Volleyball Hosts Bay Area Schools In Key Pac-10 Matches

Oct. 30, 2001

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THIS WEEK'S ACTION: The Oregon State volleyball team (14-6, 7-4 Pacific-10) will host the Bay Area schools in a key weekend for the Beavers. OSU opens the weekend with a 7 p.m. match against California (7-12, 2-9 Pac-10) on Friday, November 2 and concludes the week with a 7 p.m. match against No. 3 Stanford (18-2, 10-1) on Saturday, November 3.

TICKETS AND PROMOTIONS: Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens and youth (HS and under). OSU students are free with a valid ID. Friday's match against Cal is OSU Faculty/Staff night. OSU faculty and staff members get in free with a vaild ID card, and up to five family members can get in for a discounted rate of $2 per person with a coupon (which can be printed as a PDF above). Saturday's match against Stanford is Team Night. High school, middle school, Boys and Girls Club teams will be admitted free if they come as a group and register in advance through the OSU marketing office. Contact (541) 737-4638 for more information. Saturday is also Samaritan Health Services and Hewlett Packard Night. Employees of Samaritan Health Services and Hewlett Packard get free admission when showing their ID badges. The free admission is good for up to four family members.

GEARING UP FOR THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: Oregon State is on pace to receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament for just the second time in school history. The Beavers, with eight regular season matches remaining, are on the verge of their first winning regular season since 1996 when they went 19-12, although they did not advance to postseason play that year. OSU made its only appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 1983, when the team finished 24-9-1 but lost to California in the first round of the tournament. The Beavers competed in the now-defunct National Invitational Volleyball Championship twice, in 1993 and 1994, but have not advanced to postseason competition since then.

SOMERA SAYS: 'This team has really responded to challenges all year, and that puts us in a great position as we prepare for the NCAA Tournament. From a coaching standpoint, this is a fun time of the year. We look at all the challenges they've met thus far and we'll keep challenging them through November to get ready to go the tournament.'

RECAPPING LAST WEEK'S ACTION: The Beavers picked up a split on the road against the Washington schools, defeating Washington in five games (27-30, 36-34, 30-22, 20-30, 15-11) on Friday after being swept by Washington State (21-30, 13-30, 21-30) the night before. Joscelyn Hannaford had a career-high 21 kills while hitting .463 in the win over the Huskies, while Gina Schmidt tacked on 19 kills and a season-high 22 digs in the victory. Schmidt also had 10 kills in the loss to WSU to lead the Beavers in that match.

THE FIRST TIME AROUND: The Beavers defeated California in Berkeley in four games (30-22, 26-30, 30-25, 30-28) on Oct. 6, one night after losing at then-No. 3 Stanford in three games (32-34, 17-30, 24-30). The win over Cal boosted OSU's all-time record against the Bears to 14-26, but the Beavers remain winless over Stanford in 33 meetings between the two schools. Katrina Nelson led the way in the loss to Stanford, hitting .588 with a team-high 11 kills. That hitting percentage still stands as the highest single-match mark by an individual OSU player this season (minimum of 15 attempts to be considered). Nelson also tacked on another 11 kills against Cal to go along with a career-high seven blocks in that match, while Gina Schmidt had team-highs of 17 kills and 13 digs in the win.

A LOOK AT CALIFORNIA: The Golden Bears (7-12, 2-9) split its matches with a pair of ranked opponents last week. Cal upset then-No. 19 Santa Clara in five games at home but lost to then-No. 4 Stanford in three games at Stanford. Freshman standout Mia Jerkov, who joined the team mid-season after finishing up a stint with the Croatian National Team, has posted 111 kills in just 26 games played (4.27 kpg), but did not play in either match last week because of a foot injury. The Bears have also gotten strong play from Gabrielle Abernathy, who has a team-best 198 kills (3.14 kpg), and Leah Young, who has 163 kills (2.51 kpg).

A LOOK AT STANFORD: The Cardinal (18-2, 10-1 Pac-10) moved up a spot to No. 3 in this week's top 25 poll after picking up two wins last week. Stanford defeated No. 17 Pacific in five games and then swept Bay Area rival California later in the week. U.S. Olympian Logan Tom, who combined for 40 kills in the two wins, leads Stanford with 340 kills (4.72 kpg) and 236 digs (3.28 dpg). The Cardinal continue to lead the Pac-10 in blocking, averaging 3.71 blocks per game as a team, led by Sara McGee (1.64 bpg) and Tara Conrad (1.42 bpg).

GOING THE DISTANCE: OSU's match at Washington was the Beavers' fifth five-game match of the year, with the Beavers winning four of the five (including three wins on the road or on neutral courts). In addition, the Beavers have been involved in six four-game matches, going 5-1 in those matches with the only loss coming to San Jose State in the first match of the year.

SCHMIDT'S BITS: After becoming one of only five OSU players with 1,000 career kills and digs, Gina Schmidt now looks to continue her climb up the record books, with a jump in both categories a strong possibility this week. She ranks fourth all-time at OSU with 1,267 kills, 32 away from taking over the No. 3 spot from Heather Lowe (1,298 from 1995-97). Schmidt ranks ninth with 1,044 digs, 31 away from jumping into the No. 8 spot (currently held by Leslie Preiss, who had 1,074 from 1989-92). Schmidt leads the Beavers with 13 double-doubles in 20 matches this season. For the year, she has team-highs of 286 kills and 248 digs, ranking third in the Pac-10 for digs (3.26 dpg) and 10th for kills (3.76 kpg). Schmidt has had 10 or more kills in 16 matches, including four with 20-plus, with a season-high 26 against UC Irvine. She also had 25 in a match against Northern Arizona. She's also had 10-plus digs in 14 matches, with 20-plus twice - highlighted by a season-high 22 at Washington last week.

