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Nov. 12, 2003
Loyola Marymount (22-5, 7-3 WCC) remains in the 17th spot in the national poll after dropping its first home contest this season to No. 4 Pepperdine (20-2, 10-0 WCC) on Saturday evening.Junior Kelli Nerison led the Lions against the Waves, recording 15 kills and nine blocks.
LMU will wrap up its final four conference games, with two of the four teams ranked in the nation's top 25. The Lions will play their final two regular season home games this weekend in Gersten Pavilion. LMU faces Gonzaga on Friday before squaring off with Portland on Saturday. Both matches are slated to begin at 7:00 p.m.
Gonzaga Bulldogs (3-24, 0-11 WCC)
Gonzaga has played 99 games on the season, but only three players have appeared in all 99 games. Seniors Abby Cullen and Heather Signor join junior Lauren Armas as the only three players to have appeared in all 99 games on the season. Cullen currently leads the team with 3.06 kills per game, 1.36 blocks per game with a .234 attack percentage on the season. Signor is the team leader in digs at 372 for a 3.76 digs per game average. Armas ranks fourth on the team in kills with 161 on the season and her .255 attack percentage is best on the squad. Armas has also been a force at the net with 92 blocks on the season for a 0.93 blocks per game average.
Portland Pilots (11-15, 1-10 WCC)
The Pilots battled for a win, but ended up falling in four games (30-20, 30-20, 25-30, 30-19) to the San Francisco Dons at the Chiles Center last Saturday night. Heather Denison led the Pilots with her second-consecutive double-double, sixth overall. Denison ended her career at the Chiles Center with 19 kills, a .239 hitting percentage and 13 digs on the night. Liz Lord added eight kills and four total blocks, while teammate Laura Pappas racked up a career-best six kills, 11 digs and a career-high four block assists. Sheena Surplus dished out 39 assists and Ali Boaz led the team with 21 digs. For the match, Portland hit for .188 and tallied seven total team blocks.
LMU in NCAA's National Statistical Rankings
No.17 Loyola Marymount appears among the nation's best in the weekly NCAA statistical rankings. For the rankings for games played through November 9, LMU ranks 28th in match won-lost percentage at .815. The Lions also rank 17th in blocks per game (3.0) and 25th in hitting percentage (.266). Junior Kelli Nerison ranks 19th in the nation in hitting percentage (.385) and 24th in the nation in blocks per game (1.44).
LMU in National Rankings
LMU remains at the No. 17 spot for the second consecutive week. October 27th marked the fourth straight week that Loyola Marymount volleyball climbed in the USA Today/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 poll. The climb equaled the season's highest jump in the poll, as the Lions moved four spots to No. 13 after defeating No. 12 Santa Clara and No. 16 San Diego. The Lions have now defeated four teams that were ranked at the time of the victory: No. 7 UC Santa Barbara on September 2, No. 24 San Francisco on October 4, No. 12 Santa Clara on October 24, and No. 16 San Diego on October 25. The most recent top-20 wins extended LMU's home winning streak to 12-0, which was the longest home streak in program history.
No. 17 LMU Battles No. 4 Pepperdine Through Five Games
No. 17 Loyola Marymount (22-5, 7-3 WCC) dropped a heartbreaker Saturday evening, falling just three points shy of defeating No. 4 Pepperdine (20-2, 10-0 WCC). The Lions hit a match-high .452 in game two, but could not pull off the five game victory (30-26, 19-30, 30-20, 25-30, 15-12) in front of a rowdy crowd in Gersten Pavilion. The Lions out-blocked Pepperdine for the second time this season. LMU also out-hit the Waves .293 to .217. The contest is LMU's only loss in Gersten Pavilion this season, as the Lions' 12-1 home record is a program best. Nerison ended the match with 15 kills and nine blocks, hitting .500. Kimball (20 kills, 23 digs) and Oehlman (63 assists, 10 digs) each put up double-double numbers for the Lions as well.
Kelli Nerison Named WCC Player of the Month
No. 17 Loyola Marymount's Kelli Nerison was selected as the West Coast Conference's top volleyball athlete for her play during October, the conference announced on November 5th. Nerison ranked 16th in the nation in hitting percentage and 29th in blocks per game. Nerison led the way as the No. 17 Lions (22-4, 7-2 WCC) climbed the rankings throughout October. During last month, LMU's middle blocker led the WCC in hitting percentage (.436) and blocks per game (1.91), all in conference matches. Peaking as high as 10th in the nation in hitting percentage, Nerison settled into the 16th spot in games through October 26th, hitting .396. The Laguna Niguel, Calif., native played her best against the nation's top teams, posting 12 blocks, 12 kills, and a .409 hitting percentage against then-No. 6 Pepperdine on October 11th. Her 12 blocks helped LMU out-block the Waves 17.0 to 7.0 in the match. It was the junior's first career double-double performance. Against Portland and Gonzaga, Nerison contributed hitting percentages of .706 and .464. In the 3-0 win over the Pilots, Nerison recorded 12 kills, one ace, and seven blocks. At Gonzaga, she led the Lions with a match-high 16 kills and added 10 blocks in the quick victory. The junior closed the month in San Francisco last weekend, posting a season-high 19 kills, seven blocks, and .378 hitting percentage. A consistent factor throughout October, Nerison's numbers earned her player of the month honors without ever receiving a player of the week nod. Overall in October, Nerison recorded double-digit kills and seven or more blocks in seven of LMU's eight matches, while never hitting below .286. She totaled 110 kills and 64 blocks in the Lions' eight matches, while her 44 solo blocks set an LMU single season record in October.
