Muscle Milk Rotator Sponsor
Women's Volleyball Opens 1998 Season
By: UCLA Athletics

September 1, 1998

UCLA Quick Facts
Overall Record: 0-0
Pac-10 Record: 0-0
Rankings: 18 AVCA/ 14 VB mag
Last year's record: 17-13
Head Coach: Andy Banachowski
Career Record: 829-188 (32nd year)

This Week's Schedule ...

  • The No. 18 ranked UCLA women's volleyball team will host local rival No. 25 Pepperdine in an exhibition match at the John Wooden Center Tuesday, Sept. 1 as a final tuneup.
  • The Bruins embark on their annual trip to Hawaii for the official season opener facing three ranked teams (Hawaii, Florida and Ohio State) in the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic over the weekend.
Tuesday  Sept. 1   No. 25 Pepperdine (exhibition)   5:00
Friday   Sept. 4   No. 14 Hawaii                    7:00 (HT)
                   (Live in Hawaii on KFVE TV)
Saturday Sept. 5   No. 6 Florida                    5:00 (HT)
Sunday   Sept. 6   No. 13 Ohio State                5:00 (HT)

Tournament Notes

  • UCLA has played in every Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleybal Classic and is making its 11th consecutive trip to the islands for the event.
  • The Bruins have claimed the tournament title five times, including last year. UCLA won the first event in 1988 then took three straight from 1992-94.
  • Last year No. 21 UCLA swept Houston (15-10, 15-3, 16-14), defeated North Carolina (16-14, 13-15, 15-9, 15-6) and upset No. 11 Hawaii (15-6, 15-10, 15-9).
  • Three Bruins were named to the All-Tournament team last year as Kara Milling garnered MVP honors and fellow seniors Kim Coleman and Tanisha Larkin also earned all-tourney recognition.
  • UCLA's record during the classic is 24-6.

Coach Banachowski
A great teacher of the game, UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski achieved one of the highest honors possible when he became the first women's volleyball coach to be inducted into the national Volleyball Hall of Fame as a coach last year. Now in his 32nd season guiding the Bruins, Banachowski is not only the owner of more victories than any other NCAA Division I women's coach, but also mentor to numerous individual success stories during and after college. He has led the Bruins to six national championships, top-four national finishes in 20 of the last 27 years and compiled 30 or more victories in seven of the last 10 seasons.

Bruin Overview ...
This year's theme of "Winning Hand In Hand" builds on the foundation of excellence which is second to none. The UCLA women's volleyball program is joining hands in a quest to bring home its seventh national title. The 1998 Bruins combine nine newcomers, including the second ranked recruiting class in the nation, with nine returners, including a pair of redshirts from last year.

Captains for the season are senior Chaska Potter (Santa Cruz, CA) and sophomore Elisabeth Bachman (Lakeville, MN) who will both play key roles. Potter is a control type player who can play either outside position and is considered one of the top passers on the squad. A starting middle blocker as a freshman, Bachman is coming off a redshirt season and spent her second summer in a row training with the U.S. National Team.

The middle is the Bruins' most experienced position with Bachman and sophomore Amy Nihipali (Yorba Linda, CA), who is one of three starters returning from last year's squad, expected to start. Battling for time inside or capable of stepping into the opposite role is junior Tamika Johnson (Indianapolis, IN) who also started in the middle last season. Adding quality depth inside is freshman Angela Eckmier (North Hills, CA) who is a member of the Bruins highly touted recruiting class.

On the outside, sophomore Jennifer Wittenburg (Houston, TX) is eager to show her power after redshirting last season. Two newcomers that could see significant playing time outside are Ashley Bowles (Manhatten Beach, CA) and Kristee Porter (Tyler, TX) both members of that notable recruiting class. The third returning starter will miss the first few weeks of the season as sophomore Celeste Peterson (Boca Raton, FL) underwent knee surgery in the spring and continues to recover.

