Battle for First Place Wednesday

USDTOREROSDOTCOM
Sandra Lozic.

USDTOREROSDOTCOM
Sandra Lozic.
USDTOREROSDOTCOM

Oct. 30, 2012

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WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE: The 18th-ranked University of San Diego women’s volleyball team (17-4, 9-2 WCC) will travel to Provo, Utah  on Wednesday to battle the Cougars of BYU for the rights of sole possession of first place in the WCC standings.  Both teams have identical 9-2 marks in the WCC entering Wednesday’s showdown.  USD will then return home to host No. 23 Pepperdine in a 1 p.m. match this Saturday.

LAST TIME OUT: The 14th-ranked University of San Diego women’s volleyball picked up their second West Coast Conference loss this Saturday afternoon in a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to Santa Clara, inside of the Jenny Craig Pavilion.  In the final set, the two teams went back and forth with neither able to sustain a lead until a Lexi Williamson kill gave the Broncos a 7-5 lead. Then a block by Willliamson and Megan Anders forced a timeout by head coach Jennifer Petrie with the score at 9-7. The Toreros fought back and gained a 12-11 lead on an attack error by Kayla Lommori, forcing a Broncos timeout. However, the Broncos came out of the timeout with a 3-1 run to win the set and match of a block by Katherine Douglas and Haley Cameron.  Despite loss, junior Katie Hoekman had another fantastic game recording 14 kill, while hitting for an incredible .722 clip, and sophomore Sandra Lozic led the team’s attack with 17 kills. Junior Chloe Ferrari had another solid match recording 11 kills, while hitting .267, and setter Rachel Alvey recorded a double-double with 41 assists and 18 digs, also adding five kills and two blocks.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: Wednesday’s showdown with BYU will be televised live on ESPNU at 7 p.m. (PT).  Calling all the action on the evening will be Michele Smith (play-by-play) and Dorothy Franco-Reed (color).  This will be USD’s second ESPNU match this season, having already defeated SMC in San Diego on Oct. 3.

SCOUTING THE COUGARS: BYU enters the match with an overall record of 21-2, and they have a 9-2 mark in the WCC after picking up a pair of sweeps over Gonzaga and Portland this past week.  The Cougars  are led offensively by Jennifer Hamsen, who has a team-best 314 kills (3.92 kps), and is hitting at a .361 clip.  Heather Hannemann is the floor leader for the Cougars, as she has recorded 905 assists (11.21 aps) in helping steer the BYU offense to a .320 attack percentage.

SCOUTING THE WAVES: Pepperdine University holds a record of 17-7, with a conference record of 6-4. They are led by junior transfer Jazmine Orozco, who leads the team with 322 kills (3.79 kps) while hitting for a .283 clip. Senior Victoria Adelhelm is another key piece for the Waves offense, as she has 195 kills while hitting for a .392 clip. Setter Kellie Woolever leads the team in assists with 967 assists (11.11 aps), while Michaela Christiaansen leads the defense with 344 digs (3.95 dps).

HOEKMAN CONTINUES IMPRESSIVE SEASON: Junior middle hitter Katie Hoekman led the Toreros offense in USD’s lone match of the week against Santa Clara this past Saturday.  Hoekman recorded 14 kills on 18 swings, while only committing one error to hit for an impressive .722 clip in the 3-2 loss to the Broncos.  On the season, Hoekman also added in five huge blocks in the match. On the season, Hoekman is second on the team with 214 kills, while hitting for a .354 clip and she leads the team in blocks with 90.

ALVEY LEADS WCC IN ASSISTS: With five games left in WCC play, Rachel Alvey leads the WCC, in conference play, with assists with 11.35 assists-per-set, and a total of 522 assists. Alvey was at her best during the Toreros 14-match WCC win streak averaging 12.0 assists per set. The Toreros also rank seventh in the nation in assists, lead by Alvey. Alvey looks to continue her great season after an impressive performance in a disappointing loss to Santa Clara in which she totaled 41 assists, 18 digs, five kills and two blocks.

