Huskies Open 2007 Season This Friday

Aug. 22, 2007

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THIS WEEK: The No. 8 Washington volleyball team opens the 2007 season this Friday and Saturday when it hosts the Husky Classic, Aug. 24-25. Washington will host three teams in the six-match round-robin tournament, including Cal State Northridge, Fresno State and San Francisco. The Huskies open the tournament against San Francisco on Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. On Aug. 25, Washington will face Fresno State at 11 a.m., and then take on Cal State Northridge at 7 p.m. to close out the tournament.

UW RANKED EIGHTH IN CSTV/AVCA PRESEASON TOP 25 POLL: The Washington volleyball team is ranked No. 8 in the 2007 CSTV/AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll, after receiving 1,088 points. Nebraska, the 2006 NCAA National Champion, earned the top ranking, receiving 1,491 points and 53 out of 60 first place votes. Other Pac-10 schools in the Top 25 include No. 2 Stanford, No. 5 UCLA, No. 6 USC and No. 12 California. Arizona and Oregon also received votes in the poll but were not in the Top 25.

HOME OPENERS: Washington is 24-8 all-time in home openers and 5-1 in the Jim McLaughlin era. The Huskies have won the last five home openers, including wins over Portland State (30-24, 30-15, 30-20-- 2006); Gardner-Webb (30-8, 30-11, 30-12-- 2005); Oregon (30-19, 30-15, 30-25-- 2004); Arizona State (18-30, 30-19, 30-26, 30-19-- 2003); and Oregon State (30-21, 30-28, 30-26-- 2002).

HOME SWEET HOME: Washington has been dominant at Bank of America Arena since the 2003 season, going 38-1 over the past three years at home, including a perfect 15-0 last year. The Huskies undefeated record last year marked the second consecutive season in which they have gone unbeaten at home. Washington's last loss at home came back on Nov. 26, 2004, when USC escaped with a five-game win (28-30, 24-30, 30-25, 30-22, 15-17).

SCOUTING CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE: The Matadors return five starters and eight letterwinners back from last years squad that went 16-12 overall and 7-7 in the Big West Conference. CSU Northridge was recently picked to finish fifth in the 2007 Big West preseason coaches poll. The Matadors will rely heavily on the services of 2006 All-Big West First Team outside hitter Harmony Burdine, as well as 2006 Big West Freshman of the Year Angela Hupp (OH/S). 2006 All-Big West Honorable Mention libero Kelley Hansen also returns for the Matadors.

SCOUTING FRESNO STATE: 2007 marks the second consecutive year that UW and Fresno State have played. Last year in Fresno, the Huskies won 3-0 (30-17, 30-21, 30-16), in the two teams first meeting since 1987. Fresno State leads the all-time series 5-4. The Bulldogs return eight players from last years team that went 6-24 overall and 3-13 in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). Head coach Ruben Nieves, who is entering his third year at Fresno State, welcomes ten newcomers to this years team. In the 2007 WAC preseason coaches poll, Fresno State was selected eighth in the nine-team conference.

SCOUTING SAN FRANCISCO: The Dons return six starters from last years team that went 23-10 overall and 6-8 in the West Coast Conference (WCC). Those six returners accounted for 95 percent of the kills from the Dons offense last season. Leading the way for USF is senior All-American candidate Kristin Hasselberg, who was a All-WCC First Team outside hitter a year ago. Also back for the Dons is senior outside hitter Brynn Maurer, who already holds the Dons' all-time digs record, and junior middle blocker Alix Gombos, who was an All-WCC Honorable Mention pick last season. Head coach Gilad Doron enters his first season at the helm of the USF program.

HUSKIES PICKED TO FINISH FOURTH IN PAC-10: The Washington volleyball team has been predicted to finish fourth in the Pac-10 Conference in a poll by the league's coaches. The Huskies, who were national semifinalists last season and finished one match out of first place in the conference, return all but one starter for the 2007 season, including All-Americans Christal Morrison (Sr., OH, Puyallup, Wash.), Alesha Deesing (Sr., MB, Aumsville, Ore.) and Jessica Swarbrick (Jr., MB, El Dorado, Calif.). Stanford, the national runner-up and 2006 Pac-10 Champion, was picked to defend its league title, receiving eight of 10 first place votes for a total of 89 points. The Cardinal also return a trio of All-Americans for the 2007 season. USC and UCLA, also a national semifinalist last season, each received one first-place vote, garnering 77 and 75 points, respectively. Washington came in fourth with 71 points, followed by California with 57 points and Arizona with 46 points. Rounding out the poll were Oregon (42), Arizona State (33), Oregon State (26), and Washington State (24), respectively. The coaches have correctly picked the Pac-10 champion in 11 of the previous 18 polls.

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 matches against UCLA on Oct. 18 , and against Stanford on Nov. 8 have 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. 21 and running through Nov. 23. All matches will be televised on a delayed basis. The Nov. 16 televised game will be a wildcard match with the featured match-up announced on Nov. 5. Washington's road match vs. USC is up for the wildcard spot. Also, the final televised Pac-10 match on FSN will be broadcast on either Nov. 21 or Nov. 23, and will also feature a wildcard match. The final decision will be made on Nov. 12, and the Huskies home matches against Oregon State (Nov. 21) and Oregon (Nov. 23) are both up for the wildcard spot.

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