Sept. 29, 2008
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
#5 UCLA at #11 Oregon
Friday, October 3
Live: Live Stats
#5 UCLA at Oregon State
Saturday, October 4
Live: Live Stats
ROAD TRIP WRAPS UP AT OREGON SCHOOLS
A 14-match road trip to start the season for the fifth-ranked Bruins (10-2, 0-1 Pac-10) concludes this weekend with two Pac-10 matches at #11 Oregon (11-3, 0-2) on Friday and Oregon State (11-4, 0-2) on Saturday. First serve for both matches is at 7 p.m. Live stats will be available on the schedule page of UCLABruins.com.
BRUINS ON THE NET
All UCLA home matches, along with the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, will feature live audio broadcasts at UCLABruins.com. Darren Preston and Michael Sondheimer will call all the action for each contest. In addition, Gametracker or live stats will be available for all home matches and most road contests.
BRUINS IN THE POLLS
The Bruins dropped one spot to fifth in this week's CBS College Sports Network/AVCA poll, flip-flopping with now #4 USC. This week marked the first time this season UCLA did not gain points in the AVCA rankings. In last week's Molten/Volleyball Magazine Top 25 poll (Sept. 23), the Bruins were ranked 3rd.
Every year brings rule changes to women's volleyball, but most are so subtle that fans don't notice. That won't be the case in 2008, with perhaps the biggest rule change being the switch to 25-point sets. It marks the third different scoring method in the last nine seasons. After switching from sideout scoring and 15-point games to rally scoring and 30-point games for the 2001 season, the NCAA moves to 25-point sets to mirror the international scoring method. In addition to the new scoring system, the term "game" has been replaced with "set", so matches will now be a best three-out-of-five sets. The fifth set will remain rally scoring to 15. Other rule changes include a limit of substitutions to 12 and a loosening of the double-hit call for setters.
The Bruins remain in the Top 35 in the nation in four statistical categories, including 29th in blocks per set at 2.63. UCLA is also 29th in win-loss percentage (.833), 34th in kills per set (13.70) and 35th in hitting percentage (.257). Individually, Amanda Gil jumped to eighth in the country in blocks per set at 1.45, the highest bps total for a freshman. She also has the fourth-highest hitting percentage for all freshmen at .364.
SCOUTING THE DUCKS (11-3, 0-2 PAC-10)
After bringing a nine-match winning streak into the start of Pac-10 play, Oregon was swept in both contests last weekend in losses to California and Stanford. The Ducks are hitting .287 as a team and are averaging 13.65 kills, 1.67 service aces, 13.09 digs and 2.82 blocks per set. Leading the squad on offense is senior Gorana Maricic, who has a team-best 3.72 kps. Junior Sonja Newcombe is second at 2.67 kps and sophomore Heather Meyers is third with 2.56 kps. Junior Nevena Djordjevic is averaging 10.37 assists per set as the quarterback of the offense, while senior Katie Swoboda is the top passer at 4.80 dps. Jim Moore is in his fourth year at Oregon and holds a record of 62-44 with the Ducks and a 414-200 mark in 19-plus seasons of coaching.
THE MATCHUP: UCLA-OREGON
UCLA leads the all-time series with Oregon 47-2, but the Ducks snapped a 40-match losing streak to the Bruins with a three-set sweep in Eugene last season. UCLA claimed the first match of 2007 in four sets on Oct. 11 at Pauley Pavilion. Ali Daley had 19 kills and 11 digs, while Dicey McGraw posted 18 kills, as the Bruins hit .295 for the match. But Oregon rebounded at home on Nov. 9 with a sweep, as Daley and Kaitlin Sather each had 10 kills for UCLA. However, the Bruins won when they needed to, beating the Ducks in four sets in the Regional semifinals at Stanford on Dec. 7. Four Bruins had double figures in kills, led by Daley's 15. Jessica Fine had 26 digs and Daley, Sather and Nellie Spicer all had double-doubles. UCLA is 20-2 in Eugene all-time and is a perfect 43-0 when winning the first set against the Ducks.