Kelli Nerison Selected as LMU Enterprise Rent-A-Car Student-Athlete of the Month
For the second month, a volleyball player has been selected as LMU's female student-athlete of the month. Junior Kelli Nerison and sophomore Endre Rex-Kiss from the men's water polo program have been named the Loyola Marymount University/Enterprise Rent-A-Car Student-Athletes of the Month for leading their respective teams to high levels of success in the months of October.
Nerison, in her third season with the LMU volleyball team, has had a breakthrough season for the 17th-ranked Lions. She was named the WCC Player of the Month for October for helping the Lions to a 22-5 record overall and 7-3 in the WCC. In the month of October the Lions went 7-1, defeating two teams ranked in the nation's top-20.
Kimball Named WCC Player of the Week
Kealani Kimball was selected as the WCC's Player of the Week, the conference announced on October 27th. Kimball led the Lions as LMU defeated two teams then ranked above them, No. 12 Santa Clara and No. 16 San Diego, and remained undefeated in Gersten Pavilion at 12-0. The senior co-captain led the squad in kills both nights, posting 22 against No. 12 SCU and 14 against No. 16 USD. In addition to her 22 kills, Kimball added 18 digs, four blocks, three service aces, and one assist to help the Lions take three straight games from the Broncos. Against No. 16 San Diego, Kimball recorded 12 digs, five blocks, two aces, and one assist to go with her 14 kills in the victory. Kimball's strong blocking efforts in game four against USD helped to shut down Torero Kristen Hurst, as Kimball's three game four blocks held Hurst to just three kills in the final game. The Kaunakakai, Hawaii, native is now ranked seventh on LMU's all-time career leaders in kills, a category that includes LMU greats Sarah McFarland (AVCA All-American) and Sarah Noriega (Olympian/AVCA All-American), eight in total attempts, and ninth in digs. She ranks fifth in the WCC in kills, sixth in digs, and tenth in service aces.
LMU Wins WCC Race to 20
LMU became the WCC's first 20-match winner this season. A pair of victories over No. 16 San Diego and No. 12 Santa Clara put the Lions win total at 21 for the 2003 campaign. Since 1994, LMU has qualified for the NCAA tournament each time it has posted 20-plus victories.
Several 2003 Lions have found their place on LMU's all-time listings this season. Senior Tiana Newsome now ranks first in LMU's history in career solo blocks, career block assists, career and single season block average, and career and single season total blocks. She did lose one season title, however: teammate Kelli Nerison's 44 season solo blocks are the most posted by a Lion, just edging Newsome's 40 solo blocks in 2002. Nerison also ranks second in season total blocks. Setter Nicole Oehlman hangs on to her No. 3 ranking on LMU's all-time assist list, while Kealani Kimball ranks seventh in career kills and digs and eighth in career total attempts.
DeBernardi Named Enterprise Student-Athlete of the Month
The LMU Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) announced on October 14th that sophomore Dina DeBernardi joins soccer player Kevin Novak as the Enterprise Student-Athletes of the Month. DeBernardi has been a strong part of the Lions' top-20 run this season, ranking 28th in the nation in hitting percentage (.401) during September. She was selected the WCC Player of the Week on Sept. 8, posting 56 kills and six blocks, leading LMU to an upset of then-No. 7 UC Santa Barbara. Against UCSB she recorded 23 kills with no errors for a .639 hitting percentage. In September, DeBernardi led the Lions in attack percentage (.384) and points per game (4.19) and was second with 3.63 kills per game. Enterprise will present DeBernardi and Novak with their awards prior to the start of the Lions' match against No. 16 San Diego on Saturday.
Dina DeBernardi Among Top WCC Athletes of the Month
No.17 Loyola Marymount's Dina DeBernardi was among the conference's top athletes of the month for her play during September, the West Coast Conference announced on October 3rd. DeBernardi then ranked 28th in the nation in hitting percentage, hitting .393 in matches through September 30th. Against San Diego State, DeBernardi hit .522 with 13 kills. The Lions' co-captain hit better than .400 in five matches as a middle blocker and led the team in attack percentage (.384) and points per game (4.19). She also ranked second among all Lions in kills per game (3.63).
Lions Audio Network Allows Fans to Follow LMU Athletics
Beginning with the match against San Diego State and continuing with select matches throughout the season, fans can follow LMU volleyball on the Lions' Audio Network. Thanks to an agreement with Yahoo! Sports, more than 110 LMU games will be aired live via the Internet throughout this season. In addition to the increased number of broadcasts, Yahoo! Sports will bring its state-of-the-art technology to the Lions' Audio Network. To ensure the best product for our listeners, the Yahoo! Sports partnership is a subscription-based program. Live programming is a hallmark of every major athletics program in the country and LMU's commitment is an example to the student-athletes and fans of the continuing efforts to Build Champions and Championship programs!