A new set of hands will run the offense in 1998 as sought after rookie Erika Selsor (Linden, CA) brings a new look to the setter position. Defensive specialists Michelle Quon (Dana Point, CA) and Mandi Lawson (Manhatten Beach, CA) will also see significant action.

Looking for their opportunity to contribute as outside hitters will be retunee Suzy Morris (Sacramento, CA) and newcomers Taylor Rodger (San Diego, CA) and Lauren Hogan (Long Beach, CA). Also looking to break into the inside game is rookie Danielle Ryba (Palos Verdes Estates, CA) while Kate Dwyer (Laguna Beach, CA) and Jackie Levin (Novato, CA) serve as backup setter and defensive specialists.

This Week's Opponents

Pepperdine "Waves"
Pre-season Ranking: No. 25 AVCA / USA Today
1997 Final Record/Ranking: 23-6 / 17th AVCA
Series History: UCLA leads the series 40-5. The Bruins and Waves faced off twice last season, with UCLA registering 3-1 victories at both the Banker's Classic and in the first-round of the NCAA Tournament.
This Week: Following its exhibition with UCLA on Tuesday, the Waves open up the 1998 season in Laramie, Wyoming at the Wyoming Invitational. At the tournament, Pepperdine will take on Illinois State, Sacramento State and Wyoming.
Notes: The Waves are led by junior middle blocker Jamie Hill and senior middle blocker Anna Witkowski. Both were All-WCC second-team selections last season. Also expected to contribute immediately will be freshman setter Melissa Plass. She was a Volleyball magazine Fab 50 selection last season at Fountain Valley High School.

Hawai'i "Rainbow Wahine"
Pre-season Ranking: No. 14 AVCA / USA Today, No. 15 Volleyball mag
1997 Final Record/Final Ranking: 25-8 / 25th AVCA, 11th Volleyball
Series History: Hawai'i leads the series 27-26. The Bruins defeated Hawai'i 3-0 last season at the Rainbow Wahine Volleyball Classic.
This Week: Hawai'i opens up its 1998 campaign with the Bruins this Friday.
Notes: Outside hitter Jessica Sudduth will be a key performer in UH's offensive attack in 1998. A second-team All-WAC performer as a freshman last year, Sudduth appeared in every match for the Rainbow Wahine last season, while finishing the year averaging 2.33 kills per game and tied for the team lead in service aces with 26.

Florida "Gators"
Pre-season Ranking: No. 6 AVCA / USA Today, No. 11 Volleyball mag
1997 Final Record/Ranking: 34-3 / 4th AVCA & Volleyball mag
Series History: The UCLA vs. Florida series is tied 2-2. Florida has won the last two meetings, including a 3-0 decision last season at the Banker's Classic.
This Week: UF opens up the 1998 season against Ohio State this Friday at the Rainbow Wahine Volleyball Classic.
Notes: Florida has made the final four of the NCAA Tournament four times in the last six years, including back-to-back trips in 1996 and '97. All-American candidate Jenny Manz was a first-team All-SEC selection last season and is UF's leading outside hitter entering the 1998 campaign.

Ohio State "Buckeyes"
Pre-season Ranking: No. 13 AVCA / USA Today
1997 Final Record/Ranking: 24-11 / 15th
Series History: UCLA leads the series 6-0. The Bruins beat the Buckeyes twice during the 1995 season, winning 3-2 and 3-0.
This Week: The Buckeyes open up the 1998 season with Indiana State at home this Tuesday. It's OSU's only match before heading to Hawai'i for the Rainbow Wahine Volleyball Classic.
Notes: OSU returns four starters from last season's 24-11 overall squad. Rosie Snow, Jen Flynn, Dana Stearns and Shellye Sills return from 1997, while 1996 starter Brianne Spiers, returns after sitting out last year with a knee injury.

UCLA Health Sponsor - Event Information
No recent events