Volleyball Hosts No. 1 USC & No. 13 UCLA
Oct. 22, 2002
A Look Ahead
Washington (12-6, 4-5) hosts the No. 1 ranked team in the country this week as undefeated USC (16-0, 9-0) heads into town on Oct. 25. The Huskies will also host No. 13 UCLA on Oct. 26 (12-7, 5-4). Washington will look to avenge losses to the Trojans and Bruins earlier this season as the Dawgs suffered 3-0 sweeps in California last month. A win for the Huskies would surpass last season's conference win total and mark the most league victories for UW since 1998 when it finished 7-11 in the Pac-10.
Washington spilt on the road last week, defeating California 3-2 and dropping to No. 6 Stanford in straight games. With the win over the Bears, the Huskies topped last season's win total (12) and equal league victory mark (four).
Washington came from behind, 2-1, to win games four and five against California to take the match (18-30, 30-27, 25-30, 30-25, 15-12). The Huskies used a balanced attack to overpower the Bears, led by sophomore Sanja Tomasevic with 23 kills and 14 digs. Washington also had two players reach career milestones. Senior Paige Benjamin recorded 19 kills against the Bears to bring her career total to 1,015 and become just the 10th Husky in the 1,000 kill club. Senior Gretchen Maurer dished 59 assists in the Cal victory to become just the fifth player in Washington history to accumulate 2,500 career assists.
Against Stanford, the Huskies couldn't slow the Cardinal offense that hit .389 and lost in straight games, 3-0 (30-26, 30-18, 30-23). The scoring tandem of Benjamin and Tomasevic led Washington with 17 and 10 kills, respectively. Maurer anchored the Husky defense with seven digs, while dishing 37 assists. Tomasevic added six digs.
Historically, Washington has struggled against USC and UCLA with the Huskies winning just 14 of 63 (.182) matches since 1980.
The Trojans lead the all-time series 9-27 (.250), including the last eight straight. Washington's last victory over USC was a five-game victory on Oct. 24, 1997.
The Bruins lead the all-time series 5-36 (.122), including the last eight match ups. The Huskies last defeated UCLA in four games on Oct. 26, 1997.
USC (16-0, 9-0) continues to boast the No. 1 ranking in the country and is one of only three teams remaining with an undefeated record. The Trojans lead the nation in assists per game (16.86*), rank second in kills per game (17.80), ninth in hitting percentage (.296) and 27th in blocks per game (2.76).
A trio of attackers lead USC. April Ross ranks fifth in the Pac-10 with 4.02 kpg, while Keao Burdine and Emily Adams chip in 3.42 and 3.04 kpg, respectively. Adam's ranks second in the league and fourth in the nation with a .418 hitting percentage.
Nicole Davis anchors the Trojan defense with 3.12 dpg, while Ross adds 2.91 dpg. Katie Olsovsky (6-3) and Adams (6-5) utilize their height advantages to combine for 2.38 blocks per game. USC has swept 13 of its 16 opponents this season, playing four games against Wake Forest in September and five in back-to-back outings against Stanford and California, Oct. 4-5.
UCLA (12-7, 5-4) hopes to get back on the winning track in Seattle after a three-game loss to USC last week. The No. 13 Bruins rank 13th in the nation in kpg (16.67*) and 15th in assists per game (15.10).
UCLA is led by Lauren Fendrick with 3.47 kpg and 2.80 dpg, while Brittany Ringel adds 3.15 kpg. Krystal McFarland and Haley Jorgensborg share setting duties, averaging 8.54 and 6.04 assists per game, respectively.
Chrissie Zartman leads the team with 3.80 digs per game, which also ranks third in the Pac-10. UCLA relies on the blocking abilities of Angela Eckmier (1.16 bpg) to defend at the net.
All seven of the Bruins' losses this season have come to teams currently ranked in the top 25 or those ranked at the time of competition.
* All national rankings as of Oct. 13
Huskies Among Top in NCAA Statistical Categories
Four Huskies rank among the nation's top statistically as reported by the NCAA. As of the last report on Oct. 13, Washington ranks 10th in hitting percentage (.294) and 23rd in aces per game (2.33). Senior outside hitter Paige Benjamin ranks 16th in kills per game (5.30) and junior Kara Bjorklund ranks seventh in hitting percentage (.405). Senior setter Gretchen Maurer is listed 16th in the assist category with 12.93 dishes per game.
Benjamin Carries Kill Load
Senior outside hitter Paige Benjamin continues to lead the Husky offense after collecting 36 kills against California and Stanford last week. She has posted double-digit kill totals in 17 consecutive matches and has tallied 20 or more kills four times this season, including a career-high 28 kills against Arizona.
Tomasevic Comes Up Big On Defense
Sophomore outside hitter Sanja Tomasevic posted a career-high 25 digs against Arizona State on Oct. 3 and collected 22 more in the victory over WSU on Oct. 11. She has now recorded three 20-plus dig matches on the season and ranks ninth in the Pac-10 with 3.02 dpg.
Sophomore Alexis McDonald has been essential to the Husky defense this season as she leads the team with 64 blocks (1.16 bpg). Her block total ranks fourth among the Pac-10 and accounts for 40 percent of the Huskies blocks this season (160).
Lee In Libero
Freshman libero Candace Lee tallied 14 digs against California and Stanford last week. Overall, Lee has recorded 10 double-figure dig matches. Her career-best was 18 digs in the four-game loss to Hawaii on Sept. 7. Lee leads the team with 177 digs (3.00 dpg) which ranks just out of the top 10 in the conference.
Maurer Sets The Stage
Senior setter'Gretchen Maurer leads the conference with 12.81 assists per game, which also ranks 16th on the national chart. Last year, Maurer ranked fourth in the Pac-10 and 28th nationally with 12.53 apg.
Washington continues to lead the Pac-10 in service aces with 2.10 per game, which also ranks 23rd on the national charts. The Huskies' best team performance came against Louisiana Tech on Sept. 14 when they posted 14 aces in the three game match. Sophomore outside hitter Kaitlin Leck tied the school record earlier this season with eight aces against San Francisco on Sept. 6. Leck is just the third player in Washington history to accomplish that feat and the only one to do so in less then five games. Washington defeated USF in three games. The team's 130 total aces on the season are just one short of matching last year's season total.
RELATED NEWS & VIDEOS
TODAY | 6:00pm PTLive
TOMORROW | 1:30pm PTLive
TOMORROW | 4:00pm PTLive