Toreros Prep for NCAA Tournament

USDTOREROSDOTCOM Katie Hoekman.
USDTOREROSDOTCOM
Katie Hoekman.
USDTOREROSDOTCOM

Nov. 29, 2011

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WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE:The 20th-ranked University of San Diego women's volleyball team (27-4) will hit the road for the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament this week. USD will head to UCLA to take on No. 23 Long Beach State in the first round on Friday at 5:30 p.m. Should USD win this match, they will then take on the winner of the match between No. 4 UCLA and Maryland Eastern Shore.

LAST TIME OUT: Sandra Lozic recorded a match-best 11 kills, but it wasn't enough, as the 20th-ranked University of San Diego women's volleyball team dropped a 3-0 West Coast Conference decision to No. 18 Pepperdine University on Nov. 19 at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. Lozic recorded her match-high 11 kills on 26 swings to hit for a .269 clip. Chloe Ferrari and Alaysia Brown each recorded eight kills. Rachel Alvey led the team with 20 assists, and Kandiss Andersonrecorded 15 digs. As a team, USD hit .136, while Pepperdine hit .188.

ABOUT THE FIELD:This weekends sub-regional is just one of six to have no teams with double-digit losses, as USD is boasting a 27-4 overall record, Long Beach State has a 23-6 mark, while UCLA has a 24-6 overall record and the MEAC champion Maryland Eastern Shore enters the week with an overall record of 24-6. Also an interesting note, USD's women's soccer team played both Long Beach State and UCLA in the second and third rounds of the 2011 NCAA Tournament at UCLA two weeks ago.

SCOUTING THE 49ERS:Long Beach State enters the NCAA Tournament riding a 15-match winning streak and are boasting a 23-6 overall record after defeating New Mexico State in the regular-season finale. LBSU leads the all-time series at 10-7, but the Toreros have won the last six meetings. The 49ers offense is paced by Haleigh Hampton, who has 323 kills (2.94 kps) and is hitting at a .342 clip. Setter Erin Juley helps direct the LBSU offense to a .255 team attack percentage, and the Long Beach defense is anchored down by libero Lauren Minkel, who has a team-best 417 digs. These two teams last met in the 2010 NCAA first round, when USD swept the 49ers at USC.

SCOUTING THE BRUINS:UCLA enters the tournament with an overall record of 24-6 after dropping its regular-season finale to No. 1 USC. UCLA leads the all-time series at 6-0 with the last meeting coming in the 2007 season, a 3-2 UCLA win in San Diego. The Bruins offense is paced by Rachel Kidder, who has a team-best 464 kills (4.59 kps), and is hitting at a .236 clip. Senior setter Lauren Van Orden has a team-leading 1,085 assists in helping steer the team to a .244 attack percentage. Senior libero Lainey Gera paces the team's defense with a team-best 506 digs (4.87 dps).

SCOUTING THE HAWKS:Maryland Eastern Shore enters the NCAA Tournament as the MEAC champions after posting an overall record of 24-6 and a perfect 14-0 mark in the MEAC. Saitaua Iosia leads the team's offense, as she has a team-best 468 kills and is hitting at a .301 clip. Jessica Vicic helps steer the team's offense to a .255 attack percentage after recording a team-leading 1,195 assists. The defensive charge is led by Rebecca Prado who has 351 digs.

TOREROS IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: San Diego is making its 15th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and second consecutive trip. The Toreros are 10-14 all-time in the tournament and have advanced to the Sweet 16 in both the 2004 and 2006 seasons. Interestingly enough, USD interim head coach Brent Hilliardhas a post-season record of 2-1, as he served in the same capacity in 2006 when USD defeated Jacksonville, 3-0, and Duke, 3-2, in the first two rounds to advance the Toreros into the Sweet 16, before falling to eventual national champion Nebraska. USD has twice faced UCLA in the tournament, and dropped both of those matches by scores of 3-0 on Dec. 3, 2005 and on Dec. 5, 2004, both at UCLA. San Diego has squared off against Long Beach State three times in postseason play, losing to the 49ers, 3-0, on Dec. 1, 2001, but since then have won the last two NCAA appearances, a 3-1 win on Dec. 2, 2005, and a 3-0 win on Dec. 3, 2010 at USC.

