Huskies Selected To Participate In AVCA College Volleyball Showcase

Feb. 1, 2006

SEATTLE-- The Washington volleyball team is one of four squads to accept invitations to participate in the 2006 AVCA College Volleyball Showcase, Aug. 25-26 at the UW Field House in Madison, Wis., it was announced today by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. Joining the Huskies at the tournament will be Texas, Ohio and host Wisconsin.

In the AVCA College Volleyball Showcase's 11 years of existence, the tournament champion has advanced to the NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship 10 times, winning the NCAA title twice, and finishing runner-up four times.

Wisconsin, which is hosting the event for the first time, finished third in its two other appearances in the AVCA College Volleyball Showcase in 1998 and 2001. Washington, Texas and Ohio are all making their first appearances in the event.

'The AVCA College Volleyball Showcase continues to be the premier preseason tournament highlighting the sport on a national scope,' AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer said. 'The University of Wisconsin is an ideal host, and with four strong teams, I am positive the tradition will continue.'

The Showcase first-round matches are Washington versus Ohio at 5 p.m. CT and Wisconsin versus Texas at 7 p.m. CT on Aug. 25. The consolation and championship matches will be played on Aug. 26 at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. CT. Times are subject to change.

The tournament will feature the defending NCAA Division I national champion Washington Huskies, which finished the 2005 season with a 32-1 record. Wisconsin, ranked 10th in the final 2005 CSTV/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll, reached the NCAA Division I Tournament regional finals before losing to Washington. Ohio reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division I Tournament for the first time in school history en route to being ranked 14th in the final poll. Texas advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division I Tournament and finished the year ranked 16th. The four teams combined for a 115-16 record in 2005.

The University of Nebraska won the 2005 AVCA College Volleyball Showcase held in Omaha, Neb. The event drew a total of 20,604 for the two-day tournament, including 10,576 spectators for the championship match.

About Ohio: (33-3 in 2005, 16-0 in MAC, NCAA Regional Semifinalist, ranked 14th in final poll)

Ohio finished 2005 with its best NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship Tournament finish and overall record. The Bobcats used a 25-match win streak to reach the NCAA Regional Semifinals before bowing to fourth-seed Arizona in a five-game match. Ohio completed the season with a 33-3 overall record and a third consecutive Mid-American Conference title. The Bobcats return four starters plus their libero for the 2006 season, including AVCA All-Mideast Region honorable mention selections Savanah Parra and Stephanie Blackburn. Parra, a senior-to-be in 2006, set the Bobcats to a .289 team attack percentage while averaging 14.69 assists, 2.79 digs and 0.57 kills per game. Blackburn, an outside hitter who will be a junior in 2006, averaged 3.56 kills and 3.71 digs per game last year. Ohio will have two middle blockers with starting experience returning next year, including junior Melissa Griffin and sophomore Amanda Andersen. Both players averaged 0.98 blocks per game. Griffin added 3.58 kills per game, while Anderson averaged 2.38 kills per game. Michaele Blackburn, who will be a senior libero in 2006, averaged 5.10 digs per game for the Bobcats. Ohio will need to replace MAC Player of the Year Julia Winkfield at middle blocker, in addition to outside hitter Holly Schetzsle. The Bobcats have averaged 30 wins (90-11 record) a season during Geoff Carlston's three-year reign as head coach at Ohio.

About Texas: (24-5 in 2005, 17-3 in Big 12, NCAA Tournament Second Round, ranked 16th in final poll)

Texas ended the 2005 season ranked 16th in the CSTV/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll with a 24-5 overall record. The Longhorns advanced to the NCAA Division I Tournament Second Round before losing to seventh-seed Hawai'i. Texas finished second in the Big 12 standings with a 17-3 record, including a victory over national runner-up Nebraska in the regular season finale. The Longhorns return all six starters and their libero for 2006, including AVCA All-America Second-Team selection Leticia Armstrong. The junior-to-be middle blocker hit .356 for the season with averages of 3.19 kills and 1.36 blocks per game. Brandy Magee, a senior-to-be middle blocker who earned AVCA All-America Third Team honors, hit .377 with averages of 3.24 kills and 1.10 blocks per game. Texas also returns junior-to-be setter Michelle Moriarty, who was selected AVCA All-America honorable mention. She averaged 13.38 assists, 1.87 digs and 0.63 blocks per game as Texas hit .272 as a team. Dariam Acevedo, a senior-to-be outside hitter, led the Longhorns in kills per game at 3.77. Jen Christian, who will be a junior outside hitter next year, averaged 2.41 kills, 2.02 digs and 0.75 blocks per game. Lauren Paolini, a sophomore-to-be outside hitter, contributed 2.43 kills and 0.78 blocks for the Longhorns. Texas libero Alyson Jennings charted a team-high 3.60 digs per game and 97.3 percent service reception efficiency as a sophomore.

About Washington: (32-1 in 2005, 17-1 in Pac 10, NCAA Division I Champion, ranked 1st in final poll)

Washington won its first-ever NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship in 2005 after defeating Nebraska in the title match. The Huskies lost just 10 games all season and advanced through the tournament field without having lost a single game. Washington finished the season 32-1 overall and 17-1 in the Pac-10. The Huskies started 2005 with a school-record 23-match win streak, then concluded the year with a nine-match win streak after a five-game loss to UCLA. Although the Huskies lose two AVCA All-America selections as part of six seniors off their 2005 roster, Washington will still be a team to be reckoned with. Courtney Thompson, a senior-to-be AVCA All-America First-Team setter, led the Huskies to a .338 team attack percentage with averages of 14.89 assists, 2.46 digs and 0.59 blocks per game. Christal Morrison, a two-time AVCA All-America pick, averaged 4.36 kills, 2.30 digs, 0.51 aces and 0.77 blocks per game while hitting .337 as a sophomore in 2005. Alesha Deesing, an All-Pac-10 selection as a sophomore in 2005, averaged 1.29 blocks and 2.54 kills per game while hitting .402. The Husky defense held opponents to a .138 team attack percentage. Washington loses AVCA All-America First-Team selection Sanja Tomasevic at outside hitter, AVCA All-America Second-Team pick Candace Lee at libero, All-Pac-10 selection Brie Hagerty at outside hitter and starting middle blocker Darla Myhre.

About Wisconsin: (26-7 in 2005, 15-5 in Big Ten, NCAA Regional Finalist, ranked 10th in final poll)

Wisconsin advanced to the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship Regional Finals for the second consecutive season before losing to eventual national champion Washington. The Badgers concluded the 2005 season ranked 10th in the CSTV/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll with a 26-7 overall record and 15-5 mark in the Big Ten for a second-place finish. Wisconsin returns four starters and its libero from the 2005 team. Taylor Reineke, a junior-to-be middle blocker, earned All-Big Ten honors last season by averaging 2.36 kills and 1.72 blocks per game while hitting .312. Audra Jeffers led the Badgers in kills per game as a freshman with 3.38 per game to go with a 0.81 block average as a outside hitter/middle blocker. Maria Carlini, who will be a senior outside hitter in 2006, averaged 3.13 kills, 2.92 digs and 0.61 digs per game last year. Jackie Simpson averaged 11.90 assists, 1.92 digs, 1.00 blocks and 0.90 kills per game while leading the Badgers to a .258 attack percentage. Jocelyn Wack contributed 5.17 digs per game as a sophomore last year. She currently holds the national record for consecutive double-digit dig matches at 64 and counting. The Badgers lose two senior starters to graduation. Wisconsin must replace 2005 AVCA All-America Third-Team middle blocker Sheila Shaw and starting outside hitter Aubrey Meierotto.

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