Aug. 29, 2000
LOS ANGELES -- Following a 1-1 start at the State Farm Women's Volleyball Classic, the Bruins embark upon the second leg of the season's brutal pre-conference schedule, traveling to Honolulu, for the Hawaiian Airlines Classic. This is the 13th consecutive year that the Bruins have participated in the Hawaiian Airlines Classic and the 20th year UCLA has traveled to Hawaii to face the Wahine.
Since the inception of the Hawaiian Airlines Classic, UCLA has opened its season in Hawaii more often than not. The last time a Bruin women's volleyball season did not begin in Honolulu was 1993, when a trip to New Mexico to play Illinois and New Mexico was first on the agenda.
Bruins Split at State Farm Women's Volleyball Classic
UCLA opened its 2000 campaign with a runner-up finish at the State Farm Women's Volleyball Classic presented by NACWAA.The Bruins started with defending NCAA Champion Penn State, and pulled out a five-game victory in a match that lasted 2 hours, 28 minutes. Kristee Porter posted 30 kills in the match, the first such performance by any player in the 2000 season, and the ninth such total in her career, adding to her Pac-10 record total.
Colorado State and UCLA matched up in the tournament championship match on Saturday night, and it became another marathon contest. The teams went to the locker room tied at one game apiece, and returned to the court for a marathon 35-minute third game, won by CSU. The Bruins forced a fifth game and were unable to capitalize on four match points, eventually losing the game by a 17-15 margin. Porter and junior setter Erika Selsor were named to the All-Tournament Team
Hawaiian Airlines Volleyball Classic
This weekend, the Bruins head west for the 13th Annual Hawaiian Airlines Classic, and Banachowski's Bruins have participated in each one. UCLA has won the tournament on five times, most recently in 1997. This year, UCLA opens against Iowa on Friday evening, prior to Saturday's off-day. No. 19 Texas A&M and No. 5 Hawai'i follow, in matches on Sunday and Monday evenings. The last two matches will be broadcast live on www.uclabruins.com. There is a three-hour time difference between Honolulu and Los Angeles.
Bruins Lose Eckmier to Torn ACL
Junior middle blocker Angela Eckmier suffered a complete tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee on Monday, Aug. 14, while the team was in Mammoth, CA, for pre-season double day workouts. She will be lost to the Bruins for all of the 2000 season. Eckmier, whose younger sister Melody is a freshman volleyball player at Hawai'i, plans to have surgery on the knee on Sept. 7.
Head Coach Andy Banachowski
In his 34th season on the Bruin bench, UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski remains one of the top coaches in his profession. On Oct. 24, 1997, he was the first women's volleyball coach to be inducted into the National Volleyball Hall of Fame in Holyoke, MA, and was the first women's coach in history to record 800 career wins (874-205, .810). Additionally, Banachowski was honored with USA Volleyball's "All-Time Great Coach" award last May in Columbus, OH. Under Banachowski's leadership, the Bruins have won six national championships, including three NCAA titles.
Bruins Chosen Consensus Preseason No. 1
The Bruins enter the 2000 season having been selected preseason No. 1 by the AVCA/USA Today coaches poll, Volleyball Magazine and SI for Women. On a similar note, the Bruins could very well have the nation's toughest schedule in 2000, as eight of the next 12 teams in the AVCA's preseason poll appear on UCLA's schedule: No. 2 Penn State, No. 3 Stanford, No. 5 Hawai'i, No. 6 Nebraska, No. 7 USC, No. 8 Pepperdine, No. 10 Arizona and No. 13 Colorado State.
Criss-Crossing the Country
If you think that Presidential Candidates George W. Bush and Al Gore are logging a lot of miles on the campaign trail, just take a look at the Bruins schedule during the first month of the season.
UCLA departed Westwood on Aug. 23 for Gainesville, FL (round-trip of approx. 4,850 miles) before heading to Honolulu for the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic (round-trip: 5,100 miles) and going back east for the Adidas Invitational in South Bend, IN (round-trip: 4,190 miles). The month concludes with a Pac-10 road trip to the Bay Area schools, a comparitively miniscule 760 mile round-trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Along the way, UCLA will face off against seven teams that appeared in the AVCA's preseason poll.
Total mileage for the Bruins between the start of the season and Oct. 1? Approximately 14,900 miles.
Bruins Top Pac-10 Preseason Poll
In a vote of the Pac-10's coaches, the Bruins were chosen as the preseason favorite to take home the Pac-10 crown. UCLA earned all nine possible votes, as coaches are not allowed to include their own team on their preseason ballot. UCLA topped the poll with 90 points and nine first-place votes, followed by Stanford (78 points, one first place vote), USC (74), Arizona (70), Arizona State (56), Cal (42), Washington State (39), Oregon State (38), Washington (35) and Oregon (18). UCLA has not captured an outright Pac-10 women's volleyball title since the 1993 season, although the Bruins did share the 1999 title with Stanford.