THE POLLS:The Toreros dropped are currently ranked No. 20 in the latest AVCA top-25 poll. UCLA enters the week ranked No. 4 and Long Beach State is ranked 23rd. Maryland Eastern Shore is not ranked in the top-25.

ABOUT THE RECORD:San Diego finished the regualr-season with the best overall record in program history at 27-4. The previous best record was in 1997, when USD posted a 26-4 overall record. USD opened the season with an impressive 13-0 record before falling to San Francisco in the WCC opener. USD has not lost to any non-conference opponent this season.

WITH HONORS: The University of San Diego women's volleyball team had five players earn All-West Coast Conference honors. Taking home first-team honors were sophomore middle hitters Chloe Ferrari and Katie Hoekman, while junior libero Kandiss Anderson and junior outside hitter Amber Tatsch took home honorable mention accolades. Freshman outside hitter Sandra Lozicwas named to the All-WCC Freshman Team.

- Ferrari, a 6-1 sophomore from Clovis, Calif., takes home her second consecutive first-team honor after leading the team with 169 kills in WCC play, while hitting .388, second best in the WCC, and recording 57 blocks. Overall, Ferrari led the team with 325 kills and hit for a .385 clip.

- Hoekman, a 6-1 sophomore from Folsom, Calif., takes home her first All-WCC accolade after leading 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 .393 attack percentage, while placing third in kills at 262 and she led the team with 101 blocks.

- Anderson, a 5-8 junior from Phoenix, Ariz., led the team in digs in WCC action with 280 (4.67 dps). Overall, Anderson led the team with 471 (4.28 dps), while recording 21 service aces. Anderson also etched her name into the single-match record books at USD when she recorded 29 digs in the win against Loyola Marymount on Nov. 12, 2011, which is the fifth best single-match performance in program history.

- Tatsch, 6-1 junior from San Antonio, Texas, also takes home her first All-WCC accolade after placing second on the team in kills during WCC play with 147, and leading the team with aces at 21. Overall, Tatsch was second on the team in kills at 322, but led the team in aces with 49.

- Lozic, a 5-9 freshman from Belgrade, Serbia, busted onto the collegiate scene this year and really come on strong for the Toreros in WCC play. In conference action, Lozic recorded 162 kills and hot for a .213 clip. Overall, Lozic was fifth on the team in kills with 197, while hitting .212, and recording 141 digs.

LIVE FREE VIDEO STREAM THIS WEEKEND:All of this weekends matches will have a live free video stream available at www.uclabruins.com.

A LOOK AT THE TOREROS:With the WCC race heating up, lets take some time to look back at the success of the Toreros over the past seven years. Since 2004, USD has been one of the most dominant forces not only in the West Coast Conference, but on the national scene as well. Think about what the Toreros have accomplished: since 2004, USD has won five of seven West Coast Conference championships, produced 33 All-WCC players, had 11 AVCA All-Americans, made the NCAA Tournament six times, including two trips to the Sweet 16 (2004 &2006), have produced five WCC Players of the Year, two WCC Defensive Players of the Year, four WCC Coaches of the Year, and one WCC Freshman of the Year. These are just a few highlights of the program, which has a rich tradition of success dating back over 18 years, including a total of seven WCC championships, 10 NCAA Tournament victories, 13 seasons of 20 or more wins, 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, and 15 postseason tournaments.

COACHING CHANGE: The Toreros are under the direction of a new/familiar face. Brent Hilliard, USD's top assistant for the past 10 seasons, has been moved to the interim head coach as USD's current head coach Jennifer Petriewho will be taking the semester off to spend time with her new daughter Caroline. Petrie, who just completed her 11th year, will return to her head coaching position for the 2012 season. Hilliard brings a wealth of volleyball experience to the head coaching position as he has won at the highest levels of volleyball. He did this same role back in 2006, when he led USD to the WCC Championship and into the Sweet-16 of the NCAA Tournament. For his efforts in 2006, his peers recognized Hilliard as the WCC Coach of the Year.

GAMETRACKER AVAILABLE: All San Diego volleyball home and select road matches can be followed live via Gametracker on the Toreros athletic web site at www.usdtoreros.com. Gametracker is a service of CBS College Sports, the official web provider for San Diego athletics, and is a real time update of the action.