Volleyball Heads To Los Angeles For Final Pac-10 Road Trip

Oct. 30, 2001

SEATTLE -

Last Week:

10/26 Oregon State* L, 2-3
10/27 Oregon* W, 3-0

This Week:
11/2 at USC* 7:00 PM
11/3 at UCLA* 7:00 PM

Next Week:
11/9 Arizona* (FOX) 7:00 PM
11/10 Arizona State* 7:00 PM

Even Up: For the second straight weekend, the Washington volleyball team (11-11, 4-9 in the Pac-10) finds itself at .500, entering its two conference matches.

The UW will head down to the Golden State, to visit No. 5 USC and No. 8 UCLA, in the team's final road trip of the season. The Huskies, whose 11 wins are the program's most since 1997, will look to defeat both Los Angeles schools for the first time in four years.

Just One More: Two Washington seniors, Allison Richardson (Hemet, Calif.) and Britni Churnside (Eugene, Ore.), are just one away from entering the Husky career top-10 in two different categories.

Churnside, who moved from setter to defensive specialist this season, needs just one more dig to tie Kayley Grim for the 10th-most career digs in school history (782). She began the year with 572 digs and currently ranks ninth in that category on the Pac-10 active leaders chart.

Richardson, who has a team-best 24 service aces in 2001, is one ace short of tying former standout Angela Bransom for 10th on the UW career chart with 84. The 6-1 senior also needs 35 kills to reach the top 10 in career kills, while she passed classmate Lisa Underhill (Vista, Calif.) for career attempts with 2,387, nearly 90 short of entering the all-time rankings in that category.

Injury Report: The Huskies will once again be without the services of outside hitter Vanessa Gilliam (Fairfield, Calif.) this weekend. Gilliam, who is doubtful for the rest of the 2001 season, broke her left hand while blocking in the team's match at Stanford, October 19.

Prior to her injury, Gilliam had played in all but one of the team's matches, starting 14 times. The 6-2 freshman averaged 2.41 kills per game and 1.34 digs per game, while playing an integral role in the team's starting rotation.

With the injury, the Huskies are down to just 11 players on their active roster. UW freshman Patricia DeCiman (Regina, Saskatchewan) and sophomore Egan Metcalf (Kenmore, Wash.) are both red-shirting the season. Red-shirt freshman Alexis McDonald (Long Beach, Calif.), meanwhile, had been injured for most of the year, before suiting up last weekend.

Allison Again: With two more outstanding performances last weekend, senior Allison Richardson continues to impress.

Richardson had a career-best 27 kills in the team's five-game loss to Oregon State. The 27 kills were the most by a Washington player in a match since former standout Kristina Laffling tallied 28 versus Wisconsin in 1999. It also is the third-most kills by a player in the Pac-10 this season, trailing only a pair of All Americans in UCLA's Kristee Porter (30) and Stanford's Logan Tom (28).

For the season, the team co-captain has a team-best 11 double-doubles, while leading the Huskies in kills in 13 of 22 matches.

Above Average: UW junior Paige Benjamin (Redmond, Wash.) has found her rhythm offensively in the toughest part of the Huskies' 2001 schedule. Benjamin has hit above the .300 mark in 10 of the last 12 matches and currently is sixth in the Pac-10 in conference hitting percentage with an impressive .369 mark.

Part of the above average hitting may be due to her move from outside hitter to center blocker, but Benjamin also ranks third overall in UW's record book with a .291 career hitting percentage.

Within The Ranks: Three Washington players once again rank within the top 10 of several categories in the conference's most recent leader charts. Junior setter Gretchen Maurer's (San Clemente, Calif.) 1259 assists per game is third-best in the Pac-10, while senior Lisa Underhill is fifth in hitting percentage (.371) and sixth in blocks per game (122). Senior Allison Richardson appears in three categories, including kills (fourth), digs (eighth) and points (third).

The points category is a new feature which came about this season as a result of the rally-only scoring format. Points are calculated by adding player kills, aces, block solos and half of their block assists.

Pac-10 Power: Of Washington's 11 losses this season, six have come against teams currently ranked in the top 25, while two others have been versus teams that have received votes in the national poll sometime this season.

For the fifth straight week, the Pac-10 has four schools ranked in the top eight including No. 3 Stanford, No. 4 Arizona, No. 5 USC and No. 8 UCLA. The Pac-10's four ranked teams are rivaled only by the Big Ten Conference, which has five schools in the top 25, including No. 7 Wisconsin, No. 10 Ohio State, No. 11 Penn State, No. 24 Minnesota and No. 25 Illinois.

Scouting UCLA: UCLA (11-5, 6-4 Pac-10) enters its non-conference match with Pepperdine Tuesday, having lost three of its last five matches, falling last Friday to fourth-ranked Arizona in three games.

Under head coach Andy Banachowski, the Bruins have been led by most recently by Lauren Fendrick and Ashley Bowles, who both average nearly four kills a game. Bowles also ranks first on the team in digs per game with a 3.15 per game mark, while the Pac-10 career leader in assists, setter Erika Selsor, averages a conference-high 13.87 assists per game.

The Huskies head to UCLA (11-5, 6-4 Pac-10) with the hopes of ending a seven-match losing streak to the Bruins. UCLA leads the all-time series, 34-5.

Scouting USC: After suffering its first Pac-10 loss of the season last weekend to Arizona in three games, the USC Trojans dropped from third to fifth in the national rankings with a 15-2 overall record and a 9-1 mark in conference play.

The Trojans, under first-year head coach Mick Haley, are led offensively by sophomore All-American April Ross (3.89 k/g) and freshman Keao Burdine (3.43 k/g). Ross also is tops on her team in digs per game with a 2.84 mark, while Jennifer Pahl and Katie Olsovsky both average more than a block per game. Tracy Lindquist and Toni Anderson share the team's starting setting duties.

USC is 25-9 all-time versus the Huskies, with the last UW win coming in 1997 at USC in five games. The Trojans also owns a current 25-match home-winning streak dating back to September 2000.

Connections-Connections: UW head coach Jim McLaughlin led the USC men's volleyball team to a NCAA title in 1990, serving as head coach of the Trojans for seven seasons from 1990-1996.

Upcoming: The Huskies return home for its final three regular season matches versus Arizona (Nov. 9), Arizona State (Nov. 10) and Washington State (Nov. 16).

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

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. 22-Nov. 17.

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.

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