Volleyball Faces Hawai'i In NCAA Second Round

Dec. 6, 2002

A Look Ahead
The Washington volleyball team (20-10) advances to the 2002 NCAA Women's Volleyball second round against the No. 2 Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine (31-1). The Huskies are coming off a first round victory over Colorado State last night, 3-1, while Hawai'i swept Western Kentucky, 3-0. Game time is slated for 7 p.m. (9 p.m. PST) in Stan Sheriff Center.

Listen To The Game
The Washington/Hawai'i match-up on Friday night can be heard on the internet at www.uhathletics.hawaii.edu.

UW In The NCAA Tournament
This marks the seventh appearnce for the Huskies in the NCAA Tournament (1986, 1988, 1989, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2002) and they have an all-time mark of 7-6. Washington's best finish came in 1988 when it advanced to the Elite Eight before falling to UCLA, 3-0.

Head To Head
Washington has played 38 of the 63 teams in this year's NCAA Tournament and are 149-235 (.385) all-time against these opponents.

First Round Recap
Paige Benjamin's record-setting performance against Colorado State Thursday night lifted the Washington volleyball team to a first round victory in the 2002 NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament, 3-1 (26-30, 30-25, 30-22, 30-27). With 23 kills, Benjamin set a school record for most kills in a season with 556.

Game one had seven lead changes before the Rams tallied the 30-26 victory. Washington took its first lead at 7-6, which it pushed to a six-point advantage at 18-12 with three kills by sophomore Sanja Tomasevic. CSU then went on a 7-0 run behind two kills and a block by freshman Andreya Downs to regain the lead at 19-18. The score knotted five times through 26-all before two CSU kills and two aces put the game out of reach. The Rams out hit the Huskies, .424 - .321 in the game.

The Huskies came back in game two, taking the match 30-25 despite a Colorado State team that fought off three game points. Benjamin led the way with eight kills, including the game-winner. The teams played tight through 7-7 before Washington began to pull away. The Huskies built their lead to seven at 26-19 and 27-20 with freshman Jessica Veris's four kills, one block and service ace. Washington out hit Colorado State, .286 - .205 in the game.

Washington took that momentum into game three, out hitting CSU, .412 - .162 to earn the 30-22 victory. The Huskies never trailed in the game and held its largest lead at 28-21. Tomasevic led the Dawgs with six kills, while Benjamin added five. Washington also used six blocks, including three assists each by junior Kara Bjorklund, sophomore Alexis McDonald and Veris.

The Huskies started game four with six unanswered points, forcing a CSU timeout. The Rams chipped at Washington's lead to come within two at 8-6. UW again pushed its lead to five at the 18-13 mark but CSU battled to within one at 18-17. The Huskies then used an ace and kill by Bjorklund and kills by senior Elissa Ross and McDonald to establish the 24-19 edge and force another CSU timeout. The Rams pulled within two at 28-26 but a Benjamin kill and a CSU service error gave Washington the victory, 30-27.

Washington had three players finish the match with double-digit kills, including Benjamin (23), Tomasevic (16) and McDonald (10). Tomasevic also anchored the defense with 12 digs, while Bjorklund tallied six blocks on the night.

Scouting Hawai'i
The Rainbow Wahine (31-1) advance to the NCAA second round with a 3-0 sweep over Western Kentuckty on Thursday. UH's only loss of the season came to Stanford.

Against the Lady Toppers, Lily Kahumoku led the team with 17 kills, eight digs and three blocks. Maja Gustin added nine kills, six blocks and a .562 hitting percentage while Kim Willoughby had 11 kills, four aces, seven digs and four blocks. Lauren Duggins also played well, hitting .571 with eight kills, five digs and six blocks. Melissa Villaroman continued her solid play in the back row, adding 13 digs.

The Rainbow Wahine lead the all-time series 1-6 against the Huskies, including a 3-1 victory earlier this season in Honolulu. Washington is one of just five teams to take a game from UH al1 season.