SCOUTING THE BEAVERS (11-4, 0-2 PAC-10)
Oregon State had an impressive non-conference record, but lost its first two Pac-10 matches in three sets to Stanford and California last weekend. Junior Rachel Rourke leads the Beavers with 3.65 kills per set, while sophomore Jill Sawatzky is second at 2.96 kps. Junior Camilla Ah-Hoy is the setter for OSU and is posting 9.70 assists per set, while senior Ashley Evans is the top digger at 2.93 digs per set. As a team, the Beavers are averaging 12.11 kills, 1.59 aces, 12.26 digs and 2.39 blocks per set, while hitting .253. Taras Liskevych is in his fourth season at Oregon State and owns a record of 35-61. Liskevych is also 302-145 in 12-plus years of coaching.
THE MATCHUP: UCLA-OREGON STATE
UCLA holds a 42-3 all-time lead in the series, as the teams split two appearances in 2007. The Beavers sprung a huge upset at Pauley Pavilion on Oct. 12, shocking the Bruins in five sets. Ali Daley led the Bruins with 26 kills and 25 digs to become the first UCLA player to post a 20-20 match since 2001. Jade Machado also posted 29 digs. The Bruins rebounded with a four-set victory in Corvallis on Nov. 8. Daley had a team-leading 19 kills to go along with 17 digs, while Jessica Fine had 30 digs. Three others had double figures in kills for the Bruins, including Katie Mills, who had 11 kills and 10 blocks for a double-double. As a team, UCLA has 20 blocks. The Bruins are 21-1 in Corvallis, with the only loss coming on Nov. 19, 2001 in four sets.
Senior Nellie Spicer fell just short of her third consecutive double-double last Friday at USC and nearly had a triple-double after recording 42 assists, nine digs and six blocks. Spicer surpassed the 5,100-assist mark against the Trojans as she continues her climb up the UCLA career charts. The senior had a pair of double-doubles in her last two matches at the Northwestern Wildcat Classic, producing 33 assists and 10 digs against Georgetown (Sept. 19) and 47 assists and 10 digs against Northwestern (Sept. 20) to give her four double-doubles this season and 54 for her career. For her efforts, Spicer was named Most Valuable Player of the Wildcat Classic. She has been named to All-Tournament teams three times this season, including MVP of the Nevada Tournament as well. Spicer has set the Bruins to at least a .300 hitting percentage in six of 12 matches, including a season-best total of .400 at Cal State Northridge on Sept. 16. Spicer is fourth in the Pac-10 at 10.71 assists per set, recording at least 30 assists in 10 of 12 matches. Her season best in assists came against Northwestern, while she posted another 40-plus assists match with 45 in a four-set victory at Hawai'i on Aug. 31. In that match, she also tied a personal high with eight kills and added 11 digs for her second double-double of the opening weekend, with her first coming against Ohio on Aug. 29 (32 assists, 10 digs). The senior enters this week's play with 5,103 career assists and is just 565 shy of second-place Ann Boyer, who had 5,667 assists at UCLA. Spicer has a chance of catching first-place Erika Selsor (6,234) by the end of the season. Spicer had 1,550 assists a year ago and would break Selsor's mark by 13 if she equals last season's total. In addition to her quest to become the school's all-time leader in assists, Spicer has the chance to become the third player in UCLA history to earn three first-team All-American accolades. She received a second consecutive first-team All-American honor as a junior to become the sixth Bruin to accomplish the feat (Annett Buckner, Liz Masakayan, Daiva Tomkus, Natalie Williams, Elaine Youngs). Williams and Youngs are the only Bruins to earn three first-team All-American awards.
GIL SOARING ABOVE THE REST
And not just due to the fact that she is the tallest member of the Bruins at 6-6. Amanda Gil is one of the early candidates for National Freshman of the Year, as she enters this week's play first in the nation in blocks per set (1.45) and fourth in hitting percentage (.364) among all freshmen. Gil recorded her third straight match with double figures in kills with 14 against USC last Friday. She added nine blocks, which tied a career high. Gil leads the Bruins and the Pac-10 in bps. She is also first on the squad in hitting percentage (5th in the conference) and points per set (3.89, 10th in Pac-10) and second in kills per set (3.03). Two weeks ago, Gil was named to the Northwestern Wildcat Classic All-Tournament Team for her third such honor of the year after also receiving the accolade at the Hawaiian Airlines Classic and the Nevada Tournament. Gil averaged 4.30 kps and had a .447 hitting percentage in the three matches. She had seven kills and no errors against Virginia and then posted 16 kills against Georgetown in the second match on Sept. 19. Gil had just one error in 26 attempts for a .577 hitting percentage against the Hoyas. The freshman's best match of the tournament and season came against the host Wildcats on Sept. 20, recording a season-high 20 kills, the highest total for a Bruin this year. Gil is averaging 3.71 kps and 1.48 bps over her last six matches with a .395 hitting percentage. In addition to her five double-figure kills matches, Gil has hit at least .300 in seven contests. She also has five matches with at least five blocks, which is tied for first on the club. Along with her nine at USC, she also had nine at Cal State Northridge on Sept. 16 and eight on two more occasions against Hawai'i (Aug. 31) and Nevada (Sept. 5).
