Bruins Close Non-Conference Schedule at USD Tournament

Sept. 10, 2007


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#5 UCLA (7-1) vs. Cal State Northridge (3-6)
Friday, Sept. 14
San Diego, Calif.
Jenny Craig Pavilion
5 p.m.
Live Audio:
Live Stats:

#5 UCLA (7-1) vs. Pittsburgh (5-5)
Saturday, Sept. 15
San Diego, Calif.
Jenny Craig Pavilion
12 p.m.
Live Stats:

#5 UCLA (7-1) vs. #18 San Diego (5-3)
Saturday, Sept. 15
San Diego, Calif.
Jenny Craig Pavilion
7 p.m.
Live Audio:
Live Stats:

The fifth-ranked Bruins close out the non-conference portion of their 2007 schedule this weekend at the USD Tournament in San Diego. UCLA will take on Cal State Northridge (3-6) on Friday, with that match broadcast live on with Darren Preston at the call. On Saturday, the Bruins face Pittsburgh (5-5) at 12 p.m. and #18 San Diego (5-3) at 7 p.m. The match against Pitt will feature Gametracker on, while the USD contest will be broadcast at

UCLA maintained its fifth position in this week's CSTV/AVCA Top 25 poll. For the first time this season, the Bruins lost points in the poll, but stayed at fifth despite losing 11 points. UCLA has now been ranked in the AVCA Top 5 in 18 of the last 19 rankings. In last week's Molten Volleyball Magazine poll, the Bruins dropped one spot to fifth, the same as their preseason ranking, after jumping up to fourth in the previous poll.

In taking a closer look at the UCLA women's volleyball jerseys, you will notice that the 'C' is a different color than the 'U', 'L', 'A' this season. The different color 'C' signifies the roman numeral for 100 and celebrates the 100 NCAA Championships won by the Bruins. Women's volleyball has a hand in three of those national titles, winning NCAA championships in 1984, 1990 and 1991.

Cal State Northridge went 1-2 last weekend at the Sacramento State Invitational, beating Manhattan in five before falling to Sacramento State and Oregon State in four. The Bruins will be the fourth Pac-10 team the Matadors have faced this season, with Northridge having also fallen in three to USC and Washington. The Matadors spread the wealth offensively, with seven players averaging at least two kills per game. Leading the way are a pair of freshmen in Alex Johnson (2.65 kpg) and Lynda Morales (2.37 kpg). Northridge also shares the setting duties with sophomore Angela Hupp (6.17 apg) and junior Kayla Wright (5.14 apg). Jeff Stork is in his sixth year at the helm of the Cal State Northridge program, posting a 67-81 school record and an 89-87 career record in six-plus seasons. The Bruins lead the all-time series with the Matadors 30-5 and have won 13 in a row. The last matchup came on Sept. 8, 2005 in Hawaii, with the Bruins posting a three-game victory, 30-21, 30-20, 30-26. The Matadors' last win came in 1975 in Northridge. UCLA holds a 14-1 record in neutral site matches against Northridge. All-time, the Bruins are 217-45 (.828) against teams from the nine-team Big West Conference.

Pittsburgh comes into this weekend's play on a four-match winning streak after claiming the Pitt Invitational last weekend. The Panthers beat George Mason and UAB in four and Buffalo in three. Pittsburgh has three players averaging above 3.00 kills per game. Senior Diana Andreyko has 4.22 kpg and 2.50 digs per game, while junior Kelly Campbell also has 4.22 kpg with 3.11 dpg. Sophomore Meagan Dooley is third at 3.03 kpg. Chris Beerman is in his seventh year as head coach at Pittsburgh and owns a 122-70 record. In 11-plus career seasons, Beerman is 212-106. The Bruins lead the all-time series with the Panthers 3-0. The last meeting was on Sept. 3, 1999, a 3-0 win for UCLA in Hawaii. The Bruins also beat Pittsburgh in five in Madison, Wisc. in 1990 and in three in Santa Barbara in 1996. UCLA is 13-1 all-time against teams from the Big East Conference, including a three-game victory over Louisville in Hawaii on Aug. 31.

San Diego rebounded from a tough tournament two weeks ago in Minnesota in which it lost to three ranked teams by winning its own tournament at USD last weekend. The Toreros knocked off UC Santa Barbara, Virginia and Oklahoma all in four games. USD is 1-3 this season against ranked squads, beating then-#19 Long Beach State to open the season. San Diego has two players averaging above 4.00 kpg, led by sophomore Amy DeGroot, who is at 4.13 kpg and 2.90 digs per game. Senior Laurel Abrahamson is averaging 4.10 kpg and 1.07 blocks per game. The Toreros employ two setters in junior Jessica Nyrop (7.97 apg) and freshman Kelsi Meyers (6.54 apg). Jennifer Petrie is in her eighth year as USD head coach and owns a record of 153-64. The Bruins have won all four meetings with the Toreros, including a three-game victory in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Pauley Pavilion in 2005. Game scores were 30-24, 30-23, 30-19. Saturday night's meeting will mark the first matchup between the two teams at Jenny Craig Pavilion, with the Bruins having never played a match in the eight-year-old arena.

Junior Nellie Spicer earned her second straight Most Valuable Player honor last weekend at the UC Irvine/Nike Invitational. So far this season, Spicer was named to the All-Tournament Team at the season-opening AVCA College Volleyball Showcase and was the MVP of the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic. Joining Spicer on the All-Tournament Team at the UCI Invitational were senior Rachell Johnson and freshman Dicey McGraw. Johnson also earned honors in Hawaii, along with junior Ali Daley, who was All-Tournament at the AVCA Showcase.

