Volleyball Closes Out Pac-10 Season In Oregon

Nov. 18, 2002

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A Look Ahead
Washington (15-10, 7-9), nursing a three game skid, dropped out of the top 25 poll today with losses to No. 1 Stanford, 3-1 and California, 3-2, last weekend. The Huskies look to return to its winning ways as it closes out Pac-10 play on the road this weekend at the Oregon schools. Washington is in seventh place of the Pac-10 and will face the ninth place Beavers on Nov. 21 in Corvallis, Ore. and the last place Ducks on Nov. 22 in Eugene, Ore. Game time is set for 7 p.m. both nights.

Last Week
Washington dropped its final home games of the regular season to No. 1 Stanford (3-1) and California (3-2). With the losses, the Huskies dipped to seventh in the Pac-10 with a 7-9 mark and slipped out of the top 25 poll. Washington received the most votes in the Others Receiving Vote category to hold on to the No. 26 slot just ahead of Cal and Arizona State.

The Huskies challenged top-ranked Stanford but fell short, 3-1 (30-26, 30-21, 27-30, 30-28) in front of 2,601 cheering Husky fans. Senior outside hitter Paige Benjamin pounded 23 kills against Stanford, while sophomore Kaitlin Leck reeled off 11 kills on 21 attacks for a match-high .524 hitting percentage. Washington received solid performances from freshman libero Candace Lee with 20 digs and junior Kara Bjorklund who provided a spark for the Huskies off the bench with six blocks and four kills.

Washington's inconsistency on serve proved the difference as its 16 errors and five aces versus the Cardinal 12 errors and sevens aces produced a six point swing in a match where three games were decided by four points or less.

Against California, Washington could not contain Mia Jerkov who chipped away at the Huskies' 2-1 lead with 34 kills for the eventual match victory.

Washington had four players with double-figure kills, led by Benjamin with 24, Alexis McDonald with 17, Sanja Tomasevic with 15 and freshman Darla Myhre with 10. Anchoring the defense was Lee with a career-high 28 digs, followed by senior Gretchen Maurer with 19 and Tomasevic with 13.

The Huskies out hit the Bears .267- .204 on the night and out blocked Cal 19.5- 5. Myhre had 10 blocks in the match, while Maurer and McDonald each had seven.

Scouting the Oregon State Beavers
The Beavers were swept by the Arizona schools last week on the road to drop their record to 2-14 in the Pac-10 and 7-18 overall.

Allison Lawrence and Megan McMillan lead OSU on offense with 3.47 and 3.15 kpg, respectively. Laura Collins runs the show with 12.52 assists per game and libero Nikki Neuburgrer headlines the defense with 4.02 digs per game to rank third in the Pac-10.

The OSU Series
Washington leads the all-times series against the Beavers 34-21 (.618), including a three game sweep in Seattle on Sept. 19. OSU won both matches in 2001. The teams are 6-4 over the last 10 meetings with the Huskies holding the slight edge.

Scouting The Oregon Ducks
The Ducks have lost four in a row with their last win coming at OSU, 3-1. The victory over the Beavers is Oregon's only win of the season and brings its overall record to 11-19.

The Ducks are led by Lindsey Closs with 3.82 kills per game and a .304 hitting percentage. Dariam Acevedo chips in 3.27 kpg and 2.81 digs per game, while Jodi Boll averages 8.37 assists per game. Joining Acevedo on the defensive stance is Lindsay Murphy with 2.95 dpg.

Huskies Among Top in NCAA Statistical Categories
Senior co-captains Paige Benjamin and Gretchen Maurer continue to rank among the nation's top in assists and kills. As of the last NCAA report on Nov. 10, Benjamin ranks 19th with 5.11 kpg, while Maurer is 20th with 12.97 apg. As a team, Washington ranks 16th in hitting percentage (.280).

Benjamin & Tomasevic Pack One-Two Punch
Senior outside hitter Paige Benjamin and sophomore outside hitter Sanja Tomasevic continue to provide the scoring touch for the Husky offense. Benjamin led Washington with 47 kills against Stanford and Cal last week and ranks second in the conference with 5.12 kpg. She also ranks fourth in points with 5.66 ppg. Benjamin has posted double-digit kill totals in 22 consecutive matches and has tallied 20 or more kills eight times this season, including a career-high 28 kills against Arizona on Oct. 4.

Tomasevic ranks ninth in the conference with 3.70 kpg and eighth in points (4.49). Tomasevic has tallied 20 double-figure kill performances, including a career-high 23 kills against California.

Leader Of The 'Dawg' Pack
Senior setter Gretchen Maurer leads the conference with 12.99 assists per game this season, which also ranks 20th on the national chart. Last year, Maurer ranked fourth in the Pac-10 and 28th nationally with 12.53 apg. Maurer ranks second on the school's all-time chart with 2,908 career assists.

Digging Duo
Freshman libero Candace Lee and sophomore Sanja Tomasevic have anchored the Husky defense all season. Lee ranks fourth in the Pac-10 with 3.48 digs per game, including a career-high 28 against Cal last week.

Tomasevic ranks ninth in the Pac-10 with 3.10 digs per game and has collected 20-plus digs three times this season. Her career-high of 25 came against Arizona State on Oct. 3.

Career Milestones
Senior Paige Benjamin became just the 10th player in Husky history to record 1,000 career kills with her 19-kill performance against the California Bears on Oct. 17. Her career mark now stands at 1,165 and is seventh on the school's all-time chart. Senior Gretchen Maurer also etched her name in the Husky history books in the Cal match as she surpassed the 2,500-career assist mark. Maurer is just the fifth UW player to reach the milestone and ranks second all-time at Washington with 2,908 dishes.

Big Blocks
Sophomore Alexis McDonald and freshman Darla Myhre have been essential to the Husky defense this season at the net. McDonald ranks fifth in the league with 1.21 blocks. In Pac-10 matches, Myhre ranks fourth with 1.24 bpg. Washington ranks third as a team in the Pac-10 with 448 total blocks for a 2.84 bpg average.

Serving Aces
Washington continues to lead the Pac-10 in service aces with 1.73 per game. 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 three games.

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