Aug. 21, 2012
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Friday, Aug. 24
2:30 p.m. PT - #1 UCLA vs. Notre Dame
Online Coverage: Live Stats
Saturday, Aug. 25
4 p.m. PT - #1 UCLA at #4 Nebraska
TV: Big Ten Network
Online Coverage: Live Stats
TOP-RANKED BRUINS OPEN TITLE DEFENSE IN NEBRASKA
The 2011 national champion and 2012 preseason top-ranked Bruins open their title defense this weekend in Lincoln, Neb. UCLA will face Notre Dame on Friday at 2:30 p.m. PT and fourth-ranked Nebraska on Saturday at 4 p.m. PT. Saturday's contest will be broadcast live on Big Ten Network.
SERIES BREAKDOWN: UCLA VS. NOTRE DAME & NEBRASKA
|Opponent||Series Start||Series Record||Streak||Last Meeting|
|Nebraska||1986||Nebraska leads 9-4||W1||W, 3-2 (9/13/09)|
|Notre Dame||2000||UCLA leads 2-0||W2||W, 3-0 (9/7/01)|
BRUINS ON THE NET
Live stats will be available for this weekend's matches in Lincoln. Links to both can be found on the women's volleyball schedule page at UCLABruins.com.
The Bruins play three times next week, with the home opener coming on Wednesday, Aug. 29 at the John Wooden Center with an exhibition match against Chinese National Team Jiangsu. The 7 p.m. contest will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks, the first of 14 UCLA matches on the conference's new television channel. From there, the Bruins will drive up the California coast for the UCSB Invitational, facing Northeastern on Friday, Aug. 31 and the host Gauchos on Saturday, Sept. 1. Both matches start at 7 p.m.
BRUINS IN THE POLLS
The Bruins begin this season the same place they ended last season: at the top of the national rankings. UCLA received 54 first-place votes and 1,485 points in the preseason AVCA Coaches poll. The Bruins are one of seven Pac-12 teams mentioned in the preseason poll. USC is ranked fifth, followed by #6 Stanford, #14 Washington, #17 California and #20 Oregon. Arizona is also receiving votes in the poll. Four of the Bruins' non-conference opponents are ranked in the preseason Top 25, including their second foe this weekend in #4 Nebraska. The Bruins' top ranking is the third time they have been selected as the preseason #1 team (1990 and 1992). UCLA is also #1 in the preseason Pac-12 Coaches poll.
BRUINS IN SEASON OPENERS
The Bruins have won 13-straight season openers after sweeping Quinnipiac at Loyola Marymount last year. Ten of the 13 matches have been sweeps. This year marks the first time since 2007 in which UCLA has opened its season in Nebraska. At the AVCA Showcase in Omaha, the Bruins swept Utah, but lost to Nebraska in four sets.
SCOUTING THE NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH
The Fighting Irish return 12 letterwinners and four starters from a 2011 squad that went 17-13 and finished fifth in the Big East Conference with an 8-6 record. Among the top returners for Notre Dame are outside hitters Jeni Houser and Andrea McHugh. Houser led the Irish as a freshman in kills per set at 3.05, adding 0.75 digs per set. McHugh begins her third year in South Bend and averaged 2.58 kps and 3.18 dps a season ago. Debbie Brown is in her 21st season as Notre Dame's head coach and has a 463-183 record. In 25 years of coaching, she has a mark of 580-266.
THE MATCHUP: BRUINS VS. FIGHTING IRISH
The Bruins have won both matchups against the Fighting Irish in three sets. On Sept. 9, 2000, UCLA claimed a sweep in South Bend. The teams met a year later on Sept. 7 in Lincoln, with the Bruins again winning in three.
SCOUTING THE NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS
The Cornhuskers went 25-5 in 2011, winning the Big Ten Conference with a 17-3 record. However, Nebraska was upset at home by Kansas State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Nebraska, ranked fourth in the AVCA preseason poll, brings back eight letterwinners and five starters in 2012. A pair of players averaged over 3.00 kills per set a year ago, with senior Gina Mancuso posting 3.60 kps and junior Morgan Broekhuis totaling 3.04 kps. Junior Hannah Werth averaged 1.88 kps and 3.11 digs per set in 2011, with all three earning All-America honors. Senior setter Lauren Cook was also an All-America, recording 11.0 assists per set and 2.79 dps. In the back row, sophomore libero Lara Dykstra averaged 3.59 dps. John Cook is in his 13th year as Nebraska's head coach and has a record of 361-34 to go with an overall mark of 522-107 in 19 years of coaching.
THE MATCHUP: BRUINS VS. CORNHUSKERS
Nebraska leads the all-time series with UCLA 9-4, but the Bruins claimed the last matchup with a five-set win in Lincoln on Sept. 13, 2009 (18-25, 25-17, 25-22, 24-26, 15-7). The only 2012 Bruins that played in that match were Bojana Todorovic (10 kills, nine digs) and Rachael Kidder (no kills, two attacks). The two teams have split the six meetings in Lincoln. The Huskers had defeated the Bruins three straight seasons from 2005-07 (all played in Nebraska), with the `06 and `07 matches taking place in Omaha.
UCLA HISTORY IN NEBRASKA
UCLA is making its ninth trip to Nebraska since 1991 and are 11-6, posting a 10-4 record in Lincoln and a 1-2 mark in Omaha. Eleven of the 17 contests have come during regular-season tournaments, in which UCLA holds a 9-2 record. The Bruins are 2-4 in postseason matches and could return to Nebraska in early December, as Omaha is one of four pre-determined sites for the NCAA Regional round.