Oct. 13, 2008
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
#10 UCLA (12-4, 2-3 Pac-10) at Arizona (12-5, 2-3 Pac-10)
Friday, October 17
#10 UCLA (12-4, 2-3 Pac-10) at Arizona State (10-8, 1-4 Pac-10)
Saturday, October 18
Wells Fargo Arena
BRUINS HEAD TO THE DESERT FOR A PAIR
The 10th-ranked Bruins travel to the Grand Canyon State for a pair of Pac-10 road contests at Arizona on Friday and Arizona State on Saturday. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. for both matches. Gametracker will be available for both contests on the schedule page of UCLABruins.com.
BRUINS ON THE NET
All UCLA home matches, along with the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, will feature live audio broadcasts at UCLABruins.com. Darren Preston and Michael Sondheimer will call all the action for each contest. In addition, Gametracker or live stats will be available for all home matches and most road contests.
BRUINS IN THE POLLS
The Bruins fell two spots to 10th in this week's CBS College Sports Network/AVCA poll. UCLA has dropped five positions over the last two weeks. The Pac-10 has seven teams ranked in the Top 25, including six in the Top 11 (#4 Stanford, #5 California, #6 Oregon, #7 Washington, #11 USC, #25 Oregon State). In last week's Molten/Volleyball Magazine Top 25 poll (Oct. 7), the Bruins were ranked seventh.
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.
THE ROOF IS ON FIRE
The Bruins remain in the Top 30 in the nation in blocks per set, coming in at 28th this week with 2.56 bps. Individually, freshman Amanda Gil, who is second in the Pac-10 in bps, is also 12th in the nation at 1.40 bps.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS (12-5, 2-3 PAC-10)
Arizona continues to receive votes in the AVCA poll and is tied for fifth in the Pac-10 with its opponents this week, UCLA and USC. The Wildcats were the latest team to fall victim to the Northern California juggernauts of Stanford and California, getting swept in both matchups in the Bay Area last weekend. Arizona does have sweeps of Washington State and Arizona State to its credit, while also dropping a five-set match against Washington. Redshirt sophomore Whitney Dosty leads the Wildcat offense with 3.05 kills per set. Sophomore Tiffany Owens is second in kps (2.70) and digs per set (2.70), while senior Brooke Buringrud is third at 2.32 kps. Sophomore Paige Weber handles the setting duties and is averaging 10.34 assists per set. The top defender is junior Alanna Resch, who posts 3.83 digs per set. As a team, Arizona is averaging 12.91 kills, 1.55 aces, 13.40 digs and 2.81 blocks per set, hitting .233 as a team. David Rubio is in his 17th year as the Wildcats' head coach and holds a 317-180 record. He is also 439-246 in 21-plus seasons of coaching.
THE MATCHUP: UCLA-ARIZONA
The Bruins lead the all-time series against Arizona 45-17 and have won three of the last four. However, the Wildcats defeated UCLA in Tucson last season in four sets and over the long term are 10-5 in their last 15 against the Bruins. Ali Daley (13 kills, 13 digs) and Nellie Spicer (56 assists, 13 digs) each had double-doubles in the first match last season on Sept. 20 at Pauley Pavilion, a 3-1 UCLA victory. In the contest in Tucson on Nov. 24, Arizona rebounded with a 3-1 win of its own. Daley had another double-double with 15 kills and 16 digs, Dicey McGraw had 13 kills and Jessica Fine posted 28 digs. The Bruins are 19-10 all-time in Tucson, with their last victory coming on Oct. 6, 2006 (3-1).
SCOUTING THE SUN DEVILS (10-8, 1-4 PAC-10)
Arizona State has been swept in three straight matches, falling on the road to Arizona, California and Stanford. The Sun Devils have lost six of the last seven, with the lone win coming in a home sweep of Washington State. Sophomore Sarah Reaves leads Arizona State's offense with 4.14 kills per set and is also second with 2.89 digs per set. Senior Margie Giordano is second at 3.36 kps, while junior Paige Mittelstaedt is third at 2.37 kps. Junior Marina Mercer quarterbacks the offense and is recording 10.18 assists per set, while sophomore Sarah Johnson averages a team-best 4.07 dps. As a team, the Sun Devils are averaging 12.91 kills, 1.01 aces, 14.72 digs and 2.43 blocks per set, while hitting at a .214 clip. Head coach Jason Watson is in his first year at the helm of Arizona State and is 84-26 in three-plus season of coaching.
