Beavers Host No. 19 Arizona, No. 21 Arizona State This Weekend

Oct. 15, 2002

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UPCOMING ACTION: Oregon State (6-10, 1-6 Pacific-10) continues its string of matches against ranked opponents, with the Beavers playing two more Top 25 opponents this week. OSU's last three matches have been against ranked teams, and this week is no different as the Beavers host No. 19 Arizona and No. 21 Arizona State. OSU will play Arizona (8-7, 3-4) at 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 18 and Arizona State (8-4, 4-3) at 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 19. Admission is free for both matches.

RECAPPING LAST WEEK'S ACTION: The Beavers dropped 3-0 matches on the road to the Pac-10's Los Angeles schools last week, losing to No. 13 UCLA (35-33, 30-22, 30-18) and No. 1 USC (30-22, 30-21, 30-19). Michele Solomon hit .342 with 14 kills, including a team-best nine against USC. Allison Lawrence led the team with 20 kills (3.33 kpg), including a team-high 12 versus the Bruins, and Karah Rhoades chipped in 14 kills. Nikki Neuburger continued her strong defensive play, with a team-high 32 digs (5.33 dpg) over the weekend.

COMMENTS FROM COACH NANCY SOMERA:
'We need to find some more offense. Our defense has been doing what it needs to do, but we need to find a way to put the ball down on the wood and score some points offensively. Part of it is getting two of our best attackers (Joscelyn Hannaford and Katrina Nelson, both out with injuries) back in the lineup, but regardless of who's out there, we need to find a way to make it happen. In order to improve, we need some better decision making and we need to execute. '

SOLOMON BACK IN THE TOP 10: After hitting .342 last week, Michele Solomon has upped her hitting percentage to a team-best .313, putting her in a tie for ninth among Pac-10 players. It's the first time she's been in the Top 10 this year, but she regularly appeared in the list a year ago. She finished the 2001 season with a .314 percentage, fifth best on OSU's single-season charts. Solomon has a .271 career mark, good for eighth best in OSU history.

COUNTDOWN TO 1,000: Nikki Neuburger is closing in on becoming the 10th Beaver to record 1,000 career digs. Neuburger enters the week with 895 digs, which ranks 11th in OSU history. She needs 30 more to take over the No. 10 spot and 105 more to become the 10th Beaver with 1,000. Neuburger is averaging a Pac-10 best 4.30 digs per game this season, which ranks 21st nationally, and she has double figures in 12 matches - including four with 20 or more digs. She's on pace to break the OSU single-season record for digs per game, currently held by Rachel Hochgesang (4.10 dpg in 1993).

SERIES RECORDS: vs. Arizona: The Beavers are 10-23 all-time against the Wildcats, with Arizona winning the last 11 matches in the series. OSU last beat the Wildcats in a 3-1 decision at OSU in 1996. Arizona won both matches in three games last season. vs. Arizona State: OSU is 10-23 all-time against the Sun Devils, but the Beavers have a two-match win streak in the series. OSU won in five games at ASU last year and swept the Sun Devils in a match in Corvallis a year ago. Megan McMillan hit .535 and led OSU with 25 kills (3.57 kpg) in the two wins over ASU in 2001.

A LOOK AT ARIZONA: The No. 19 Wildcats (8-7, 3-4) split their matches with the Bay Area teams last week, upsetting then-No. 4 Stanford in five games but losing to Cal in three games. Kim Glass had 53 kills (6.62 kpg) in the two matches to earn Pac-10 Player of the Week honors for the second time this year. Overall, Glass leads UA with 296 kills (4.96 kpg, third in the Pac-10) and is second with 138 digs (2.51 dpg). Lisa Rutledge averages 3.53 kills and a team-high 2.56 digs per game for the Wildcats.

