Sept. 20, 2000
Following a "luxurious" 10 days in Westwood, the Bruin women's volleyball team returns to the road this weekend, traveling to the Bay Area for matches against Cal and Stanford. Last season, UCLA's only Pac-10 loss came to Stanford at Maples Pavilion.
UCLA holds a 36-0 all-time record against the Golden Bears, dating back to the teams first meeting in 1980. The Bruins and Cardinal, however have a close series record, with UCLA holding a 32-23 advantage. The two teams split their 1999 season series, but Stanford has held the advantage in recent years. A UCLA win over Stanford at Pauley Pavilion last October snapped a streak of nine straight Cardinal victories over the Bruins, dating back to the 1994 season. UCLA has not won a women's volleyball match at Maples Pavilion since a 15-9, 12-15, 15-10, 5-15, 16-14 Bruin win on Nov. 19, 1993 at Stanford.
UCLA Opens Home and Pac-10 Slate with Sweep of Washingtons
The Bruins came out of the gate quickly on Thursday and Friday, dispatching Washington and Washington State with 3-0 victories. On Thursday, the Huskies rebounded from a 15-0 game two loss to put up a fight in the third game of the match. UW built a 12-10 lead before the Bruins fought back to take the third game by a 15-12 margin. Kristee Porter and Ashley Bowles both posted double-figure kills as UCLA out-blocked the Huskies 8-0 and forced UW into a -.010 team hitting percentage.
Friday's match was similar, as UCLA posted a 15-8, 15-5, 15-8 win over Washington State. After the Cougars posted team hitting percentages of -.122 and .054 in the first two games of the match, they came out to a 7-1 lead in the third game, and finished at .366 for the game and .101 for the match. UCLA built its third-game comeback on the performances of Porter and Lauren Fendrick, a tandem that combined for 13 game-five kills.
UCLA Faces Nine Ranked Teams in Five Weekends
Considering both mileage traveled and the teams being played, the Bruins could very well have the nation's toughest schedule in 2000. The only team in the AVCA/USA Today top-eight that UCLA does not play is No. 5 Long Beach State. Eight of UCLA's first 10 matches were against top-25 teams. Stanford, UCLA's opponent this weekend, will take the number of ranked opponents to start the season to nine of 12. UCLA has already played the top-four teams in the current AVCA poll.
UCLA's academic schedule is on a quarter system, therefore the Bruins do not begin classes until Thursday, Sept. 28. UCLA had already finalized its 2000 schedule when the Bruins were invited to the State Farm Women's Volleyball Classic, adding the nation's premier tournament to the team's pre-conference schedule.
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 (880-207, .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.
National 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, and has now accomplished the feat twice, against Penn State (Aug. 25) and vs. Texas A&M (Sept. 3) ??The Texas A&M match was Porter's 10th career 30-kill match, a 33-kill performance that set a new UCLA record for kills in a four-game match ??Porter leads the Pac-10 with 220 kills, good for a 5.79 per-game average ? She also ranks sixth in the current NCAA standings with that average ? With 10 career 30-kill matches, Porter easily outdistances Natalie Williams and Liz Masakayan (seven each) for the Pac-10 and UCLA career lead in that category ??Porter was named All-Tournament three straigh weekends during the Bruins pre-conference schedule, including MVP honors at the Hawaiian Airlines Classic over the Labor Day weekend ? She also earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors after that tournament on Sept. 5, following the Hawaiian Airlines Classic ? Porter now has three Pac-10 Player of the Week honors, one during each year of her Bruin career. For more information on Kristee Porter, please refer to pages 20-21 of the UCLA media guide.
Porter's Career Numbers
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 1,418 kills is ninth-best in Bruin history and is tops among the Pac-10's active players. Westwood's ?Wiz?: Elisabeth Bachman
Senior middle blocker Elisabeth ?Wiz? Bachman travels to the Bay Area needing just two kills and nine blocks to become the fourth player in UCLA history and 14th in Pac-10 history to record both 1,000 kills and 500 total blocks in her career. The other three Bruins to have accomplished that feat are Davia Tomkus, Kim Krull and the Pac-10's Athlete of the Decade, Natalie Williams. Bachman earned her nickname of ?Wiz? at the age of two, when a childhood friend 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 third on UCLA's all-time career list with 3,539 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, she has upped that total to nine, most recently with a 70-assist performance against Texas A&M on Sept. 3. Selsor was named to the All-Tournament Team at the State Farm Women's Volleyball Classic. 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 eight teams away from Pauley Pavilion that appeared in either poll at match time.
Total mileage for the Bruins between the start of the season and Oct. 1? Approximately 14,900 miles.
Opposing Hitting Percentage Bottoms Out
Six of UCLA's 10 opponents this season have hit below .200, with Texas A&M (.215) and Hawaii (.203) barely breaking the Mendoza line. Washington checked out at -.010, while Washington State hit .101 for the match last week. In matches against the current top-four teams in the AVCA poll, the Bruins held No. 1 Nebraska, No. 2 Hawaii, No. 3 Penn State and No. 4 Nebraska to a combined .219 attack percentage. Following UCLA's Sept. 10 match against the Cornhuskers, those four teams were averaging an attack percentage of .322 for their 2000 seasons. In 1999, UCLA held 25 of its 32 opponents (including the opponents in 15 of 18 Pac-10 matches) under .200, and 13 teams were held under .100.
Many Bruins continue to move up on the school's career lists. Senior middle blocker Elisabeth Bachman is now ranked in all three of UCLA's career block categories with 97 block solos (t3rd), 394 block assists (5th) and 491 total blocks (5th), and ranks at the top of the list among active Pac-10 players in total blocks. Bachman is just two kills shy of 1,000 for her career. Ashley Bowles will be the next Bruin in line for 1,000 carer kills, as she begins this week with a career total of 995 kills. With 3,539 career assists, sophomore setter Erika Selsor leads the Pac-10 list of active setters, and is third-best in Bruin history.
Five of UCLA's seven freshmen have now seen match action this season. Redshirt freshman Ella Harley stepped in to UCLA's second middle blocker spot when Angela Eckmier was lost for the year with a torn ACL. Harley has done an admirable job stepping into that role, ranking second on the team with 0.81 blocks/game.
In the back row, either Stacey Lee or Alyssa Rylander have shared the defensive specialist role opposite senior Michelle Quon, with Lee playing in 26 games and averaging 2.31 digs/game with eight aces, and Rylander posting one ace to go along with 1.59 digs/game.
Other freshmen seeing court time include Krystal McFarland, who has subbed for both Ashley Bowles and Lauren Fendrick in various situations. Cira Wright has subbed in as a front-row defensive replacement for Selsor, and has racked up four block assists in eight games played.
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 had surgery on the knee on Sept. 7.
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.