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#9 UCLA Faces #12 Florida State on Thursday in National Semifinals
By: UCLA Athletics

Dec. 12, 2011

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NCAA Tournament Central

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Thursday, Dec. 15
4 p.m. PT - #9-seed UCLA vs. #12-seed Florida State
Online Coverage: Gametracker | Video (

Thursday, Dec. 15
6 p.m. PT - #3-seed Illinois vs. #7-seed USC
Online Coverage: Gametracker | Video (

Saturday, Dec. 17
5:30 p.m. PT - Thursday winners
Online Coverage: Gametracker | Video (

The ninth-seeded Bruins (28-6) head to San Antonio for their 12th National Semifinal appearance as they take on #12-seed Florida State (28-6) on Thursday at 4 p.m. PT at The Alamodome. All matches this weekend will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and The other semifinal on Thursday features #3 Illinois (31-4) and #7 USC (29-4) at 6 p.m. PT, with the National Championship match taking place on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. PT.

Ticket information for the National Semifinals and Championship can be found here.

If you aren't able to make it to a TV and ESPN2 this weekend, you can watch the matches online at, and also follow along via Gametracker. Links can be found on the women's volleyball schedule page.

UCLA is making its 30th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and holds an all-time record of 78-27 (.743). The Bruins were back in the Regional round for the first since 2008 and beat Penn State and Texas to advance to their 12th National Semifinal (`06, `94, `92, `91, `90, `89, `88, `85, `84, `83, `81). UCLA lost in the National Semis to Nebraska in four sets in its most recent trip in 2006 (Omaha, Neb). The Bruins are 10-9 all-time in the Final Four (7-4 in National Semifinals, 3-4 in National Championship, 0-1 in Third-Place Match - 1985). This season marks the 20th anniversary of UCLA's 1991 National Championship team, which was won in Westwood against Long Beach State. The Bruins also won the NCAA title in 1984 against Stanford (in Los Angeles) and 1990 versus Pacific (in College Park. Md.). This Thursday will mark the 21-year anniversary to the day of the Bruins' 1990 title win over Pacific. A full list of UCLA's NCAA postseason results can be found on page 14 of this release.

The Bruins are 6-3 all-time in the state of Texas during the NCAA Tournament, with all of the matches played in Austin. UCLA went 2-0 in the Regional round in both 1984 and 1985, defeating Texas in the final both years. In 1994, the Bruins traveled to Austin as one of the last four teams standing, besting Penn State in the National Semifinal before falling to Stanford in the championship match. In 2008, UCLA lost in four sets to the Longhorns in the Regional Semifinal. Last season, the Bruins beat American in five sets in the first round of the tournament before falling to the Longhorns in four. In 27 total contests in the Lone Star State, the Bruins are 22-5 (10-4 at Texas, 2-0 at Baylor, 1-0 at Texas A&M, 5-0 in neutral-site, regular-season tournament matches and 4-1 in the NCAA Tournament, excluding contests against Texas).

The Bruins dropped two spots to fourth in the Nov. 21 AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll, receiving 1,229 points (118 less than the previous week). There was no new AVCA poll heading into the postseason. UCLA remained at fifth in the final regular season Volleyball Magazine rankings, receiving 163 points (three more than last week). In the Pac-12 preseason coaches poll, the Bruins were fifth with 90 points.

Junior Rachael Kidder maintained her second-place spot among Pac-12 players in kills per set at 4.63. She is also third in points per set at 5.17. Junior Bojana Todorovic ranks second in service aces per set (0.35), senior Lainey Gera is fourth in digs per set (4.91), senior Lauren Van Orden is fifth in assists per set (10.96) and sophomore Mariana Aquino ranks eighth in hitting percentage (.332) and ninth in blocks per set (1.11). UCLA is first in the conference in opponent hitting percentage at .157. The Bruins are also second in assists per set (13.56), third in kills per set (14.40), fourth in hitting (.250) and digs per set (15.71) and fifth in blocks per set (2.49).

Junior Rachael Kidder is ranked in the Top 10 nationally in two statistical categories, coming in at ninth in kills per set (4.63) and 10th in points per set (5.17). Senior Lauren Van Orden is 39th in assists per set at 10.96. As a team, the Bruins are seventh in assists per set (13.56), 13th in kills per set (14.40), 35th in hitting percentage (.250) and 49th in blocks per set (2.49).

The Bruins have produced their 13th-straight, 20-win season ... UCLA is 16-0 when hitting .260 or better ... defensively, the Bruins are 24-0 when holding their opponent under a .200 hitting percentage ... the Bruins are 6-0 in neutral-site contests this season ... UCLA is 10-1 in four sets, but 1-3 in five sets ... the Bruins are a perfect 10-0 this season when winning the fourth set of a match ... UCLA is 24-1 when either leading or tying the battle in service aces ... senior Lainey Gera is 27 digs shy of 2,000 for her career. She has played in 473 sets as a Bruin, third on the UCLA all-time list and eight away from setting the record (480, Nellie Spicer) ... junior Rachael Kidder is 37 kills away from 1,000 for her career ... junior Bojana Todorovic is five aces away from 100 for her career.