THE MATCHUP: UCLA-ARIZONA STATE
UCLA has won 11 in a row against Arizona State and leads the all-time series 58-6. Last season at Pauley Pavilion on Sept. 21, the Bruins swept the Sun Devils, as Ali Daley led UCLA with 15 kills. The Bruins hit .316 as a team and had 14.5 blocks. In the Nov. 23 match in Tempe, the Bruins triumphed in four sets. Five players had double-doubles for UCLA, while Jessica Fine had 21 digs, as the Bruins had 13 more blocks. Arizona State's last win in the series was on Sept. 21, 2002, a four-set victory. Prior to that, UCLA won 12 straight, giving them a 23-1 record in its last 24 contests against Arizona State.
Senior Nellie Spicer continues her climb up UCLA's career assists chart and is just a few weeks away from moving into second place on the list. Spicer recorded 102 assists in a pair of matches last weekend, including a season-best 61 in a five-set contest against Washington for her 10th career 60-plus assists game. She added 13 digs against the Huskies for her seventh double-double of the season and 57th of her career and also had eight kills, which tied a career high. Spicer has double-doubles in five of her last seven matches. The senior had a pair of double-doubles at the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic (32 assists, 10 digs vs. Ohio and 45/11 at Hawai'i) and at the Northwestern Wildcat Classic (33/10 vs. Georgetown and 47/13 at Northwestern), with all four matches resulting in Bruin victories. Spicer has followed that up with double-doubles against Oregon (40/15), Oregon State (44/14) and Washington (61/13). The senior has seven 40-plus assists matches this year, surpassing that total in six straight. Spicer has set the Bruins to at least a .300 hitting percentage seven times, including a season-best total of .400 at Cal State Northridge on Sept. 16. Spicer, who is fourth in the Pac-10 with 10.57 assists per set, has seven double-figure digs matches this season and 57 for her career. Her season high in digs came on Oct. 3 at Oregon with 15. This year, Spicer has been named to All-Tournament teams three times, including being named Most Valuable Player of the Nevada Tournament and the Wildcat Classic. The senior enters this week's play with 5,289 career assists and is less than 400 shy of second-place Ann Boyer, who had 5,667 assists at UCLA. Spicer also 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.
THE DALEY NEWS
Chalk up two more double-doubles for senior Ali Daley, who recorded her fourth and fifth of the season against Washington and Washington State last weekend. Daley had 14 kills and 13 digs against the Huskies and followed that up with 13 kills and 12 digs in a win over the Cougars to give her 34 career double-doubles as a Bruin. The senior enters this week's play second on the team with 2.80 kills per set and leads the Bruins with 2.85 kps during Pac-10 play. Daley has reached double-figures in kills in five of her last six contests, recording a season-best 16 kills at Oregon on Oct. 3. The senior came into that Oregon contest with two straight double-doubles after recording 14 kills and 11 digs at Northwestern (Sept. 20) and 11 kills and 15 digs at USC (Sept. 26), posting her first of the season at Hawai'i on Aug. 31 (12 kills, 14 digs). Daley has eight double-figure kills matches this season (51 for her UCLA career). She also has six matches with at least 10 digs and 40 as a Bruin. Daley is second on the squad with 2.55 digs per set and tied for third with 10 service aces. The senior surpassed the 1,000 career digs mark at USC (1,052 entering this week's play) and is 184 away from 1,000 as a Bruin. After eclipsing 1,000 career kills last season, Daley is also just 98 kills shy of becoming the 24th member of UCLA's 1,000-kill club.
SHE IS SO FINE AT DIGGING
Senior Jessica Fine continues to stand out on the volleyball court, not just because of the fact she wears a different color jersey than her teammates, but also due to her defensive prowess. One of the top passers in the Pac-10, Fine is first on the team and seventh in the conference with 4.02 digs per set. The senior has dug everything coming her way in Pac-10 play, posting four matches with at least 20 digs, including a season-high 30 against Washington last Friday. It marked the third time Fine has reached the 30-dig plateau in her career. The senior is averaging an astounding 5.14 dps in conference action, thanks in part to a 27-dig match at USC (Sept. 26), a 21-dig performance at Oregon (Oct. 3) and a 20-dig effort at Oregon State (Oct. 4). Fine has led the Bruins in digs in eight straight matches (12 times overall on the year), recording at least 10 digs in each contest. She had three double-figure digs matches to end non-conference play, including 23 in a win at Northwestern on Sept. 20, prior to her streak of five straight in Pac-10 action. Fine has 11 career matches with at least 20 digs and 30 double-figure digs contests (10 this season). The senior is also first on the team with 12 service aces, including five in the first five Pac-10 matches.
