Huskies To Face Arizona Schools In Final Pac-10 Home Series

Nov. 14, 2006

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THIS WEEK: The second-ranked Washington volleyball team (22-3, 12-2 Pac-10) will play its final home matches of the Pac-10 season this week when it hosts Arizona and Arizona State, Nov. 16-17 at Bank of America Arena. Washington is tied with Stanford for the lead in the Pac-10 race with four matches remaining on the conference schedule. The Huskies are the two-time defending Pac-10 Champions.

SENIOR NIGHT: Two Huskies make their final regular-season appearance at Bank of America Arena on Friday, including Courtney Thompson and Janine Sandell. Thompson has been the darling of UW volleyball for the last four seasons, starting every match at setter since she arrived on campus as a freshman. In that time, Thompson has captained the Huskies to back-to-back Pac-10 Championships, the 2005 NCAA Championship and has guided the Dawgs to a 105-16 record overall (.868) and 55-13 mark (.809) in the Pac-10. She holds the Washington career assists record (6,132), which ranks 12th in NCAA history and second in the Pac-10, and her 14.67 assists per game average is on pace to break the NCAA record (14.45). The two-time first team All-American also won the Honda Award last season, recognizing the top female athlete in the country in 12 different sports, becoming the first University of Washington athlete to win the award in any sport. Sandell transferred to UW after three successful seasons at UC Santa Barbara where she earned All-America honorable mention accolades and was the 2005 Big West Player of the Year. She has started 15 matches for the Huskies this season and averages 2.10 kills per game and 0.94 blocks per game.

SCOUTING ARIZONA: The Arizona Wildcats (12-15, 3-12 Pac-10) are on a two-match win streak after defeating No. 24 Oregon and Oregon State last week. The team is led by Brooke Buringrud with 3.56 kills per game, while Whitney Dosty chips in 3.38 kpg. Stephanie Butkus runs the Wildcat offense and averages 11.35 assists per game, while libero Brittany Leonard anchors the defense with 3.88 digs per game. Arizona leads the Pac-10 Conference with 3.52 blocks per game and has four players averaging more than one block per game.

SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE: The Arizona State Sun Devils (13-13, 5-10 Pac-10) have won two matches in a row after defeating Oregon State and No. 24 Oregon in 3-1 sets last week. Nicole Morton headlines the offense with 3.35 kpg, while Nina Reeves averages 3.08 kpg. Marina Mercer handles setting duties and averages 10.10 assists per game. Libero Sydney Donahue leads the Pac-10 with 6.49 digs per game, while the Sun Devils lead the conference overall with 18.39 dpg.

THOMPSON POISED TO BREAK PAC-10 CAREER ASSISTS RECORD: Senior All-American Courtney Thompson's career assists total stands at 6,132 assists and counting, which ranks second on the Pac-10 all-time list and 12th on the NCAA all-time list. She is 103 assists away from breaking the conference record held by UCLA's Erika Selsor who tallied 6,234 assists from 1998-2001. 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 and NCAA records for assists per game average with 14.67 apg. Former Colorado standout Kelly Campbell holds the NCAA record with 14.45 apg from 1996-99, while Selsor holds the Pac-10 record with 14.00 apg.

UW RANKED FOURTH IN AVCA NATIONAL POLL: The Huskies jumped two positions in both the CSTV/AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll (Nov. 13) and the Molten/Volleyball Women's College Top 20 Poll (Nov. 13) this week and rank second nationally behind Nebraska. The No. 2 ranking is Washington's highest this season.

HOME SWEET HOME: Washington has won all 11 of its home matches this season, extending its home win streak to 27 matches, which is a program record. The Huskies won all 11 matches they played at Bank of America Arena last season and have not lost at home since dropping a five-game heartbreaker to USC on Nov. 26, 2004 (28-30, 24-30, 30-25, 30-22, 15-17). Eight of Washington's 11 home wins this season have come via the 3-0 sweep.

FULL HOUSE: Washington broke the school's attendance record Oct. 13 when 6,216 fans packed Bank of America Arena to see the Huskies sweep Washington State. The attendance mark is the third-highest in Pac-10 history and surpasses Washington's old attendance record of 5,712 fans set vs. Stanford in 2004. The Huskies average 2,194 fans per match, which leads the Pac-10 and ranks eighth nationally.

HUSKIES AMONG PAC-10 LEADERS: Washington leads the Pac-10 Conference in hitting percentage (.305), assists (16.53 apg) and kills (17.45 kpg), and ranks second in opponent hitting percentage (.141). In Pac-10-only matches, the Huskies lead the league in assists (17.06 apg), kills (17.82) and digs (18.39). Senior Courtney Thompson leads the Pac-10 with 15.01 apg, while junior Christal Morrison ranks second in kills (4.71 kpg) and points (5.46 ppg). In conference-only matches, Tamari Miyashiro ranks third in digs (5.94).

MORRISON CLIMBS UW KILLS LIST: Junior All-American Christal Morrison moved into fifth on the UW all-time kills chart last week, surpassing Paige Benjamin who collected 1,287 kills between 1999-02. Morrison's career total stands at 1,295 and she is 10 kills away from tying Dragana Djordevic (1,305, 1991-95) for fourth on the UW all-time list.

