Volleyball To Compete At Wildcat Classic

Aug. 30, 2006

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THIS WEEK: The No. 3 Washington volleyball team (1-1) continues life on the road, traveling to Davidson, N.C. after placing second at the AVCA College Volleyball Showcase in Madison, Wis. last week. The Huskies open play at the Mizuno Wildcat Classic vs. host Davidson on Aug. 31 at 5 p.m. (PT), before taking on Morehead State and Liberty at 7 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (PT), respectively.

HUSKIES FALL TO TEXAS IN AVCA COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL SHOWCASE CHAMPIONSHIP: Washington defeated No. 15 Ohio, 3-0, in the semifinal of the AVCA College Volleyball Showcase to advance to the championship match vs. No. 8 Texas. With the teams tied at two games apiece, Washington edged out to the 13-11 lead before Texas' Destinee Hooker reeled off four consecutive kills to lift the Longhorns to the 15-13 win and upset over Washington. The loss marked the first for the Huskies since they fell to UCLA on Nov. 12, 2005 and just their second loss since the 2004 season. Junior Stevie Mussie (Puyallup, Wash.) led the Huskies with 3.86 kills per game, while junior Christal Morrison (Puyallup, Wash.) added 3.75 kpg, and sophomore Jill Collymore (Bellevue, Wash.) added 3.14 kpg. Senior Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.) paced the UW offense with 14.12 assists per game, while leading the defense with 3.88 digs per game. Sophomore middle blocker Jessica Swarbrick (El Dorado, Calif.) led UW, which averaged 3.00 blocks per game, with 1.38 bpg.

SCOUTING DAVIDSON: The Davidson Wildcats (3-0) won all three of their matches in the opening week, including victories over N.C. State, 3-0, Buffalo, 3-0 and High Point, 3-1. The team is led by Liz Williamson with 3.90 kills per game, while Kittery Neale averages 3.70 kpg and Lindsay Paroczai chips in 3.10 kpg. Jenna Dykstra is Davidson's field general, dishing 11.80 assists per game, while libero Courtney Cron anchors the defense with 5.70 digs per game. The Wildcats have held their opponents to a meager .083 hitting percentage and are averaging five more kpg and 3.5 more dpg than the opposition. Davidson has been predicted to finish fourth in the Southern Conference by the league's coaches behind College of Charleston, Furman and Appalachian State. Washington and Davidson met for the first time last season when the Huskies swept the Wildcats, 3-0, at the Nike Portland Invitational.

SCOUTING MOREHEAD STATE: The Morehead State Eagles (3-0) won their first three matches of the season to capture the Georgia Invite Championship last week. MSU defeated Coastal Carolina, 3-0, Georgia, 3-2 and UAB, 3-1. The Eagles are off to their best start since head coach Jaime Gordon took over the program in 2003 and the team is in pursuit of tying its best start ever, 4-0 (1986). Laura Cox headlines the Eagle's offense with 3.58 kpg, while Erin Peak averages 2.83 kpg and 2.33 dpg. Ashley Doscher, the 2005 Ohio Valley Freshman of the Year, averages 2.73 kpg and is tied with Peak for the team lead with five service aces. Katelyn Barbour runs the Morehead State offense with 11.08 apg and Kristina Schoo leads the defensive effort with 3.92 dpg. The Eagles have been predicted to finish eighth in the Ohio Valley Conference by the league's coaches.

SCOUTING LIBERTY: The Liberty Flames are making their season debut this week at the Mizuno Wildcat Classic. The team has been predicted to finish fourth in the Big South Conference by the league's coaches. The Lady Flames return five starters from the 2005 team that finished tied for fifth in the conference and had a 9-22 record, including senior middle blockers Autumn Black and Rachel Denton and sophomore outside hitter Kendall Nichols, who was a member of the Big South All-Freshman team last season.

