Dec. 4, 2013
WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE: The eighth-ranked University of San Diego women’s volleyball team (24-3) has earned the No. 9 National Seed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, and will host the first and second rounds. On Friday, the Toreros will host UC Santa Barbara at 7:30 p.m. inside the friendly confines of the Jenny Craig Pavilion. The other two teams in the bracket are the University of Arizona and New Mexico State University, and their match will begin at 5 p.m. on Friday. The winner of both matches will play on Saturday at 7 p.m. inside the Jenny Craig Pavilion for the right to advance to the Sweet 16.
LAST TIME OUT: Behind a balanced offensive attack, the ninth-ranked University of San Diego women’s volleyball team rallied to pick up a thrilling 3-2 come-from-behind win over No. 21 Brigham Young University on Nov. 23 in the West Coast Conference championship match at the Jenny Craig Pavilion in front of a rocking crowd of 2,045. This was USD’s 15th consecutive win. Taylor Hollins led the team with 16 kills, while also recording seven digs and one block. Alaysia Brown was the second of five Toreros in double digit kills, as she had 14, while recording five blocks. Both Chloe Ferrari and Sandra Lozic had 13 kills apiece, while Lozic posted a double-double with 17 digs. Katie Hoekman rounded off the offensive attack with 11 kills, while recording a double-double with tying a career-high of 10 blocks. Hoekman’s 10 blocks is the third best single-match record for USD. Jianna Bonomi (36 assists) and Rachel Alvey (26 assists) helped steer the team to a .151 attack percentage. C’era Oliveira recorded a career-high 34 digs to pace the defense. The 34 digs are the third highest single-match digs in program history.
TOREROS IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: San Diego is making its 17th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and fourth consecutive trip. The Toreros are 11-16 all-time in the tournament and have advanced to the Sweet 16 in both the 2004 and 2006 seasons. USD has faced Arizona one time in the NCAA tournament, a 3-2 USD win on Dec. 4, 2004, the last time USD hosted the NCAA Tournament. Also in 2004, USD defeated New Mexico State, 3-0, in the first round on Dec. 3. The Toreros have never faced UC Santa Barbara in the NCAA Tournament.
FREE VIDEO STREAM: All of this week’s NCAA Tournament matches at the Jenny Craig Pavilion will have a free live webstream in full High Definition. Calling the action on Friday for the USD/UCSB match will be Jack Cronin, and calling the action on Saturday, should USD advance, will be Paula Bott. The Arizona and New Mexico State match will not have a play-by-play, but will have a live webstream on usdtoeros.com.
SCOUTING THE GAUCHOS: UC Santa Barbara, the reigning Big West Conference champions, enter the tournament with an overall record of 18-10, and they posted a 18-3 mark in the Big West Conference. UCSB and USD squared off earlier this season, with the Toreros defeating the Gauchos 3-0 as part of the USD Tournament. The Gauchos offense is paced by Ali Spindt, who has recorded a team-best 309 kills (2.83 kps), while hitting for a .243 clip. Hanna Nielson is the floor leader for the Gauchos, as she has 709 assists in helping steer the offense to a team attack percentage of .231.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS: Arizona enters the tournament with an overall record of 20-12 after defeating in-state rival Arizona State in their season-finale on Nov. 29. Nadi Kingdon paces the Wildcat offense with a team-best 482 kills, while hitting for a .207 clip and recording 351 digs. Penina Snuka runs the team’s offense, as she has recorded 1,137 assists in helping steer the team to an attack percentage of .214. Arizona leads the all-time series at 6-2.
SCOUTING THE AGGIES: New Mexico State (22-10) earned the WAC’s automatic bid by winning the WAC Tournament title last Wednesday with a sweep of Bakersfield. This is New Mexico State’s seventh NCAA Tournament appearance and second in a row. The Aggies are led by WAC Player of the Year and WAC Tournament MVP Desiree Scott, who averages 2.62 kills on .372 hitting and 1.33 blocks per set. The all-time series is even at 2-wins apiece.
