Huskies Open 2009 Season With San Jose State
Aug. 27, 2009
The Invitational At Seattle, Washington
MATCHES AT BANK OF AMERICA ARENA
Aug. 28 WASHINGTON vs. San Jose St. 7 p.m.
Aug. 29 WASHINGTON vs. San Diego St. 7 p.m.
MATCHES AT SEATTLE U. (CONNOLLY CENTER)
Aug. 28 Seattle U. vs. San Diego St. 7 p.m.
Aug. 29 WASHINGTON at Seattle U. 11 a.m.
Aug. 29 San Jose St. vs. San Diego St. 1 p.m.
Aug. 29 Seattle U. vs. San Jose St. 7 p.m.
SETTING THE SCENE: SEASON-OPENER ARRIVES
Washington volleyball is back and ready to launch another season of high-caliber play with high expectations. The Huskies will begin the season at home, co-hosting The Invitational At Seattle, Washington along with Seattle University. Joining the two hosts is San Jose State and San Diego State. Each team will play the other once over the two-day tourney. Washington will open up Friday night at 7 p.m. against the Spartans of SJSU. Saturday, the Huskies will drive on over to Seattle U.'s Connolly Center for an 11 a.m. match with the Redhawks, then head back to Bank of America Arena for a match with the Aztecs at 7 p.m.
A QUICK GLANCE IN THE REARVIEW MIRROR
The Huskies return all but one starter from a team that was mere points away from reaching the Final Four last year. Washington came up short against Nebraska, 3-2, in the Regional final. Overall the Dawgs were 27-5 on the year and 15-3 in the Pac-10. Washington finished second in the Pac-10 standings behind Stanford, marking the fifth-consecutive year they took first or second in league play, this despite being picked fifth in the preseason poll. The Huskies were ranked fifth in the final AVCA national poll.
Four Huskies earned All-America honors, including senior middle blocker Jessica Swarbrick, who finished her illustrious career as a three-time All-American and was the UW career leader in hitting percentage .406 as well as third in blocks with 483. Tamari Miyashiro was named National Defensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row by Volleyball Magazine, while setter Jenna Hagglund and outside hitter Becky Perry also earned All-America awards.
Washington topped the Pac-10 in a number of statistical categories. Hagglund led the conference in assists per set at 12.17, while Miyashiro's 5.14 assists per set was also No. 1. Jill Collymore racked up a league-high 46 aces, 0.46 per set. Perry and Kindra Carlson were fifth and ninth in points per set, respectively, and Swarbrick had the No. 2 hitting percentage at .427.
Washington is 26-9 all-time in season openers, including seven straight wins from 2002 to the present day. Last year the women opened with a sweep of Montana State in Bozeman, Montana. Washington is 9-2 overall in season-openers at home. They last opened at home in 2007, sweeping San Francisco. Under Jim McLaughlin, the UW is 7-1 in season-openers, losing the first match of his first season in 2001 to BYU but having won the last seven.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS
San Jose State is coming off a 13-18 season though they reached the semifinals of the Western Athletic Conference tournament for the third year in a row. The Spartans bring back three starters from last year's squad, including junior outside hitter Brianna Amian, senior libero Kristal Tsukano, and junior defensive specialist Courtney Zellmer. Amian was a second team All-WAC selection last year. Oscar Crespo is heading into his third season coaching SJSU and is 27-33 thus far.
ABOUT THE SERIES
The Huskies and Spartans have faced off seven times but this will be the first meeting since 1985. At the time, San Jose State owned a six-match win streak against the Huskies, after UW won the first encounter in 1980. In 1985, the schools met twice, home and away, with SJSU winning both in straight sets.
SCOUTING THE REDHAWKS
The Seattle U. Redhawks are embarking on their second year of Division-I competition. In 2008 the Redhaws went 10-23, which included a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Huskies. Seattle U. has 10 returners on its roster, and seven Redhawks are Washington natives, including sophomore Cristin Richards from Olympia, who led the team with 2.94 kills per set last year.
ABOUT THE SERIES
Washington has won all four meetings against Seattle U. including a 3-0 sweep in the Husky Fever Classic last year (25-9, 25-14, 25-11). Prior to that the teams had not met since 1977, when they played three times in one year with UW winning all three.
SCOUTING THE AZTECS
The Aztecs have a new leader this season in first-year head coach Deitre Collins-Parker. She comes to San Diego State from Cornell and has a 13-year career record of 162-191. San Diego State returns four starters from last year's team that compiled a mark of 9-17. They bring back starting setter Lauren Van Orden (4.73 assists/game) outside hitter Kyley Sexton (2.53 kpg) and middle blockers Lauren Salisbury (2.88 kills/set, 1.04 bpg) and Bailee Hellwig (1.04 bps).