Huskies Win Pacific's Community Bankers Classic
Washington won its third tournament of the year last week when it defeated host Pacific, 3-0, to win the Community Bankers Classic on November 30. The Huskies also defeated Southwestern Missouri State, 3-0, on November 29, to advance to the tournament final.

Senior setter Gretchen Maurer was named tournament Most Valuable Player for her performance in the two matches which included a 14.67 assists per game average. Senior Paige Benjamin and junior Kara Bjorklund also received all-tournament honors.

McLaughlin Tabbed Pac-10 Coach of the Year
Washington head coach Jim McLaughlin has been tabbed the Pac-10 Coach of the Year after guiding the Huskies to their best record and conference finish since 1997. In just his second year at the helm of the Washington program, McLaughlin led the Huskies to a tie for fifth place in the Pac-10 race at 9-9, while posting an overall record of 20-10. Washington also made an appearance in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches poll with a No. 21 ranking on November 4 and a No. 22 ranking on November 11. McLaughlin has a career record of 113-69 (.620) in six seasons. Prior to his arrival at Washington, McLaughlin spent five years at Kansas State where he led the Wildcats to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year in 1999.

Huskies Earn All-Conference Honors
Seniors Paige Benjamin and Gretchen Maurer were named to the 14 member Pac-10 All-Conference team for the first time in their careers. Benjamin, an honorable mention selection in 2001, ranks second in the conference in kills (5.30 kpg) and points (5.83 ppg). Maurer leads the league in assists (13.18 apg). Sophomore Sanja Tomasevic was a honorable mention pick as she ranks seventh in the Pac-10 in points (4.62 ppg), aces (0.39 apg) and kills (3.83 kpg) and eighth in digs (3.22 dpg).

Libero Candace Lee was named to the six member Pac-10 All-Freshman team as she ranks fourth in the conference in digs (3.46). Middle blocker Darla Myhre was a honorable mention selection as she ranks sixth in blocks (1.24 bpg) in conference matches.

Academic Accolades
Senior outside hitter Paige Benjamin was recently selected to the Verizon Academic All-America second team, the Pac-10 All-Academic first team and the Verizon Academic All-District first team. Benjamin, an accounting major, has maintained a 3.84 gpa and currently ranks second in the Pac-10 in kills (5.30 kpg) and points (5.83 ppg). Juniors Kara Bjorklund and Libba Lawrence were Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention picks.

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 23 kills against Colorado State on Thursday and ranks second in the conference with 5.30 kpg. Benjamin has posted double-digit kill totals in 27 consecutive matches and has tallied 20 or more kills 11 times this season, including a career-high 28 kills against Arizona on Oct. 4.

Tomasevic ranks seventh in the conference with 4.62 ppg, 0.38 aces per game and 3.83 kills per game. Tomasevic has tallied 25 double-figure kill performances, including a career-high 23 kills against California.

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 3.46 digs per game, including a career-high 28 against Cal on Nov. 16. She has posted double-figure digs 19 times this season.

Tomasevic ranks eighth in the Pac-10 with 3.22 digs per game and has collected 20-plus digs three times this season. Her career-high performance of 25 came against Arizona State on Oct. 3. Last night, Tomasevic led the Huskies with 12 digs en route to Washington's first round victory over Colorado State.

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 1,270 and is fourth on the school's all-time chart. Her 556 kills this season tops the Husky season charts.

Senior Gretchen Maurer also etched her name in the Husky history books this season as she tallied the 3,000-career assist mark against OSU on Nov. 22. Maurer is just the second UW player to reach the milestone and ranks second all-time at Washington with 3,149 dishes.

Big Blocks
Sophomore Alexis McDonald and freshman Darla Myhre have been essential to the Husky defense this season at the net. McDonald ranks sixth in the league with 1.17 blocks. In Pac-10 matches, Myhre ranks fourth with 1.24 bpg. Washington ranks third as a team in the Pac-10 with 574 total blocks for a 2.88 bpg average.

Leader Of The 'Dawg' Pack
Senior setter Gretchen Maurer leads the Pac-10 with 13.18 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 3,149 career assists.

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