Nov. 7, 2000
UCLA's final homestand of the 2000 regular season continues this week, with three more matches at Pauley Pavilion. All three matches will impact UCLA's seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament, and two will directly influence the Pac-10 title race.
The week's schedule opens on Tuesday with a non-conference match against No. 12 Pepperdine. UCLA leads the all-time series by a 42-6 margin. Pac-10 play resumes on Friday with Arizona State, and UCLA's home schedule concludes on Saturday vs. Arizona, with senior night for Elisabeth Bachman and Michelle Quon. UCLA holds the all-time series lead against ASU (44-5) and Arizona (40-7).
On Monday (Nov. 6) the start time for Friday's ASU at UCLA match was changed from 7 p.m. to 7:30 pm in order to accommodate FOX Sports Net. The match will now be televised live in the Los Angeles area on FOX Sports West.
Bruins Gain Control of Pac-10 Race With 3-0 Victory over USC
Needing a victory to remain in the hunt for the Pac-10 Championship, that's exactly what the Bruins got on Friday night in a match televised live by FOX Sports Net. The Bruins spread their offense around, with four players downing double-figure kills, led by Kristee Porter who had 20 kills and 19 digs, and Lauren Fendrick who had 18 kills, 16 digs, two blocks and a match-high two service aces. Elisabeth Bachman (16 kills, four blocks, .419 ATK%) and Ashley Bowles (13 kills, two aces) rounded out the Bruins in double-figures.
With the three-game win, UCLA now holds the tiebreaker over the Trojans for the Pac-10's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. Arizona is the only school remaining with just one conference loss at 14-1, but they travel to 12-2 USC on Friday and 12-2 UCLA on Saturday. A Bruin win over Arizona would give UCLA a season sweep and tiebreaker over the Wildcats.
Last Time Against Arizona and Arizona State
UCLA's Kristee Porter earned her second Pac-10 Player of the Week honor of the season, following back-to-back 30-kill, 20-dig performances in key UCLA victories at Arizona and Arizona State. Porter opened the weekend's play with 35 kills and a career-high 26 digs against Arizona, a five-game win in which UCLA set a new school record with 76 points scored (15-13, 15-17, 15-17, 15-8, 16-14). In the match, Lauren Fendrick posted a career-high 18 kills, and Michelle Quon tied her career-high with 19 digs. Elisabeth Bachman checked in with eight blocks and 21 kills, her second-best kill total of the season.
On Friday night at Arizona State the show continued. Porter went 30-20 for a second consecutive night, this time with a season-best 36 kills and 21 digs to go with a season-high five blocks. Fendrick added a career-high 23 digs in another five-game thriller that went the Bruins way.
Last Season vs. Pepperdine
The Bruins and Waves faced off twice in 1999, with Pepperdine winning a five-game match at Firestone Fieldhouse in the regular season finale. The NCAA committee gave UCLA a rematch in the tournament, however, as the two teams faced off in the Central Regional Semifinal in State College, PA.
UCLA cruised to 15-9 and 15-12 victories. Then the Waves came out for game three and promptly marched out to a 14-0 lead in game three. UCLA fought off the first two of 12 Pepperdine game points to score its first point of the game. At 14-3, Porter went back to serve, earning an ace on her first jumper, and served the Bruins to eight straight points. The Bruins eventually won the game 17-15, and the match, 3-0, propelling the Bruins into the Regional Final against eventual NCAA Champion Penn State.
National Player of the Year candidate Kristee Porter opened the 2000 season by becoming the first player this year to record 30 kills in a match, and has now accomplished the feat seven times, against Penn State (30 kills, Aug. 25), vs. Texas A&M (33, Sept. 3), vs. Oregon State (30, Sept. 28), at USC (30, Oct. 6), at Arizona (35, Oct. 12), at Arizona State (36, Oct. 13) and at Oregon State (30, Oct. 27) ??The Arizona trip saw Porter post back-to-back 30-kill, 20-dig matches, and earn her second Pac-10 Player of the Week honor of the season ??The Texas A&M match, Porter's 10th career 30-kill match, was a 33-kill performance that set a new UCLA record for kills in a four-game match ??Porter leads the Pac-10 with 496 kills, good for a 5.90 per-game average ? She also ranks fourth in the current NCAA standings (11/1) with that average ? Her 1,500th career kill was downed on Sept. 29 against Oregon (1,534), with the 1,600th coming on Oct. 13 at ASU ??No. 1,700 is just six kills away entering the Pepperdine match ??With 15 career 30-kill matches, Porter more than doubles the totals of Natalie Williams and Liz Masakayan (six each) for the Pac-10 and UCLA career lead in that category ??Porter was named All-Tournament three straight weekends during the Bruins pre-conference schedule, including MVP honors at the Hawaiian Airlines Classic over the Labor Day weekend ? She also earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors after that tournament on Sept. 5, following the Hawaiian Airlines Classic ? Porter now has four total Pac-10 Player of the Week honors, one each as a freshman and sophomore and two as a junior.
