Sept. 28, 2009
Friday, Oct. 2
7 p.m. - #11 Stanford at #16 UCLA
Saturday, Oct. 3
7 p.m. - #9 California at #16 UCLA
Gametracker, free audio, free video for both matches
BRUINS BEGIN HOME SCHEDULE AGAINST STANFORD, CAL
For the first time this season, the Bruins (11-4, 1-1 Pac-10) will take to the Pauley Pavilion sport court as they host Stanford (7-4, 0-1) on Friday and California (8-3, 1-0) on Saturday. Both matches start at 7 p.m. and will feature Gametracker, as well as free audio and video, on UCLABruins.com.
BREAST CANCER AWARENESS WEEKEND
The Bruins will host their annual Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend for this week's matches against Stanford and California. UCLA will be playing in pink and white jerseys, which will be auctioned off on UCLABruins.com. Pink t-shirts will be available for purchase and will gain admission to both weekend matches.
BRUINS IN THE POLLS
For the second straight week, the Bruins dropped in the AVCA Top 25 poll, falling from 14th to 16th. UCLA has fallen nine spots in the last two polls after going 2-3 in its last five matches. The Bruins dropped six spots to 13th in last week's Volleyball Magazine poll, with a new poll coming out on Tuesday. In the Pac-10 Preseason Coaches poll, the Bruins were ranked fourth behind Washington, California and Stanford.
BRUINS ON THE NET
All UCLA home matches will feature free audio and video at UCLABruins.com. Darren Preston and Michael Sondheimer will call all the action. In addition, Gametracker or live stats will be available for all home matches and most road contests. Links can be found on the schedule page of UCLABruins.com.
SCOUTING THE CARDINAL
Stanford dropped its Pac-10 opener at California on Friday in five sets to fall to 0-3 in away matches this season. The Cardinal have also lost at Hawai'i and Notre Dame, as well as falling in five sets in a neutral contest against Florida. Stanford is hitting .287 as a team, averaging 1.07 aces and 2.46 blocks per set. Three players average over two kills per set, led by junior outside hitter/setter Cassidy Lichtman, who leads the squad with 3.32 kills per set and also averages 2.24 digs and 3.51 assists per set with a .328 hitting percentage. Junior outside Alix Klineman is second with 3.11 kps, while senior middle blocker Janet Okogbaa is third with 2.63 kps and first with a .383 hitting percentage and 1.32 blocks per set. The Cardinal have employed three setters this season. Along with Lichtman, who was last year's setter, freshman Karissa Cook is averaging 5.88 aps, while senior Joanna Evans posts 5.46 aps. The top digger is junior Gabi Ailes, who averages 4.00 dps.
THE MATCHUP: UCLA-STANFORD
The Cardinal have won 17 straight against the Bruins and hold a 40-34 all-time series lead. During Stanford's streak, eight of the matches have gone four sets, five have gone the distance and four have been sweeps. Last year, the Bruins dropped a four-setter at Pauley Pavilion and a five-setter at Stanford. In the home contest on Oct. 26, Amanda Gil had 12 kills, while Dicey McGraw added 10, as the Bruins won the opening set but dropped the last three. McGraw had 12 kills in the match in Palo Alto on Nov. 22, Gil posted 11 kills and seven blocks and Lainey Gera recorded 19 digs in the five-set defeat. Stanford holds a 17-16 edge in matches in Westwood. The last victory for the Bruins was a sweep at Pauley in 2000.
SCOUTING THE GOLDEN BEARS
Since starting its season 2-3, California has won six straight, including its Pac-10 opener against Stanford in five sets on Friday. The streak began with a five-set triumph at Hawai'i and has continued with five consecutive home victories. Senior outside hitter Hana Cutura leads Cal with 4.86 kills per set, adding 2.02 digs per set with a .298 hitting percentage. Sophomore outside Tarah Murrey is second with 2.58 kps to go along with 2.07 dps, while senior middle blocker Mindi Wiley is third with 2.35 kps and first with 1.07 blocks per set. Junior Carli Lloyd handles the setting and averages 10.47 assists per set, while senior Kristen Kathan is the top defender with 3.26 dps. The Golden Bears hit .258 as a team with 0.70 aces and 2.64 blocks per set.
THE MATCHUP: UCLA-CALIFORNIA
The Bruins lead the all-time series against the Bears 50-4, but California has claimed the last three, all in five sets. Last year at Pauley on Oct. 24, Katie Camp had 19 kills and six blocks, while Dicey McGraw added 14 kills, but Cal claimed the marathon victory. The Bears came out on top again in Berkeley on Nov. 21. Amanda Gil had nine kills and 10 blocks, McGraw had 10 kills and Sara Sage posted nine kills. Cal has won back-to-back matches at Pauley Pavilion, its only two victories in Westwood in 26 appearances. UCLA's last win was a five-set triumph in Berkeley in 2007, meaning each of the last four matches have gone the distance.
