Volleyball Wraps Up First Half Of League Play In Washington

Oct. 10, 2000

THIS WEEK: The first half of Pacific-10 play concludes this week, with the Beavers (12-5, 4-3) heading north to take on the Washington schools. OSU faces Washington State (10-6, 1-6) at 7 p.m., Friday, October 13 before playing Washington(4-10, 0-7) at 7 p.m., Saturday, October 14.

OSU VS. THE WASHINGTON SCHOOLS: The Beavers are 25-32 all-time against Washington State. OSU snapped an 11-match losing streak against the Cougars with a win in Corvallis last season (15-11, 17-15, 15-7) but then lost up in Pullman later in the year (15-9, 15-8, 15-13). OSU has not beaten WSU in Pullman since 1990. The Beavers are 19-32 all-time against Washington, with the Huskies owning a two-match winning streak in the series after two 3-1 wins over OSU last season (15-10, 15-5, 14-16, 15-11 at OSU, 15-9, 12-15, 15-4, 15-7 at UW).

SOMERA SAYS:

* On the Washington schools: 'Both Washington State and Washington are hungry for some wins and will be back at home. We need to be prepared for Washington State. They're back at Bohler Gym, and they have a very energetic crowd that really gets into volleyball and gives them a home court advantage. We need to be prepared for that. Washington State is similar to ASU in terms of digging, ball control and serving. Washington relies more on their blocking to help them perform well. Our game plans will reflect the differences in the two teams.'

* On the Beavers' progress: 'We've got to keep working on things on our side of the court. We're getting better in some areas of execution that we've been working on in the gym. That's nice to see. It's a sign of improvement, and that's what we're working to do.'

RECAPPING LAST WEEK'S ACTION: Oregon State split its matches against the Arizona schools this past weekend, capturing a win over Arizona State but falling to No. 7 Arizona. On Saturday, OSU defeated ASU in four games (10-15, 15-11, 15-12, 15-12) to pick up its first win over the Sun Devils since 1997. Gina Schmidt led the Beavers with 24 kills and 20 digs to go along with a .417 hitting percentage, while Brandi Bonnarens also added a double-double with 64 assists and 11 digs. Angie Shirley hit .438 with 16 kills, and Katrina Nelson and Michele Solomon each added 10 kills in the win. The previous night against the Wildcats, the Beavers fell in three games (15-9, 15-8 and 16-14) despite a late surge that almost sent the match into a fourth game. Lori Daedelow led OSU with 13 kills and a .435 hitting percentage, while Schmidt and Solomon registered 11 kills apiece. Bonnarens had a double-double in that match as well, with 39 assists and a team-high 11 digs.

BEAVERS RANKED 10TH IN REGIONAL POLL: Oregon State is ranked 10th in the Oct. 4 Pacific Region rankings, which are conducted by the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Committee. Five other Pac-10 teams are ranked in the regional poll as well. Rankings are updated every other week.

OSU'S 4-3 PAC-10 RECORD BEST SINCE 1993: OSU'S 4-3 record in league play is its best mark in league play since the 1993 season, when the Beavers were 5-2 through the first seven matches of conference competition. If the Beavers happen to win both matches this weekend, it would be the first time since 1990 that OSU finished the first half of Pac-10 play with a 6-3 record.

SCHMIDT A BIG HIT: Gina Schmidt continues to rack up big numbers this year. She led OSU with 24 kills and 20 digs and had an impressive .417 hitting percentage in OSU's win over Arizona State last week. That was the second time this year that she's had 20 or more kills and digs in the same match (She had 20 kills and 27 digs in OSU's win over Cal). She's had 20 or more kills eight times this season, including in seven of OSU's last 10 matches. She's had 10 or more kills in all but two matches this year. She leads OSU with 283 kills and her 4.29 kills per game average is fourth best in the Pac-10. She's on pace to become the first Beaver since 1997 to collect more than 400 kills in a single season. Schmidt also leads OSU with 211 digs (3.20 dpg, which also ranks fifth in the Pac-10). She's had 10 or more digs nine times, with 20 or more three times. She's led the team in kills 12 times this year and has been the team's leader for digs in seven matches. She's led the team in both kills and digs in six matches, and she's had a total of nine double-double efforts this year.

SHIRLEY MOVES UP A SPOT: Angie Shirley moved into fifth place for career blocks at Oregon State after adding nine in two matches last week. Shirley now has 436 career total blocks and needs 26 more to take over the No. 4 spot (Leslie Preiss had 461 from 1989-92). Shirley ranks third all-time at OSU for block assists (337) and ranks seventh for block solos (99). After becoming just the sixth Beaver to record 400 career blocks earlier this season, Shirley is edging in on another milestone and continues to move closer to reaching her 1000th career kill. She had 21 kills against Arizona and Arizona State last week, lifting her career total to 941. Should she reach the 1000-kill mark, she would become the eighth Beaver to do so and the first since 1997. Only two other Beavers (Preiss and Staci Hintze, 93-96) have finished their careers with 1000 kills and 400 blocks. Shirley currently leads the Beavers with 79 blocks (1.20 bpg, which ranks fourth in the Pac-10) this season, and she's second on the team with 219 kills (3.32 kpg). She's had 10 or more kills in 12 matches this year, with a season-best of 19 kills twice. Her season-best for blocks is 12 (also a career-high), which she set at UCLA two weeks ago. By recording 16 kills and 12 blocks against the Bruins, Shirley picked up her second career double-double (her first came as a sophomore in 1998, with 13 kills and 10 blocks against Oregon).