Porter's Career Numbers
Last year, Kristee Porter became the second-fastest person in NCAA history and 16th Bruin to record 1,000 career kills, doing so in her 50th career match. Her 1,694 kills is fourth-best in Bruin history and is tops among the Pac-10's active players. For more information on Kristee Porter, please refer to pages 20-21 of the UCLA media guide.
Bachman Blocks for Pac-10 Lead
Senior middle blocker Elisabeth ?Wiz? Bachman is currently second in the Pac-10 in blocks with a 1.41 per-game average. She posted two career milestones on Sept. 22 in Berkeley, earning her 1,000th career kill on the third rally of UCLA's 3-1 win over Cal, and stuffed her 500th career block on the next-to-last rally of the same match. Bachman is the fourth player in UCLA history and 14th in Pac-10 history to record both 1,000 kills and 500 total blocks in her career, and currently has 1,151 kills and 559 career total blocks. The other three Bruins to have accomplished that feat are Davia Tomkus, Kim Krull and the Pac-10's Athlete of the Decade, Natalie Williams. Bachman recorded her first career double-double on Sept. 28 in Pauley Pavilion, posting 12 kills and 11 blocks (2 BS/9 BA) against Oregon State. Bachman earned her nickname of ?Wiz? at the age of two, when a childhood friend couldn't pronounce an ?L?, turning ?Liz? into ?Wiz.? For more information on All-America candidate Elisabeth Bachman, please refer to pages 14-15 of the UCLA media guide.
Bowles Resumes Dual Role
Junior Ashley Bowles returned to opposite hitter in time for the team's matches at Arizona State and Arizona after spending several weeks on the right side, and played a key role in UCLA's two five-game wins. Bowles is positioned opposite setter Erika Selsor in the team's rotation, and can set when Selsor is in the front row and is replaced for defensive reasons. Bowles notched nine assists against the Wildcats on Oct. 12 and checked in with 15 assists on Oct. 13 at ASU. On Sept. 29 against Oregon, Bowles became the 18th Bruin to reach 1,000 career kills and now has 1,109 kills for her career. She is the third current Bruin to reach the 1,000 career kill mark, joining Wiz Bachman and Kristee Porter in that accomplishment.
Setting Everyone Up
Junior setter Erika Selsor currently ranks second on UCLA's all-time career list with 4,210 to her credit. That number is also tops among the Pac-10's active setters. Selsor currently ranks 13th in the NCAA standings with 13.81 assists/game. With 72 assists at Arizona on Oct. 22, 1999, Selsor set a new UCLA standard with her seventh career match with 70 assists or more, breaking the previous record held by Ann Boyer (1985-88) and Selsor's predecessor, Kim Coleman (1994-97). Since then, she has upped that total to 11, most recently with a 77-assist performance at Arizona on Oct. 12. Selsor was named to the All-Tournament Team at the State Farm Women's Volleyball Classic.
Head Coach Andy Banachowski
In his 34th season on the Bruin bench, UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski remains one of the top coaches in his profession. On Oct. 24, 1997, he was the first women's volleyball coach to be inducted into the National Volleyball Hall of Fame in Holyoke, MA, and was the first women's coach in history to record 800 career wins (890-209, .810), and is now just 10 victories shy of 900 for his career. Additionally, Banachowski was honored with USA Volleyball's ?All-Time Great Coach? award last May in Columbus, OH. Under Banachowski's leadership, the Bruins have won six national championships, including three NCAA titles.
