Volleyball Wraps Up Three Week Road Trip

Sept. 8, 2003

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THIS WEEKEND: The No. 18-ranked Washington volleyball team (6-0) enters the third week of the season with their best start to a season since 1987 (9-0). UW is on a six match winning streak and has picked up tournament victories each of the last two weeks. The Huskies wrap-up a three-week road trip in Idaho with three matches this week. Washington opens play at Idaho State on Wednesday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m., before playing in the Idaho Tournament. The Huskies will face host Idaho on Friday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. and Northern Arizona on Saturday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 10: Washington at Idaho State, 7 p.m. (MT)
Friday, Sept. 12: Washington at Idaho, 7 p.m. (MT)
Saturday, Sept. 13: Washington vs. Northern Arizona, 5 p.m. (MT)

SERIES HISTORY: Washington leads Idaho State in the all-time series, 2-1. The two teams have not met since the 2000 season when UW won, 3-0. The Huskies also lead Idaho in the all-time series, 14-4. Washington last faced the Vandals in 2001 and won 3-0. UW will be making its first-ever appearance against Northern Arizona on Sept. 13.

COACH MCLAUGHLIN: In just his second year at the helm of the Washington volleyball program, Jim McLaughlin earned Pacific-10 Conference Coach of the Year honors after leading the 2002 squad to its best finish in the Pacfic-10 Conference in five seasons and its seventh NCAA appearance. McLaughlin also helped develop Washington's first All-America honoree since 1997 with first team selection Paige Benjamin.

A 13-year veteran head coach, McLaughlin has proved his ability to recruit talented student-athletes and cultivate championship programs. He has made 12 appearances in the NCAA postseason, including four with Kansas State, which advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2000. He also spent seven seasons as the men's head coach at USC, where he won a national championship in 1990 and finished as runner-up a year later.

McLaughlin's record is 37-27 (.578) at UW and his 13 year coaching career boasts a record of 261-145 (.643) all-time.

LAST TIME OUT: Washington won the IPFW Invitational with wins over Middle Tennessee State, Ohio and IPFW. Sanja Tomasevic earned MVP honors for the second-straight week after averaging 6.42 kills per game with a .440 hitting percentage. Tomasevic had two double-double performances over the weekend, including a 28-kill/15-dig showing against Ohio and a 23-kill/10-dig performance versus IPFW in the championship game. Kara Bjorklund and Candace Lee were also named to the all-tournament team. Bjorklund led Washington with a .412 hitting percentage and chipped in 2.50 kpg and 0.80 bpg. Lee averaged 4.47 digs per game, including a 20-dig showing against Ohio.

SCOUTING IDAHO STATE: Idaho State (5-2) is on a three-match win streak after winning the Rose Hill Classic in New York, N.Y. last week. Three Bengals earned all-tournament honors including Ali Gorny, Jennie James and MVP Martha Brinton as ISU defeated Providence, Saint Peter's and host Fordham to win the tournament title.

Gorny leads Idaho State with a 4.46 kills per game average, while Kylie Gilmore and James add 2.96 and 2.28 kpg, respectively. Brinton runs the offense, dishing 9.61 assists per game. Gorny anchors the defense with 3.14 digs per game and Kamie Olson adds 1.32 blocks per game.

SCOUTING IDAHO: Idaho (5-1) placed second at the Montana Tournament last week with a 2-1 record. The Vandals lost to No. 9-ranked UCLA in the opener, before rebounding with wins over Montana and Boise State. Middle blockers Anna-Marie Hammond and Sarah Meek were named to the all-tournament team. Hammond led Idaho with 47 kills and nine digs. Meek, who was the MVP at the UConn Tournament two weeks ago, tallied 35 kills for the Vandals and posted eight blocks.