The Seminoles (28-6) advanced to their first National Semifinal by winning the Minneapolis Regional last weekend, defeating #5-seed Purdue in four in the Regional Semifinals and #4-seed Iowa State in five in the Regional Championship. Florida State hosted and defeated Albany in three and Cincinnati in five in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. The Seminoles earned a berth into the field of 64 by winning their third Atlantic Coast Conference title, going 18-2 in league. The only common opponent on UCLA and Florida State's schedule is Pepperdine, which defeated the Bruins in five and the Seminoles in four. FSU is hitting .261 as a team and is averaging 14.03 kills, 0.94 aces, 16.08 digs and 2.98 blocks per set. Three players are posting at least 2.00 kps, led by senior Jekaterina Stepanova, who is first with 3.28 kps and third with 2.80 dps. Senior Visnja Djurdjevic is second with 2.86 kps and 3.35 dps, and first with 33 aces, while sophomore Elise Walch is third with 2.09 kps. Florida State uses two setters in its 6-2 offense, as junior Duygu Duzceler is averaging 6.13 assists per set and freshman Sarah Wickstrom is at 4.99 aps. Freshman Katie Mosher handles the libero duties and is averaging 4.67 dps. Both sophomore Ashley Neff (1.55) and junior Sareea Freeman (1.26) are averaging at least a block per set. Chris Poole is in his fourth year at Florida State and holds a record of 102-29, as well as a 652-259 mark in 25 seasons as a head coach.

The Bruins are 5-0 all-time against Florida State, although only two of the matchups have taken place since the NCAA began in 1981. The last meeting between the two teams took place in Gainesville, Fla. on Sept. 14, 1996, as UCLA swept the Seminoles. The Bruins have won 12 of the 13 sets against Florida State, with four of the five matchups coming at neutral sites.

The Fighting Illini (31-4) won the Gainesville Regional last weekend with four-set victories over Ohio State and Florida to advance to their first National Semifinal since 1988. Illinois opened the NCAA Tournament with three-set sweeps in Champaign against Central Michigan and Marquette. The Illini earned an at-large berth into the field of 64, tying for second in the Big Ten with a 16-4 mark. UCLA and Illinois have two common opponents, Ohio State and Penn State. The Bruins beat OSU in four on Sept. 2 and PSU in three last weekend. The Fighting Illini went 3-0 against the Buckeyes and 2-0 versus the Nittany Lions. Illinois is hitting .262 as a team, averaging 13.75 kills, 1.17 aces, 15.20 digs and 2.59 blocks per set. Three players are averaging at least 2.00 kps, led by senior Michelle Bartsch (3.83), who is also tied for the team lead with 29 aces and second with 3.21 dps. Senior Colleen Ward is second with 3.70 kps, tied for first with 29 aces and third with 2.74 dps, while junior Erin Johnson is third with 2.13 kps and second with 1.09 bps. Junior Annie Luhrsen sets the offense and is posting 11.12 assists per set. Sophomore Jennifer Beltran is first on the squad with 4.10 dps and third with 27 aces, while freshman Anna Dorn paces the team with 1.27 bps. Kevin Hambly is in his third season as Illinois' head coach and has a record of 81-19.

The Bruins are 10-0 all-time against Illinois. Nine of the matchups have come at neutral sites, but none have come in the NCAA Tournament. UCLA has won 27 of 32 sets versus Illinois, with the last meeting coming in Honolulu on Sept. 2, 1994, a 3-0 Bruin sweep. Seven of the 10 meetings have occurred since 1981 when the NCAA began.

The Trojans (29-4) came back from 2-1 down in both their Honolulu Regional matches last weekend, defeating #10-seed Hawai'i and #15-seed Pepperdine in five to advance to the National Semifinals. USC, the Pac-12 Conference Champions with a 20-2 mark, opened the NCAA Tournament with sweeps of Yale and Tulsa at home. The Trojans are hitting .289 as a team, averaging 14.83 kills, 1.23 aces, 15.74 digs and 2.09 blocks per set. Senior Alex Jupiter leads the way on offense with 4.38 kps and 57 aces, also placing second with 3.16 dps. Three others, junior Katie Fuller (2.86), senior Lauren Williams (2.64) and sophomore Sara Shaw (2.11) are also averaging at least 2.00 kps. Senior Kendall Bateman quarterbacks the offense and is posting 11.98 assists per set. Sophomore Natalie Hagglund is the libero and is averaging 5.09 dps, while sophomore Alexis Olgard is tops on the squad with 0.82 bps. Mick Haley is in his 11th year as USC's head coach and is 284-63. He is also 1,057-251-1 in 34-plus seasons of coaching.

The Bruins and the Trojans split their season series this year, with each team winning on the road. UCLA dominated the Trojans in the Pac-12 opener for both teams on Sept. 9, with the Bruins posting a 25-19, 25-17, 25-17 victory at Galen Center. Rachael Kidder had 14 kills and no errors in 29 attempts for a .483 hitting percentage, Lainey Gera added 18 digs and Kelly Reeves posted 11 digs, as the Bruins hit .355 as a team. On Nov. 25 at the John Wooden Center, USC came away with a 24-26, 26-24, 25-21, 25-20 victory. Kidder led the Bruins with 18 kills, Karsta Lowe posted 12 kills and Gera (14) and Reeves (12) were each in double figures in digs. The Bruins hit over 200 points worse in that match, swinging at a .136 percentage. (2011 box scores and recaps are available on pages 12 and 13 of this release). UCLA leads the all-time series 57-52 (the full all-time series can be found on page four of this release). USC holds a 13-9 advantage in neutral-site contests and is 3-0 against UCLA in the NCAA Tournament. The Trojans defeated the Bruins in the 2003 Regional Final in Lincoln, Neb. in four sets, the 1985 Third-Place Match in Kalamazoo, Mich. in five sets and the first-ever NCAA National Championship contest in 1981 at Pauley Pavilion in five sets.

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