 kills placed her exactly at the 1,000 career mark and made her the eighth Lion to reach the milestone. She had passed the 300 total block mark last week. Hughes and Walsh finished with double-doubles, with Hughes tallying 20 kills and 16 digs and Walsh adding 50 assists and 10 digs. The freshman setter was two kills short of LMU's first triple-double this season.

Lions Runners-up at Sac State Tourney...
LMU dropped its first match of 2005 in the title match-up at the Sacramento State Invitational. The Lions fell 3-1 (30-27, 30-22, 28-30, 30-24) to host Sacramento State (5-5) at the Hornets Nest. LMU's Jania Motton and Heather Hughes were named to the all-tournament team for their weekend efforts. It was Motton's first action of 2005. Freshman setter K.C. Walsh (60 assists, 19 digs) and sophomores Christianna Reneau (22 kills, 20 digs) and Hughes (16 kills, 27 digs) each registered double-doubles on the night. Led by Reneau and Hughes, the Lions out-dug the Hornets 108 to 102.

The Transfer's Tourney...
LMU's Christianna Reneau led the Lions to a 3-0 start and the LMU Four Points Sheraton LAX Classic title, as she took home the MVP and all-tournament selections. The sophomore transfer recorded 37 kills, 40 digs, a .301 hitting percentage, one ace and a block over 10 games.

Lions Win Four Points Sheraton LAX Classic...
LMUwent 3-0 in tournament play and with a 3-1 (30-20, 28-30, 30-26, 30-22) win over Idaho (3-2), claimed the 2005 LMU Four Points Sheraton LAX Classic title in Gersten Pavilion. Christianna Reneau was named tournament MVP. Four Lions finished with double-digit kills in the championship tilt, as Heather Hughes had a match-high 16. She and Dina DeBernardi joined Reneau on the All-Tournament Team. Reneau, Hughes, and freshman setter K.C. Walsh each had double-doubles on the evening. The Lions held the Vandals to hit just .091 to win game one 30-20. But Idaho used a seven-point streak late in game two to come from behind and steal the 30-28 contest. With the match tied at one game apiece, the Lions rallied to win the final two games. LMU finished the match out-digging the Vandals 82 to 64.

The Stats on Strat...
Head Coach Steve Stratos completed his 15th campaign at the helm of the program with a 15th straight winning season. In his time at LMU, Stratos has led the Lions to nine 20-win seasons and 10 postseason appearances from 1997-2000. Stratos began 2005 with a career record of 305-142, the most victories in LMU volleyball history and second among current WCC coaches. In league action, he owns a mark of 150-60, good for a .714 winning percentage. Posting 150 career conference victories, Stratos again ranks second among current WCC coaches. Last season, Stratos reached the 300-win milestone with a 3-0 win over the University of Portland in Gersten Pavilion.

 

 

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