THOMPSON JOINS 6,000-ASSIST CLUB: Senior All-American Courtney Thompson picked up her 5,000th career assist vs. Morehead State on Sept. 1 to become the first person in UW history and just the fifth in Pac-10 history to accomplish the feat. She recorded her 6,000 career assist vs. Oregon State on Nov. 2, becoming just the second person in Pac-10 history to do so.

ACE IN THE HOLE: Courtney Thompson has 22 service aces this season to bring her career total to 110, which ranks seventh on the UW all-time list. Christal Morrison leads the Huskies with 27 aces this season and ranks eighth on the UW all-time list. Sophomore Jill Collymore (Bellevue, Wash.) has also been effective at the service line, notching 19 aces while playing in just 41 of Washington's 86 games this season.

MULTI-TALENTED MORRISON: Junior outside hitter Christal Morrison 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 has led or tied for the team lead in kills 12 times this season and has 14 double-doubles. She currently ranks second in the Pac-10 with 4.71 kpg and 5.46 ppg, and ranks fourth with 0.32 sapg. The Mizuno Wildcat Classic Most Valuable Player in September, Morrison has littered her name throughout the UW career record book, with the second-highest points per game average (5.12), and kills per game average (4.37), and the 10th-best hitting percentage (.298) in Husky history.

MORRISON NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK, TWICE: Christal Morrison has earned two Pac-10 Player of the Week awards this season, most recently earning the award after helping the Huskies topple No. 5 USC and No. 4 UCLA, Oct. 26-27, to extend their home winning streak to 27 matches. Against USC, Morrison led Washington with 17 kills and a career-best 21 digs. The All-American continued to play well the next night vs. UCLA as she tallied 25 kills, just one shy of her career record, and recorded 13 digs. The double-doubles marked her 10th and 11th of the season, with nine coming within the last 10 matches. For the weekend, Morrison averaged 5.25 kills per game, 4.25 digs per game and 5.88 points per game. She also earned the award for the week of Sept. 18-24 after leading Washington to a pair of 3-0 sweeps over No. 8 California and No. 6 Stanford. On Friday, Sept. 22, Morrison celebrated her 21st birthday with a sweep of Stanford and went on to lead the Huskies with 17 kills on 46 swings with no errors, giving her a .370 hitting percentage. She also picked up 12 digs and a pair of blocks. Morrison opened the weekend with a 10-kill performance against California. She went on to add an ace, three digs, and four blocks.

MARVELOUS MUSSIE: Junior transfer Stevie Mussie (Puyallup, Wash.) ranks second on the team with 4.02 kpg, while chipping in 2.59 dpg and 4.51 ppg. She has led or tied for the team lead in kills 11 times this season, including a season-high 27 kills vs. Oregon (Nov. 3). Mussie has 17 double-figure kill performances, including seven matches with 18 or more kills. She also has 13 double-digit dig matches and has 11 double-doubles. Mussie transferred to Washington from the University of Pacific after the 2004 season but redshirted last year after undergoing knee surgery.

SPLENDID SANDELL: 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 has made 15 starts for the Huskies this season and averages 2.10 kpg, 0.73 dpg and 0.94 blocks per game. She has six double-figure kill performances, including 13 kills vs. Arizona (Oct. 20), and three matches with six or more blocks, including eight vs. USC (Sept. 29).

DAZZELING DEESING: Junior middle blocker Alesha Deesing (Salem, Ore.), a first team All-Pac-10 and honorable mention All-Pacific Region selection last year, has started every match for the Dawgs this season, averaging 2.73 kpg, 1.13 bpg and a .412 hitting percentage, which ranks fourth in the Pac-10. Deesing currently ranks second on the UW all-time hitting percentage chart with a .402 clip, and ranks fourth on the career list in blocks per game (1.18), seventh in career points (646) and eighth in points per game (3.15). She has 15 double-digit kill performances, including 18 kills vs. UCLA (Oct. 27), and has tallied six or more blocks six times, including 11 vs. Oregon (Nov. 3).

TENACIOUS TAMARI: Redshirt freshman Tamari Miyashiro (Honolulu, Hawaii) anchors the UW defense with 5.14 dpg and has led the team in digs 19 times this season. Miyashiro was named the Mizuno Wildcat Classic Libero of the Tournament on Sept. 1, and 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 has 19 double-figure dig performances, including 36 digs vs. Oregon (Nov. 3), 33 digs vs. UCLA (Oct. 27) and 30 digs vs. USC (Sept. 29). Miyashiro ranks fifth in the Pac-10 overall in digs per game, while her 5.14 dpg average ranks first on the UW single-season all-time list and second on the career chart behind Lee (5.92, 2002-05).

STELLAR SWARBRICK: Sophomore middle blocker Jessica Swarbrick (El Dorado, Calif.) leads the team with a .432 hitting percentage, which ranks third in the Pac-10. She averages 2.74 kpg and leads UW with 1.28 bpg, which ranks seventh in the conference. Swarbrick has led Washington or has tied for the team lead in blocks 13 times, including eight block performances vs. Texas (Aug. 26), UC Davis (Sept. 15) and USC (Sept. 29).

ALL-AMERICAN GIRLS: Three All-Americans grace Washington's roster, accounting for five All-America awards. Courtney Thompson is a two-time first team All-American, while Christal Morrison was a second team selection in 2004 and a third team pick last season. Janine Sandell was an honorable mention All-American for UC Santa Barbara last year.

COACH Jim McLaughlin: Jim McLaughlin is in 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 136-43 record (.759) at UW.

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.

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