QUICK DRAW McGRAW
Perhaps the most consistent player on the team this season has been sophomore Dicey McGraw, who recorded her team-best eighth double-figure kills match last Friday at USC. McGraw posted 11 kills for her fourth straight contest with at least 10 kills and is averaging 3.27 kps during that span. The sophomore's season high in kills this year came on Sept. 20 at Northwestern when she had 16, adding 10 digs for her first double-double of the season and fourth of her career. McGraw had three double-figure kills contests at the Northwestern Wildcat Classic to earn All-Tournament honors. It was the second such accolade for McGraw, who was also named to the Nevada All-Tournament Team. McGraw's eight double-figure kills matches is just three shy of her total from her freshman season. She has led the Bruins in kills five times this year and is tops on the team at 3.20 kps. McGraw has hit above .400 on four occasions, including a season-best .440 at Cal State Fullerton on Sept. 10.
THE DALEY NEWS
Another year, another Ali Daley sighting at the top of the Bruins' kill category. The senior enters this week's play third on the squad with 2.69 kills per set, having posted at least seven kills in six straight matches and nine of her 11 contests this season. Daley has recorded back-to-back double-figure kills matches and consecutive double-doubles after posting a season-high 14 kills and 11 digs at Northwestern on Sept. 20 and 11 kills and a season-high 15 digs at USC last Friday. Daley has five double-figure kills matches this season (48 for her UCLA career) and three double-doubles in 2008 (32 as a Bruin). The senior's first double-double of her final campaign in Westwood came in a thrilling, four-set victory at Hawai'i (Aug. 31) with 12 kills and 14 digs. Daley is second on the squad with 2.44 digs per set and tied for second with seven service aces. The senior surpassed the 1,000 career digs mark at USC (1,010 entering this week's play) and is 226 away from 1,000 as a Bruin. After eclipsing 1,000 career kills last season, Daley is also just 144 kills shy of becoming the 24th member of UCLA's 1,000-kill club.
SETTING UP CAMP ABOVE THE NET
Joining fellow freshman Amanda Gil in the middle, Katie Camp has made as much an impact as her counterpart, as she is second on the team with a .325 hitting percentage and 1.11 blocks per set and fourth in kills per set at 1.95. Camp had at least eight kills in all three matches of the Northwestern Wildcat Classic (Sept. 19-20), averaging 2.90 kps while hitting .510. The freshman had an impressive run of three straight matches with no errors against Cal State Northridge, Virginia and Georgetown, hitting over .550 in all three contests. Camp is hitting .375 over her last seven matches, recording a season-best .722 percentage with a career-high 13 kills on 18 swings against Virginia on Sept. 19. It was Camp's third double-figure kills matches of the year, with her previous high of 12 coming in a win at UC Riverside on Sept. 3. The freshman also has posted at least five blocks in five matches this season, which is tied for tops on the team. Camp's best blocking contest came against Hawai'i, when she recorded nine, including two block solos. Her .325 hitting percentage ranks 10th in the Pac-10, while her 1.11 bps is ninth in the conference.
SHE IS SO FINE AT DIGGING
Senior Jessica Fine continues to stand out on the volleyball court, not just because of the fact she wears a different color jersey than her teammates, but also due to her defensive prowess. One of the top passers in the Pac-10, Fine is first on the team and eighth in the conference with 3.58 digs per set. The senior has produced back-to-back, 20-digs matches after going for 27 at USC last Friday for her eighth 20-plus digs contest of her career. Fine preceded that with a 23-dig effort in a win at Northwestern on Sept. 20. She has double figures in digs in five of her last six matches, averaging 4.57 dps during that span. Fine has led the Bruins in digs eight times this season, including seven of the last eight matches. She also has six contests with double figures in digs in 2008 to give her 26 such matches for her career.