Hammond averages 4.11 kpg this season, while Meek and Meghan Brown average 3.21 kpg. Mandy Becker runs the offense, dishing 12.05 assists per game, while also averaging 0.53 aces per game. Meek and Hammond are the cornerstones of the Vandal defense with 1.21 and 1.00 blocks per game, respectively. Jessica Yearout has collected a team-best 56 digs this season (2.95 dpg) to anchor the defensive effort.

SCOUTING NORTHERN ARIZONA: Northern Arizona (5-2) went 3-1 last week, recording wins over UAB, UMKC and Texas-El Paso and falling to San Francisco. Ellie Butterfield leads the Lumberjack offense with 3.61 kills per game, while Claire Robertson adds 3.39 kpg. NAU uses two setters to run its offense, led by Robertson with 6.30 assists per game and Shelby Walford with 4.39 dishes per game. Butterfield also leads the defense with 3.65 digs per game, while Renee Lathrop averages 0.87 blocks per game.

SENSATIONAL START: Washington's 6-0 start is the program's best start since the 1987 season when it opened with a 9-0 record.

ACCURATE ATTACK: The Huskies are hitting .377 as a team to lead the Pac-10. The key to their success has been keeping their errors to a minimum. Washington has committed just 71 attack errors this season, compared to 123 errors by their opponents. Sanja Tomasevic leads the team with a .440 hitting percentage (122-19-234), while Darla Myhre maintains a .438 clip (32-4-64).

SERVING ACES: UW has been tough with its serves this season, recording 44 service aces (2.32 sapg) over the last two weeks to lead the Pac-10. In return, UW has given up just 16 aces to its opponents. Sanja Tomasevic leads the way with 13 aces, including a career-best performance versus UMKC with five aces. Courtney Thompson has posted 11 aces, while Brie Hagerty has notched seven. Kaitlin Leck, who tied the UW match record with eight aces last season, has six aces so far.

DIG LEADER: Candace Lee leads the Pac-10 with a 4.47 digs per game average. She's had five double-figure dig matches, including a season-best 20 digs against Ohio on Sept. 6.

NATIONALLY RANKED: With a 6-0 start, including a 3-0 mark last week, Washington climbed five positions in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll to No. 18. The top 20 national ranking is the highest for the Huskies since 1997 when Washington peaked at No. 11 in the final poll of the season.

AVCA/SPORTS IMPORTS NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sanja Tomasevic was selected as the AVCA/Sports Imports National Player of the Week on Sept. 3 for her performance in three matches at the Badger Invitational (Aug. 29-30). Tomasevic averaged 6.00 kills per game with 18-kill performances in each of the three matches. She also averaged 8.22 points per game with a .485 hitting percentage to earn MVP honors at the tournament and the Pac-10 Volleyball Player of the Week award. It is just the second national POTW award for the UW program. Makare Desilets received the award in 1997.

TEAM CAPTAINS: The Washington volleyball players selected Sanja Tomasevic and Courtney Thompson as team captains for the 2003 season.

ROSTER BREAKDOWN: The 15-player Washington roster includes 12 returning letterwinners and four returning starters. The 2003 team includes two seniors, five juniors, five sophomores and three freshmen. The team represents six states and three countries, including Washington (5), California (2), Oregon (2), Indiana (1), Nevada (1), Ohio (1), British Columbia (1) and Yugoslavia (2).

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: The Huskies have 11 matches slated on the 2003 schedule against opponents who currently rank on the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll. Six of those opponents are Pac-10 members, including No. 1 USC, No. 4 Stanford, No. 9 UCLA, No. 14 Arizona and No. 16 California. Washington also played against No. 25 Wisconsin on Aug. 30.

HUSKIES PICKED TO FINISH SIXTH: Pac-10 head coaches picked Washington to finish the 2003 season sixth. The Huskies, who tied for fifth last season with a 9-9 record, received 49 points to fall short of California who received 61 points for the fifth spot. Leading the Pac-10 predictions is defending national champion USC (90 points), Stanford (82), Arizona (68) and UCLA (68). Rounding out the list is Arizona State (39), Washington State (36), Oregon State (28) and Oregon (19).

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