Volleyball Opens 2001 Campaign In Seattle

Aug. 28, 2001

This Week:
Pt. Huskies Invitational Schedule
Fri., August 31 -
Purdue vs. Texas (5 PM),
Washington vs. BYU (7 PM)

Sat., September 1 -
BYU vs. Texas# (10:30 AM),
Washington vs. Purdue (10:30 AM)
BYU vs. Purdue (5:30 PM),
Washington vs. Texas (7:30 PM)

# = All games played in the Bank of America Arena,except the BYU vs. Texas match (Pavilion Addition)

A New Era: The Washington volleyball team opens a new era this Friday, August 31, with day one action of the four-team Point Huskies Invitational Tournament in Seattle.

Not only do the Huskies have a new coaching staff in head coach Jim McLaughlin and assistants Rick McLaughlin and Leslie Tuiasosopo, the team also will be playing in a new venue and with a brand new scoring format.

Pt. Huskies!: Three of the nation's top volleyball teams will travel to Seattle for the Point Huskies Invitational Tournament, August 31 - September 1. Eleventh-ranked Brigham Young, perennial power Texas and Big Ten Conference member Purdue will join the Huskies in a three match, round-robin format. The teams will play one match apiece on Friday evening, followed by two matches on Saturday. Admission to both days of the tournament is free.

A New Coach: Jim McLaughlin, head coach at Kansas State University for the past four seasons, was named head women's volleyball coach at the University of Washington on August 1, 2001. McLaughlin, who became the seventh head coach in school history, replaces former head coach Bill Neville, who announced his retirement on July 17, after 10 years at Washington.

McLaughlin spent the last four seasons building the Kansas State women's volleyball program into a national power, compiling an 82-43 record and taking the Wildcats to four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. Last season, McLaughlin led Kansas State to a 22-9 record, a program-best No. 16 national ranking and its first-ever trip to the NCAA Sweet 16.

Prior to a one-year stint as an assistant at Notre Dame in 1996, McLaughlin was the men's head coach at the University of Southern California for seven seasons, leading the Trojans to the NCAA title in 1990 (his first season as head coach) and a runner-up finish a year later.

Not The Only New Guy: Washington is not the only Pac-10 team to open the season with a new head coach at the helm. Former University of the Pacific head coach John Dunning takes over at Stanford for Don Shaw, who was named the Cardinal's head men's coach. Dunning brings with him 16 years of head coaching experience and two NCAA championships.

The other new face is that of former University of Texas and U.S. women's national team coach Mick Haley, who originally accepted the USC head coach position in June of 1999, but did not join the team until after the 2000 Olympic Games. The Women of Troy were coached in the interim by Jerritt Elliott, who ironically is now the head coach at the University of Texas.

A New Arena: After two seasons in the Pavilion Addition, the Huskies return to the newly renovated Bank of America Arena with seating for 10,000 fans. The new arena, which opened last November 24, for the Washington-Connecticut women's basketball game, features a new volleyball locker room and a team meeting area.

In 1997 and 1998, the team's last two seasons in the old Hec Edmundson Pavilion, the UW averaged over 1,000 fans per match.

New Rules: One of the biggest changes for the Huskies this season will actually be in the game itself, as a number of new rules, such as the let serve and the international pursuit rule, in addition to a new rally-scoring format, will go into effect in 2001.

2001 Volleyball Rule Changes
The new scoring format is as follows:
- Best three out of five games
- Rally scoring to 30 pts. in games 1-4
- Game five remains rally scoring to 15 pts.
- Still must win each game by two points

Other major rule changes:
- Let serve (the ball is playable if it hits the net on the serve and goes over to the other team's side, within the confines of the two antennae)
- One toss per serve within eight seconds
- International pursuit rule (allows for a player to retrieve a ball (on second contact) that has crossed the plane of the net to the opponent's free space, provided that player does not touch the opponent's court and sends the ball back to their court, over or outside the antennas).

Success on Opening Day: The Huskies have had great success in season-openers, posting an 18-8 record (excluding the 1974 season) overall and a 4-1 mark over the past five years.

Seasoned In Home Openers: For only the eighth time in the program's 28-year history (excluding 1974), the Huskies kick off their season schedule at home. Washington has begun its season at home just twice in the last 10 years (2001, 1997) and only four times in the last 20 seasons (add 1990 and 1984).

The UW is 7-3 in home-openers since 1991, including a 6-0 streak from 1992-97.

