|WCC Home Openers|
|Saturday||#9 BYU at #17 San Diego||12:00 p.m.||Live Stats||TheW.tv|
WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE: The Toreros host #9 BYU (14-1, 3-0) for their biggest home match of the year on Saturday at noon. BYU is 14-1 so far in 2017 and a perfect 3-0 in the WCC. Saturday's match is Pack the Pavilion Day.
HOME SWEET HOME: Since the start of the 2015 season, the Toreros are 29-4 (.879) inside the Jenny Craig Pavilion. Their only home loss this season came against No. 4 Texas.
EFFICIENT EDWARDS: Kaity Edwards' is in the midst of a breakout season for the Toreros. She is second on the team with 127 kills (3.02 kps) and has an incredible hitting percentage of .455, the sixth best rate in the nation. The highest ever single season hitting percentage by a Torero was set in 2013 by Chloe Ferrari (.444).
SET IT & FORGET IT: The Toreros rank seventh in the nation in assists per set with 13.84. Much of this has to do to the success of senior setter Kristen Gengenbacher, who is averaging a career-high 11.0 assists per set (30th in the nation). She enters Saturday's match with 2,991 career assists and can move into fifth place all-time at USD with 29 more assists.
FOR THE KILL: USD is also 7th in the nation with 14.72 kills per set. Jayden Kennedy is averaging a team-high 3.60 kills per set, while Kaity Edwards is tops in the WCC with a .455 hitting percentage, good for sixth in the nation.
WCC DOMINANCE: Since Coach Petrie took over as head coach, the Toreros have been the top program in the WCC. Dating back to 1999, Petrie's first year as head coach, the Toreros have gone 212-63 (.770) in conference matches. Since 2004, the Toreros have taken first or second place in the WCC every year except for one.
SCOUTING THE COUGARS: BYU is 14-1 in 2017 and is ranked No. 9 in the latest AVCA poll... Their lone loss was to Baylor (3-2) Sept. 9 in Hawai'i... BYU is first in the WCC and ninth in the nation with 3.02 blocks per set... They also lead the conference in opponent hitting percentage (.168)... Mary Lake leads the WCC with 4.69 digs per set... Veronica Jones-Perry is averaging a team best 4.62 kills per set... Head Coach Heather Olmstead (3rd season) was the 2016 AVCA All-Pacific South Region Coach of the Year.
THE SERIES VS. BYU: The all-time series between these two programs is tied at 7-7. However, BYU has won four of the past five meetings. The teams split their two meetings last year with the home team earning sweeps in both matches.
ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Jayden Kennedy was named to the All-Tournament team for all three of the Toreros' preseason tournaments. Kaity Edwards and Kristen Gengenbacher earned that honor twice.
WELL-DESERVED: Associate Head Coach Brent Hilliard was named a finalist for the Southern California Indoor Volleyball Hall of Fame. As a powerful opposite player, Hilliard led Long Beach to the 1990 NCAA finals and in 1991 to its first NCAA title. He was the 1991 NCAA MVP, then the 1992 NCAA Player of the Year and finished as a three-time first team All-American. He then won an Olympic Games Bronze medal in 1992 as the team's youngest player and followed with a silver medal in 1993 Pan-American Games. He also won a bronze medal in the 1991 World Cup. 27 finalists were announced and 15 will be chosen in May of 2018.
SUMMER STORIES: Kristen Gengenbacher & Lauren Fuller were selected to be on the U.S. Collegiate National team this past summer. Gengenbacher represented the U.S. in Croatia and helped America win the European Global Challenge with a perfect 6-0 record. Fuller was with the team at their Minneapolis program, but was unable to play due to an injury. Fuller was joined in Minnesota by USD assistant Coach Marie Zidek, who served on the CNT coaching staff for the second straight summer.
GOTTA BEAT THE BEST TO BE THE BEST: Over the past ten-plus years, the Toreros have beaten 26 teams ranked in the AVCA Top 25. Coach Petrie consistently places USD in competitve non-conference tournaments to prepare the Toreros for postseason competition. So far the Toreros are 1-3 this season against Top 25 teams. Their next match against a ranked opponent is September 30 against BYU, who enters the week with a No. 9 ranking.
PRESEASON PROPS: Kristen Gengenbacher and Kaity Edwards were selected to the All-WCC Preseason Team. Both Gengenbacher and Edwards were All-WCC honorable mention selections last season. Gengenbacher has led the team in assists the past two seasons as the team's starting setter. She enters the 2017 season with 2,518 career assists, the ninth most in program history. For the second summer in a row, she competed with the U.S. Collegiate National Team and helped the squad win the European Global Challenge in Croatia this past July. Edwards made an immediate impact in 2016, her first year with the Toreros after transferring from Santa Clara. She finished third on the team in kills (235, .364 percentage), total blocks (66) and block assists (58).
PICKED SECOND: The Toreros were picked to finish second in the preseason WCC Coaches Poll. USD received one first place vote and 72 total points in the preseason coaches poll, trailing only the 2016 champion, BYU, who had 81 points. Portland, fresh off the most successful season in program history was tabbed third with 58 points. Pacific was picked to finish fourth with 50 points. Santa Clara snared 48 points to round out the top-five of the survey, one point in front of sixth-place Pepperdine (47). Saint Mary's (35), Loyola Marymount (28), Gonzaga (21) and San Francisco (9) round out the survey.
BEST OF THE BEST: Head Coach Jennifer Petrie has built the Toreros in to one of best programs in the nation. In the past 21 seasons, USD has made the NCAA Tournament an incredible 19 times. Other accomplishments in that span include winning 15 NCAA Tournament matches, producing 13 All-Americans, winning nine WCC championships, having 10 WCC Players of the Year, 42 All-WCC first team honorees, four WCC Defensive Players of the Year, and three Sweet 16 appearances.
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