UW RANKED THIRD IN CSTV/AVCA TOP-25 POLL: The Huskies are ranked No. 3 in the preseason CSTV/AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll, receiving 16 first-place votes. The Huskies, who won the program's first national title last season, return three starters, including two-time All-Americans Courtney Thompson (Sr., S) and Christal Morrison (Jr., OH). Washington also welcomes transfer Janine Sandell (Sr., OH) who earned All-America honorable mention honors last season and was the Big West Conference Player of the Year for UC Santa Barbara.

MULTI-TALENTED MORRISON: Junior outside hitter Christal Morrison (Puyallup, Wash.) is coming off her best season yet in a Huskies uniform, earning Most Outstanding Player honors at the NCAA Championship after leading UW to its first national title in 2005. Morrison ranked second in the Pac-10 with 55 service aces and ranked fifth in the league with 5.29 ppg and 4.36 kpg. Her .337 hitting percentage ranked sixth in the Pac-10. With two seasons left to play, Morrison has already littered her name throughout the UW career record book, with the third-highest kills per game average (4.23) and eighth-highest hitting percentage (.304) in Husky history. Last week, Morrison averaged 3.75 kpg, 3.25 dpg and 4.38 ppg to lead the Huskies at the AVCA College Volleyball Showcase.

SETTING THE TABLE: Senior Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.) broke the Washington career assists record last season and is the only Husky to amass 4,000 career assists. Her 113 assists last weekend moved her into fifth on the Pac-10 all-time list with 4,954 career dishes. Thompson already holds the UW single-season assists record (1,643, 2004). If her career were to end today, Thompson would also hold the Pac-10 record for assists per game average with 14.58 apg. The current record holder is UCLA's Erika Selsor who averaged 14.00 apg from 1998-2001.

SANDELL JOINS UW ROSTER: Senior outside hitter Janine Sandell (London, England) joins the Washington roster after transferring from UC Santa Barbara where she was the 2005 Big West Player of the Year and an All-America honorable mention selection. Sandell averaged 5.26 kpg last season, which led the Big West and ranked eighth nationally. Her 572 kills ranked fourth on the UCSB all-time list. Sandell made one start last week for the Huskies, posting five kills, six digs and five blocks.

MUSSIE MAKES STRONG UW DEBUT: Junior transfer Stevie Mussie (Puyallup, Wash.) had a strong showing in her opening weekend in a Husky uniform, leading the team with 3.86 kpg, while chipping in 1.71 dpg an 0.71 bpg. Mussie transferred to Washington from the University of Pacific after the 2004 season but redshirted last year after undergoing knee surgery.

DEESING DOMINATES AT NET: Junior middle blocker Alesha Deesing (Salem, Ore.) was a first team All-Pac-10 and honorable mention All-Pacific Region selection last season after averaging 2.54 kpg, 1.29 bpg and 3.28 ppg. Her .402 hitting percentage ranked second in the conference, while her blocks per game average ranked fifth. Deesing is on pace to set the UW career hitting percentage record with a .392 clip. Last week, Deesing led the team with a .512 hitting percentage, averaging 3.00 kpg and 1.00 bpg.

DIGGING DEEP: Redshirt freshman Tamari Miyashiro (Honolulu, Hawaii) made the most of her collegiate debut at the AVCA College Volleyball Showcase last weekend, averaging 3.50 dpg. Miyashiro has taken over the starting position at libero after the graduation of two-time All-American Candace Lee who is now a member of the U.S. National Team. Miyashiro recorded 14 digs vs. Ohio and 16 against Texas.

