Oct. 8, 2007
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
#19 Oregon (14-4, 3-3 Pac-10) at #4 UCLA (14-2, 4-1 Pac-10)
Thursday, Oct. 11
Los Angeles, Calif.
Live: Gametracker, Audio
Oregon State (8-10, 1-5 Pac-10) at #4 UCLA (14-2, 4-1 Pac-10)
Friday, Oct. 12
Los Angeles, Calif.
Live: Gametracker, Audio
HOMESTAND CONTINUES VS. OREGON SCHOOLS
The fourth-ranked Bruins (14-2, 4-1 Pac-10) look to continue their recent domination of this week's opponents when they host #19 Oregon (14-4, 3-3) on Thursday and Oregon State (8-10, 1-5) on Friday at Pauley Pavilion. UCLA has a combined record of 86-3 against the Oregon schools. Start times are at 7 p.m. for both matches. Gametracker will be available on UCLABruins.com, along with live video and audio with Darren Preston at the call.
BRUINS ON THE TUBE
Beginning next Thursday against Washington, UCLA women's volleyball will be featured three straight weeks on Fox Sports Net's Pac-10 Match of the Week. All three games will be aired on tape delay on FSN, starting with the Oct. 18 match in Seattle. The first showing of that match will be on Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. on FSN Prime Ticket. Other tape-delayed television contests include UCLA's home match against Stanford on Oct. 26 and the Nov. 2 game at USC. Additionally, the Bruins are being featured regularly on the Lexus Gauntlet show, which airs on Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. on FSN Prime Ticket. This week's show will feature a wrap-up of last week's UCLA-USC match. Senior Rachell Johnson will be an in-studio guest.
BRUINS IN THE POLLS
UCLA leapfrogged USC to move into fourth in this week's CSTV/AVCA Top 25 poll. After staying in the fifth position for six straight weeks to start the season, the Bruins jumped ahead of the Trojans, who fell to sixth, thanks to their four-game victory last Friday. UCLA earned 53 more points from last week's poll and have now gained points in five of the seven rankings. The Bruins have been ranked in the AVCA Top 5 in 22 of the last 23 polls. In last week's Molten Volleyball Magazine poll, the Bruins were dropped down to seventh following their loss to Stanford.
C WHAT IT MEANS
In taking a closer look at the UCLA women's volleyball jerseys, you will notice that the "C" is a different color than the "U", "L", "A" this season. The different color "C" signifies the roman numeral for 100 and celebrates the 100 NCAA Championships won by the Bruins. Women's volleyball has a hand in three of those national titles, winning NCAA championships in 1984, 1990 and 1991.
For the first time since the 1993-94 seasons, the Bruins defeated the Trojans for the third straight time following their four-game victory on Friday at Pauley Pavilion. The win gives UCLA the first five points towards the Lexus Gauntlet Trophy standings. The trophy currently sits in the J.D. Morgan Center after the Bruins claimed a 72.5-37.5 victory last season to set a new competition record for points. The next Gauntlet points will be awarded on Oct. 26 at the UCLA-USC women's soccer match, while the next women's volleyball contest between the two teams will be on Nov. 2 at The Galen Center. A full recap of Friday's match is available on page seven of this release.
SCOUTING THE DUCKS
Oregon dropped a pair of matches against Top 10 teams last week with a four-game loss to #10 California and a three-game setback to #2 Stanford. The losses snapped a three-match win streak for the Ducks, who went 11-1 during the non-conference schedule with a ranked win over then-#20 Ohio State. The Ducks are led offensively by redshirt junior transfer Gorana Maricic, who leads the Pac-10 and is in the Top 20 nationally with 5.17 kills per game. She also averages 2.48 digs per game. Sophomore Sonja Newcombe is posting 3.43 kpg and 2.52 dpg, while freshman Heather Meyers averages 2.90 kpg. The Ducks employ two setters, with sophomore Nevena Djordjevic averaging 8.29 assists per game and freshman Rachel Morris posting 4.80 apg. Oregon is hitting .285 as a team and averages 15.07 digs, 2.05 aces and 2.74 blocks per game. Third-year head coach Jim Moore, who was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year last season, holds a 43-34 career record at Oregon and a 395-190 mark in 18-plus seasons of coaching. The Bruins have lost just once to the Ducks and taken 39 in a row from Oregon, holding a 45-1 series advantage. UCLA is 24-0 at home and all but three of those matches have been three-game sweeps. Last season, the Bruins won both matches 3-0. The Ducks' only win in the series came on Sept. 26, 1987 in Eugene.
SCOUTING THE BEAVERS
Oregon State has dropped five in a row since a conference-opening victory against Washington State on Sept. 21. Since then, the Beavers have not won a game, getting swept by Washington, Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford and California. The Beavers are led offensively by sophomore Rachel Rourke, who is averaging 4.50 kills and 1.91 digs per game. Freshman Jill Sawatzky is also averaging above three kills a game at 3.10 kpg. Junior K.C. Walsh leads in the assist department at 10.56 apg. As a team, Oregon State is hitting .221 with 1.26 aces, 14.65 digs and 2.96 blocks per game. Third-year head coach Taras Liskevych is 22-47 as the Beavers' head coach and holds a 289-132 record in 11-plus seasons. UCLA leads the all-time series with Oregon State 41-2 and has won 10 straight. The last five victories have been three-game sweeps for the Bruins. The Beavers' only wins in the series came in a five-game victory at Pauley Pavilion in 2000 and a four-set triumph in Eugene in 2001. The Bruins are 20-1 all-time at home against the Ducks.
