Beavers Travel To Oregon For Civil War, Host No. 18 Eastern Washington This Week

Oct. 1, 2002

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THIS WEEK: Oregon State (5-7, 0-4 Pacific-10) looks to snap a seven-match losing skid with two key matches on the slate this week. First up is the Civil War, presented by Northwest Dodge Dealers, at 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 3 at Oregon. While the Civil War is always a hotly-contested match, this week's competition holds even more importance as the two teams are both looking for their first Pac-10 win. The Ducks are 10-8 overall and 0-4 in Pac-10 play. OSU wraps up the week with a match against No. 18 Eastern Washington (15-0), the team that defeated the Beavers in the first round of the NCAA tournament last year. OSU will host the Eagles at 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 5, following the OSU-UCLA football game. Admission is free.

COMMENTS FROM COACH NANCY SOMERA:
On this week's matches:

'We've definitely got a lot motivating us this week. We play our rival (Oregon), we've got a match with the opponent that knocked us out in the first round of the NCAA tournament last year (Eastern Washington), and we want to experience the feeling that comes with winning again. But in reality, we need to ignore those motivating factors and simply be motivated by our desire to be good competitors and to work hard together as a team.'

On staying focused after the tough loss to Cal last week:
'As a competitor, the only time you can truly get down on yourself is when you don't compete well. It's hard to lose those close matches, but we competed well and played hard. Our challenge is to stay focused on the process, not the outcome. It's hard when you're not winning, but it's what will give us opportunities to win points, games and matches.'

RECAPPING LAST WEEK'S ACTION: The Beavers extended their losing streak to seven matches after dropping matches to No. 4 Stanford (30-23, 30-20, 30-19) and California (21-30, 30-28, 30-25, 28-30, 24-22). Allison Lawrence averaged 4.12 kills per game in the two matches, much in part to her career-high 26-kill performance against Cal. Katrina Nelson hit .333 over the weekend, leading the team with 10 kills against Stanford before turning in a season-high 17 against Cal.

COLLINS, NEUBURGER ADD NAMES TO RECORD BOOKS: Laura Collins and Nikki Neuburger both had performances worthy of spots in the OSU record books for their efforts against Cal last week. Neuburger had a career-high 29 digs, tying for the seventh-best single-match total at OSU. The Beavers hadn't had a 29-dig performance since 1995, when Rachel Hochgesang had 30 against USC. Collins had a season-high 72 assists, good for the second-best total of her career and the eighth best in school history. She is the third OSU setter to record 70-plus assists in two matches (Brandi Bonnarens and Miya Malauula are the others).

SERIES RECORDS: vs. Oregon: The Beavers are 33-43 all-time against the Ducks, although OSU won both matches a year ago. OSU topped the Ducks 3-0 in Eugene (31-29, 30-22, 30-27) and 3-1 in Corvallis (30-25, 23-30, 30-18, 30-21) last season. vs. Eastern Washington: OSU is 5-2-1 all-time against the Eagles. The teams met in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Pullman, Wash., last year, with the Eagles coming away with a 3-2 victory (33-31, 19-30, 30-28, 23-30, 15-10). Megan McMillan had a double-double, hitting .300 with 14 kills and 21 digs.

A LOOK AT OREGON: The Ducks (10-8, 0-4) snapped a five-match losing skid when they beat Portland, 3-1, on Monday. Last week, UO lost to No. 4 Stanford (3-0), then-No. 22 Eastern Washington (3-1) and California (3-2). Lindsay Closs leads the team with 3.98 kills per game (7th in the Pac-10), 1.11 blocks per game (7th) and a .323 hitting percentage. Kelly Russell ranks second on the team with 3..23 kills per game.

A LOOK AT EASTERN WASHINGTON: The No. 18 Eagles (15-0) have been ranked in the last three polls and for the first time in school history. EWU defeated Oregon (3-1) and Montana (3-0) last week before Montana State threatened to hand the Eagles their first loss. With MSU up, 2-1, EWU responded with 30-15 and 15-8 wins in the final two games to remain unbeaten. Prior to that match, the Eagles had lost only two games all year. Lindsay Page (13 kills, 20 digs, 7 blocks against OSU last year) leads the Eagles with 3.40 kills and 1.37 blocks. Janelle Ruen (14 kills, 20 digs against OSU last year) leads the team with 3.29 digs per game and is second with 3.27 kills per game.

DEFENSIVE DOMINANCE: Oregon State has been the Pac-10 leader for digs all season. The Beavers are averaging 17.44 digs per game, while no other league school is averaging more than 17.00 a game. OSU ranked 15th nationally as a team prior to last week's matches (the latest national stats were not available at press time). OSU has outdug or tied 10 of its 12 opponents this season, and the Beavers have two of the top four single-match totals in the Pac-10 this year. Their 92 digs against North Carolina (9/14) are second most in the Pac-10, with the 88 versus Ball State (9/14) ranking fourth. 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 (3.93 dpg), Joscelyn Hannaford is fifth (3.43) and Megan McMillan is ninth (3.16).

