UCLA Bruins 2003 Volleyball Outlook

Aug. 21, 2003

UCLA BRUINS

TEAM PREVIEW
While UCLA appears to be a young squad that includes five freshmen, five sophomores, five juniors and just two seniors, it is loaded with experience. The Bruins return four starters, including junior libero Chrissie Zartman, and seven other returning letterwinners that saw extensive playing time last season.

STRENGTHS

  • Junior Krystal McFarland (8.5 assists per game/2.20 digs per game) and sophomore Haley Jorgensborg (5.60 assists per game) combined to operate UCLA's 6-2 offense last season and will be counted on again to guide the Bruins through the rigorous Pac-10 slate.
  • The Bruins will be stacked in the middle with senior Cira Wright (2.51 kills per game/1.18 blocks per game) and junior Brynn Murphy (2.59 kpg/0.89 bpg). Wright ranked seventh among league leaders in blocks last year. Murphy played primarily as an outside hitter last year, but her versatility allows her to hit from any front-row position. Also looking for playing time is sophomore Nancy Barba. Barba rebounded from an early season injury to hit .354 over the final five matches of the 2002 season, averaging 1.63 kills and 0.81 blocks.
  • Zartman earned AVCA All-Region honors - a rarity for a libero. She played all 118 games last season, piling up 535 digs for a Pac-10 leading 4.53 digs per game. She'll be the glue that holds the team together.

    CONCERNS

  • The Bruins hit .213 as a team last season, their lowest hitting percentage since hitting .204 during the 1996 season. Coach Andy Banachowski will look for improved hitting efficiency from his returning outside hitters as that group combined to hit just .201 last year.
  • UCLA will need to challenge the opposition with the serve. It ranked last among Pac-10 teams with 1.15 service aces per game.

    ACCORDING TO COACH BANACHOWSKI
    'I think with this group of players, we will have a mix of size and quickness in the middle that should allow us to match up with all kinds of scenarios on the other side of the net.

    'It will be a growing year for us. We have a lot of options heading into the 2003 season with many young players mixed in with juniors and seniors to lead this team.'

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