Sept. 8, 2008
BRUINS CONTINUE NON-CONFERENCE SLATE AT FULLERTON
The fifth-ranked Bruins (5-1) face a light schedule during the third week of the season, traveling to Cal State Fullerton (2-4) on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. match. UCLA will then be off until a Sept. 16 road tilt at Cal State Northridge. No live stats will be available for Wednesday's contest at Cal State Fullerton.
BRUINS IN THE POLLS
The Bruins moved up one spot to fifth in this week's CBS College Sports Network/AVCA poll. UCLA gained 48 points in this week's rankings, leapfrogging Pac-10 rival Stanford. The Bruins also moved up in last week's Molten/Volleyball Magazine Top 25 rankings into a tie for fifth (Sept. 3).
Every year brings rule changes to women's volleyball, but most are so subtle that fans don't notice. That won't be the case in 2008, with perhaps the biggest rule change being the switch to 25-point sets. It marks the third different scoring method in the last nine seasons. After switching from sideout scoring and 15-point games to rally scoring and 30-point games for the 2001 season, the NCAA moves to 25-point sets to mirror the international scoring method. In addition to the new scoring system, the term "game" has been replaced with "set", so matches will now be a best three-out-of-five sets. The fifth set will remain rally scoring to 15. Other rule changes include a limit of substitutions to 12 and a loosening of the double-hit call for setters.
SCOUTING THE TITANS
Cal State Fullerton has dropped four in a row after going 0-3 last weekend at the UNLV Tournament. The Titans lost to Miami (Ohio), UNLV and Wisconsin, starting their losing streak with a defeat to Pepperdine on Aug. 30. Fullerton started its season with home wins against Delaware and UNC Greensboro. Senior Brittany Moore has paced the offensive attack for the Titans over the first six matches, averaging 3.57 kills per set and 3.43 digs per set (second on the team). Sophomores Sarah Day and Erin Saddler are tied for second at 2.43 kps. Setting for Fullerton is sophomore Genie Francisco, who is averaging 9.71 assists per set. As a team, the Titans are averaging 12.29 kps, 15.33 dps, 1.86 blocks per set and 0.71 service aces per set. Carolyn Zimmerman is in her seventh season at Cal State Fullerton and owns a record of 75-108. The Titans were 15-15 a year ago, posting a 7-9 mark in the Big West (tied for fifth), returning eight letterwinners and five starters from that team. The Bruins have never lost to the Titans in 27 matches. The last time the teams met was on Sept. 14, 2002 at the Portland Invitational, with UCLA posting a 30-24, 30-24, 30-23 victory. Prior to that match, the Bruins and the Titans had not squared off since 1984. The teams met 26 times from 1970 to 1984. UCLA has dropped just two sets to Fullerton (one in 1971 and one in 1980). The last time the Bruins traveled to Titan Gym was on Oct. 2, 1984, a 3-0 UCLA victory.
Senior setter Nellie Spicer helped lead the Bruin offense to three more wins last week in sweeps of UC Riverside, Nevada and Seattle University. Over the weekend, Spicer earned Most Valuable Player honors at the Nevada Tournament, marking the second straight week she has been named to an All-Tournament Team. During the opening weekend, the senior was named to the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic All-Tournament Team. Spicer enters this week's play averaging 10.00 assists per set, which ranks seventh in the Pacific-10 Conference. The senior has set the Bruins to at least a .300 hitting percentage in two matches this season, including a .337 total last Wednesday at UC Riverside, producing 34 assists against the Highlanders. Spicer's season best in assists came in a four-set thriller at Hawai'i on Aug. 31 when she had 45. In that match, she also tied a personal high with eight kills and added 11 digs for her 52nd career double-double. It was Spicer's second double-double of the season after recording 32 assists and 10 digs in the opener against Ohio. Spicer is in the midst of what promises to be a historic 2008 season, as she closes in on becoming the all-time assists leader in school history and joining another elite UCLA club. Spicer has 4,877 assists and is in third place on the Bruins' all-time list. She is less than 800 assists back of second-place Ann Boyer (5,667) and has a chance of catching first-place Erika Selsor (6,234) by the end of the season. Spicer had 1,550 assists a year ago and would break Selsor's mark by 13 if she equals last season's total. In addition to her quest to become the school's all-time leader in assists, Spicer has the chance to become the third player in UCLA history to earn three first-team All-American accolades. She received a second consecutive first-team All-American honor as a junior to become the sixth Bruin to accomplish the feat (Annett Buckner, Liz Masakayan, Daiva Tomkus, Natalie Williams, Elaine Youngs). Williams and Youngs are the only Bruins to earn three first-team All-American awards. Spicer, who was also a first-team All-Pacific Region and All-Pac-10 honoree in 2007, led the Bruins, was third in the conference and 25th in the nation with 12.92 assists per set. She was also fourth on the team with 3.07 digs per set. Spicer was second with 22 double-doubles and became the 16th member of UCLA's 1,000-dig club in the NCAA Regional Final against Stanford. For her efforts during that playoff run, she was named to the All-Regional Tournament Team.
