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#7 UCLA to Honor 1991 Title Team, Hosts #2 Stanford and #1 Cal
By: UCLA Athletics

Sept. 20, 2011

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Friday, Sept. 23
7 p.m. - #2 Stanford at #7 UCLA
Online Coverage: Gametracker | Audio | Video

Saturday, Sept. 24
7 p.m. - #1 California at #7 UCLA
Online Coverage: Gametracker | Audio | Video

The seventh-ranked Bruins (9-2, 2-1 Pac-12) open up their home conference schedule this weekend against the top two ranked teams in the country, facing #2 Stanford (8-1, 2-1) on Friday and #1 California (13-0, 3-0) on Saturday. Both matches start at 7 p.m. at the John Wooden Center.

Gametracker, free audio and free video will be available for both of this weekend's matches at Darren Preston, Michael Sondheimer and Connor Reeves will call all the action.

Large crowds are expected for this weekend's matches against Stanford and California. Tickets are only available at the John Wooden Center ticket office starting at 6 p.m. on both nights. All tickets are general admission and first-come, first-served and gates open at 6 p.m.

On the 20th anniversary of the program's last NCAA Championship, the Bruins will honor the 1991 national title team between sets two and three of Friday's contest against Stanford. Most of the `91 team will be in attendance for the match, including four-time All-Americans Natalie Williams and Elaine Youngs, and legendary UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski.

The Bruins begin a four-match road trip next weekend against the Pac-12's two newest teams, facing Utah on Friday, Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. PT and Colorado on Sunday, Oct. 2 at 1 p.m. PT.

The Bruins dropped one spot to seventh in this week's AVCA Top 25 Coaches poll, earning two fewer points. UCLA is one of six Pac-12 teams ranked in the Top 15. The Bruins also fell one position to sixth in this week's Volleyball Magazine rankings. In the Pac-12 preseason coaches poll, the Bruins were fifth with 90 points.

Junior Bojana Todorovic continues to pace all Pac-12 players in service aces per set at 0.63 and is one of five players listed in the Top 10 of their respective statistical categories. Junior Rachael Kidder is in the Top 10 twice, ranking fifth in points per set (4.77) and sixth in kills per set (4.14). Senior Lainey Gera is third in digs per set at 4.83, sophomore Mariana Aquino is third in blocks per set at 1.47 and senior Lauren Van Orden is seventh in assists per set at 10.16. As a team, the Bruins are in the top half of the Pac-12 in four categories. UCLA comes in at third in digs per set (15.26) and opponent hitting percentage (.134) and fifth in blocks per set (2.75) and assists per set (12.45).

Junior Rachael Kidder is ranked in the Top 40 nationally in two statistical categories, coming in at 30th in points per set (4.77) and 38th in kills per set (4.14). Two more players, junior Bojana Todorovic and sophomore Mariana Aquino, are in the Top 15. Todorovic is eighth in aces per set (0.63), while Aquino is 15th in blocks per set (1.47). As a team, the Bruins are tied for 17th in bps at 2.75.

The Bruins' 6-0 start was their best since 2006, the last year they advanced to the NCAA National Semifinals ... sophomore Kelly Reeves has five double-figure digs matches this season, 17 for her career, and is second on the squad with 2.54 digs per set ... junior Tabi Love is second on the team with 2.35 kills and 2.87 points per set. Love has three double-figure kills matches this year, including 14 at Pepperdine on Sept. 7 ... senior Sara Sage played in all three matches last week, starting the first two. She had 13 kills and only two errors in 24 attempts against Cal State Northridge and Washington State for a .458 hitting percentage ... senior Lauren Van Orden is the team leader in assists per set at 10.16. She also has 21 kills and holds a .459 hitting percentage ... senior Lainey Gera leads the Bruins with 4.83 digs per set. She has nine double-figure digs contests this season and is second all-time in UCLA history in digs with 1,563 ... junior Bojana Todorovic tied a school record with eight service aces on Aug. 27 against Cal State Fullerton and has 22 aces in her first 10 matches to lead all Bruins and Pac-12 players. Todorovic, who has half of the team's 44 aces, had only 25 aces last year. The eight aces tied the mark set by Liz Masakayan (Oct. 19, 1983 vs. San Diego State) and also set a school record for aces in a three-set match. The previous record of seven was held by Elaine Youngs (Nov. 13, 1992 vs. Colorado) ... junior Rachael Kidder is first on the team with 4.14 kills and 4.77 points per set. She has nine double-figure kills matches this season, including eight in a row, giving her 29 for her career ... sophomore Mariana Aquino leads the team with 1.47 blocks per set and is fourth with 2.13 points per set. She had six blocks at Washington State on Friday, her ninth career match with at least five roofs ... freshman Zoë Nightingale has played in nine matches and 24 sets, making seven starts. She is averaging 1.38 kills per set and 0.50 blocks per set ... all 18 Bruins on the roster have appeared in at least one match this season.