THE BATTLE FOR FIRST: The Toreros take on the Cougars in what will be a battle for first place in the WCC on Wednesday. The two teams have yet to play each other this season, but have lost to the same opponents in WCC play with losses to Saint Mary’s and Santa Clara. Both teams have achieved national success as BYU is ranked 17th in the nation, and the Toreros are ranked 18th. Also, BYU is ranked 12th in the nation in blocks and first in hitting percentage, while the Toreros are seventh in the nation in assists and 10th in kills.  The only common opponents the two team have are those in WCC play.

LOZIC IN SEVENTH HEAVEN: Sophomore outside hitter Sandra Lozic has been red hot as of late for the Toreros, as they Belgrade, Serbia native has recorded double-digit kills in USD’s last seven matches.  In fact, Lozic has led the team in kills with 102 total kills during this stretch, with a career-high of 21 coming in the loss to Saint Mary’s on Oct. 20.  During this stretch, Lozic has been hitting at a .270 clip and has recorded at least 15 or more kills in four of the seven matches.  Overall, Lozic has recorded 173 kills, while hitting at a .270 clip.  

APPROACHING 900: Junior All-American middle hitter Chloe Ferrari is closing in on the 900 kills mark for her career. With her 226 kills on the season thus far, she now has moved her career total to 880. With her current average of 10.8 kills-per-match, she should surpass this mark during the match against the Waves of Pepperdine University on Saturday.

THE POLLS:  The University of San Diego women’s volleyball team dropped four spots to No. 18 in the latest AVCA top-25 polls, after posting a 0-1 record this past week.  BYU is just slightly ahead of the Toreros, as they check in at No. 17. Meanwhile, Pepperdine is at No. 23 in the latest AVCA top-25 poll.

PETRIE RETURNS!: San Diego head coach Jennifer Petrie returns to the sidelines this season after taking this past year off to spend time with the newest member of her family, daughter Caroline.  Last season in her absence, Associate Head Coach Brent Hilliard took the reigns and led USD to a 28-5 overall record.  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 nine appearances in the NCAA Tournament (1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 & 2010).  

TOREROS TABBED CO-WCC FAVORITES: Saint Mary’s College and the University of San Diego each received 59 points and four first place votes to share the top spot in the preseason WCC coaches poll.  The Gaels finished fourth last season, while the Toreros finished second behind Pepperdine University.  This year, the Waves were chosen to finish third with 53 points and the remaining first place vote in the poll.  Brigham Young University, last year’s third place finisher, was picked to finish fourth this season with 42 points, followed by the University of San Francisco with 33.  Loyola Marymount University and Santa Clara University tied for sixth with 27 points apiece, while the University of Portland and Gonzaga University rounded out the list with 13 points and 11 points, respectively.

A PAIR OF TOREROS NAMED TO ALL-WCC PRESEASON TEAM: Junior All-American Chloe Ferrari and All-WCC first-teamer Katie Hoekman both were selected to the WCC Preseason All-Conference team.  

- Ferrari, a 6-1 junior from Clovis, Calif., took home All-American honors after leading the team with 355 kills and hitting for a .385 clip as a sophomore. Ferrari helped lead USD into the second round of the NCAA Tournament as they defeated No. 23 Long Beach State, 3-1, in the first round, thanks in large part to Ferrari’s team-best 18 kills. Ferrari was also named first-team All-WCC after leading the team with 169 kills in WCC play, while hitting .388, second best in the WCC, and recording 57 blocks.

- Hoekman, a 6-1 junior from Folsom, Calif., returns after taking home her first All-WCC accolade last season.  In 2011, Hoekman led the WCC in hitting percentage at .414, while recording 154 kills and racking up 45 blocks in WCC action. Overall, Hoekman led the team with a .369 attack percentage, while placing third in kills at 275 and she was second on the team with 104 blocks.