BRUINS IN THE NCAA RANKINGS
The Bruins are ranked in the Top 40 nationally in two statistical categories, coming in at 27th in blocks per set (2.59) and 38th in kills per set (13.58). Sophomore Amanda Gil is 10th in the country in bps at 1.45 and 23rd in hitting percentage at .391.
BRUINS IN THE PAC-10 RANKINGS
Sophomore Amanda Gil remained at the top spot among conference players in blocks per set at 1.45 in this week's rankings. Gil is also fifth in hitting percentage at .391. Junior Dicey McGraw ranks in the Pac-10 Top 10 in a pair of categories, coming in at seventh in kills per set (3.51) and 10th in points per set (3.93). Sophomore Lainey Gera is third in digs per set (4.11), freshman Lauren Cook is seventh in assists per set (9.94) and freshman Bojana Todorovic is ninth in aces per set (0.35). As a team, the Bruins are second in digs per set (15.49), fourth in opponent hitting percentage (.154) and fifth in kills (13.58) and blocks (2.59) per set.
QUICK DRAW McGRAW
Showing how great her two-way play has become in her third season in Westwood, junior Dicey McGraw recorded a pair of double-doubles last weekend and posted a career high in kills in the Bruins' victory at Arizona. McGraw led UCLA in kills in each of the four sets against the Wildcats, finishing with a personal-best 20. The junior hit .350 and also produced on defense, where she had 15 digs, one shy of her career high. McGraw began the week with a team-high 13 kills to go along with 11 digs against Arizona State on Friday. After posting only four double-doubles in her first two seasons as a Bruin, McGraw has three this year. Her first of 2009 came against BYU when she notched 17 kills and 12 digs. The junior remains at the top spot on the team in kills per set at 3.51, averaging 1.96 digs per set. She has eight double-figure kills contests, which also leads the squad, and has paced the Bruins in kills in a team-best nine matches, including four in a row. McGraw's previous season high in kills came at Nebraska on Sept. 13 when she had 18. She also posted personal highs in points (22.5) and service aces with three against the Huskers. The junior added 16 kills against Loyola Marymount on Sept. 5 and has 12-kill contests against Santa Clara (Aug. 28), Hawai'i (Aug. 30) and Fordham (Sept. 19), recording at least seven in every match. In the victory against Santa Clara, McGraw had only two errors in 20 swings for a career-high .500 hitting percentage. On defense, McGraw has four matches with at least 10 digs, posting 10 against Idaho on Sept. 5, and has added at least six digs in five more contests.
THREAT AT THE NET
Sophomore Amanda Gil continues to hold her title as one of the best blockers in the nation, ranking at the top of the Pac-10 and 10th nationally with 1.45 blocks per set. Gil has eight matches with at least five blocks, including seven in the Bruins' victory at Arizona on Saturday. She added six kills and only one error in 15 swings. On Friday, Gil was limited to only one set due to flu-like symptoms, posting one kill. The sophomore's season high in blocks came at Cal State Fullerton (Sept. 18) when she had nine, adding 11 kills and a .400 hitting percentage. She also has eight-block efforts against Virginia (Sept. 11) and Pepperdine (Sept. 16) and had seven at UNLV on Sept. 4. Gil's defensive play is also shown in her digging. She has at least four digs in a match six times, including a career-best seven against Nebraska on Sept. 13. On offense, Gil is second on the team with 2.28 kills per set and a .391 hitting percentage. Over her last seven matches, she is hitting .407, committing zero or one error six times. The sophomore has hit .400 or better in a match seven times, with her season high coming against Virginia when she had 10 kills and one error in 16 attempts for a .562 hitting percentage. Gil had four straight double-figure kills matches from Sept. 11 to 18, posting 10 against Virginia, Nebraska and Pepperdine and 11 at Fullerton. Her other double-figure contest came against Loyola Marymount on Sept. 5 when she had 10. In the serving department, the sophomore has six aces, which is tied for fifth on the team, and no service errors.
Freshman Lauren Cook leads the Bruins in double-doubles with five, posting them in consecutive matches from Sept. 10 to 18. The streak began upon the return to her hometown of Lincoln, Neb. at the Ameritas Players Challenge, with Cook posting 43 assists and 14 digs against BYU on Sept. 10. A day later against Virginia, she had 44 assists and 15 digs. Cook concluded the weekend with a season-high 48 assists and 15 digs against then-#5 Nebraska to help the Bruins to a weekend sweep and earn herself AVCA National and Pac-10 Player of the Week honors. She became just the fifth Bruin to earn AVCA NPOW, joining Annett Buckner (1994), Kristee Porter (1998), Nellie Spicer (2005) and Nana Meriwether (2006). The double-double streak continued the following week when Cook went for 37 assists and 12 digs at Pepperdine (Sept. 16) and 44 assists and 13 digs at Cal State Fullerton (Sept. 18). The freshman leads the Bruins with 9.94 assists per set and a .422 hitting percentage, also placing third with 2.24 digs per set. She has at least 30 assists in 12 of her 14 matches and has crossed the 40 mark five times. Besides quarterbacking the offense, Cook has been helping the Bruins with her killing, posting four kills or more eight times. She had a season high in kills against Virginia when she produced six with no errors in 10 swings for a .600 percentage. Cook tied that output on Saturday with six kills at Arizona. The freshman has posted at least three kills with no errors six times. Cook is also tied for third on the team with seven service aces.