HEAD COACH NANCY SOMERA: OSU is under the direction of fourth-year head coach Nancy Somera. Somera, whose career record stands at 46-53, 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 35 of 43 games... Has 46 digs, for an average of 1.31 dpg... Had a season-best seven digs against both Idaho State and Missouri (both on 8/31)... Picked up her first kill of the season against Stanford last week, good for the second kill of her career (had one against Idaho in 2000).

#3 Karah Rhoades, RS-Fr., OH
Has seen action in 20 games as a backup outside hitter... Hitting .103 with 26 kills (1.30 kpg)... Had her best match against Missouri (8/31), when she had six kills while hitting .313... Had three kills last week (two vs. Stanford and one against Cal).

#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 43 games... Hitting a team-best .297 and has 97 kills (2.26 kpg)... Hit .379 with 13 kills against Cal last week... 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 26 blocks (0.60 bpg), including a season-high five against Ball State... Now has 360 total blocks, seventh best all-time at OSU... Also ranks eighth for career hitting percentage (.267).

#9 Desma Stovall, Fr., S
Has played in six games in limited action as a backup setter, most recently playing one game against Stanford last week... Has four assists, with all of them coming against Boise State (9/7)... Also had two service aces in that match.

#13 Joscelyn Hannaford, Sr., Opp.
Expected back in full strength this week after being limited to the back row the last few matches... Averaging 3.34 digs per game, second on the team and fifth in the Pac-10... Has 117 total digs, with double-figures in six matches, including a season-high 17 twice... Has 96 kills (2.74 kpg), with double-figures three times... Had a career-high 24 kills against Missouri (8/31)... 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 29 games... Has 44 digs (1.52 dpg) with a season-high of 11 versus Ball State (9/14)... Has four aces, four assists and two kills.

#15 Megan McMillan, Sr., OH
One of four players to see action in all 43 games... Leads the Beavers with 154 kills (3.58 kills per game)... Has had double-figures in nine matches, most recently posting 15 against Cal last week... Had a career-high 20 against North Carolina (9/14)... Has led the team in kills in seven matches... Hitting .238... Has 136 digs (3.16 dpg, ninth in the Pac-10), with double-figures eight times and a season-high of 20 against Cal... Has led the team in digs four times, most recently at Washington with 15 (9/19)... Has had seven double-doubles... Leads the team with 14 aces (0.33 sapg), serving a career-high five against Cal last week... Earned all-tournament honors at the OSU Challenge.

#16 Katelyn Healy, RS-Fr., OH
Played in four games against the Bay Area schools last week after seeing action in only one game during OSU's first 10 matches (Boise State)... Picked up first collegiate kill against Cal, when she also had an assist and a block.

#19 Katrina Nelson, Sr., MB/OPP
Versatile player who has started every match this year, playing in 40 of 43 games... Hitting .296 with 102 kills (2.55 kpg)... Has had double-figures five times, including OSU's last three matches... Had a season-high 17 kills while hitting .382 against Cal last week... Had a team-high 10 kills against Stanford and Washington State, the two matches prior to the Cal contest... Has hit .368 with 3.14 kills per game in OSU's last four matches (all league games)... Leads the team with 32 blocks (0.80 bpg).

#21 Amanda Eggert, So., MB
Has played in 29 of 43 games and has started the last three matches... Hitting .233 with 38 kills (1.31 kpg)... Had a season-high six kills four times, most recently against Cal last week... Had a career-high seven blocks against Cal, good for the most by a Beaver this year.

#22 Allison Lawrence, So., OH
Has played in 41 of 43 games... Averaging 3.00 kills per game (123 total) while hitting .214... Is coming off a career-high 26 kills against Cal last week, breaking her previous best of 16... Hit .418 in that match... The 26 kills ties for the second-highest total by a Pac-10 player this season... Has had double-figures in six matches... 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 (until last week's Cal match)... Earned all-tournament honors at the OSU Showcase the first week of the season.

#23 Laura Collins, Jr., S
Dished out 559 assists so far, good for 13.00 per game to rank second in the Pac-10... Ranked 18th nationally last week (the latest national stats were not available at press time)... Had a season-best 72 assists against Cal last week... That total was the second highest of her career and eighth best in OSU history... Became the third OSU setter with two 70-plus assist matches in her career... Has three of the top four assists totals in the Pac-10 this year... Her 72 versus Cal ranks second, and her 64 assists against both North Carolina and Missouri tie for fourth... Ranks fourth all-time in the OSU record books with 1,924 career assists... Has 92 digs this year (2.14 dpg), including a season-high 15 against North Carolina (9/14)... Has had three double-doubles, most recently against Cal (72 assists, 12 digs)... Hitting .142 with 32 kills (0.74 kpg)... Second on the team with 12 aces (0.28 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 3.93 digs per game (169 total)... Had a career-high 29 digs against Cal last week, tying for the seventh-best single-match performance in school history and good for the most by a Beaver since 1995, when Rachel Hochgesang had 30 digs against USC... The 29 digs is the most by a Pac-10 player this season... Also has the Pac-10's fifth-best single-match total as well, with 24 against Ball State (9/14)... Had 23 against Cal State Northridge (9/7)... Has had double figures in eight matches this year and has been the team's dig leader six times.

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