Women's Volleyball Aims For NCAA Championship
Nov. 16, 2000
The Bruins complete their Pac-10 schedule this week, with road matches against Washington State on Thursday and Washington on Friday. UCLA's chances for a second consecutive Pac-10 championship took a possibly fatal blow on Saturday, with a 3-1 loss to Arizona, leaving the Bruins in third place in the Pac-10.UCLA does, however, remain in the running to host a first/second round site for the NCAA Championships, although the Bruins will need to win its remaining matches in order to secure a favorable seed. The Bruins swept the two Washington schools in the first weekend of conference play, on Sept. 14-15 in Pauley Pavilion. UCLA leads both all-time series with a 32-5 record against Washington and a 24-5 all-time mark against the Cougars.
UCLA Downs Pepperdine, ASU But Falls to No. 3 Arizona
The Bruins completed their final regular-season homestand last week, with wins over Pepperdine and Arizona State, but were unable to defeat Arizona on Saturday. In Tuesday's match against the Waves, the Bruins had two players with double-figure kills in the 15-12, 15-13, 15-1 victory, as Kristee Porter checked in with 14 kills and Ashley Bowles hit .455 with 11 kills on the evening. Friday's match against Arizona State, which was televised live on FOX Sports Net, saw the Bruins take a 15-12, 15-10, 15-7 victory, while five UCLA players had double-figure kills. Senior Elisabeth Bachman had 18 kills to go along with three blocks and a .552 attack percentage, while Porter also posted 18 kills. Bowles had 13 kills and three service aces, while Fendrick has 12 digs and 13 kills. Redshirt freshman Ella Harley had 10 kills and a match-high five blocks. Saturday's senior night match against Arizona did not go as well, as UCLA lost 6-15, 15-2, 15-4, 15-6. Porter led all players with 22 kills, while Bachman and Fendrick had 12 kills apiece. Bachman did post three solo blocks on her senior night, and UCLA's other senior, Michelle Quon, had a team-high two service aces.
Last Time Against Washington and Washington State
The Bruins came out of the gate quickly in the first weekend of Pac-10 play, dispatching Washington and Washington State with 3-0 victories. On Sept. 14, the Huskies rebounded from a 15-0 game two loss to put up a fight in the third game of the match. UW built a 12-10 lead before the Bruins fought back to take the third game by a 15-12 margin. Kristee Porter and Ashley Bowles both posted double-figure kills as UCLA out-blocked the Huskies 8-0 and forced UW into a -.010 team hitting percentage. The Sept. 15 match against the Cougars was similar, as UCLA posted a 15-8, 15-5, 15-8 win over Washington State. After the Cougars posted team hitting percentages of -.122 and .054 in the first two games of the match, they came out to a 7-1 lead in the third game, and finished at .366 for the game and .101 for the match. UCLA built its third-game comeback on the performances of Porter and Lauren Fendrick, a tandem that combined for 13 game-five kills.
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 ï¿½ï¿½The 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 ï¿½ï¿½Porter leads the Pac-10 with 496 kills, good for a 5.90 per-game average ï¿½ She also ranks fourth in the current NCAA standings (11/15) with that average ï¿½ Her 1,500th career kill was downed on Sept. 29 against Oregon (1,534), with the 1,600th coming on Oct. 13 at ASU ï¿½ï¿½No. 1,700 came in the first game against Pepperdine (Nov. 7) ï¿½ï¿½With 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 ï¿½ï¿½Porter 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 ï¿½ She also earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors after that tournament on Sept. 5, following the Hawaiian Airlines Classic ï¿½ 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 1,748 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 currently leads the Pac-10 in blocks with a 1.38 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 1,190 kills and 574 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 couldnt 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 1,140 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 4,353 to her credit. That number is also tops among the Pac-10's active setters. Selsor currently leads the Pac-10 and is 12th in the NCAA standings (11/15) with 14.06 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 (892-210, .809), and is now just eight victories shy of 900 for his career. Additionally, Banachowski was honored with USA Volleyball's ï¿½All-Time Great Coachï¿½ 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 14 of UCLA's 25 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 0.94 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 80 games and averaging 2.01 digs/game with 15 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 28 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 117 block solos (2nd), 457 block assists (4th) and 574 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 1,140. With 4,353 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.