Volleyball To Play Four Road Matches This Week

Sept. 4, 2001

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THIS WEEK'S ACTION: The Oregon State volleyball team will head south for its first road trip of the season this week. The Beavers (2-1) start the week off with a match at San Francisco at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 5 before heading to Flagstaff, Ariz., for Northern Arizona's Fiesta Bowl Tournament. OSU will open the tournament with a match against UC Irvine at 9:30 a.m., Friday, Sept. 7 before playing Radford at 5 p.m. later that day. On Saturday, Sept. 8, OSU will face host Northern Arizona at 1 p.m. in the final match of the weekend.

RECAPPING LAST WEEK'S COMPETITION: Oregon State opened the 2001 season with a 2-1 record at the OSU Volleyball Showcase, with wins over Sacramento State (3-2) and Southern Illinois (3-1) and a loss to tournament champion San Jose State (3-1). Coach Nancy Somera tested out several different lineups, and 12 of the 17 players on the roster saw action in at least one of the three matches. Gina Schmidt and Laura Collins were named to the six-member All-Tournament Team for their efforts in the three matches. Schmidt led the Beavers with 49 kills (3.77 kpg) and 51 digs (3.92 dpg) while hitting .311 for the weekend. She had double-doubles in all three matches. Collins dished out 152 assists (11.69 apg) to go along with 16 kills (1.23 kpg), 23 digs (1.77 dpg) and 12 blocks (0.92 bpg).

SOMERA SAYS:

* On finalizing a lineup with so many players capable of contributing: 'It's a matter of taking a look at each match and deciding what's needed, whether it's size, experience or just a little bit of a gutsy, go-for-it (attitude). There's definitely some competition at some positions, and the players know it. They'll have to prove their case in the practice gym.'

* On having a short week, with just two days to practice: 'It's hard, because you play the first week and you always have a long list of things to work on. But with just two days of preparation this week, we'll focus on serve/receive and some of the little glitches that you see whenever you play an opponent.'

* Overall thoughts on the first week of the season: 'From an execution standpoint, with the exception of the San Jose State match, I thought our offense looked good. Our defense was good, but we missed too many serves. We don't want the team to back off by any means, but we are going to work on that. From a competitive standpoint, there were two things that stood out. One, after losing game one against Southern Illinois, we were able to come back and win commandingly in games two, three and four. Second, after an anemic effort in game four against Sacramento State (hitting .036), we were controlling from start to finish in game five, hitting .579. We didn't let (game four) get in the way or haunt us.'

A LOOK AT SAN FRANCISCO: San Francisco went 2-1 in its first week of play, posting 3-0 wins over Furman and Centenary with a 3-0 loss to Cincinnati. Junior Teresa Russell led the Dons with a .319 hitting percentage, 29 kills (3.22 kpg) and 38 digs (4.22 dpg). The Beavers have won all eight previous meetings with USF, with the last coming in 1996 when OSU defeated the Dons in four games at San Francisco.

A LOOK AT UC-IRVINE: The Anteaters opened the season with a 1-2 record, although their two losses were to two of the top four teams in the country (No. 2 USC and No. 4 Wisconsin). UC-Irvine's lone win came against Manhattan College in three games. The Anteaters were paced by junior Chanda McLeod, who hit .366 with a team-high 40 kills (4.00 kpg) and 26 digs (2.60 dpg). Freshman Kelly Wing was close behind with 39 kills (3.90 kpg) and 25 digs (2.50 dpg). This will be the first ever meeting between the Beavers and the Anteaters in volleyball.

A LOOK AT RADFORD: Like UC-Irvine, Radford faced some top competition in the first weekend of the season. The Highlanders lost to No. 10 Stanford (3-0), No. 15 Minnesota (3-1) and unranked Virginia (3-0). Sophomore Sarah Gates led the offense with 36 kills (3.60 kpg), while senior Laura Marcuson led the defense with 28 digs (2.80 dpg) to go along with 29 kills (2.90 kpg). This will be the first meeting between OSU and Radford in volleyball.

A LOOK AT NORTHERN ARIZONA: The Lumberjacks had a fairly successful opener last weekend, going 2-1 with wins over Florida State (3-2) and Fresno State (3-1) and a loss to No. 17 Pepperdine (3-0). Senior Maggie Barrera posted 43 kills (3.58 kpg) and 36 digs (3.00 dpg), while junior Chelsea Robb chipped in 32 kills (2.67 kpg) and 39 digs (3.25 dpg). This will mark the first meeting between OSU and Northern Arizona, which received votes in the USA Today/AVCA Preseason Top 25 poll.

