Volleyball Opens Tournament Play In Hawaii

Sept. 5, 2002

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Headed To Hawaii: The Washington volleyball team travels to Hawai'i to compete in the Eighth Aston Imua Wahine Volleyball Challenge. The Huskies open tournament play against San Diego State on Thursday, followed by a match against the University of San Francisco on Friday. On Saturday, Washington goes head to head against tournament host and No. 4 ranked Hawai'i. The Rainbow Wahine are fresh off winning the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Classic in which they defeated No. 7 UCLA, No. 10 Ohio State and No. 18 Colorado State.

Tournament Champions: The Huskies opened their 2002 campaign with an unblemished 3-0 record to win the Miami's Best Western / Sycamore Inn Classic. Washington failed to lose a game the entire tournament, defeating Delaware, IPFW and host Miami (OH) en route to its first tournament title of the season. The 3-0 start equals the Huskies best start since opening the 1991 season with four consecutive wins.

All-Tourney Honors: Three Huskies, senior Paige Benjamin (Redmond, Wash.) and sophomores Kaitlin Leck (Carson City, Nev.) and Alexis McDonald (Long Beach, Calif.), were named to the seven-player All-Tournament Team. Benjamin was named the tournament's most valuable player after leading all players with 38 kills, including 16 against IPFW. Leck finished the tournament with 27 kills, while McDonald led all Huskies with 10.5 blocks, including a career-best five blocks (one solo, eight assists) in the featured match with Miami (OH).

All-Tournament Team SelectionsPaige Benjamin (MVP)--WashingtonKaitlin Leck--WashingtonAlexis McDonald--WashingtonTara Buroker--MiamiErika Eagan--MiamiSusan Poll--MiamiLindi Bankowski--IPFW

Immediate Impact: Newcomer Sanja Tomasevic (Uzice, Yugoslavia), one of the team's two rookies from Yugoslavia, made her collegiate debut by leading all players with 11 kills and nine digs in the Huskies 3-0 win over Delaware. Her .450 hitting percentage (11-for-20) was second only to teammate Alexis McDonald who hit .467 (9-for-15). Tomasevic also recorded double-figure kills against IPFW (12) and Miami of Ohio (10).

Senior Leadership: Washington is lead by a trio of seniors this season in Paige Benjamin, Gretchen Maurer and Elissa Ross. Benjamin, who was named MVP of the Best Western / Sycamore Inn Classic last weekend, leads the Huskies with a 4.22 kills per game average. Maurer runs the Washington offense and dishes 13.44 assists per game and Ross, who will be the primary libero, ranks third on the team with a 1.44 digs per game average.

McDonald 's Lethal At The Net: Alexis McDonald had two outstanding matches last weekend, recording a career-high eight blocks against Indiana-Purdue on Aug. 31. She surpassed that mark later that night with nine blocks against Miami (OH).

Introducing The Libero: Starting in the 2002 season, the NCAA Women's Volleyball Committee approved the addition of the libero (pronounced LEE-bah-ro) position. The libero is a designated back-row player, intended to be used as a ball-control specialist. The libero, who is allowed to replace any player in the back row without counting as a substitution, cannot serve, block, attack or set inside the attack line (ie. 10-foot line).

Scouting San Diego State: Washington and San Diego State University will meet for the seventh time on Thursday with the Aztecs leading the series 1-5. The two teams have not played each other since the 1989 season when Washington defeated SDSU in five games. The Aztecs, under head coach Mark Warner, opened their season 2-1 at the Ramada Invitational, defeating Tulane (3-0) and Florida International (3-0) before dropping to No. 19 Santa Barbara (3-1). SDSU had three players finish the tournament with hitting percentages above the .350 mark in Megan Schauermann (.400), Aspen McPartland (.395) and Nicole Akporiaye (.353). McPartland and Melissa Wright were named to the All-Tournament team for their performances. McPartland (4.10 kills per game) and Zlatina Anguelova (3.00 kpg) have led San Diego State's offense this season. Wright oversees SDSU's setting duties and averages 11.8 assists per game, and Rochelle Currier and Robyn Gregg anchor the defense with 3.57 and 3.00 digs per game, respectively.

Scouting San Francisco: The University of San Francisco will pair up with Washington for the sixth time with the Huskies leading the series 4-1. The teams last squared off in 1985 with the Huskies taking the match in four games. USF, under head coach David Noble, opened its season at the Fremont Investment & Loan Invitational with a 2-2 record. San Francisco stumbled out of the gates, dropping to Oregon (3-0) and host CS Northridge (3-1) before rebounding with wins over Kent State (3-0) and North Carolina State A&T (3-1). USF is led by Brittanie Budinger with 3.71 kills per game, while Liz Macasuland and KeLicia Shorts each average over 2.00 kpg. April Scoggin is the USF quarterback with 10.18 assists per game, and Caroline Skacel headlines the defense with 3.14 digs per game.

Scouting Hawai'i: The Huskies and the Rainbow Wahine hit the courts for the seventh time on Saturday with Hawai'i holding the 5-1 series advantage. The teams last competed in 1992 when Washington lost in five games. This season, under the tutelage of head coach Dave Shoji, the Rainbow Wahine have jumped out to a 3-0 mark to win the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Classic. Hawai'i defeated No. 10 Ohio State (3-0) and No. 18 Colorado (3-1) to advance to the tournament final against No. 7 UCLA. In the championship game, the Rainbow Wahine downed the Bruins, 3-1, behind Lily Kahumoku's 26-kill performance. On the season, Kim Willoughby packs the scoring punch with 4.90 kills per game. Kahumoku is right behind her with 4.60 kpg. Running the offense is Margaret Vakasausau who averages 9.80 assists per game. Defensively, the Rainbow Wahine are led by Willoughby and Lauren Duggins with 3.20 and 3.11 digs per game, respectively.

This Week Around The Pac-10:Tournament Round-Up

Arizona hosts Wildcat Classic(Arizona, Nebraska, New Mexico, Pepperdine)

Arizona State @ South Carolina Tournament(ASU, South Carolina, Creighton, Pacific)

California @ UNLV Gameworks Classic(California, UNLV, Ball State, Texas Tech)

Oregon @ Miami Tournament(Oregon, Miami, Fordham, Howard)

Oregon State hosts OSU Volleyball Classic(OSU, Boise, CS Northridge)

Stanford hosts Stanford Invitational(Stanford, Utah, San Jose State, Cal Poly)

UCLA @ Minnesota Tournament(UCLA, Minnesota, Northern Iowa, Rhode Island)

USC @ BYU Tournament(USC, BYU)

Washington State @ Alaska Tournament(WSU, Alaska Fairbanks, Southwest Texas State, Weber State)

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