Junior setter Nellie Spicer continues to live up to her status as arguably the best setter in the country. Spicer earned tournament Most Valuable Player honors for the second straight weekend at the UC Irvine/Nike Invitational. Earning some rest during one match and a game of another, Spicer played in just six out of 10 games over the weekend but still managed to average 13.67 assists and 2.50 digs per game. On Friday against UC Irvine, Spicer had 49 assists and 13 digs for her 34th career double-double and moved into fifth all-time on UCLA's assist list. With her 40th assist against the Anteaters, Spicer recorded assist number 3,401 to move past Kim Coleman. Adding her 33 assists against Southern Mississippi on Saturday, Spicer has 3,443 for her career. On Sept. 3 against Hawai'i, Spicer registered a career-high eight kills in leading the Bruins to a three-game sweep of the Rainbow Wahine to claim the tournament title. On the season, her 12.87 assists per game rank third in the Pac-10, while her 3.09 digs per game are 10th.

At her current pace, junior outside hitter Ali Daley is going to have more double-doubles than an In-N-Out drive-thru window. After recording just six double-doubles in her first year at UCLA in 2006, Daley already has five on the season after posting a pair in matches against UC Irvine and Southern Mississippi last weekend. Daley posted 14 kills and 13 digs against the host Anteaters on Friday and led the Bruins in kills again on Saturday against the Golden Eagles. Her match-high 12 kills marked the fourth time this season Daley has led UCLA in that category. Daley has twice earned All-Tournament Team honors this season at the AVCA College Volleyball Showcase and the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic. Against top-ranked Nebraska on Aug. 25, Daley tied her UCLA career high with 19 kills and broke her previous Bruin high with 18 digs. Daley's 3.75 kpg and 3.58 dpg both lead the team, with her digs total places her eighth in the Pac-10. She has six double-figure kills matches and five contests with at least 10 digs.

Stepping up in the absence of graduated senior Nana Meriwether, senior Rachell Johnson has made a huge impact in the middle of the Bruins' lineup in the first three weeks of her final campaign in Westwood. Johnson has been a blocking machine so far, posting 1.04 blocks per game this season. Last weekend at the UC Irvine/Nike Invitational, it was her hitting expertise that helped the Bruins and helped earn her All-Tournament Team honors. Johnson registered 27 kills, including a match-high 18 against UC Irvine on Friday. Johnson hit .389 in that match and followed that up with nine kills and a .375 hitting percentage against Southern Mississippi after resting during a Saturday matinee against William and Mary. On the season, Johnson is second on the team at 3.70 kills per game. She has had at least 10 kills on four different occasions, including 19 against #1 Nebraska on Aug. 25, which was just two shy off her career high. Johnson's hitting percentage on the year is at .385, which places her 10th in the Pac-10, the same ranking she sits at in points per game (4.57) as well.

Kaitlin Sather continued her tremendous junior campaign last weekend at the UC Irvine/Nike Invitational, averaging 4.25 kills per game and 2.75 digs per game with a .270 hitting percentage. Against UC Irvine on Friday, Sather had 13 kills and seven digs, and followed that up with a match-high 15 kills and 11 digs against William and Mary on Saturday morning. It was Sather's second double-double of the season and 19th of her career. Then in the Saturday night match against Southern Miss, Sather came in for one game and had six kills with no errors on nine swings. On the year, Sather is third on the team with 3.33 kills per game and fifth in digs at 2.67.

A person can really standout on a volleyball court when they are wearing a different colored jersey than their teammates. For junior Jade Machado, sure see stands out because she carries the libero tag and hence the different jersey, but so far this season she is also standing out because of her great defensive play. Machado had her double-figure digs streak technically come to an end when she came in near the tail-end of Saturday morning's match against William and Mary, but she still had 10-plus digs against UC Irvine and Southern Miss, posting 16 against the Anteaters and 12 against the Golden Eagles, both match highs. Machado's career high in digs came on Aug. 31 against Louisville with 17. Machado leads the team in digs and is one of three Bruins in the Top 10 in the Pac-10. Machado's 3.88 digs per game place her seventh in the conference.

And that new name would be Elise Carstensen. The junior received valuable playing time last weekend at the UC Irvine/Nike Invitational and made the most of it, posting 2.56 kills per game and 1.33 blocks per game. Carstensen came into the tournament playing scarcely over the first two weekends, but played well against UC Irvine on Friday to earn a starting spot in both matches on Saturday. Against the Anteaters, Carstensen had five kills and no errors in 11 attempts, also adding a team-best seven blocks. On Saturday, the junior had 10 kills and a .500 hitting percentage in 16 swings against William and Mary and added eight kills on .500 hitting against Southern Mississippi. The tremendous hitting weekend of .488 vaulted Carstensen up to sixth in the Pac-10 at .422 on the year. She is sixth on the team in kills per game at 2.36 and second in blocks per game at 1.07.

Ordinarily that phrase would be a bad thing, but not for the Bruins. Freshman Dicey McGraw had a solid weekend at the UC Irvine/Nike Invitational, averaging 3.14 kills per game and 3.29 digs per game to earn All-Tournament Team honors. Playing in front of numerous family members, the Laguna Niguel native had her second career double-figure kills match and her first double-double with a personal-best 13 kills and 16 digs against William and Mary Saturday morning. She followed that up with eight more kills against Southern Miss Saturday night. McGraw currently sits fourth on the team in kills at 2.71.

Two Bruins made their UCLA debuts at the UC Irvine/Nike Invitational last weekend. Freshman Katie Mills played in both Saturday matches and was blocking everything in her path in the third game of the William and Mary match, posting five block assists and two kills. Sophomore Diana Douglas also saw action for the first time against William and Mary and Southern Miss, recording a dig against the Tribe.

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