COACH Jim McLaughlin: Jim McLaughlin begins his sixth year at the helm of the Washington volleyball program after leading the 2005 Huskies to their first-ever NCAA National Championship and repeating as Pacific-10 Conference Champions. The Huskies finished the season with a 32-1 record and cruised through the postseason, winning all six matches by 3-0 scores, an NCAA record, to win the national title. The national championship marked the second for McLaughlin, who led the 1990 USC men to the national title. He is the only coach in NCAA history to win titles with both men and women. McLaughlin joined the Washington program in 2001 and inherited a team that finished last in the Pac-10 standings in 2000. In five seasons, he has led the Huskies to four consecutive NCAA Tournaments, including the 2004 national semifinal and 2005 championship, and has built Washington into one of the nation's premier volleyball programs. He has won three Pac-10 Coach of the Year awards (2005, 2004, 2002) and was the 2004 National Coach of the Year. At Washington, McLaughlin has rebuilt the program from the ground up to become just the third UW program to win an NCAA national championship, joining women's crew and football. Over five seasons, McLaughlin has developed 13 All-Americans, five Academic All-Americans and 19 All-Conference players. He has also led the Huskies to the No. 1 national ranking both in 2004 and 2005. McLaughlin has a 115-41 record at UW over five seasons.

HUSKIES TO HOST NCAA REGIONAL: Washington, home of the 2005 Women's Volleyball National Champions, has been selected as one of four sites to host a 2006 regional tournament. The 10,000-seat Bank of America Arena will serve as the venue site for three matches, Dec. 8-9, from which the winner will advance to the Women's Volleyball Championship in Omaha, Neb. The other three sites chosen to host a regional include Gainesville, Fla. (Stephen C. O'Connell Center), Honolulu, Hawai'i (Stan Sheriff Center) and Austin, Texas (Gregory Gym). The 2006 selection marks Washington's second time hosting since the NCAA moved to predetermined regional sites in 2003. The Huskies last hosted a regional in 2004, the season Washington advanced to its first-ever Women's Volleyball Championship. Tickets will be on sale at the first home match on Sept. 7 vs. Portland State.

UW ON THE TUBE: The Pacific-10 Conference and FSN have selected two University of Washington volleyball matches to be televised as part of its 10-match line-up. Washington's match against Stanford on Sept. 22 will kick-off the Pac-10/FSN television package, while its match vs. UCLA on Oct. 27 has also been selected for broadcast. Both games will take place in Seattle at 7 p.m. Ten Pac-10 matches will be shown on FSN throughout the season beginning Sept. 22 and running through Nov. 24. All matches will be televised on a delayed basis. The Nov. 24 game will be a wildcard match with the featured match-up announced on Nov. 13. Washington's road match vs. Stanford is up for the wildcard spot.

HUSKIES PICKED TO FINISH THIRD IN PAC-10: The Washington volleyball team, the 2005 NCAA Champion and two-time defending Pacific-10 Conference champion, is predicted to finish third by the league's coaches in the 2006 conference race behind Stanford and UCLA. Stanford, the 2005 Pac-10 runner-up, is predicted to win the championship, receiving 89 points, including eight first place votes. The Cardinal finished one match behind Washington last season with a 16-2 Pac-10 record. UCLA, the only team to defeated Washington in 2005, is picked to finish second after receiving 79 points, including the two remaining first place votes. Washington was right on the Bruins' heels with 76 points, followed by California in fourth with 64 points and USC in fifth with 62 points. Arizona (48), Oregon State (41), Oregon (32), Arizona State (30) and Washington State (19) round out the poll. The coaches have correctly picked the Pac-10 champion in 10 of the previous 17 polls.

ROSTER BREAKDOWN: The 13-player Washington roster includes six returning letterwinners and three returning starters. The 2006 team includes two seniors, five juniors, two sophomores and four freshmen. The team represents six states and two countries, including Washington (5), Hawaii (2), Oregon (2), California (1), Texas (1), Utah (1) and London (1).

2005 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS: Washington won its first NCAA national title last season behind a record-setting postseason run as the Huskies became the first team in NCAA Tournament history to win all six of its matches in three games. UW finished the season with a 32-1 record and won its second straight Pac-10 title with a 17-1 league mark. Four Huskies earned All-America honors, including first team outside hitter Sanja Tomasevic, first team setter Courtney Thompson, second team libero Candace Lee and third team outside hitter Christal Morrison. Jim McLaughlin was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year and Tomasevic was selected as the Pac-10 Player of the Year.

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