Many Bruins continue to move up on the school's career lists. Last year, Kristee Porter became the second-fastest person in NCAA history and 16th Bruin to record 1,000 career kills, doing so in her 50th career match. Her 1,254 kills is 13th-best in Bruin history and is tops among the Pac-10's active players. She needs 20 more kills to take over 12th place on UCLA's all-time list. Senior middle blocker Elisabeth Bachman is now ranked in all three of UCLA's career block categories with 91 block solos (4th), 364 block assists (6th) and 455 total blocks (5th), and ranks at the top of the list among active Pac-10 players in total blocks. With 3,158 career assists, sophomore setter Erika Selsor leads the Pac-10 list of active setters, and is fifth-best in Bruin history.
Player of the Year candidate Kristee Porter opened the 2000 season by becoming the first player this year to record 30 kills in a match ... Porter now has nine career 30-kill matches, topping Natalie Williams and Liz Masakayan (seven each) for the UCLA career lead in that category ... Nine career 30-kill matches is also a Pac-10 record ... She completed her 1999 season with 589 kills, 241 more than the next closest Bruin (Ashley Bowles) ... Porter's 36 kills at Arizona was the top total by a Pac-10 player for the 1999 season ... Her 31 kills against Pepperdine in the Central Regional Semifinal tied the UCLA record for a three-game match, set by Natalie Williams vs. Florida on 12/17/92. For more information on Kristee Porter, please refer to pages 20-21 of the UCLA media guide.
Westwood's "Wiz": Elisabeth Bachman
In 1999, middle blocker Elisabeth "Wiz" Bachman posted a .429 attack percentage that ranked second in the NCAA and smashed the previous Pac-10 and school record mark of .416, set by Natalie Williams in 1992. En route to that final number, Bachman posted eight error-free matches and a .938 match of 15K-0E-16TA that set a new UCLA record and is third-best in NCAA history. That match, against Washington in Pauley Pavilion on Oct. 28, was the second in a string of 11 consecutive matches in which Bachman posted a hitting percentage of .450 or higher. Bachman earned her nickname of "Wiz" when a childhood friend of her older sister couldn't pronounce an "L", turning "Liz" into "Wiz." For more information on All-America candidate Wiz Bachman, please refer to pages 14-15 of the UCLA media guide.
Setting Everyone Up
Junior setter Erika Selsor currently ranks fifth on UCLA's all-time career list with 3,158 to her credit. That number is also tops among the Pac-10's active setters. With 72 assists at Arizona on Oct. 22, 1999, Selsor set a new UCLA standard with her seventh career match with 70 assists or more, breaking the previous record held by Ann Boyer (1985-88) and Selsor's predecessor, Kim Coleman (1994-97). Since then, her 70-assist performance in the NCAA Central Regional Semifinal against Pepperdine gave Selsor her eighth career 70-assist match. Selsor was named to the All-Tournament Team at the State Farm Classic.
Bowles Continues to Play Double Role
Sophomore Ashley Bowles spent the majority of the 1999 season at opposite hitter, and set for the Bruins at the end of numerous matches. Her setting experience paid off for the Bruins in the key match on Oct. 22 at Arizona. With regular setter Erika Selsor in the front row in game five, Banachowski was able to replace Selsor with middle blocker Angela Eckmier, giving UCLA a better blocking weapon in the front row. Bowles was the only setter on the floor for seven rallies in game five, and finished the match with eight assists.
Four of UCLA's six freshmen saw action during the State Farm Classic, led by the MB/DS combo of Ella Harley and Stacey Lee, respectively. Harley led the Bruins in attack percentage against Penn State on Sept. 25, connecting at a .438 clip. Harley also accumulated eight blocks over the weekend with two solos and six assists. Meanwhile, in the back row, Stacey Lee contributed three service aces and 21 digs while playing all 10 games, including three rotations in the front row during the Penn State match.
Other freshmen seeing court time included Krystal McFarland, who entered the match as a back-row substitute for Bowles in game two vs. Penn State and game three vs. CSU. McFarland totalled an assist and an ace during her court time. Alyssa Rylander subbed in for sophomore OH Lauren Fendrick in game two against Colorado Stateaccumulating two digs and a kill. Returning to the floor for the first time since 1998, Lauren Hogan notched a key game-five block assist against Colorado State while in as a defensive sub for Selsor.
Opposing Hitting Percentage Bottoms Out
In the opening weekend of the season, Penn State checked in with a .161 team hitting percentage, while Colorado State posted a .284 clip. Last season, UCLA held 22 of its 28 regular season opponents and its first two postseason opponents to a team hitting percentage under .200, and were responsible for three of the Pac-10's top-five hitting percentages in 1999. Three times, Sept. 11 against Idaho State at the Pioneer Classic, on Oct. 1 at Washington State, and Nov. 11 against Oregon, opposing teams finished the match with a negative team hitting percentage. In all, the Bruins held 25 of 32 opponents (including the opponents in 15 of 18 Pac-10 matches) under .200, and 13 teams were held under .100.