Nov. 29, 2000
It's Tournament Time, and the Bruins will open NCAA Championship play in Pauley Pavilion for the second-consecutive year, playing host to Morgan State, UW-Milwaukee and Michigan State for a first and second round site. The Bruins have never played first-round opponent Morgan State or UW-Milwaukee. UCLA is 2-0 all-time against Michigan State, including a 3-1 victory on Sept. 8 at the adidas Invitational.
UCLA is one of six Pac-10 teams included in this year's NCAA Tournament, and one of three Pac-10 teams opening postseason play at home. USC and Arizona are also playing at home, as the Trojans are the No. 1 seed in the Pacific Region, while the Wildcats are the second seed in the Central Region. Stanford, Arizona State and Washington State were also selected for the Championship field.
Three Bruins All-Tournament at Baylor Thanksgiving Classic
UCLA won its final two regular season matches over the Thanksgiving weekend, defeating Connecticut (15-1, 15-9, 15-13) and host Baylor (15-9, 15-7, 15-8) to earn the Baylor Thanksgiving Classic title. Three Bruins were named to the All-Tournament Team, Elisabeth Bachman, Ashley Bowles and tournament MVP Kristee Porter.
In the first match of the tournament, 11 Bruins saw match action against the Huskies. Bowles led three Bruins in double-figure kills with 21 kills and a .576 attack percentage. Bachman (14K, .500, 3 BA) and Porter (15K, 10 Digs, 3 TB) joined Bowles in double figures. Freshman Cira Wright had two kills and four blocks in her two games played, while Alyssa Rylander recorded two service aces in one game on the floor. Lauren Hogan was one of six Bruins with multiple blocks, recording three assists in one game played.
Against the host Bears, the Bruins cruised to a .352 team attack percentage, spreading 59 kills among six players. Porter hit .514 with 22 kills, two service aces and nine digs in the championship match, and was joined in double figures by Bowles, who double-doubled with 12 kills and 14 digs, and Bachman who had 11 kills and six block assists in the match.
Last Time Against Michigan State
In UCLA's Sept. 8 match against Michigan State, senior Elisabeth Bachman became the first Bruin other than Kristee Porter to lead the team in kills. Bachman had 22 kills, the first of three 20-kill matches she has recorded this season. The Bruins won a four-game contest against the Spartans with game scores of 13-15, 15-12, 15-11, 15-7 at the adidas Invitational in South Bend, IN.
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 (895-211, .809), and is now just five 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.
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 625 kills, good for a 5.84 per-game average ? She also ranks fourth in the current NCAA standings (11/29) with that average ? Her 1,700th kill came in the first game against Pepperdine (Nov. 7), and 1,800 was downed on Nov. 24 against UConn ??Porter's season total of 625 kills is fourth-best in Pac-10 history and third-best in Bruin history ??With her 5.84 per-game average, she'll hold four of the top-six season averages in conference history ??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 and Baylor Thanksgiving Classic ? She also earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors on Sept. 5, following the Hawaiian Airlines Classic ? Porter now has four career 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 1,823 kills is third-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 currently leads the Pac-10 in blocks with a 1.39 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 1,243 kills and 593 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.
Seven Bruins Earn Pac-10 Postseason Honors
Two Bruins, senior middle blocker Elisabeth Bachman and junior outside hitter Kristee Porter were named first-team All-Pac-10. Joining Bachman and Porter on the All-Pac-10 team as honorable mention selections were junior Ashley Bowles, sophomore Lauren Fendrick and junior setter Erika Selsor. Ella Harley was named to the honorable mention All-Freshman team.
Three Bruins earned All-Academic notice, with Bachman's 3.65 GPA in Communications Studies earning first-team recognition. Fendrick, who has not yet declared an academic major, was a second-team selection with a 3.90 GPA. Senior defensive specialist Michelle Quon was an honorable mention All-Academic selection with a 3.34 GPA in Psychology. Bachman and Fendrick also earned All-District VIII All-America honors, with Bachman named to the first team and Fendrick named to the second team.
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 1,204 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 4,573 to her credit. That number is also tops among the Pac-10's active setters. Selsor currently leads the Pac-10 and is fifth in the NCAA standings (11/29) with 14.41 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.
Opposing Hitting Percentage Bottoms Out
Opponents in 15 of UCLA's 29 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), Arizona State (.203) and Baylor (.204) 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 0.93 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 93 games and averaging 2.06 digs/game with 21 aces, and Rylander posting one ace to go along with 1.97 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 24 blocks in 32 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. Opponents in 16 of UCLA's 29 regular sesaon matches have been ranked at match time, with seven of those matches against opponents ranked in the top-five at match time. Thirteen of UCLA's regular-season opponents are among the 64 teams in the NCAA Tournament field.
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 comparatively 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 119 block solos (2nd), 474 block assists (3rd) and 593 total blocks (3rd), 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 1,204. With 4,573 career assists, sophomore setter Erika Selsor leads the Pac-10 list of active setters. Senior defensive specialist Michelle Quon has broken into UCLA's all-time top-10 list in digs, with 990 for her career.
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.