Opposing Hitting Percentage Bottoms Out
Opponents in 12 of UCLA's 22 matches this season, including then-No. 3 USC on Nov. 3 (.147), have hit below .200, with Texas A&M (.215), Hawaii (.203), Oregon State (.204), Arizona (.208) and Arizona State (.203) barely breaking the Mendoza line. When the Wildcats checked in at .208 on Oct. 12, it was just the second time this season that Arizona finished a match below .300. In the first weekend of Pac-10 play, Washington checked out at -.010, while Washington State hit .101 for the match. Oregon followed two weeks later with a .041 team attack percentage. Cal checked in at .073 in the Oct. 20 match in Pauley Pavilion.
In matches against the top-four teams in the Sept. 18 AVCA poll, the Bruins held No. 1 Nebraska, No. 2 Hawaii, No. 3 Penn State and No. 4 Nebraska to a combined .219 attack percentage. Following UCLA's Sept. 10 match against the Cornhuskers, those four teams were averaging an attack percentage of .322 for their 2000 seasons.
Five of UCLA's seven freshmen have now seen match action this season. Redshirt freshman Ella Harley stepped in to UCLA's second middle blocker spot when Angela Eckmier was lost for the year with a torn ACL. Harley has done an admirable job stepping into that role, ranking second on the team with 0.95 blocks/game.
In the back row, Stacey Lee and Alyssa Rylander have shared the defensive specialist role opposite senior Michelle Quon, with Lee playing in 70 games and averaging 2.00 digs/game with 13 aces, and Rylander posting one ace to go along with 1.80 digs/game.
Other freshmen seeing court time include Krystal McFarland, who has subbed for both Ashley Bowles and Lauren Fendrick in various situations and started her first career match on Oct. 6 at USC. Cira Wright has subbed in as a front-row defensive replacement for Selsor, and has racked up 20 blocks in 27 games played.
The Nation's Toughest Schedule?
Considering both mileage traveled and the teams being played, the Bruins could very well have the nation's toughest schedule in 2000. Eight of UCLA's first 10 matches were against top-25 teams. Eleven of UCLA's 17 opponents thus far have been ranked at match time, with five of those matches against oppnents ranked in the top-five at match time.
UCLA's academic schedule is on a quarter system, therefore the Bruins did not begin classes until Thursday, Sept. 28. UCLA had already finalized its 2000 schedule when the Bruins were invited to the State Farm Women's Volleyball Classic, adding the nation's premier tournament to the team's pre-conference schedule.
Criss-Crossing the Country
If you think that Presidential Candidates George W. Bush and Al Gore logged a lot of miles on the campaign trail, just take a look at the Bruins schedule during the first month of the season.
UCLA departed Westwood on Aug. 23 for Gainesville, FL (round-trip of approx. 4,850 miles) before heading to Honolulu for the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic (round-trip: 5,100 miles) and going back east for the Adidas Invitational in South Bend, IN (round-trip: 4,190 miles). The month concluded with a Pac-10 road trip to the Bay Area schools, a comparitively miniscule 760 mile round-trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Along the way, UCLA faced off against eight teams away from Pauley Pavilion that appeared in either poll at match time.
Total mileage for the Bruins between the start of the season and Oct. 1? Approximately 14,900 miles.
Many Bruins continue to move up on the school's career lists. Senior middle blocker Elisabeth Bachman is now ranked in all three of UCLA's career block categories with 114 block solos (2nd), 445 block assists (4th) and 559 total blocks (4th), and ranks at the top of the list among active Pac-10 players in total blocks. Ashley Bowles has also achieved the 1,000 kill milestone, checking in with 1,109. With 4,210 career assists, sophomore setter Erika Selsor leads the Pac-10 list of active setters.
Bruins Lose Eckmier to Torn ACL
Junior middle blocker Angela Eckmier suffered a complete tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee on Monday, Aug. 14, while the team was in Mammoth, CA, for pre-season double day workouts. She will be lost to the Bruins for all of the 2000 season. Eckmier had surgery on the knee on Sept. 7.
Bruins Top Pac-10 Preseason Poll
In a vote of the Pac-10's coaches, the Bruins were chosen as the preseason favorite to take home the Pac-10 crown. UCLA earned all nine possible votes, as coaches are not allowed to include their own team on their preseason ballot. UCLA topped the poll with 90 points and nine first-place votes, followed by Stanford (78 points, one first place vote), USC (74), Arizona (70), Arizona State (56), Cal (42), Washington State (39), Oregon State (38), Washington (35) and Oregon (18). UCLA has not captured an outright Pac-10 women's volleyball title since the 1993 season, although the Bruins did share the 1999 title with Stanford.