Nov. 12, 2007
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
Washington State (9-19, 0-14 Pac-10) at #10 UCLA (17-8, 7-7 Pac-10)
Friday, November 16
Los Angeles, Calif.
Live: Gametracker, Audio, Video
#5 Washington (23-2, 12-2 Pac-10) at #10 UCLA (17-8, 7-7 Pac-10)
Saturday, November 17
Los Angeles, Calif.
Live: Gametracker, Audio, Video
SATURDAY IS SENIOR NIGHT
The 10th-ranked women's volleyball team closes out its regular-season home schedule this weekend when it hosts Washington State on Friday and #5 Washington on Saturday at Pauley Pavilion. Start times are 7 p.m. for both matches and Gametracker, as well as live audio and video with Darren Preston at the call, are available on UCLABruins.com. Prior to Saturday's match, seniors Rachell Johnson and Meghan Schoen will be recognized in their final regular-season home matches as Bruins.
BRUINS IN THE POLLS
The Bruins fell to 10th in this week's CSTV/AVCA Top 25 poll. The Pac-10, the toughest conference in the nation, boasts five of the top 10 teams in the country. Stanford is fourth, Washington fifth, California sixth and USC is ranked eighth. Oregon moved up six spots in this week's poll, giving the Pac-10 a sixth team in the Top 15 at 14th. For the first time since Nov. 13, 2006, the Bruins dropped out of the top five of the rankings after their loss to Oregon State on Oct. 12. In last week's Molten Volleyball Magazine poll, the Bruins were ranked 11th.
C WHAT IT MEANS
In taking a closer look at the UCLA women's volleyball jerseys, you will notice that the "C" is a different color than the "U", "L", "A" this season. The different color "C" signifies the roman numeral for 100 and celebrates the 100 NCAA Championships won by the Bruins. Women's volleyball has a hand in three of those national titles, winning NCAA championships in 1984, 1990 and 1991.
SCOUTING THE COUGARS
Washington State is still in search of its first Pac-10 victory, having lost all 14 league contests. Since opening the season with a 9-2 record, the Cougars have dropped 17 straight, winning just six games during their losing streak and getting swept 12 times. Senior Adetokunbo Faleti leads the offense with 3.32 kills per game. Sophomore Jackie Albright (2.99 kpg), senior Tara West (2.83 kpg) and junior Brittany Johnson (2.77 kpg) also lead the offense for the Cougars. Defensively, sophomore Kelly Hyder leads the way with 4.84 digs per game, while senior Maureen Perez sets the hitting attack with 11.05 assists per game. The Cougars hit .159 as a team with 15.45 digs and 2.69 blocks per game. Fourth-year head coach Brian Heffernan holds a 38-84 career record with the Cougars.
UCLA-WASHINGTON STATE: INSIDE THE SERIES
The Bruins have won nine straight against the Cougars, including a three-game sweep in Pullman on Oct. 19. Game scores were 33-31, 30-18, 30-23. UCLA rebounded after a .189 hitting attack in the first game to hit a combined .345 in the final two sets. Juniors Ali Daley (10 kills, 14 digs), Kaitlin Sather (17k, 10d) and Nellie Spicer (51 assists, 12 digs) all had double-doubles, while senior Rachell Johnson added 16 kills. Tara West was the lone Cougar in double figures in kills with 11, as Washington State hit just .164 with only six team blocks for the match. UCLA, which leads the all-time series 36-7, holds a 19-2 lead in matches played in Westwood and has won nine in a row at home against Washington State. The Cougars' last win in the series was a five-game victory in Pullman on Oct. 25, 2002 and their last triumph at Pauley Pavilion was a four-set win on Oct. 24, 1997.
SCOUTING THE HUSKIES
Washington saw its 39-match home winning streak snapped by Stanford on Thursday in five games, but bounced back the following night to defeat California in four to remain tied in the loss column with the Cardinal for the Pac-10 lead. The Huskies' only two losses this season have come to Bay Area teams, with Washington suffering its first setback of the year after winning its first 16 matches at California in five games on Oct. 11. Washington has three players averaging over three kills a game, led by Stevie Mussie. The senior is averaging 4.15 kills per game to go along with 2.68 digs per game. Senior Christal Morrison is second at 3.93 kpg and 2.72 dpg, while freshman Becky Perry is posting 3.33 kpg. Freshman Jenna Hagglund handles the setting duties, recording 13.23 assists per game, while sophomore Tamari Miyashiro averages 5.38 digs per game at libero. Jim McLaughlin, in his seventh year at Washington, holds a 166-47 record with the Huskies and a 248-90 mark in nine-plus seasons of coaching.