GIL SOARING ABOVE THE REST
And not just due to the fact that she is the tallest member of the Bruins at 6-6. Amanda Gil is one of the early candidates for National Freshman of the Year, as she enters this week's play first in the nation among all freshmen in blocks per set at 1.40. Gil, who is 12th overall in the nation and second in the Pac-10 in bps, is averaging 1.41 bps during conference play. She has eight matches with at least five blocks this season, with half of them coming during Pac-10 action. Gil tied a season high with nine blocks in her first conference match at USC (Sept. 26) and added eight more in a win at Oregon State on Oct. 4. The freshman led the Bruins in blocks in both matches last weekend and has been the UCLA match leader in roofs a team-best 10 times. Gil also had a nine-block contest at Cal State Northridge (Sept. 16) and eight apiece against Hawai'i (Aug. 31) and Nevada (Sept. 5). Along with her status as top blocker on the team, Gil is second in hitting percentage (.322) and points per set (3.05) and third in kills per set (2.75). Gil had double figures in kills in three consecutive matches from Sept. 19-26 and has six contests with at least 10 kills, including 13 last Friday against Washington. Gil just missed another double-figure kills match against Washington State, posting nine with no hitting errors in 21 swings (.429 percentage). Her season high in kills came at Northwestern on Sept. 20 when she had 20. Gil has hit over .300 in nine matches, totaling a season-best .647 hitting percentage (12 kills, one error, 17 attempts) at Cal State Northridge. The freshman has been named to three All-Tournament teams this season at the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic, the Nevada Tournament and the Northwestern Wildcat Classic.
QUICK DRAW McGRAW
Perhaps the most consistent player on the team this season has been sophomore Dicey McGraw, who recorded her team-best ninth double-figure kills match against Washington last Friday. McGraw tied a season high with a team-best 16 kills to lead the Bruins in kills for the sixth time this year, which is tops on the squad. The sophomore leads the Bruins with 2.98 kills per set and owns a team-best nine double-figure kills matches. She is just two shy of matching her freshman total of 11 contests with at least 10 kills. McGraw had a streak of four straight double-figure kills matches from Sept. 19-26, including 16 at Northwestern on Sept. 20. She added 10 digs against the Wildcats to post her fourth career double-double and first of the season. McGraw earned All-Tournament honors at the Northwestern Wildcat Classic after she totaled three matches with at least 10 kills (12 vs. Virginia, 10 vs. Georgetown and 16 vs. Northwestern).McGraw has hit above .400 on four occasions this year, including a season-best .440 at Cal State Fullerton on Sept. 10.
SETTING UP CAMP ABOVE THE NET
Joining fellow freshman Amanda Gil in the middle, Katie Camp has made as much an impact as her counterpart, as she leads the team with a .335 hitting percentage, is second with 1.07 blocks per set and sixth in kills per set at 1.93. Camp had 11 kills and no hitting errors in 15 swings on Saturday in a win against Washington State, posting a season-high .733 hitting percentage. It marks the fourth time this season that Camp has recorded zero hitting errors in a match and the second time she has posted at least a .700 percentage. The freshman had a season-high 13 kills and no errors in 18 attempts (.722) in a win against Virginia on Sept. 19. That match marked the second of three straight contests in which Camp did not have a hitting error (Cal State Northridge on Sept. 16, Virginia and Georgetown on Sept. 19), as she hit over .550 in all three contests. The 11 kills against Washington State were also Camp's fifth match with at least 10 kills this season and second in Pac-10 play. She had 10 kills in a win at Oregon State on Oct. 4, falling just short of a double-double by adding nine blocks. At the net, Camp has six contests with at least five blocks, which is second on the team, recording nine in a win at Hawai'i on Aug. 31. She has led the Bruins in blocks six times this season.