Volleyball Hosts No. 4 Stanford, California This Weekend

Sept. 24, 2002

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THIS WEEK: Oregon State volleyball (5-5, 0-2 Pacific-10) returns home to Gill Coliseum this week to host the Pac-10's Bay Area teams. Defending national champion and current No. 4 Stanford (10-1, 1-0) will be in town for a 7 p.m. match on Friday, September 27, while California (9-1, 0-1) will take on the Beavers at 7 p.m., Saturday, September 28. Admission is free for both matches. The Beavers will sign autographs after the Stanford match.

HOME SWEET HOME: After playing their last five matches on the road, the Beavers are back in Gill Coliseum for three of their next four matches, and the team would like to continue the success it's had at home this season. The Beavers played their first five matches of the year at home, going a perfect 5-0 while losing just two games. However, OSU has yet to win a match on the road or in neutral territory, losing its last five matches and winning just three games during that span.

COMMENTS FROM COACH NANCY SOMERA:
On eliminating some of the recent struggles
'Despite the recent losses we continue to improve. It all comes down to being a little more consistent in all areas of the game.'

On being home after five matches on the road
'It's good to out of airports and busses and back in our gym all week long to prepare for our upcoming opponents. We're hoping we can bring a rejuvenated spirit to the floor on Friday and Saturday, both mentally and physically.'

RECAPPING LAST WEEK'S ACTION: The Beavers opened Pac-10 play on the road last week, dropping 3-0 matches at Washington (30-21, 30-28, 30-26) and then-No. 20 Washington State (30-24, 30-27, 30-21). Megan McMillan had 10 kills in each match to lead the team in both matches (joining Katrina Nelson for the team-high against WSU). Nelson hit a team-best .424 over the weekend, hitting a season-high .471 against the Cougars after picking up seven kills and a .375 mark against the Huskies. McMillan also had a team-best 15 digs against Washington, while Nikki Neuburger led the team with 11 against WSU.

SERIES RECORDS: vs. Stanford: The Beavers have never beaten the Cardinal in 34 previous meetings. Stanford, last year's NCAA Champion, won both of the 2001 meetings in three games (30-23, 30-22, 35-33 at OSU; 34-32, 30-17, 30-24 at Stanford). vs. California: OSU is 15-26 all-time against the Golden Bears, although the Beavers have won the last four meetings between the two schools. OSU swept Cal in Corvallis last year (30-21, 30-22, 30-28) after winning 3-1 in Berkeley (30-22, 26-30, 30-25, 30-28) earlier in the season.

A LOOK AT STANFORD: The defending national champion and No. 4 Cardinal (10-1) defeated Cal and No. 14 Pepperdine last week after suffering its only setback of the year - a 3-0 loss to then-No. 6 Florida - the week before. However, Stanford was without its top player for the match against the Gators. 2000 U.S. Olympian and three-time All-American Logan Tom missed seven matches while representing the U.S. at the World Championships in Germany earlier this month. She returned to the lineup last week, picking up 36 kills (6.00 kpg) while hitting .380 against Cal and Pepperdine. Also watch for Ogonna Nnamani, who leads the team with 149 kills (4.14 kpg, 6th in the Pac-10), and Sara McGee, who leads the Pac-10 with a .455 hitting percentage and 1.42 blocks per game.

A LOOK AT CALIFORNIA: The Golden Bears (9-1) had won their first nine matches all in three games before losing for the first time last week, when Bay Area rival No. 4 Stanford handed them a 3-0 loss. Cal is led by Mia Jerkov, who leads the team and the Pac-10 with 5.69 kills per game (165 total). Her 22 aces are also a team best, and her 0.76 aces per game ranks third in the Pac-10. Camille Lefall has also put up strong numbers, ranking second on the team with 2.97 kills per game while hitting .452, second best in the conference. Lefall's 1.10 blocks per game average is tops on the team and eighth in the Pac-10.

DEFENSIVE DOMINANCE: Oregon State has been the Pac-10 leader for digs all season. The Beavers are averaging 18.00 digs per game, while no other league school is averaging more than 17.00 a game. OSU ranks 15th nationally as a team. OSU has outdug eight of its 10 opponents this season, and the Beavers have three of the top four single-match totals in the Pac-10 this year. Their 92 digs against North Carolina (9/14) is the most in the Pac-10, with OSU also ranking second (88 vs. Ball State, 9/14) and fourth (82, vs. Missouri, 8/31). OSU is the only school to have three players in the league's individual top 10 list for digs as well. Nikki Neuburger is second (3.80 dpg), Joscelyn Hannaford is third (3.67) and Megan McMillan is tied for seventh (3.20).

PLAYING THE BEST: OSU's 2002 schedule is one of the toughest in recent years for the Beavers. The schedule includes 13 matches against eight teams that are ranked in this week's AVCA/USA Today Top 25 poll and an additional seven matches against four teams that are receiving votes. OSU has already played five teams, going 1-1 against teams currently receiving votes and 0-3 against Top 25 teams.

HEAD COACH NANCY SOMERA: OSU is under the direction of fourth-year head coach Nancy Somera. Somera, whose career record stands at 46-51, arrived at OSU in February 1999 after spending time as an assistant coach at USC since 1991. Last season, Somera guided the Beavers to a 17-12 record and a trip to the NCAA Tournament for just the second time in school history. 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.