BONNARENS REWRITING RECORD BOOKS: Brandi Bonnarens is one of just two Beavers to dish out 3000 career assists (School-record holder Miya Malauulu, with 5368, is the other.). Bonnarens reached the milestone against Fairfield on Sept. 23 and now has 3321 career assists to her name. She has 847 so far this year and ranks fourth in the Pac-10 with 12.83 per game. Not only is she moving up the career record books, she's also made several entries to OSU's single-match record section this season. She had a career-high 81 assists against Cal on Sept. 16 to finish just one assist shy of tying OSU's single-match assists record (OSU had a school record 86 total assists in that match.). Bonnarens also had matches with 68 and 67 assists this year. Both of those totals also rank among OSU's top 10 individual single-match totals, and she now has five of the top 10 totals all-time (She had 69 assists in a match in '98 and 66 in a match last season.). With that feat, she joins Malauulu as the only other OSU setter to have 66 or more assists in more than once (Malauulu did it six times. Christine Camp, the only other Beaver to have 66+ assists in a match did so just once, with 67 in 1990). Bonnarens just missed another 66+ plus effort when she had 64 against ASU last week. In addition to her 847 assists, she also has 111 digs (1.68 dpg) to rank fourth on the team, and she's third on the squad with 67 blocks (0.68 bpg). Her .279 hitting percentage is second best on the team. She has 76 kills and is averaging 1.15 kills per game, nearly twice as many as she averaged her first three years with the program. She's also had five double-double performances this year (all asssists/digs), including two against the Arizona schools last week, marking the first time she's had double-doubles in back-to-back matches.

NELSON PROVIDING HUGE SPARK IN PAC-10 MATCHES: While Katrina Nelson has given the Beavers a big spark off the bench in nearly every match, she's been particularly key in league contests. Nelson hasn't started a Pac-10 match, but she's come in off the bench to play in 22 of 30 league games. In those games, she has 43 kills (1.95 kpg). Her .295 hitting percentage in Pac-10 matches is the best on the team, by far (OSU is hitting just .187 as a team in league matches.). Overall, she's hitting .220 with 83 kills (1.89 kpg), 34 digs (0.77 dpg) and 14 blocks (0.32 bpg). in 44 games of work. She's had 10 or more kills three times this season, highlighted by a career-best 18 against Stanford. She had 10 kills against ASU last week, and her other double-digit effort came against Boise State the first week of the season.

SOLOMON ENTERS RECORD BOOK: Michele Solomon made her way into OSU's career record book last week when she recorded her 154th career block assist. That puts her at No. 10 on OSU's all-time list for block assists. She has 178 career total blocks, 32 away from cracking the top 10 in that category as well. Solomon has 67 blocks (1.03 bpg) this season, second best on the team. She is third on the team for kills with 152 (2.34 kpg). She's had 10 or more kills in nine matches this year, including both matches last week. She had double-figure kills in just two of 26 matches as a rookie. She had a career-high 17 kills against Cal on Sept. 16, and she also had 10 blocks in that match for her first career double-double.

DYNAMITE DEFENSE: Oregon State has gotten strong play from all three of its defensive specialists this season. The trio is a big reason the Beavers have improved their defense over the past year. OSU currently ranks fourth in the league in digs with an average of 16.02 digs per game (OSU's defense was ninth in the league last year. ). The Beavers have 677 digs so far this year, and the three DS's have accounted for nearly one third of them. Jessica Papell ranks second on the team with 155 digs, and she ranks 10th in the Pac-10 with an average of 2.67 a game. Nikki Neuburger is third on the squad with 131 (2.26 dpg), and Lianne Dela Cruz has added 52 digs (1.53 dpg) this year. Papell has had 20 or more digs in three matches this year, highlighted by a career-high 23 against Oregon. She's had 10 or more digs in eight matches and has been the team's dig leader in five matches. Neuburger's top effort this year was a career-high 17 at Oregon, and she's had 10 or more in four other matches this year. Dela Cruz has had a season-best nine digs twice.

A LOOK AT THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS: Washington State (10-6, 1-6) dropped two matches in the Bay Area last week. The Cougars are led by LaToya Harris. She ranks sixth in the league for kills (3.87 kpg, 213 total) and is also sixth for digs (3.07 dpg, 169 total). Washington has lost 10 of its last 11 matches and brings an eight-match losing streak into the weekend. The Huskies (4-10, 0-7) are led by Emily Seacat (154 kills) and Lisa Underhill (142 kills).

HEAD COACH NANCY SOMERA: The Beavers are under the direction of second-year head coach Nancy Somera. Somera, whose career record stands at 20-23, arrived in Corvallis in February 1999 after spending time as an assistant coach at Southern California since 1991. While at USC, Somera helped the team earn eight consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. She also helped develop eight USC All-Americans. Somera also played collegiately at USC, and she was a two-time All-Pacific-10 Team selection. She still holds the USC record for career and single-season aces.

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