GOING STREAKING: San Diego is in the midst of a season-high 15-match winning streak, after defeating BYU, 3-2, in the WCC championship match on Nov. 23. During this streak, USD is hitting for a .267 clip as a team, and holding their opponents to a .170 clip. Five players have recorded at least 130 or more kills, paced by Chloe Ferrari’s 177 ,followed by Alaysia Brown’s 170, Taylor Hollins’ 150, Sandra Lozic’s 138 and Katie Hoekman’s 136 kills. C’era Oliveira has recorded 256 digs (4.74 dps), which is almost double of the next highest of 137 by Hollins.
FERRARI TABBED WCC PLAYER OF THE YEAR: San Diego’s senior middle hitter Chloe Ferrari was voted the 2013 WCC Player of the Year, which is the ninth time that a San Diego player has been awarded the Conference’s top honor. After suffering a season-ending injury late in the 2012 season, the senior middle hitter came back strong to tally 299 kills with an impressive conference-leading .435 hitting percentage, as well as 91 blocks and 79 digs. Ferrari was named the WCC Player of the month for both September and October, as she helped guide USD to a program record 24-3 overall mark on the season. Ferrari was also tabbed WCC Player of the Week three times this season.
PETRIE TABBED WCC COACH OF THE YEAR: Head coach Jennifer Petrie was named the West Coast Conference Coach of the Year. This is the fourth time Petrie has earned this honor, after leading USD to the best season in program history. Petrie took USD to new heights this season, posting four consecutive wins over top-20 opponents, including road wins at Hawaii, at Iowa State, a neutral site win over Illinois, and then capped it off with a thrilling 3-1 victory over top-ranked USC in the home-opener. USD then skyrocketed up to No. 2 in the AVCA top-25 poll on September 16, marking the highest ranking for any USD in the division I era. The Toreros then finished the season on a 15-match winning streak, including claiming the WCC title outright from BYU on Nov. 23 in front of a record home crowd of 2,045.
CAN YOU DIG IT?: Senior libero C’era Oliveira had perhaps her best performance in a Torero uniform in the final regular-season match against BYU. The Honolulu, Hawaii native recorded a career-high 34 digs, which placed her tied for third at USD in single-match digs. Oliveira was tabbed WCC Player of the Week for her performance, the first time she has received that honor in her career.
FIVE TOREROS EARN ALL-WCC HONORS: Taking home first-team All-WCC honors were Chloe Ferrari, Katie Hoekman, and Alaysia Brown. Earning All-WCC honorable mention accolades was senior libero C’era Oliveira, while freshman libero Hunter Jennings was named to the All-Freshman team.
TOREROS NO. 8 IN LATEST POLLS: The University of San Diego women’s volleyball team held steady at No. 8 in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association top-25 poll. This marks the 12th consecutive week that the Toreros have appeared in the top-25, and marks USD’s ninth week all together in the top-10, having reached as high as No. 2 on Sept. 16.
RECORD BOOKS: Senior middle hitter Chloe Ferrari currently sits at 1,190 career kills, which places her 10th all-time at USD. But her records don’t stop there. She currently has the highest career hitting percentage in program history at .398, and her 320 blocks places her eighth all-time at USD. Another Torero who is making her way through the USD all-time records section is Katie Hoekman, who currently has 360 total blocks, placing her sixth all-time at USD, and her career .363 hitting percentage is second best all-time. Senior libero C’era Oliveira is now in the top-10 all-time in career digs with 1,288, placing her fourth all-time.
WHERE THEY RANK NATIONALLY: San Diego, as a team, is currently second nationally in assists-per-set at 14.28, and second in kills-per-set at 15.05. On the individual side of things, Chloe Ferrari is ninth nationally in hitting percentage at .435, while Katie Hoekman is 31st in hitting percentage at .383.
WHAT’S NEXT?: The winner of the bracket will advance on to the Sweet 16, and that will be held in Lincoln, Neb., home of the University of Nebraska. Those matches will be aired live on ESPN3.