Stanford dropped its first match of the season last Tuesday at Bay Area rival and top-ranked California in four sets, but rebounded with sweeps of Utah and Colorado last weekend to improve to 8-1 overall and 2-1 in Pac-12 play. The Cardinal have faced four ranked teams, going 3-1 with wins over #18 Duke and #2 Penn State in four and #7 Florida in five. As a team, Stanford is averaging 13.70 kills, 1.21 aces, 17.88 digs and 3.02 blocks per set, hitting at a .243 clip. Sophomores Rachel Williams and Carly Wopat have combined for 60 percent of the team's kills, with Williams first at 5.09 kills per set and Wopat second at 3.09 kps. Junior Karissa Cook quarterbacks the offense and is averaging 11.24 assists per set and is also first with 3.45 digs per set. Junior Hannah Benjamin (3.27) and Williams (3.00) are also averaging at least 3.00 dps. Wopat is the top blocker on the team at 1.67 bps. John Dunning is in his 11th year at Stanford and holds a 297-50 record on The Farm and a 734-152 mark in 26-plus seasons of coaching.

After years of domination by the Cardinal, the two teams have split the last four meetings, with each squad winning on their home court in 2010. On Oct. 9 at Pauley Pavilion, the Bruins found themselves down two sets to one, but came back to win the match in five (25-21, 16-25, 25-27, 25-23, 15-12). Rachael Kidder set a new career high with 25 kills and added 11 digs for her first-ever double-double. Lauren Van Orden also had a double-double with 55 assists and 10 digs, Lainey Gera posted 25 digs and Bojana Todorovic recorded 16 digs. Stanford won in four sets on Nov. 5 in the Bay Area (25-23, 25-16, 24-26, 25-23). Van Orden again had a double-double with 50 assists and 16 digs, Kidder (12) and Kelly Reeves (11) each had double figures in kills and Gera (17) and Todorovic (15) posted at least 10 digs. Thanks to an 18-match winning streak from 2001-09, the Cardinal gained a 42-36 series advantage and are 18-17 all-time in Westwood.

Cal enters the week as one of eight remaining undefeated teams in the nation and will put that to the test against USC on Friday before Saturday's tilt with UCLA. The Golden Bears have won 39 of their 40 sets, with the only setback coming against Stanford last Tuesday in a four-set win. The Stanford match was the first ranked team California had faced this season. As a team, the Bears are averaging 14.20 kills, 1.23 aces, 15.70 digs and 2.92 blocks per set, hitting at a .312 clip. Five players are averaging at least 2.00 kills per set, led by senior Tarah Murrey, who is first at 4.00 kps. Sophomore Adrienne Gehan (3.22), junior Shannon Hawari (2.84), junior Correy Johnson (2.57) and freshman Lillian Schonewise (2.14) are also above 2.00 kps. Junior Elly Barrett is the setter and is averaging 11.57 assists per set. Defensively, junior Robin Rostratter is first with 4.95 digs per set, while junior Kat Brown (1.31), Hawari (1.23) and Schonewise (1.14) are all averaging over a block per set. Rich Feller is in his 13th season at California and holds a 255-130 record in Berkeley and a 554-297 mark in 26-plus years of head coaching.

The Bruins lost both matches to the Golden Bears last season, falling in four at home and in five on the road, as Cal got revenge for UCLA going 2-0 in 2009. The Bears won 25-18, 18-25, 25-15, 25-22 on Oct. 8 at Pauley Pavilion. Rachael Kidder led the Bruins with 17 kills. In Berkeley on Nov. 6, the Bruins led two sets to one, but lost in five (18-25, 25-22, 25-21, 19-25, 14-16). Lauren Van Orden (60 assists, 13 digs) and Bojana Todorovic (14 kills, 10 digs) had double-doubles, Kidder added 14 kills and Lainey Gera (15), Meg Norton (12) and Kelly Reeves (10) each had double figures in digs. Despite losing the last two, the Bruins lead the all-time series 52-6 and are 25-3 at home against Cal. All three Cal wins in Westwood and all six victories in the series have come since 2005.

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