UCLA-WASHINGTON: INSIDE THE SERIES
Washington won its second straight against UCLA with a three-game sweep in Seattle on Oct. 18. Game scores were 30-20, 30-27, 30-26. Junior Ali Daley led the Bruins with 12 kills and 13 digs. Junior Kaitlin Sather added 12 kills, while senior Rachell Johnson posted 10 kills. The Bruins struggled to a .146 hitting attack and had just 4.5 team blocks. Christal Morrison and Stevie Mussie each had 13 kills for the Huskies, who hit .315 as a team. Becky Perry added 12 kills and Tamari Miyashiro posted 24 digs. The Bruins dominated the beginning of the series with 25 straight victories, but are 15-12 since then to post a 40-12 series advantage. The last two matches in Pauley Pavilion between the Bruins and the Huskies have both been five-gamers, with UCLA coming out on top each time. In 2005, the Huskies came back from 2-0 down, but UCLA won the fifth set to give head coach Andy Banachowski his 1,000th victory and spoil Washington's undefeated season. Last year, the Bruins dropped the first two sets but came back to win in five. The Huskies, who are 3-20 in Westwood, last won on Sept. 24, 2004 in four games.
The strongest part of the UCLA women's volleyball team match after match is their defense, with the Bruins' blocking and digging rising to the occasion against some of the most powerful offenses in the nation. Against Oregon State on Thursday, the Bruins set a season high in blocks for the second straight match, posting 20 against the Beavers. Four different players had at least five blocks, led by a career-best 10 for freshman Katie Mills. Senior Rachell Johnson had eight, while junior Ali Daley and freshman Dicey McGraw each posted five. The Bruins have double figures in blocks in 10 of the last 14 matches, as well as four straight. Mills leads the team in blocks at 1.49 per game and would be third among Pac-10 players, but she has not played in the necessary 66.7 percent of games to qualify. Mills' 1.49 bpg in conference matches places her second in the Pac-10. She also has posted a team-leading 10 matches with at least five blocks, including 19 in a pair of contests last weekend. Johnson, who posted a UCLA season-high 11 blocks against Arizona State on Sept. 21, has seven matches with at least five blocks, while Daley has six. Away from the net, junior Jessica Fine became the first player since Jordan Smith in 2005 to post 30 digs in one match against the Beavers. Fine, who made her first start at libero since Oct. 8, added 10 more digs against Oregon to record her fifth and sixth matches with double figures in digs. Junior Jade Machado leads the Bruins with 19 double-figure digs contests, while Daley has 17 and junior Nellie Spicer has 16. Machado's career-high in digs came against Oregon State, recording 29, while Daley had a personal-best 25 against the Beavers. As a team, the Bruins are first in the Pac-10 averaging 18.48 digs per game.
HISTORY AGAINST THE BEAVERS ... AGAIN
In the Bruins' first matchup against Oregon State on Oct. 12 at Pauley Pavilion, junior Ali Daley became the first UCLA player since Ashley Bowles in 2001 to post a 20-20 match, recording 26 kills and 25 digs. UCLA's second matchup against Oregon State proved to be another historic contest, with two players passing the 1,000-career kill mark and another posting the Bruins' first 30-dig match since 2005. Junior Jessica Fine had 30 digs to become the first Bruin since Jordan Smith (32) to accomplish that feat. Meanwhile, Daley reached another milestone with her 1,000th career kill against the Beavers. With 367 of Daley's kills coming during her freshman season at Long Beach State, she will have to wait one more season to join UCLA's 1,000-kill club, which welcomed its 23rd member when junior Kaitlin Sather joined the grand club against Oregon State.
BRUINS IN THE PAC-10
The Bruins remained as the top-ranked digging team in the Pac-10, averaging 18.48 digs per game. UCLA is also in the top half of the conference in kills (4th, 16.27), assists (4th, 15.08), blocks (4th, 2.95) and aces per game (5th, 1.49). Individually, Ali Daley is in the Top 10 in aces per game (8th, 0.35) and points per game (9th, 4.72), while Nellie Spicer is fifth in assists at 12.55 apg. Jade Machado is eighth in digs per game at 3.70.