LAINEY THE LIBERO
Sophomore Lainey Gera tallied another 20-plus digs match last weekend in the desert, recording 21 digs in the Bruins' win at Arizona. She added six assists and two service aces against the Wildcats. Gera preceded that match with 15 digs against Arizona State, giving her a team-best 12 double-figure digs contests. The sophomore leads the squad with 4.11 digs per set, ranking third in the Pac-10. Gera has at least 10 digs in 10 of her last 11 matches. The only time she didn't make it to double figures was on Sept. 19 against Fordham when she was given a break from her libero duties, but she still totaled seven digs and posted her first kill of the year. Her season and career high in digs came on Sept. 13 at Nebraska when she had 25. Gera also crossed the 20-dig threshold on Sept. 10 when she made 22 digs against BYU and has at least 15 digs in three other contests. In addition to her prowess at digging, Gera has chipped in offensively with her serving and setting. The sophomore's 13 service aces are second on the team, as she has recorded at least one in eight of the last 12 matches, including three at Pepperdine on Sept. 16, which tied a career high. Gera has also tallied at least five assists in a match six times, posting a career-high seven against Hawai'i.
APPROACHING A GRAND CLUB
Senior Kaitlin Sather had a pair of 12-dig matches last weekend at Arizona State and Arizona and moved closer to a prestigious club. Sather has 928 digs as a Bruin and is just 72 away from becoming only the 12th Bruin to reach 1,000 in both kills and digs. The senior, who will make her 100th career start on Friday against Stanford, is second on the squad with 2.69 digs per set and seven double-figure digs matches. All of those double-figure contests have come in her last 10 matches, with her season high of 16 coming at Nebraska on Sept. 13. Sather added 13 kills against the Huskers for a double-double, one of four on the season and 41 for her career. Her first came on Sept. 10 against BYU (12 k, 12 d), also recording them against Virginia (13 k, 13 d) on Sept. 11 and Pepperdine (12 k, 12 d) on Sept. 16. Sather has six double-figure kills matches this year and 75 for her career. Her first two of the season were 10-kill contests against Western Michigan (Aug. 29) and Idaho (Sept. 5). Sather surpassed 1,000 kills in her junior campaign of 2007 and continues her climb up the UCLA career charts, moving into a tie for 16th last weekend with Jenny Evans with 1,278 kills. Next up on the list is 15th-place Elisabeth Bachman, who had 1,308 kills at UCLA.
BO KNOWS VOLLEYBALL
Freshman Bojana Todorovic posted her second double-figure kills match at Arizona State on Friday and was rewarded with her fourth start of the year in Saturday's win at Arizona. After producing 11 kills and seven digs against the Sun Devils, Todorovic got the nod in the starting six in Tucson and had seven kills, eight digs and two service aces against the Wildcats. The freshman remains atop the team in aces with 18 and also ranks fourth with 2.04 digs per set to go along with 1.16 kills per set. Todorovic's first double-figure kills match came at Nebraska on Sept. 13 when she had 10. She has posted at least 10 digs in two contests, producing a season-high 16 against Fordham on Sept. 19 and 12 against BYU on Sept. 10. In the match with Fordham, Todorovic spelled Lainey Gera as the libero and also added three aces with her season-best digs effort. The freshman has three other matches with nine digs. In the aces department, Todorovic tallied a season-best four at Pepperdine on Sept. 16. She has 12 in her last six contests and is ninth among Pac-10 players in aces per set.
Sophomore Katie Camp has been consistent over the past three weeks, recording at least five kills in six of her last nine matches. In the Bruins' victory at Arizona on Saturday, Camp had six kills to go along with three blocks. The sophomore is fifth on the team with 1.71 kills per set, third with a .314 hitting percentage and tied for second with 0.81 blocks per set. Camp's season high in kills came on back-to-back nights on Sept. 10 and 11, notching nine against BYU and Virginia. Against BYU, she had only one error in 14 attacks for a .571 hitting percentage, adding four blocks. She also has an eight-kill effort at Nebraska (Sept. 13) and seven versus Fordham (Sept. 19). Camp has produced five blocks in a match three times against Nebraska, Fordham and Long Beach State (Sept. 19).
NEWS AND NOTES
Andy Banachowski is closing in on his 1,100th career victory. The UCLA skipper has an overall record of 1,093-296, making him the winningest coach in women's volleyball history ... the Bruins played their 1,000th NCAA match on Saturday at Arizona. UCLA is 774-226 since joining the NCAA in 1981 ... after playing in only four sets through her first year and a half in Westwood, sophomore Amber McBenttez took part in all seven sets against the Arizona schools. McBenttez had five digs at Arizona State and posted a dig and an ace on match point in the win over Arizona.