Kealani Kimball Named Cougar Mania Tournament MVP
LMU's Kealani Kimball was selected as the tournament's MVP. It was the senior's first MVP honor of the season. Kimball posted her fourth double-double of the season, with 22 kills and 25 digs against the Cougars. Overall, the Lions' co-captain totaled 49 kills, 41 digs, six aces, and four blocks on the weekend.
Kimball, DeBernardi, Oehlman Named to Cougar Mania All-Tournament Team
Setter Nicole Oehlman and middle blocker Dina DeBernardi joined Kimball on the Cougar Mania All-Tournament team. Oehlman contributed 127 assists, while DeBernardi added 36 kills and nine blocks against tournament opponents.
DeBernardi Named WCC Player of the Week, Four Points Sheraton Classic MVP
Dina DeBernardi was selected as the West Coast Conference's Player of the Week on Monday, September 8. DeBernardi posted 56 kills and six blocks on the week, leading LMU to an upset of No. 7 UC Santa Barbara and their second tournament title in as many weekends. Against No. 7 UCSB, DeBernardi recorded 23 kills with no errors, good for a .639 hitting percentage. The Scottsdale, Arizona, native earned most valuable player honors at the Four Points Sheraton Volleyball Classic, after hitting .395 against Eastern Washington, a team that had just upset No. 15 Long Beach State. She shared the Player of the Week honor with Santa Clara's Becky Potter.
DeBernardi, Oehlman, and Kimball Named to Four Points Sheraton Classic All-Tournament Team
Senior Kealani Kimball and junior Nicole Oehlman joined DeBernardi as all-tournament selections. Kimball contributed 39 kills and five blocks on the weekend, while Oehlman earned her second double-double of the tournament against Eastern Washington, recording 54 assists and 10 digs. Creighton's Katie Grady and Northeastern's Jana Kubalova represented their squads on the all-tournament team. Megan Kitterman and Lindsay Page of Eastern Washington also garnered all-tournament honors.
LMU Wins Four Points Sheraton Volleyball Classic
Loyola Marymount earned its second tournament title in as many weekends, dropping Eastern Washington in five games, 19-30, 25-30, 30-25, 30-23, 15-8. The Lions went 3-0 in tournament play this weekend, defeating participants Northeastern (30-13, 30-14, 30-18) and Creighton (33-31, 31-29, 30-15) prior to Saturday evening's final matchup. Middle blocker Dina DeBernardi was named the tournament's most valuable player after recording 33 kills and six blocks on the weekend.
LMU Drops No. 7 UC Santa Barbara
The Lions used a total team performance to upset the seventh-ranked Gauchos in four games 30-27, 26-30, 30-19, 30-20. Middle blocker Dina DeBernardi recorded 23 kills with no errors, good for a .639 hitting percentage. As a team, LMU hit .338, compared to UC Santa Barbara's .211 average.
LMU Wins 2003 Furama Hotel Invitational
The Lions claimed the 2003 LMU Furama Hotel Invitational title following a 3-0 run where they won each of their nine games. LMU dropped UNLV, West Virginia, and 2002 NCAA tournament participant Sacramento State. There was a three-way tie for second place, as Sacramento State, UNLV, and West Virginia all posted records of 1-2.
Nerison Named 2003 Furama Hotel Invitational MVP
Junior Kelli Nerison was named the 2003 LMU Furama Hotel Invitational MVP. It was the first collegiate MVP selection for the middle blocker, who finished the weekend with 29 kills and 12 blocks.
Kimball and Oehlman Join Nerison on Furama Hotel Invitational All-Tournament Team
Senior Kealani Kimball and junior Nicole Oehlman joined Nerison in representing the Lions on the 2003 LMU Furama Hotel Invitational all-tournament team. Kimball posted 38 kills and 42 digs on the weekend, while Oehlman added 96 assists. Kazmiera Imrie (28 kills) and Lisa Beauchene (81 assists) of Sacramento State, Sheila Ocasio-Clemente (24 kills) of UNLV, and West Virginia's Alison Zemanski (29 kills, 9 blocks) rounded out the all-tournament selections.
The Stratos Story
In his 13 seasons as head coach of the LMU women's volleyball program, Steve Stratos has maintained a high level of excellence throughout his program, both in the classroom and on the court. Stratos has led the Lions to nine 20-win seasons and eight postseason appearances, including four consecutive in the NCAA Championships from 1997-2000. Having coached six All-Americans, as well as numerous academic all-conference selections, Stratos maintains one of the top programs in the nation. In 1996, Stratos became the first coach in West Coach Conference history to be tabbed Coach of the Year three straight seasons after leading the Lions to their third consecutive conference title. Stratos has posted a career record of 284-128, the highest winning percentage in LMU volleyball history and second most WCC victories among current conference coaches.