Oct. 5, 1999
LOS ANGELES - Off to its best start since opening the 1994 season at a 15-1 clip, the UCLA womens volleyball team looks to extend the Pac-10s longest current winning streak this weekend, playing host to No.4 Stanford (11-1, 5-0 Pac-10) and Cal (7-6, 3-2) at Pauley Pavilion.
Despite a complicated travel schedule between Seattle and Pullman, Wash., the Bruins extended their winning streak to 10 matches over the weekend with wins at Washington and Washington State.
Next up will be a challenging three-match homestand, beginning this week with a Thursday match against Stanford, then playing Cal in Pauley Pavilion on Friday and hosting USC on Wednesday of next week. Cal is one of two Pac-10 teams that has never beaten the Bruins (Oregon State).
Tough Travel Schedule Doesnt Slow Down Bruins
Following UCLA's expedient 15-3, 15-7, 15-5 victory over Washington on Thursday night, the team returned to the hotel to rest up for the next days travel to and match in Pullman, Wash. Little did the team know just what would unfold in the morning. What occurred was fog on Friday morning at SeaTac airport that caused the cancellation of the Bruins flight to Spokane.
While the team was collecting its baggage and making arrangements to bus to Pullman, its original flight was reinstated, but United officials couldn't find the group. Eventually, the team was booked on an Alaska Airlines flight that got the Bruins to Spokane at 1 p.m. After a pre-game meal, UCLA had an hour of down-time before departing for Washington State, where the ill-effects of travel were not apparent on the court. UCLA won 3-0 and had a season-high 18 blocks.
Elisabeth Bachman led the way for the blocking Bruins on Friday night, recording one block solo and 10 block assists. Over the two-match stretch, Wiz averaged 2.33 blocks/game.
Porter Named MetRX Student-Athlete of the Week
Putting together 40 kills, 15 digs and six blocks with a .441 hitting percentage over the weekend, UCLA outside hitter Kristee Porter was named the UCLA MetRX Student-Athlete of the Week. During the Bruins sweep of Washington and Washington State, Porter averaged 6.67 kills, 2.50 digs and 1.00 blocks per game.
Head Coach Andy Banachowski
In his 33rd season on the Bruin bench, UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski remains one of the top coaches in his profession. On October 24, 1997, he was the first womens volleyball coach to be inducted into the National Volleyball Hall of Fame in Holyoke, MA, and was the first womens coach in history to record 800 career wins (857-201, 33rd year). The only other collegiate volleyball coach, mens or womens, with more career wins than Banachowski is UCLA mens coach Al Scates, who notched career victory number 900 during the 1997 season. Banachowski played under Scates at UCLA and also got his start in coaching with Scates. Under Banachowskis leadership, the Bruins have won six national championships, including three NCAA titles.
Middle Blockers Continue Solid Play
All four of UCLAs middle blockers, Elisabeth Bachman, Tamika Johnson, Amy Nihipali and Angela Eckmier are averaging over one block per game through three weekends of non-conference play. Bachman leads the way with 52 blocks for a 1.30 per-game average, followed by Johnson (44, 1.22/game), Nihipali (18, 1.20) and Eckmier (6, 1.00/game). As a group, the four are hitting .359 (245K-64E-504TA), and have combined for 35 digs with limited back-row action.
Bachman is second on the Pac-10s list of active career leaders with 358 blocks, 38 behind Stanfords Kerri Walsh. Nihipali (263, 6th) and Johnson (209, 9th) also appear on the blocks list. Johnson continues to lead the league in hitting percentage, connecting at a .403 percentage, while Bachman is eighth at .324. In the most recent available NCAA Statistics (updated 9/26), Johnson ranks second in the nation with a .436 hitting percentage. Among Pac-10 players, Bachman ranks fourth with a 1.30 per-game average.
Despite limited defensive drills in practice and no regular match time in the back row, UCLAs middle blockers have performed admirably when placed in that situation. Against Arizona on Sept. 24, Johnson and Bachman both saw back-row time, contributing six digs, and Bachman served out the last two points of the second game.
Opposing Hitting Percentage Bottoms Out
Since the teams first weekend of play, the Bruins have held every opponent to a team hitting percentage under .200. Twice, against Idaho State at the Pioneer Classic and on Saturday at Washington State, opposing teams have finished the match with a negative team hitting percentage. In all, the Bruins have held 11 of 13 opponents (including all four Pac-10 foes) under .200, and six teams have been held under .100.
Freshmen Fendrick and Millichap Continue to Shine
Two of UCLAs three freshman have consistently seen significant playing time throughout the 1999 season. Lauren Fendrick has played consistently on the outside, and Stacy Millichap is a constant as a back-row sub. Both have continued in their full-time roles, with Millichap remaining one of only three Bruins to have played in all 44 of the teams games. Bowles Playing Double Role
Sophomore Ashley Bowles has spent the last several matches at opposite hitter, and has spent time setting at the end of the teams last two matches. A setter at the high school and club level, Bowles has not had a problem handling the Bruin offense with Erika Selsor out of the match, and her presence at opposite has given Banachowski added offensive options for this squad. Last weekend at Washington and Washington State, finishing each match as the teams setter, Bowles tallied 19 kills, a .265 hitting percentage, 17 digs (2.83 average) and eight blocks (1.33 avg.) while accumulating 13 assists.
Kristee Porter has 228 kills through 13 matches, 103 more than the next closest Bruin (Ashley Bowles) After five weekends of competition, Porters 31 kills at Hawaii is still the top total by a Pac-10 player Porter leads the Pac-10 with a 5.30 kills/game average and is ninth in hitting percentage, connecting at a .288 clip She is also ranked 13th in the most recent available NCAA statistics (9/26) with a 5.08 kills per game average Despite being only a sophomore, Porter ranks third on the Pac-10s list of active career kill leaders (837 kills), behind Stanford senior Kerri Walsh (1306) and Washington senior Kristina Laffling (1091).
Yes, the Bruins did play one less match than originally scheduled at the Kent Invitational. Due to the remnants of Hurricane Floyd, UCLAs Friday evening opponent, Seton Hall, was unable to leave South Orange, N.J., and was forced to cancel its trip to Northeast Ohio. Kent and Cincinnati made up for the lost match by facing off twice in tourney play, once in the originally-scheduled match on Friday (a 3-1 Cincinnati victory) and an additional match on Saturday (3-0 Cincinnati).