OSU PLAYER NOTES
#1 Lianne Dela Cruz, Jr., DS

Has played in 31 of 35 games... Has 44 digs, for an average of 1.42 dpg... Had a season-best seven digs against both Idaho State and Missouri (both on 8/31).

#3 Karah Rhoades, RS-Fr., OH
Has seen action in 18 games as a backup outside hitter... Hitting .100 with 23 kills (1.28 kpg)... Had her best match against Missouri, when she had six kills while hitting .313.

#4 Tami Halleck, Sr., DS
Has played in two matches, Idaho State and Boise State, for her first collegiate playing time... Served one play in both matches.

#5 Michele Solomon, Sr., MB
One of four Beavers to have played in all 35 games... Hitting .303 and has 82 kills (2.34 kpg)... Had a season-high 15 kills against Ball State (9/14)... Hit a career-best .591 with 13 kills against Cal State Northridge (9/7)... Ranks second on the team with 23 blocks, including a season-high five against Ball State... Now has 357 total blocks, seventh best all-time at OSU... Also ranks eighth for career hitting percentage (.267).

#9 Desma Stovall, Fr., S
Has played in five games in limited action as a backup setter... Had four assists against Boise State (9/7)... Also had two service aces in that match.

#13 Joscelyn Hannaford, Sr., Opp.
Ranks second on the team for kills (93, 3.10 kpg), with double-figures in three matches... Had a career-high 24 kills against Missouri (8/31), the most by a Beaver and third best by a Pac-10 player this season... Averaging 3.67 digs per game (110 total), ranking third in the Pac-10... Has had double-digits in six matches, with a season-high of 17 twice... Has three double-doubles... Earned Most Valuable Player honors at the OSU Challenge and also earned all-tournament honors at the OSU Showcase.

#14 K.C. Frederic, Jr., DS/OH
Has played in 21 games... Has 32 digs (1.52 dpg) with a season-high of 11 against Ball State (9/14).

#15 Megan McMillan, Sr., OH
One of four players to see action in all 35 games... Has emerged as one of OSU's top all-around players... Leads the Beavers with 131 kills (3.74 kills per game, 9th best in the Pac-10)... Has had double-figures in eight matches, including a career-high 20 against North Carolina (9/14)... Led the team with 10 kills in both matches last week (at Washington and Washington State)... Has been the team's kill leader in seven matches... Hitting .263... Has 112 digs (3.20 dpg, which ranks seventh in the Pac-10), with double-figures seven times and a season-high of 16 against Missouri (8/31)... Has led the team in digs four times, most recently at Washington with 15 (9/19)... Has had six double-doubles... Tied for second on the team with nine aces... Earned all-tournament honors at the OSU Challenge.

#16 Katelyn Healy, RS-Fr., OH
Has played in one game (vs. Boise State).

#19 Katrina Nelson, Sr., MB/OPP
Versatile player who has started every match this year, playing in 32 of 35 games... Hitting .284 with 75 kills (2.34 kpg)... Has had double-figures three times, including a season-high 12 kills against North Carolina (9/14)... Hit .424 in the two matches against the Washington schools last week... Hit a season-high .471 with 10 kills against Washington State (9/20), tying for the team lead in that match... Leads the team with 29 blocks (0.93 bpg).

#21 Amanda Eggert, So., MB
Has played in 21 of 35 games... Hitting .258 with 26 kills (1.24 kpg)... Had a season-high six kills and a career-high four blocks against Ball State (9/14).

#22 Allison Lawrence, So., OH
Has played in 33 of 35 games... Averaging 2.73 kills per game (90 total) while hitting .187... Has two double-doubles this year, with both coming on the same day... Against North Carolina (9/14) she had 13 kills and 14 digs, which were both career-highs until she broke both marks against Ball State later that day... Had 16 kills and 15 digs against the Cardinals to set new career marks... Tied for second on the team with nine aces... Earned all-tournament honors at the OSU Showcase the first week of the season.

#23 Laura Collins, Jr., S
Dished out 451 assists so far, good for 12.89 per game to rank third in the Pac-10 and 18th nationally... Has had 64 assists twice (vs. North Carolina and Missouri) and is the only Pac-10 player to record more than 60 assists in a match this year... Has four of the top five single-match totals in the Pac-10 this season... After 70 assists last week, she moved into fourth place all-time in the OSU record books with 1,816 career assists... Has 72 digs this year (2.06 dpg), including a season-high 15 against North Carolina (9/14)... Hitting .156 with 27 kills (0.77 kpg)... Leads the team with 11 aces (0.31 sapg)... Named to the all-tournament teams at the OSU Showcase (MVP honors) and OSU Challenge.

#31 Nikki Neuburger, Sr., L
Leads the team and ranks second in the Pac-10 with 3.80 digs per game (133 total)... Has the top two dig totals in the Pac-10 this year, with a career-high 24 against Ball State (9/14) and 23 against Cal State Northridge (9/7)... Has had double figures in seven matches this year and has been the team's dig leader in five matches.

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