A LOOK AT ARIZONA STATE: The No. 21 Sun Devils (8-4, 4-3) eked out a 3-2 win over California last week but lost to then-No. 4 Stanford, 3-0. Juliana Escobar leads ASU with 4.17 kills per game (fourth in the Pac-10). She's first on the team and second in the Pac-10 with 31 aces (0.65 sapg), and her team-best 3.15 digs per game average is eighth in the league. Julia Leddy averages 2.90 kills per game with a .350 hitting percentage.

GETTING DEFENSIVE: OSU has been the Pac-10 leader for digs all season. The Beavers are averaging 17.74 digs per game, while no other league school is averaging more than 17.00 a game. OSU ranks tied for 20th nationally. OSU has outdug or tied 12 of its 16 opponents this season, and the Beavers have two of the top three single-match totals in the Pac-10 this year. Their 103 against Eastern Washington (10/5) ranks first and the 92 against North Carolina (9/14) ranks third. Individually, Nikki Neuburger leads the Pac-10 with 4.30 digs per game, and Megan McMillan ties for sixth (3.16). Joscelyn Hannaford had been ranked in the top five all season, but dropped out this week because she has no longer played in two-thirds of OSU's games. Hannaford is averaging 3.34 digs per game but has missed OSU's last four matches because of an injury; a player must have played a minimum of 67 percent of the team's games to be among the league leaders.

HEAD COACH NANCY SOMERA: OSU is under the direction of fourth-year head coach Nancy Somera. Somera, whose career record stands at 47-56, 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 49 of 57 games... Has 80 digs for an average of 1.63 dpg... Had 13 (2.17 dpg) in Los Angeles last week, including nine against USC... Also served an ace against USC, good for her second of the year... Had a career-high 11 digs at Oregon (10/3) and had 10 against Eastern Washington (10/5).

#3 Karah Rhoades, RS-Fr., OH
Has seen action in 34 games... Was in a backup role until injuries put her in the regular rotation the last four matches... Has had double-figure kills in three of those four outings... Had a career-high 14 against Eastern Washington (10/5) and had 10 against Oregon (10/3) and UCLA (10/10)... For the season, is hitting .115 with 64 kills (1.88 kpg)... Has 20 digs (0.59 dpg) and 9 blocks (0.26 bpg).

#4 Tami Halleck, Sr., DS
Served one play against Boise State and Idaho State for her first collegiate action.

#5 Michele Solomon, Sr., MB
One of four Beavers to have played in all 57 games... Hitting a team-best .313 and has 135 kills (2.37 kpg)... Tied for ninth in the Pac-10 for hitting percentage... In OSU's last three matches, she's hit .388 with 2.55 kpg... Led OSU with nine kills and a .348 mark against USC last week... Has had double-figures five times, including a season-high 15 kills against Ball State (9/14)... Hit a career-best .591 with 13 kills against Cal State Northridge (9/7)... Leads the team with 34 total blocks (0.60 bpg), including a season-high five against Ball State... Now has 368 career total blocks, seventh best all-time at OSU... Ranks eighth for career hitting percentage (.271).

#9 Desma Stovall, Fr., S
Has played in eight games in limited action as a backup setter, most recently playing two games against UCLA last week... Had a career-high eight assists and five digs in that match... Picked up her first collegiate kill against the Bruins... Had two service aces against Boise State (9/7).

#13 Joscelyn Hannaford, Sr., Opp.
Missed the last four matches after surgery to remove a cyst in her knee... Could possibly return this week... Has played in 35 games... Averaging 3.34 digs per game, second on the team... Ranked among the top five in the Pac-10 for digs until this week when she dropped out because she had no longer played in two-thirds of OSU's games... Has 117 total digs with double-figures six times, 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 43 games... Has 69 digs (1.60 dpg)... Has had double-figures twice, with a season-high 11 against Ball State (9/14)... Had 10 against Eastern Washington (10/5)... Has five aces, five assists and three kills.

