No. 14 Volleyball Team Makes Home And Pac-10 Debuts This Week

Sept. 16, 2003

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THIS WEEKEND: The No. 14 Washington volleyball team (9-0) makes its home and Pac-10 debuts this week with matches against Arizona State and No. 16-ranked Arizona. The Huskies are riding a nine match win streak, equaling the best start to a UW volleyball season set in 1987. Washington has won three tournament titles and has lost just one game this season (Ohio, Sept. 6). The Huskies will open the week against ASU on Thursday, Sept. 18 and will play Arizona on Sept. 19. Game times are slated for 7 p.m. and the matches can be followed using LIVE STATS on the Washington web site (

Thursday, Sept. 18: Washington vs. Arizona State, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 19: Washington vs. Arizona, 7 p.m.

SERIES HISTORY: Washington holds the slim 20-18 (.526) lead in the all-time series against Arizona State. Last season, the Huskies dropped a 3-2 heartbreaker in Seattle and rebounded with a 3-1 victory in Tempe, Ariz. UW trails Arizona 14-23 (.378) in the all-time series after a split last season. The Dawgs lost a five-game match in Seattle and swept the Wildcats in Tucson, Ariz.

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 Paige Benjamin, Washington's first All-America honoree since 1997.

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 40-27 (.597) at UW and his 13 year coaching career boasts a record of 264-145 (.645) all-time.

LAST TIME OUT: Washington (9-0) won its third tournament in a row at the Idaho Tournament to push its win streak to 10 matches. The Huskies defeated Idaho State, 3-0, before sweepings their tournament opponents, Idaho and Northern Arizona to win the tournament championship. Sanja Tomasevic picked up her third MVP award of the year while Candace Lee and Courtney Thompson earned all-tournament honors. Tomasevic led UW with 5.88 kills per game and 6.94 points per game over the week, while hitting .340. Brie Hagerty averaged 4.22 kills per game and Kara Bjorklund hit 3.00 kpg with a .391 hitting percentage. Thompson averaged 13.00 assists, while Lee added 4.33 digs per game. Jessica Veris tallied her first career double-double against Northern Arizona with 12 digs and 10 kills.

SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE: Arizona State (5-4) is on a three-match win streak as it won the SMU Radison Invitational last week. Mandy Stephens earned MVP honors as she tallied 27 kills and committed no errors over the weekend for a .587 hitting percentage. Juliana Escobar was named to the all-tournament team as she contributed 23 kills in two matches.

Natalie Harris leads ASU with 4.04 kills per game, while Escobar averages 3.61 kpg and Kim Mehlhorn adds 2.52 kpg. The Sun Devils use two setters in their rotation with Cheryl Anglin logging 7.66 assists per game and Giovana Melo averaging 5.90 apg.

Arizona State is hitting just .237 as a team but averages four more kills per game than its opponents (15.97 vs. 12.44).

SCOUTING ARIZONA: No. 16 Arizona (6-4) has been tested early this season, playing three top-20 programs. The Wildcats stunned then No. 5-ranked Pepperdine in the opening week of the season but has since dropped matches to No. 11 UC Santa Barbara and No. 20 Santa Clara.

Kim Glass, 2002 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, leads Arizona with 5.43 kills per game and 2.60 digs per game. Stephanie Butkus runs the Wildcat offense with 12.26 assists per game and Bre Ladd and Jolene Killough anchor the defense with 0.94 and 0.91 blocks per game, respectively.

SENSATIONAL START: Washington is off to the program's best start in school history with a 9-0 record. The Huskies also opened the season with a 9-0 mark in 1987.

TOMASEVIC TOPS PAC-10: Sanja Tomasevic leads the Pac-10 with 6.26 kills per game and 7.43 points per game. She also ranks second in services aces (0.70 sapg) and is fifth in hitting percentage (.410).

ACCURATE ATTACK: The Huskies are hitting .366 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 115 attack errors this season, compared to 172 errors by their opponents. Darla Myhre leads the team with a .483 hitting percentage (47-4-89), while Sanja Tomasevic maintains a .410 clip (169-32-334).

SETTING UP THE OFFENSE: Freshman setter Courtney Thompson has been instrumental to Washington's early success this season. Thompson currently leads the Pac-10 with 13.61 assists per game.

SERVING ACES: UW has been tough with its serves this season, recording 69 service aces (2.46 sapg) to lead the Pac-10. In return, UW has given up just 30 aces to its opponents. Sanja Tomasevic leads the way with 19 aces, including a career-best performance of five aces versus UMKC. Courtney Thompson has posted 16 aces, while Brie Hagerty and Kaitlin Leck have notched 11 each. Leck tied the UW match record of eight aces last season.

DIG LEADER: Candace Lee leads the Pac-10 with 4.43 digs per game. She's had seven double-figure dig matches, including two 20-plus showings. Lee recorded 20 digs versus Ohio on Sept. 6 and 21 digs against Idaho on Sept. 12.

NATIONALLY RANKED: With a 9-0 start, including a 3-0 mark last week, Washington jumped four positions in the USA Today/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll to No. 14. The top 15 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. 12 California, and No. 16 Arizona. Washington also played against No. 24 Wisconsin on Aug. 30.

HUSKIES PICKED TO FINISH SIXTH: Pac-10 head coaches picked Washington to finish the 2003 season sixth in the conference. 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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