BEAVERS SIT ATOP THE CHARTS IN SIX SINGLE-MATCH CATEGORIES: Last week's win at Washington placed the Beavers atop the charts in three categories in the Pac-10's list of single-match season bests. OSU's 91 kills in that match was a season-high for the Beavers, and it was also good for the most kills by any Pac-10 team this year. In addition, OSU's 86 assists in that match were the most by a Pac-10 team this year, and Laura Collins' career-high 75 assists in that match is the highest single-match total by an individual in the Pac-10 this season. The Beavers also have the top marks in three other categories as a result of their efforts in other matches this year. OSU's 110 digs against Washington State (9/28) is the most in the conference this season, and Gina Schmidt holds the top marks for total attacks (75 at Northern Arizona, 9/8) and block solos (5 at Arizona State, 9/22).

OSU HOLDS ONTO TO NO. 1 SPOT FOR DIGS: Oregon State ranks as the No. 1 team in the Pac-10 for digs for the fifth week in a row, averaging 17.25 digs per game to hold off Washington State by a mere 0.10 dpg mark. The Beavers also lead the league for digs in conference games only, although the margin is a little tighter (OSU's average is 17.38 dpg, narrowly edging Arizona State's 17.37 average). Gina Schmidt ranks third both overall and in league games only (3.26 dpg overall, 3.25 dpg in conference play), while Nikki Neuburger is tied for eighth in conference games with 3.08 digs per game. For the year, Schmidt leads the team with 248 digs, while Neuburger is second (204). Four other Beavers also have at least 100 digs. The Beavers have outdug their opponents in all but three matches this year (Arizona twice and Washington State once). OSU has three of the top five single-match team totals in the Pac-10 this year (110 against Washington State, 98 against Sacramento State and 92 against San Jose State). Eight Beavers have combined for 54 double-figure dig performances in 20 matches this season. Schmidt leads the way with 14, while Neuburger has had 13 double-figure efforts. Four Beavers have had matches with 20+ digs this year, led by Megan McMillan and Schmidt, who have each done so twice. McMillan had a career-high 25 against Northern Arizona and 24 against WSU, while Schmidt had 22 at Washington last week and 20 at home against WSU in September. K.C. Frederic had 24 against Sacramento State, while Lori Daedelow had a career-high 20 at Arizona State.

McMILLAN, HANNAFORD CONTINUE TO COMPETE FOR STARTING SPOT: Opposite hitters Joscelyn Hannaford and Megan McMillan have been competing for playing time as of late, with each starting three of the last six matches. Hannaford had started the first 15 matches, with McMillan often playing in the back row. Lately, however, McMillan has been challenging as a six rotation player and as a result, there's been a battle for the starting job. In the last six matches, Hannaford has started against Oregon (10/10), Arizona State (10/19) and at Washington (10/26), while McMillan has gotten the starting nod at Idaho State (10/13), Arizona (10/20), and at Washington State (10/25). Most notably, Hannaford had a career-high 21 kills while hitting .463 in the win at Washington, while McMillan hit an outstanding .579 with 12 kills against ASU. For the year, Hannaford has played in 66 games with 157 kills (2.38 kpg, third on the team) and 98 digs (1.48 dpg), while McMillan has played in 62 games with 82 kills (1.32 kpg) and 148 digs (2.39 dpg, fourth on the team).

COLLINS' CORNER: Laura Collins has been a key reason for OSU's success this season with an average of 12.12 assists per game. Collins was named to the all-tournament teams at both of OSU's preseason tournaments, and she was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for her efforts in leading OSU to a sweep over the Washington schools in September. Collins has 909 assists on the year and ranks sixth in the Pac-10 for assists average. She had a career-high 75 assists in OSU's win at Washington last week, with that total equalling OSU's sixth best single-match assists total for an individual. It's also good for the most assists by a Pac-10 player in a single match this season. Collins recently jumped into the top 10 for all-time assists at Oregon State, now ranking sixth with 977 career assists. Collins is also a key defensive player for the Beavers, ranking fifth on the team with 154 digs (2.05 dpg). She's had double figures six times, including a career-high 14 against Oregon three weeks ago.

SOLOMON'S STUFF: Michele Solomon continues to be ranked in the top 10 for both blocking and hitting percentage among Pac-10 players this season. Her .338 hitting percentage is ninth best in the league, while her 1.04 blocks per game average is 10th among Pac-10 players. Solomon leads the Beavers with 79 blocks this season, and she's second on the team with 199 kills (2.62 kpg). She's had double-figure kills in nine matches this year, most recently picking up 13 while hitting .458 against Oregon three weeks ago. She has 310 career blocks to rank eighth all-time at OSU.

HEAD COACH NANCY SOMERA: The Beavers are under the direction of third-year head coach Nancy Somera. Somera, whose career record stands at 38-40, 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 and 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.

REGIONAL RANKINGS: OSU has been ranked eighth in both NCAA Regional Polls this season. The next poll will be released Oct. 31. OSU was ranked in two regional polls last year, checking in at 10th on Oct. 4 and ninth on Oct. 18 before dropping out for the remainder of the season.

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