#15 Megan McMillan, Sr., OH
One of four players to see action in all 57 games... Leads the Beavers with 189 kills (3.32 kills per game)... Has had double-figures in 10 matches, most recently with 16 against Eastern Washington (10/5)... Had a career-high 20 against North Carolina (9/14)... Has led the team in kills in seven matches... Hitting .213... Ranks second on the team with 180 total digs and is third with 3.16 digs per game (tied for sixth in the Pac-10)... Has had double-figures 10 times, most recently 17 against EWU... Had a season-high of 20 against Cal (9/28)... Has led the team in kills seven times and in digs five times... Has had eight double-doubles... Leads the team with 17 aces (0.30 sapg), with a career-high five against Cal... Earned all-tournament honors at the OSU Challenge.

#16 Katelyn Healy, RS-Fr., MB/OH
Has played in nine games... Played all three games against UCLA last week and hit .500 with a career-high two kills in the match... Also had two digs, the first of her career... Has had two block asissts, one against UCLA and one against Cal.

#19 Katrina Nelson, Sr., MB/OPP
Has missed the last four matches and is expected to be out another two-three weeks with a fractured thumb... Had started every match prior to the injury, and had played in 40 of 43 games... Hitting .296 with 102 kills (2.55 kpg)... Had double-figures five times, including the last three matches she played in... Had a season-high 17 kills while hitting .382 against Cal (9/28)... Had a team-high 10 kills against Stanford (9/27) and Washington State (9/20)... Hitting a team-best .368 with 3.14 kills per game in Pac-10 games... Leads the team with 0.80 blocks per game (32 total).

#21 Amanda Eggert, So., MB
Has played in 43 of 57 games and has started the last six matches as a result of injuries... Hitting .179 with 56 kills (1.30 kpg)... Season-high seven kills against Oregon (10/3) and Eastern Washington (10/5)... Had a career-high seven blocks against Cal (9/28), good for the most by a Beaver this year.

#22 Allison Lawrence, So., OH
Has played in 55 of 57 games... Averaging 3.25 kills per game (179 total) while hitting .202... Averaging a team-best 3.55 kills per game in Pac-10 play and is hitting .221 against conference opponents... Hit .418 with a career-high 26 kills against Cal (9/28)... Has one other 20-kill performance, with 22 against Eastern Washington (10/5)... Has had double-figures in nine matches... Led the team in kills six times, most recently with 12 at UCLA last week... 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, and had 16 kills and 15 digs against Ball State later that day... Earned all-tournament honors at the OSU Showcase the first week of the season.

#23 Laura Collins, Jr., S
Ranks fourth for career assists at OSU with 2085... Has 720 assists this season, good for 12.63 per game to rank third in the Pac-10 and 29th nationally... Had a season-best 72 assists against Cal (9/28), good for the second highest total of her career and eighth best in OSU history... Is the third OSU setter with two 70-plus assist matches in her career... Has two of the top five assists totals in the Pac-10 this year... Her 72 versus Cal ranks second, and 66 against EWU (10/5) ties for fifth... Has 130 digs this year (2.28 dpg), with a season-high 16 against Eastern Washington... Has four double-doubles, most recently against EWU... Hitting .166 with 42 kills (0.74 kpg)... Second on the team with 13 aces (0.23 sapg)... Named to the all-tournament teams at the OSU Showcase (MVP) and OSU Challenge.

#31 Nikki Neuburger, Sr., L
Leads the team and ranks first in the Pac-10 with 4.30 digs per game (245 total)... Ranks 21st nationally... Needs 30 digs to move into the top 10 for career digs at OSU... Currently ranks 11th with 895... Has been outstanding the last five matches, averaging 5.53 dpg (105 total)... Had a career-high 33 digs against Eastern Washington (10/5), good for the fourth-best total in school history and the first 30-plus performance since 1995... Just missed another 30-dig effort with a then-career-high 29 digs against Cal (9/28), now good for the eighth-best total at OSU... The 33 and 29 digs rank first and third most by a Pac-10 player this season... Has had 20-plus digs in two other matches, with 24 against Ball State (9/14) and 23 against Cal State Northridge (9/7)... Has had double figures in 12 matches this year and has been the team's dig leader nine times.

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