Lions Conclude Season at No. 23 Long Beach State

LMU will look to finish the season on a high note when it travels to No. 23 Long Beach State for a match on Wednesday night.

Nov. 22, 2011


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LMU (14-15, 7-9 WCC) will complete the 2011 season on Wednesday when it travels to No. 23 Long Beach State (20-6) for a match at 7 p.m. The Lions, who officially finished sixth in the WCC this year, will be looking to knock-off a ranked-opponent to finish at .500.

• The Lions are 11-1 when winning the first set of a match this year and 3-14 when losing the first
Olivia Bailey and Betsi Metter were named to the WCC All-Academic Team, while senior Lauren DeGrandmont garnered honorable mention accolades
• Metter leads the WCC in digs (526/4.92 ps) and is second in aces (42/.39 ps)
• Metter's 29 digs against Portland on October 27 were the most in a three-set match in LMU history
• Metter posted a career-best 34 digs on October 7, good for ninth in LMU's single match record book
Litara Keil's nine block assists at BYU are tied for 10th-most in LMU program history
• LMU is currently 4-2 in five-set matches this year
• The Lions have dropped 31 consecutive matches against ranked opponents
• LMU is celebrating its centennial year throughout the 2011-12 athletic season

The LMU volleyball team (14-15, 7-9 WCC) celebrated its Senior Day on Saturday, honoring four senior players prior to the match, before dropping a four-set decision to visiting San Francisco (16-13, 8-8 WCC) by scores of 23-25, 25-20, 25-21, 25-18 in Gersten Pavilion. Saturday's loss was the first for the Lions this season when LMU wins the first set of a match, dropping the record to 11-1. Seniors Emily Cheek, Lauren DeGrandmont, Diana Hiromoto and Jasmine Rankins were all honored prior to Saturday's match, as each player took to the Gersten Pavilion floor for the final time in competition. Cheek finished the match with a match-best and a new career-high 17 kills on 37 swings, while Rankins tallied 14 kills and 12 digs for a double-double. Hiromoto served up an ace, while DeGrandmont had five digs. Anja Segota and Malina Terrell led the USF attack, posting 12 kills apiece, including Terrell with the 12 on just 17 attacks for a .588 hitting percentage. The Dons, set by Joan Caloiaro with 43 assists, hit .323 over the course of the four sets while holding LMU to a .181 percentage. Valentina Zaloznik did her work on the block, collecting a block solo and six block assists to guide USF to 11 total team blocks.

A trio of LMU volleyball players were honored for their academic achievements on November 22, as the West Coast Conference announced the 2011 Women's Volleyball All-Academic Team. Junior Olivia Bailey (3.54 - communications) and sophomore Betsi Metter (3.46 - natural science) took home All-Academic team selections, while senior Lauren DeGrandmont (3.39 - accounting) was listed on the honorable mention list. Bailey and DeGrandmont have each garnered All-Academic recognition in their careers, as Bailey was named to the WCC All-Academic team last year as a sophomore. With the current selection, DeGrandmont has earned All-Academic recognition in each of her three eligible years for the award. She claimed honorable mention as a sophomore before earning a spot on the All-Academic team last season. Just a sophomore, Metter earned the award in her first eligible year of competition.

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 men's basketball against Columbia on December 2. Pre-match coverage will feature special promotions, giveaways and honor the history of LMU athletics and LMU men's basketball. For more information, visit

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 31 consecutive matches against those teams, including five this year against then-No. 11 UCLA on August 27, then-No. 20 Pepperdine on October 5, then-No. 17 San Diego on October 15, then-No. 14 Pepperdine on November 10, and then-No. 21 San Diego on November 12. 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.

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 254-137 (.650) in the friendly confines of the Pavilion. In conference play, the record is even more impressive with a 128-60 (.681) 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.

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 has had a strong showing again this year in terms of aces, having posted 155 service aces at a rate of 1.45 per set to place second in the conference in that category. That mark also ranks 50th in the nation this week. Sophomore Betsi Metter currently sits second in the WCC in terms of aces per set, collecting 42 at a rate of .39 per set. Jasmine Rankins, who led the WCC in aces last year, has posted 35 at a rate of .33 per set to rank fifth in the WCC. The Lions have collected six or more service aces in 14 of their 29 matches this year.

No. 23 Long Beach State enters the week toting a 20-6 overall record, having won 12 straight matches - the longest winning streak since the 2007 season at The Beach. The 49ers won 13 straight in 2007, closing out the season with that run before falling in five sets at USC in the NCAA Tournament. Long Beach State wrapped-up its 12th Big West Conference Championship in 2011. Haleigh Hampton leads a balanced attack with 296 kills on .335 hitting. The 49ers are hitting .249 as a team, as Caitlin Ledoux and Janisa Johnson have collected 276 and 221 kills, respectively. Erin Juley has set the attack for LBSU, dishing-out 979 assists at a rate of 10.53 per set. Tyler Jackson leads the team in service aces with 25, pacing the squad to 105. In addition to the kills, Hampton is a force on the block, collecting 32 block solos and 124 block assists to guide LBSU to 70 solos and 466 assists - a total of 303 blocks. Long Beach State is led by 27th-year head coach Brian Gimmillaro. Long Beach State leads the all-time series between the two teams, 16-3. The Lions are 0-5 over the last five and 2-8 over the last 10 against the 49ers. Long Beach State defeated LMU in three sets on September 24, 2010 in the last match between the two teams. The Lions last bested Long Beach in three sets on September 10, 1994.

LMU has seen 15 of its 29 matches this year settled in three sets. Outside of the sweeps, LMU has played eight four-set matches and six five-set matches. LMU is 6-9 in three-set matches, 4-4 in four-set matches, and 4-2 in five-set matches this year. The average time of match for LMU is 1:46, with the quickest match coming on September 4 versus Seattle - a sweep for the Lions in 1:05.

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

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 currently lead the Lions, 5.5-2, in 2011-12. To learn more about the PCH Challenge and view the current scorecard, please visit:

Sophomore Betsi Metter earned her first career West Coast Conference Player of the Week selection on October 31, earning the honor after helping LMU volleyball to a 2-0 record the previous week in West Coast Conference play. The selection was the first of the year for the Lions. The Lions opened the week with a sweep of Portland on Thursday before defeating visiting Gonzaga in five sets on Saturday afternoon. Metter, the WCC leader in digs, collected 56 more over the course of the two matches, averaging 7.00 digs per set from the libero position. She also continued her solid play from the service area, serving-up seven aces at a rate of .88 per set. She accumulated 29 digs with two aces in just three sets against Portland and teamed a career-high five aces with 27 digs against Gonzaga. The 29 digs against Portland set a LMU record for a three-set match.

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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