QUICK DRAW McGRAW
Sophomore Dicey McGraw has come out on fire to start her second collegiate campaign, leading the Bruins in kills in four of six matches so far this season. McGraw had a match-high 11 kills in a win over Seattle University on Sept. 6, hitting .421 with just three errors in 19 attempts. She also had seven kills in last Friday's win at Nevada and earned All-Tournament Team honors for her efforts. McGraw leads the team and is ranked seventh in the Pac-10 with 3.16 kills per set and is hitting at a .289 percentage. The sophomore registered a season-best 15 kills in a win at Hawai'i on Aug. 31 and added 13 kills against Ohio in the season opener on Aug. 29. Last year as a freshman, McGraw was fourth on the team with 2.57 kps and 2.97 points per set in earning All-Pac-10 Freshman Team honorable mention accolades. McGraw had 11 double-figure kills matches, including at least 10 in five of the last seven contests, averaging 3.28 kps during that span. The sophomore also had three double-doubles and was impressive in a pair of NCAA victories. McGraw had 12 kills, eight digs and five blocks in UCLA's second-round win at Clemson and posted 13 kills and nine digs in the Regional Semifinal victory over Oregon.
THE DALEY NEWS
One of the captains on offense for the Bruins, senior Ali Daley had a great opening weekend in Honolulu, recording double figures in kills twice and posting her 30th career double-double. Daley began her final year in Westwood with a 10-kill performance in a win over Ohio, hitting at a .348 clip with just two errors. After adding five kills and 10 digs against Penn State, Daley recorded 12 kills and 14 digs for her first double-double of the season against the host Rainbow Wahine. Last week, Daley received some rest in two of the matches, not playing at UC Riverside and playing sparingly in two of three sets against Seattle University. She did however set a career high against Seattle with four service aces in the second set, helping the Bruins to a 12-0 run at one point. Daley leads the Bruins with 2.53 digs per set and is second in kills per set at 2.53. Last season, Daley earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention accolades after placing second on the team with 3.69 kps and 3.66 dps. She recorded a team-high 23 double-doubles in her junior campaign and was also first on the squad with 4.48 points per set, 39 service aces, 16 block solos and 1,413 total attacks, with the latter ranking as the third-highest single-season total in UCLA history. Daley led the Bruins in kills 16 times in 2007 and became the first Bruin to record a 20-20 match since 2001 when she had 26 kills and 25 digs against Oregon State on Oct. 12. She had double figures in kills in 28 of 32 matches, which tied for the team lead. After surpassing the 1,000-career kill mark for her collegiate career last year, Daley is just 203 kills shy of becoming the 24th member of UCLA's 1,000-kill mark. She is also 40 digs away from 1,000 for her career and 276 away from 1,000 as a Bruin.
TOWERING ABOVE THE REST ... PART ONE
Freshman Amanda Gil has made it very tough on UCLA opponents to hit above or around her 6-foot-6 frame, as she leads the Bruins and is second in the Pac-10 with 1.41 blocks per set. Gil earned All-Tournament Team honors for the second week in a row after tying a season high with eight blocks in a victory at Nevada last Friday. She added eight kills against the Wolf Pack for 13.0 points. It is the second time this season Gil has had at least eight kills and blocks in a match, as she went for 12 kills and eight blocks (17.5 points) in a four-set win at Hawai'i on Aug. 31. Along with all her prowess on the defensive end, Gil has been great on offense, placing fourth on the team with 2.18 kills per set and hitting at a .307 clip. The freshman got out of the gates fast on offense, committing no hitting errors and posting seven kills in 12 swings (.583 hitting percentage) in a win over Ohio on Aug. 29.
TOWERING ABOVE THE REST ... PART TWO
Katie Camp is the other part of the Bruins' towers in the middle, as the 6-foot-5 freshman is second on the team and third in the Pac-10 with 1.35 blocks per set. Camp has at least five blocks in three of the last four matches, including a career-high nine roofs in a win at Hawai'i on Aug. 31. Last week, the freshman had five blocks against UC Riverside and Seattle University and three more at Nevada. Just like her freshman counterpart Amanda Gil, Camp is also doing it on offense. The freshman began last week with a season-high 12 kills at UC Riverside (.381 hitting percentage) and added 10 more kills against Seattle (.444 percentage). Camp is one of six Bruins averaging more than 2.00 kills per set, ranking tied for fifth on the team (2.00 kps). She is also hitting .286, having started all six matches so far this season.
AND INTRODUCING ...
After freshmen Katie Camp, Lainey Gera and Amanda Gil made their collegiate debuts during the opening weekend at the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic, four more players made their Bruin debuts last week. Redshirt freshman Stephanie Nucci made her first collegiate appearance in the third set of UCLA's victory at UC Riverside last Wednesday, recording a combo block. She played the entire third set on Saturday against Seattle University, posting a kill, a dig and eight assists. Sara Sage also debuted against the Highlanders, playing the third set on Wednesday and Saturday, posting no kills in six attempts. Against Seattle, redshirt junior transfer Laura Holloway made her Bruin debut, while freshman Alexa Harper appeared in her first college match. Holloway played in the first and third sets, but did not have an attempt, while Harper had a service ace and an assist in the second set against the Redhawks.