No. 9 USD Set to Clash with No. 1 USC

Chloe Ferrari.

Chloe Ferrari.

Sept. 11, 2013

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WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE: The ninth-ranked University of San Diego women's volleyball team (4-1) will finally get to play at home this week, as they host the annual USD Tournament.  On Friday, the Toreros will have a top-10 clash with the No. 1 ranked USC Women of Troy at 7:30 p.m.  On Saturday, USD will battle Eastern Washington at 10 a.m. then return to action later in the evening at 7:30 p.m., as they take on the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos.  All matches will be played at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.  

LAST TIME OUT: USD posted a 2-0 record this past week, as they defeated, then No. 11, Iowa State, 3-1, and, then No. 18, Illinois, 3-1. This marked the second and third consecutive wins over ranked opponents this season.  The Toreros began the week with a 3-1 win over Iowa State in the Iowa State Challenge. In the match, Sandra Lozic led the Torero offense with 17 kills on 41 swings, while also recording nine digs. Taylor Hollins recorded 15 kills, while recording seven digs and the final USD player in double digit kills was Katie Hoekman, who had 10. Jianna Bonomi had 27 assists and 14 digs to post a double-double, while C'era Oliveira recorded a team-best 17 digs. As a team, USD hit for a .308 clip.  San Diego then followed that up with a 3-1 win over Illinois. In this match, Lozic led the team with 17 kills, while racking up a season-high 15 digs to post a double-double. Hoekman recorded 15 kills, while Chloe Ferrari recorded 14 kills, Alaysia Brown had 13 kills and Hollins recorded 11 kills. Bonomi led the team with 37 assists, while just missing a double-double with nine digs. Oliveira recorded a team-best 17 digs in the win.

TOREROS CRACK THE TOP-10: USD made program history on Monday, as the AVCA released their latest top-25 poll, and the Toreros moved up five spots checking in at No. 9.  This is the highest ranking in program history, surpassing the No. 11 ranking USD had in the 2004 season.  USD will now battle No. 1 USC in their first match as a top-10 program on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

SCOUTING THE TROJANS: The Women of Troy enter the match with a No. 1 national ranking, and a perfect 6-0 record on the season.  This will be the ninth meeting in program history between the two, with the Trojans winning all of them.  USC is led by sophomore OH Samantha Bricio who puts up 4.68 pps and leads the league (3rd in the nation) in service aces (0.90 saps). USC runs a 6-2 system in which junior Hayley Crone (5.86 aps) and freshman Alice Pizzasegola (5.29 aps) share time at setter. USC leans on senior MB Alexis Olgard (1.58 kps, 0.84 bps) and junior MB Hannah Schraer (1.00 kps, 1.24 bps) in the middle.

 SCOUTING THE EAGLES: The Eagles enter the week with a 3-4 overall record, and will play at San Jose State on Wednesday before heading down to San Diego.  The Eagles lead the all-time series at 3-2.  EWU is coming off a week in which they split their contests, defeating Texas Tech in four sets, before falling to Washington State at the Cougar Challenge in Pullman, Wash.  The Eagles offense runs through the reigning Big Sky Player of the Week, Allie Schumacher.  Schumar leads the team with 65 kills, while hitting for a .256 clip on the young season.  Eastern Washington  uses a 6-2 system, where setters Lindsay Niemeier (130 assists) and Sophie Miller (82 assists) have helped steer the Eagle offense to a team hitting percentage of .203.

SCOUTING THE GAUCHOS: The Gauchos enter the week with a 2-4 overall record after losing their last three matches to Pepperdine (3-1), Colorado State (3-1), and Virginia (3-2).  The Gauchos do lead the all-time series at 13-6, but the Toreros took last season's, meeting 3-1 in San Diego.  The Gauchos offense is paced by Leah Sully, who has 87 kills (3.35 kps) and is hitting .205.  The floor leader for UCSB is Hanna Nielson, who has 206 assists, while helping steer the Gaucho offense to a team attack percentage of .186.  

FERRARI TABBED WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Senior middle hitter Chloe Ferrari of the University of San Diego women's volleyball team has been named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week, the conference office announced Monday morning.  Ferrari played a key role in the Toreros posting a perfect 2-0 record, including defeating a pair of ranked opponents, to go undefeated in the Iowa State Challenge. For the week, Ferrari recorded 23 kills, while hitting for a .386 clip. She also added in five total blocks and six digs.  Ferrari began the week by recording nine kills and four blocks, while hitting for a .412 clip against No. 11 Iowa State. She then followed that performance with a 14-kill performance against No. 18 Illinois and one block while hitting for a .370 clip.

SANDRA, SANDRA, SANDRA: Junior outside hitter Sandra Lozic continues to have a great start to the 2013 season, as she led the team's offense this past week with a total of 34 kills (4.25 kps), an she had 24 digs.  Lozic began the week with a  17-kill and nine-dig performance against Iowa State.  She followed that up with  17 kills and a season-high 15 digs against Illinois in the final match of the week.  Overall, Lozic leads the team with 73 kills, and she is tied for third in digs with 50.   

EVERYWHERE TO TURN: San Diego setters Jianna Bonomi and Rachel Alvey have plenty of options to turn to.  USD had five different players this past week alone with 20 or more kills, paced by Sandra Lozic's 34, followed by Taylor Hollins' 26, Katie Hoekman's 24, Chloe Ferrari's 23 and Alaysia Brown's 21. With these kind of hitters, its no wonder the Toreros lead the nation in assists-per-set at 15.05, and are third in the WCC in total assists with 331.  

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: San Diego's hot start has several USD players in the upper echelon of the WCC statistical categories.  Chloe Ferrari is second in hitting percentage at .414, and Katie Hoekman is fourth at .404, while senior libero C'era Oliveira is third in digs-per-set at 4.64.  As a team, USD is third in kills at 239, while they lead the conference in assists-per-set at 15.05.  

TOREROS TABBED SECOND IN WCC PRESEASON POLL: The defending West Coast Conference Co-Champion University of San Diego women's volleyball team was picked to finish second in a preseason WCC Coaches poll.  BYU was chosen to win the 2013 WCC title after capturing five of the nine possible first place votes and 74 points overall. Just one point shy of the Cougars, USD tallied 73 points and three of the remaining first place votes. The Cougars and Toreros tied for first place in last year's regular season.  Saint Mary's College earned 69 points and two first place votes, while Pepperdine was picked fourth with 58 points. Loyola Marymount University earned 43 points and Santa Clara University tallied 42 points to finish fifth and sixth, respectively. Newcomer University of the Pacific earned 33 points to finish seventh, while the University of San Francisco (32 points), Gonzaga University (16 points) and the University of Portland (10 points) rounded out the preseason poll.

THE COACH: Jennifer Petrie has done an outstanding job directing the fortunes of San Diego volleyball since taking over as the Toreros head coach in 1999. Honored as the 2004, 2008 and 2010 West Coast Conference Coach of the Year, Petrie continues to establish the University of San Diego as one of the top volleyball programs in the nation. In 12 complete seasons as head coach, Petrie has led San Diego to 10 appearances in the NCAA Tournament (1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010 & 2012).