After posting just six blocks in their three-game loss to second-ranked Stanford on Sept. 28, the Bruins rebounded with their best blocking match of the year against USC last Friday. UCLA had 15.5 blocks, its highest mark of the season, giving them at least 14.5 blocks in four of the last five matches. Freshman Katie Mills had a season-high nine blocks, junior Kaitlin Sather added six and junior Nellie Spicer had five. The Bruins had exactly 14.5 blocks in three straight matches against Arizona, Arizona State and California. UCLA began the year with double-figure block totals in five of the first seven matches before going four straight under 10 blocks a contest. In their recent streak of four of five with double figures in blocks, senior Rachell Johnson and junior Ali Daley have paced the team with 27 and 24 blocks, respectively. Mills has also stepped up at the second middle blocker position, posting 20 over the last five matches. Not to be outdone, Sather and Nellie Spicer have 19 and 16, respectively. The hot blocking has improved the Bruins to fifth in the Pac-10 in that category at 2.88 blocks per game.
Junior setter Nellie Spicer continues to live up to her status as arguably the best setter in the country. Spicer surpassed the 3,800-assist mark against USC last Friday and now has 3,820 for her career. The junior posted her sixth straight double-double with 49 assists and 10 digs. It was also her ninth double-double of the season and 37th for her career. Spicer is currently fourth on UCLA's all-time assists list and is on pace to move into the third spot in early November. The third position is currently held by Julie Bremner and her 4,089 assists. The junior has earned All-Tournament honors in all four tournaments the Bruins played in during the preseason, earning MVP accolades at the Hawaiian Airlines Classic and the UC Irvine Invitational. Spicer is third in the Pac-10 in assists at 12.70 apg and was 22nd in last week's NCAA rankings. She is also third on the Bruins' squad in digs per game at 2.94.
At her current pace, junior outside hitter Ali Daley is going to have more double-doubles than an In-N-Out drive-thru window. Daley, who equaled her double-double total of six from last season in just the 12th match of 2007, had her third straight and ninth of the season against USC with 16 kills and 16 digs. Her 16 kills marked the 10th time this season she has led the Bruins in kills for a match. Daley set her UCLA career high with 21 kills against San Diego on Sept. 15. Twenty-one is also the number of Daley's personal high in digs, set on Sept. 27 at California. Daley has twice earned All-Tournament Team honors this season at the AVCA College Volleyball Showcase and the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic. Her 3.96 kpg and 13 double-figure kills matches lead the team. She is fifth in the Pac-10 in aces per game, eighth in points per game and 10th in kills and digs per game.
A person can really stand out on a volleyball court when they are wearing a different colored jersey than their teammates. For junior Jade Machado, sure see stands out because she carries the libero tag and hence the different jersey, but so far this season she is also standing out because of her great defensive play. Machado recorded her 13th double-figure digs match with 18 against USC last Friday. The junior has had at least 18 digs in three straight matches, starting the streak with a career-high 20 digs against Cal on Sept. 27. One night later, she had 19 against Stanford before her 18-dig performance against the Trojans. Machado is averaging 4.37 digs per game in Pac-10 play and a team-leading 3.84 dpg on the season, which leads her closest teammate by more than half a dig. The junior also ranks sixth in the Pac-10 in dpg.
K IS FOR KILL ... AND KAITLIN
Junior Kaitlin Sather posted her sixth double-double of the season and 23rd of her career in the Bruins' four-game victory over USC on Friday. The junior tied for the team lead with 16 kills, also adding 15 digs to go with six blocks. The 16 kills were the 11th time this season Sather has had double-figures in kills and the fourth time this year she has led the Bruins in that category. In addition, the 15 digs were a season high and the six blocks tied a career best. Sather has had at least 10 kills in eight straight matches, averaging 13.5 kills per match during that span. Sather's season high in kills came against Arizona on Sept. 20 to start Pac-10 play. The junior had 17 kills with a season-best .467 hitting percentage. She followed that up with a 14-kill, .414-hitting night in the next match against Arizona State. The junior is second on the team in kills per game at 3.49 and is fourth with 2.61 digs per game.
MANNING THE MIDDLE
Stepping up in the absence of graduated senior Nana Meriwether, senior Rachell Johnson has made a huge impact in the middle of the Bruins' lineup in her final campaign in Westwood. Johnson set a personal high with 11 blocks against Arizona State on Sept. 21, adding 14 kills for her first career double-double. The senior has four matches with at least five blocks this season and leads the club in that category with 1.20 blocks per game. The senior is third on the team with 3.30 kills per game and is second in aces at 18. She has posted 11 matches with double figures in kills and has led the team in that category three times. Johnson had 10 kills and hit .500 against USC last Friday, but left the match in the fourth game with a left ankle sprain. She is questionable for this week's matches against Oregon and Oregon State.
Freshman Katie Mills has cemented herself as the number two middle blocker for the Bruins after posting nine blocks in UCLA's win over USC on Friday. After playing sparingly over the first 12 matches while recovering from a back injury, Mills has made four consecutive starts, posting at least six kills in all four matches. The freshman also recorded an eight-block match at California on Sept. 27, which was her career high prior to her nine-block effort against the Trojans. Mills' added nine kills against USC to fall just short of a double-double. Her career best in kills is 11, set at Cal, a match in which she hit .381. Mills leads the team with 1.37 blocks per game and would be seventh among Pac-10 players, but she has not played in the necessary amount of games (66.7%) to qualify for that category.
Sophomore Emily Clements injured her right knee in the first game of the match against Cal State Northridge on Sept. 14 and will miss the remainder of the season. Clements will be eligible to apply for a medical redshirt, having played in less than 30 percent of UCLA's matches and will still have three years of eligibility left beginning with the 2008 season ... junior transfer Laura Holloway, who has yet to play this year, will sit out this season with injuries and redshirt. Holloway will have two years of eligibility remaining at the start of the 2008 campaign.