Junior setter Nellie Spicer continues to live up to her status as arguably the best setter in the country and will soon be considered the best setter in UCLA history. Spicer moved past Julie Bremner for third on UCLA's all-time assists list on Oct. 27 against California. With 4,251 assists for her career, Spicer will remain in third for the rest of the season before embarking on her trek towards the top of the standings in 2008. Second-place Ann Boyer has 5,667 assists, while the school leader is Erika Selsor at 6,234. Spicer had double-doubles in both matches last week to give her 16 on the season and 44 for her career. The junior equaled a season high with 60 assists to go along with 12 digs against Oregon State and followed that up with a 33-assist, 11-dig performance against Oregon. The junior has earned All-Tournament honors in all four tournaments the Bruins played in during the preseason, earning MVP accolades at the Hawaiian Airlines Classic and the UC Irvine Invitational. Spicer is fifth in the Pac-10 in assists at 12.55 apg.
At her current pace, junior outside hitter Ali Daley is going to have more double-doubles than an In-N-Out drive-thru window. Daley saw her seven-match double-double streak come to an end against Stanford on Oct. 26, but she has rebounded with three in a row, including a pair last week. Daley had 19 kills and 17 digs against the Beavers and posted 10 kills and 10 digs against the Ducks. The junior has 17 double-doubles this season and 23 for her UCLA career. Daley had a career night against Oregon State on Oct. 12. Despite the loss to the Beavers, Daley had 26 kills and 25 digs to post her first-ever 20-20 match. She was the first Bruin to attain a 20-20 contest since Ashley Bowles on Nov. 2, 2001. Daley has led the Bruins in kills 15 times this season, including six straight from Sept. 21 to Oct. 18, and also has a team-best 22 matches with double figures in kills. She has twice earned All-Tournament Team honors this season at the AVCA College Volleyball Showcase and the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic. Her 3.90 kpg leads the team and she is second at 3.53 digs per game. Daley is also eighth in the conference in aces and ninth in points per game.
BLOCK PARTY WEEKEND
Pretty much nothing got past Katie Mills last weekend, as the freshman recorded 19 blocks in two matches, including a career-high 10 against Oregon State. Mills added 11 kills against the Beavers, which tied a career best and gave the freshman her first career double-double. Adding nine blocks the next night against Oregon, Mills has 62 roofs over the last 10 matches. She is averaging 1.49 blocks per game, which would be third in the Pac-10. However, Mills, who played sparingly during the non-conference schedule, has not played in the necessary 66.7 percent of games to qualify. Mills has led the Bruins in blocks in 11 matches, recording at least five roofs in 10 of those contests. Offensively, she is averaging 1.75 kills per game, hitting double figures twice with her pair of 11-kill contests.
K IS FOR KILL ... AND KAITLIN
Junior Kaitlin Sather became the 23rd Bruin to surpass the 1,000 career kill mark against Oregon State on Thursday and added her 12th and 13th double-doubles of the season last week. Sather posted 13 kills and 14 digs against the Beavers and followed that up with a 10-kill, 10-dig effort against Oregon to give her six straight double-doubles and 30 for her career. Sather's season high in kills came against Stanford on Oct. 26, posting 20. She has led the team in kills eight times this season and has double figures in kills in 16 of the last 17 matches. Her 19 contests with at least 10 kills are tied for second on the squad. On the defensive side of things, Sather has 13 matches with double figures in digs, including a season-best 18 against Stanford. She also has five matches with at least five blocks, including tying a career high with six against USC on Oct. 5. The junior is second on the team in kills per game at 3.44 and tied for third with 2.83 digs per game.
MANNING THE MIDDLE
Stepping up in the absence of graduated senior Nana Meriwether, senior Rachell Johnson has made a huge impact in the middle of the Bruins' lineup in her final campaign in Westwood. Johnson saw her 10-match streak with double figures in kills end against Oregon, but still has 19 matches with at least 10 kills which is tied for second on the team. Johnson has led the Bruins in kills five times this season and blocks 10 times. The senior has seven matches with at least five blocks, recording eight against the Beavers on Thursday to go along with 15 kills. Johnson's personal high in blocks came against Arizona State. She had 11 roofs and 14 kills for her first career double-double. Offensively, Johnson is third on the team at 3.43 kills per game. Johnson's season best of 19 kills came against Nebraska on Aug. 25. The senior has hit better than .400 for a match on seven occasions.
Freshman Dicey McGraw made her first start since Oct. 12 against Oregon on Friday. She had nine kills, her best output since a career-high 18 against the Ducks on Oct. 11 ... the four Bruins to post double-doubles against Oregon State marked the first time UCLA has done that since Sept. 3, 2005 at Nevada ... against Oregon, UCLA went without a service ace for the first time since Nov. 22, 2002 against Arizona ... the Bruins have not lost four straight at home since 1997, also the last time UCLA lost three in a row at Pauley Pavilion ... UCLA's loss to Oregon snapped a 40-match winning streak against the Ducks and was just the Bruins' second setback all-time in 48 matches.