Scouting Brigham Young: The Cougars return five starters from last year's 26-7 squad, which advanced to the regional semifinals.

Under head coach Elaine Michaelis, BYU is led by All-American Nina Puikkonen, who averaged 4.13 kills per game and 1.88 blocks per game. Puikkonen's sister, Karina, is another one of the team's returning starters, averaging 12.68 assists per game. Right-side hitter Sunny Tonga Mahe (3.14 k/g) and middle blocker Jackie Bundy (1.58 b/g) also return.

The Huskies will look for their first win ever over the Cougars after dropping the two schools' previous 10 meetings, including a three-game loss in 1997.

Scouting Purdue: Purdue and Washington meet for the third time overall (UW leads 2-1) and for the first time since 1990. This season, the Boilermakers return four starters and 10 letterwinners from last year's squad, which placed ninth in the Big Ten and finished with a 13-19 overall record.

Under head coach Jeff Hulsmeyer, Joanna Lowry led the team in kills per game with a 3.89 mark, while Maegan Peterson was second with 2.82 kills per game.

Scouting Texas: Under first-year head coach Jerritt Elliott, Texas will be looking to avenge last year's thrilling five-game loss to the Huskies in Austin. Washington's win was the team's first over a ranked team (Texas was #23) since 1997 and also was the Longhorns first loss to an unranked opponent at home since 1996.

This season, the Longhorns will be led by senior right-side hitter Gipy Duarte, who was third on the team a year ago in kills per game (2.89) and digs per game (2.58). Sophomore middle blocker Kathy Hahn set a school freshman record with a .347 hitting percentage to go along with a 3.38 kills per game average. Texas was 10-18 overall in 2000.

In the Record Books: Entering the 2001 season, three current Washington volleyball players are already among the school's all-time career top 10 in several categories. Senior center blocker Lisa Underhill (Vista, Calif.) is fourth in hitting percentage (.281), seventh in block assists (265) and eight in total blocks (300). Junior captain Paige Benjamin (Remond, Wash.) has the third-best hitting percentage (.284) of all-time and senior setter Britni Churnside (Eugene, Ore.) ranks sixth in career assists with 1,890.

Underhill could also enter the top 10 in career kills this coming weekend, as her career 834 kills are just 39 behind Amy Tutt's 873 kills.

See Us On TV: If you're looking to see a Husky home match without leaving your home, Fox Sports Net and the Pac-10 has made it all possible. Washington's match with Arizona on Friday, Nov. 9, in Seattle will be televised on a tape-delay basis. The team's Nov. 16 meeting with Washington State also may be chosen as the 'wildcard' selection, as a specific match has yet to be picked for that week.

Fox Sports Net will televise eight other Pac-10 women's volleyball matches in 2001, all of which are scheduled to air on Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. from Sept. 15-Nov. 17.

Schedule Notes: UW's 2001 schedule includes nine matches against teams ranked in the preseason top 25 and 13 versus schools receiving votes in the AVCA/USA Today poll ... the Huskies face three first-time opponents in the University of Denver, SE Louisiana and Air Force in early September ... three non-conference matches with Gonzaga, Idaho and Portland break up the team's 18-match Pac-10 schedule ... the conference schedule will begin and end with rivals week, featuring Washington's annual battle against Washington State.

New Crew: Rick McLaughlin and Leslie Tuiasosopo have been named assistant volleyball coaches at the University of Washington. McLaughlin's main duties will include recruiting and working with the team's offense, while former Husky standout (1995-98), Tuiasosopo, will work with the team's center blockers, in addition to assisting with all administrative duties.

McLaughlin, the younger brother of new UW head coach Jim McLaughlin, was the men's head volleyball coach at his alma mater, Loyola Marymount University, for eight seasons from 1993-2000. In his final year, he helped the Lions to a No. 6 national ranking and was named the ASICS/Volleyball Magazine National Coach of the Year.

Tuiasosopo, along with All-American Makare Desilets, formed one of the nation's best blocking tandems, leading the Huskies to the NCAA blocking title in 1997. A Pac-10 first team selection as a junior, Tuiasosopo ranks in the UW career top 10 in six categories including total blocks (2nd - 613) and block assists (2nd - 520).

After completing her eligibility in 1998, Tuiasosopo trained with the USA national team and was selected to participate at the 1999 World University Games in Spain. She then returned to Washington where she earned her bachelor's degree in psychology in 2000. From August 2000 until May 2001, the Woodinville, Wash., native played professional volleyball in Spain.

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