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Toreros Continue to Build National Reputation

Feb. 28, 2004

By Amanda Piechowski

The 2003 Torero volleyball team earned their third consecutive NCAA Tournament berth, marking the seventh time in eight years that San Diego has reached the nation's field of 64. Several individual accomplishments and some key team highlights, including two tournament championships and a national ranking of No. 16 allowed USD to make a repeat appearance in the NCAA's.

USD exploded out of the gate, sweeping through tough competition to win team championship honors at Arizona State's Sun Devil Classic on August 30th. The Toreros went on to enjoy a string of wins in September and early October in which they won 11-of-12 matches. The fast start also included nine consecutive home wins and included the year's second team title at the 2003 USD Invitational.

San Diego kept building its reputation as one of the countries best collegiate programs, earning a ranking of No. 16 by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) on October 19th. It equaled the highest ranking in school history and marked the sixth straight year USD has appeared in the AVCA/USA Today Top-25 Poll.

The season's individual highlights included an outstanding season from junior outside hitter Devon Forster. Forster started and competed in all 30 matches for the Toreros and had over twenty kills on ten different occasions. For the third consecutive season, she was named to the All-West Coast Conference First Team and ranked 22nd nationally in kills per game (5.10).

Sophomore setter Lindsey Sherburne established herself as the best setter in USD school history. Sherburne shattered San Diego's record for assists in a single season with 1,494, surpassing Katie Lindquist's 1997 total of 1,471, and ended the year ranked second nation-wide in assists per game (14.37).

Junior outside hitter Kristen Hurst was named an All-WCC Honorable Mention for the second straight season. Hurst played a key role in helping San Diego attain their eighth NCAA berth, ranking among USD's team leaders in several statistical categories.

The team as a whole competed quite well together, with several newcomers making their mark during their first year as Toreros. Freshmen middle hitters Christie Dawson and Emily Haas received honorable mentions to the All-West Coast Conference team and sophomore transfer libero Jackie Bernardin was named the Co-Defensive Player of the Year by the WCC.

Seniors Brynne Young, Lisa Gordon, and Bridget Merritt made their last year a memorable one. Although plagued by injuries, the three led by example and carried the Toreros through the season. Proven defensive specialist in sophomore Monica Peterson provided depth in the libero position and junior Katie Kahlweiss' amazing jump serve helped rack up points for the Toreros. Freshmen hitters Ryan Maspero and Cassie Wolpern were key contributors to several Torero wins.

Head coach Jennifer Petrie guided the San Diego program to its fourth NCAA Tournament in her five-year tenure as USD's head coach. Under her direction, San Diego has won nearly 70 percent of their matches and Petrie reeled in her 100th career win on October 31, 2003, as the Toreros swept conference rival Gonzaga 3-0.

Six Toreros would earn All-West Coast Conference Honors at the end of the season in a league that sent an all-time record six schools into the NCAA's. The Toreros drew a first round date with the nation's No. 8 seed UCLA in Los Angeles.

The success of the Toreros in the 2003 season paves the way for even greater success in 2004. With several victories over powerhouse teams and a continual climb up the AVCA/USA Today Top-25 charts, San Diego proved to the nation that they are, and will continue to be, a top contender among the nation's elite.

 

 

VIDEO
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