SCHMIDT REACHES ONE MILESTONE, NEARS ANOTHER: Gina Schmidt started where she left off last year with an impressive opening weekend of play. She hit .311 on the weekend and led the Beavers with 49 kills (3.77 kpg) and 51 digs (3.92 dpg). She posted double-doubles in all three matches to earn All-Tournament honors. She had highs of 21 kills against Sacramento State and 19 digs against San Jose State. She became the ninth Beaver to record 1,000 career kills when she slammed down her second kill in the first game against Southern Illinois. After finishing the weekend with 49 kills, Schmidt now has 1,030 career kills to rank ninth on OSU's all-time list. Next to pass is Sandy Huntley (1980-82), who had 1,041 kills. Schmidt is also closing in on the top 10 for digs. With 51 last week, she upped her career total to 847, which ranks 11th on OSU's all-time list. Twenty more will move her into the top 10. With 153 more, she'll become the ninth Beaver with 1,000 career digs and the fifth with 1,000 career kills and digs.

SOLOMON DOMINATES AT THE NET: Michele Solomon continued her climb up the record books after a dominating blocking performance last week. The junior led the Beavers with 18 blocks, good for an average of 1.38 blocks per game. She also shined on the offensive side of things as well, recording 32 kills (2.46 kpg) to go along with an outstanding .386 hitting percentage. Solomon has already made her way into the top 10 for career blocks after just two+ seasons with the Beavers. She ranks 10th for total blocks, with 249 - nine away from tying Chris Eilliott (258, 1980-83) for ninth place. Solomon also ranks eighth for career block assists with 218. With nine more, she'll tie Shelly Smith (227, 1991-94) for seventh place.

SETTING A NEW STANDARD: The Beavers debuted a new starting setter in Laura Collins this season after losing three-year starter Brandi Bonnarens to graduation last year. Collins wasted no time in taking over the offense as she was named to the All-Tournament Team at the OSU Volleyball Showcase. She dished out 152 assists (11.69 apg), including a career-high 67 against Sacramento State. Collins finished with her second career double-double in the match with the Hornets, adding a career-high 11 digs to go along with her 67 assists. Her 67 assists in that match ties for 10th on OSU's single-match assists list. She had 23 digs (1.77 dpg) on the weekend and was second on the team with 12 blocks (0.92 bpg). True freshman Monica Meihack also got a chance to set this past weekend, with 13 assists in two games of work against San Jose State.

HANNAFORD'S HAPPENINGS: Joscelyn Hannaford got her junior year off to a strong start with 40 kills (3.08 kpg - second on the team) and 34 digs (2.62 dpg) over the weekend. She led OSU with 16 kills and a .375 hitting percentage in the win over Southern Illinois, and she recorded her first double-double of the year with 15 kills and 16 digs in the win over Sacramento State. She just missed another double-double with nine kills and 13 digs against San Jose State.

FREDERIC BREAKS INTO STARTING SPOT: After playing just one game in the season opener, K.C. Frederic had found her way into the starting lineup by the end of the first weekend of play. She had one kill and one dig in one game off the bench in the opener against San Jose State. In OSU's second match, she again came in off the bench and dominated Southern Illinois as she hit .500 with a career-high 13 kills and just one error in 24 attempts to go along with six digs. That performance earned her a spot in the starting lineup against Sacramento State, when she posted her third career double-double by collecting 11 kills and a team-best 24 digs. She's the only Beaver to have more than 20 digs in a match this season. She had 27 digs in a match against Stanford last year.

KAT'S COMEBACK: Katrina Nelson, who provided a huge spark as the first player off the bench for the Beavers last season, saw her sophomore season end prematurely with a season-ending knee injury. Coach Nancy Somera's biggest question was when Nelson would be able to get her timing and movement back to where it was a year ago. It didn't take long at all based on Nelson's performance this past weekend. She came in off the bench against San Jose State, but wasn't much of a threat when she took three swings and committed one error. But, she was phenomenal the next day against Southern Illinois and Sacramento State. In three games off the bench against SIU, she hit .750 with six kills, no errors and two blocks. She was even more impressive against the Hornets with 16 kills (two shy of a career-high), four blocks and a .444 hitting percentage. Her .447 percentage for the weekend was the best on the team, and her 22 kills was fifth-best on the squad.

NEUBURGER DRIVES DEFENSE: Nikki Neuburger finished with double-figures in the digs column in all three matches this past weekend, joining Gina Schmidt as the only other Beaver to do so. Neuburger posted 35 digs (2.69 dpg) on the weekend, second only to Schmidt. Neuburger also served two aces in all three matches and joins Megan McMillan for the team lead with six aces for the year.

BEAVERS PICKED EIGHTH IN PAC-10 COACHES' POLL: For the second year in a row, the Pac-10 volleyball coaches have picked Oregon State to finish eighth in the league, according to their preseason coaches' poll. USC, ranked sixth in this week's USA Today/AVCA Top 25 Poll, narrowly egded out Stanford as the coaches' prediction to win the Pac-10 this season. No. 9 Stanford, No. 5 Arizona and No. 7 UCLA are also ranked in this week's national poll.

HEAD COACH NANCY SOMERA: The Beavers are under the direction of third-year head coach Nancy Somera. Somera, whose career record stands at 26-35, arrived at OSU in February 1999 after spending time as an assistant coach at USC 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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