|San Diego Volleyball|
|Thursday||at Portland||7 p.m.||TheW.tv||Live Stats|
|Saturday||at Gonzaga||12 p.m.||TheW.tv||Live Stats|
WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE: No. 12 San Diego will look to extend its nine-match winning streak this weekend when it heads to Pacific Northwest. The Toreros (19-4, 12-1 WCC) begin the week at Portland (14-11, 5-8WCC) on Thursday at 7 p.m. and will play at Gonzaga (13-12, 8-5 WCC) on Saturday at noon. Both matches will be streamed on TheW.tv and live statistics will be available via USDToreros.com.
QUICK WORK: With a pair of sweeps last week, the Toreros have now won nine straight matches and 25 of their past 28 sets.
SET IT & FORGET IT: One of the biggest factors to the Toreros' success has been the stellar play of senior setter Kristen Gengenbacher. The All-America candidate is first in the conference and 13th in the nation in assists per set (11.56) and her sets have helped the Toreros post a .264 hitting percentage, which is good for 27th in the nation. This past weekend, Gengenbacher moved into fourth place in the USD record books for career assists, passing Shannon Mutch (3,426, 1989-92).
PICHA-BOO: Junior middle blocker Addie Picha is in the midst of a breakout season. She is third in the conference and 24th in the nation with 1.39 blocks per set while also ranking second in the conference and 32nd in the nation in hitting percentage (.392).
ELITE COMPANY: The Toreros rank in the top five nationally in two key statistics. They are third in assists per set (14.20) and fourth in kills per set (14.99).
EFFICIENCY IS THE KEY: The Toreros are second in the WCC and 27th in the nation in hitting percentage (.264). They are led by Kaity Edwards' .402 hitting percentage which is tops in the WCC and 22nd in the nation. Addie Picha is hitting .392, good for second in the conference and 32nd in the nation. Both rates would rank amongst the top five all-time in a season for a Torero.
SCOUTING PORTLAND: The Pilots are 14-11 on the year and 5-8 in conference... They are second in the conference in digs per set (15.71) and third in aces per set (1.49)... Hannah Troutman is second in the WCC and 20th in the nation with 4.31 kills per set... Setter Cali Thompson averages 10.38 assists per set, third best in the conference... Head Coach Brent Crouch was the 2016 WCC Coach of the Year after leading the Pilots to 10 WCC wins, their most since joining the conference.
THE SERIES VS. THE PILOTS: The Toreros are 52-9 all-time against the Pilots, although Portland has won two of the last four matches... Before that, the Toreros had won 45 straight matches... USD swept Portland October 14 inside the JCP.
SCOUTING GONZAGA: Gonzaga is 13-12 on the year... After starting 6-0 in conference, they have lost five of their past seven WCC matches... They are 9th in the conference in hitting percentage (.190)... Jenna Kuehn has three triple-doubles, the most in the WCC and tied for the sixth most in the nation... Diane Nelson is in her seventh season at Gonzaga and second as head coach. Last season, she led the Zags to a 17-11 record, their best mark since 1994.
THE SERIES VS. THE BULLDOGS: The Toreros are 50-9 all-time against Gonzaga... They have beaten the Bulldogs in 44 straight matches... The last time Gonzaga beat USD was September 30, 1994, a 3-1 Bulldogs win in Spokane.
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 221-64 (.775) in conference matches. Since 2004, the Toreros have taken first or second place in the WCC every year except for one.
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 and 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.
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 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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