Hawaii Up Next for Women's Volleyball

Aug. 29, 2006

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With one trip to the eastern time zone under their belts, the Bruins women's volleyball team will fly three time zones west this week to participate in the Hawaiian Airlines Classic. UCLA has played in 16 of the 18 previous HAL Classics and returns to the tournament after a two-year hiatus of playing in the following weekend's tournament at UH. UCLA has played at least one match in Hawaii every year since 1980.

UCLA vs. Colorado Buffaloes (1-0)
The Buffaloes opened their 2006 season with a home match against Denver on Friday night, winning in three games. UCLA leads the all-time series between the schools by a 2-0 margin with the last meeting taking place on Aug. 30, 2002, a 30-15, 30-28, 26-30, 30-27 UCLA victory at the Hawaiian Airlines Classic. Colorado is coached by Pi'i Aiu who is in his 10th season at Colorado. Stat Leaders: KILLS- Mallori Gibson (4.66/game), ASSISTS- Ashley Nu'u (14.67/game), ACES- Alex Buth (2), DIGS- Austin Zimmerman (6.00/game), BLOCKS- Lauren Schaefer (1.00/game).

UCLA vs. Florida Gators (2-0)
Florida played host to South Florida and No. 24 Utah last weekend, walking away with a pair of victories in front of crowds of over 2,000 fans for each match at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Florida leads the all-time series with UCLA by a 3-2 margin and won the most recent meeting with scores of 15-2, 15-8, 15-9 on Sept. 5, 1998, at the Hawaiian Airlines Classic. The Gators are coached by Mary Wise, who is in her 16th season at UF. Stat Leaders: KILLS- Kelsey Bowers (2.57/game), ASSISTS- Angie McGinnis (13.43/game), ACES- Rhian Davis/Elyse Cusack (0.43/game), DIGS- Elyse Cusack (6.14/game), BLOCKS- Angie McGinnis (1.43/game).

UCLA vs. Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine (2-0)
A long-standing rivalry is renewed this weekend as UCLA and Hawai'i will meet for the 62nd time on Sunday night. Hawai'i swept a pair of five-game matches from No. 19 Pepperdine last weekend with both fifth games going past 15 points for the victory. UH leads the all-time series with UCLA by a 34-28 margin and has won the last four meetings. Last season, the Rainbow Wahine won 24-30, 30-25, 30-24, 30-26 on Sept. 10 at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Challenge. UH is coached by Dave Shoji who is in his 32nd year at Hawai'i. Stat Leaders: KILLS- Juliana Sanders (2.50/game), ASSISTS- Kanoe Kamana'o (12.80/game), ACES- Jayme Lee (0.44/game), DIGS- Tara Hittle (3.80/game), BLOCKS- Kari Gregory (1.70/game).

Banachowski Enters 40th Season
A dramatic five-game upset win over then-undefeated Washington on Nov. 12, 2005, made UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski the first women's Division I volleyball coach to win 1,000 career matches. Banachowski, who holds a career record of 1,007-266 (.791), is in his 40th season on the Bruin bench. He trails only UCLA men's coach Al Scates and Juniata (Div. III) head women's coach Larry Bock (1,069 entering 2006) for wins by a collegiate volleyball coach.

Banachowski was an All-America setter for Scates during his collegiate career at UCLA. (Scates holds a career record of 1135-212.) The first women's volleyball coach to be inducted into the National Volleyball Hall of Fame in Holyoke, Mass., Banachowski has coached the Bruins to six national championships, including three NCAA titles (1984, `90, `91).

Bruins Win Bearcat Invitational
For the eighth consecutive season, UCLA won its season opener, posting a 3-0 victory over Tennessee Tech on Aug. 26, at the State Farm Bearcats Invitational presented by The Vernon Manor Hotel. Two Bruins, Nana Meriwether and Rachell Johnson were named to the All-Tournament team with Meriwether taking home MVP honors. Still recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, Meriwether did not play in UCLA's opening match against Tennessee Tech, but downed 12 kills in the Bruins 3-0- win over Western Michigan later that day and had 15 kills and seven blocks in UCLA's 3-1 win over host Cincinnati.

UCLA sported a balanced attack over the weekend with four players averaging at least three kills per game on the weekend. The Bruins had at least two players with double-figure kills in each match and the team's kill leader changed with each match. Against TTU, Johnson downed 14 kills and was closely followed by Kaitlin Sather and Katie Carter with 12 apiece. Against Western Michigan, Meriwether led the team with 12 kills and a .526 attack percentage while Sather posted 10 kills in the match, and three Bruins hit double-figures against Cincinnati: Carter with 17, Sather with 16 and Meriwether with 15.

Name That Libero!
Head coach Andy Banachowski used three different players at the libero position at the Bearcat Invitational. Senior Laura Kroneberger started all three matches, but played only in the opening game of each match. Jordan Smith, who wore the libero jersey for the bulk of the 2005 campaign, played six of the remaining seven available games at libero with Jade Machado wearing the off-colored jersey in game three vs. Tennessee Tech.

Kroneberger averaged 5.00 digs per game with three against TTU, four against Western Michigan and eight against host Cincinnati. Machado notched two digs in her appearance against the Golden Eagles while Smith averaged 6.00 digs per game on the weekend, topping out with a 20-dig performance in three games against Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon.

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