ABOUT THE SERIES
The Huskies and Aztecs have not lined up against each other since 1982. That year the teams played twice on consecutive nights, with San Diego State coming out ahead both times. The Aztecs won all five meetings between 1979 and 1982.
Washington continues its tournament swing with a jaunt down to Portland for the Northwest Challenge. Portland State hosts the annual event this year at the Stott Center. The Huskies will play the tourney opener on Friday, Sept. 4, at 5 p.m. vs. Boise State. Saturday will be the second twofer of the year for UW, as they take on Gonzaga at 11 a.m. and then battle Portland State that night at 7 p.m.
There are some exciting new ways to follow the Huskies on a regular basis this season, the hub of which is the newly redesigned GoHuskies.com. From there fans can connect with the Huskies on Twitter as well as join their official Facebook fan site to get closer to the team than ever before.
To find the Huskies on Twitter, search 'UWVolleyball' all one word.To become a fan of the Huskies on Facebook, simply head to facebook.com/UWHuskyVolleyball.
Junior libero Tamari Miyashiro is well on her way to her second thousand digs. The Kanaohe, Hawai'i native has 1,865 career digs, and needs 135 to become just the second libero in Washington history to break 2,000 digs. Once she hits that mark it's just another 38 digs to tie Candace Lee for the school record. Miyashiro succeeded Lee at the libero position, giving Husky fans eight-straight seasons of historically outstanding defensive play. A two-time National Defensive Player of the Year, Miyashiro is on pace to break the digs record despite the switch to 25-point sets last season. Also climbing the career Top-10 list is junior setter Jenna Hagglund, who enters 2009 with 2,809 assists, needing just 191 more to become the fourth setter in school history to pass 3,000.
HUSKIES IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
The Huskies received a vote of confidence, dozens to be exact, in the national preseason polls, as both the AVCA and Volleyball Magazine rank UW fourth in its initial prognostications. In the AVCA poll, the Huskies were one of three teams to earn first place votes, picking up a pair. Both polls follow the same top-seven, with Penn State leading and earning 52 first-place votes in the AVCA poll. Texas is second in both, with six first-place votes in the AVCA. Nebraska is third but did not earn a vote for the top spot, followed by Washington. The Pac-10 makes a run behind the Huskies with Stanford at No. 5 and California at No. 6. Hawai'i is ranked seventh by both polls before things start to diverge slightly. One impressive rankings-related note is that Washington, Penn State, and Nebraska are the only three teams to have been ranked in the Top-10 by the AVCA every week for the past five years. All three teams were last out of the Top-10 in December of 2003.
MCLAUGHLIN NEARS MILESTONE
With wins in UW's first three matches this weekend, ninth-year head coach Jim McLaughlin would hit the 200 wins mark at Washington. Already the winningest coach in Husky history, McLaughlin would join UCLA's Andy Banachowski (1,082 wins), Arizona's Dave Rubio (321), Stanford's John Dunning (239), and USC's Mick Haley (204) as current Pac-10 coaches that have amassed 200+ wins at their current school.
UW ON THE TUBE
Husky fans can look forward to four matches televised by Fox Sports Net during the fall. Washington's four FSN dates are tied for the most of any conference team along with Stanford. Both of the regular season meetings between the Huskies and Cardinal will be broadcast. No other conference team will be televised more than twice. The first televised match will be UW's visit to Palo Alto on October 10. Then FSN will feature the Dawgs for three-straight weeks late in the season. The Stanford home match on Nov. 6, Washington's visit to UCLA on Nov. 21, and Washington's home meeting with the Cougars on Nov. 21 are all slated for broadcast.
INSIDE THE ROSTER
Washington has 15 girls on the roster in 2009 from eight states and one territory. Six athletes hail from Washington state, while the rest come from Arizona (Anderson), California (Orlandini and Holford), Hawai'i (Miyashiro), Ohio (Hagglund), Texas (Perry), Utah (Salvo), and Puerto Rico (Nogueras). The squad also boasts seven girls six feet tall or taller, with the average height of the team coming in at 6-0. Washington's tallest player is sophomore middle blocker Lauren Barfield at 6-5; the shortest is freshman defensive specialist Jenna Orlandini at 5-6.
HUSKIES VOTED PAC-10 PRESEASON FAVORITES
The Husky volleyball team was tabbed as the preseason favorite in the Pacific-10 Conference based on a vote of the conference coaches. Washington received all of a possible nine first place votes. The Huskies led the way with 90 points and nine of 10 first place votes. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team. California was voted second with 80 points and the other first-place vote. Three-time defending conference champion Stanford was third with 74 points. The Cardinal were NCAA runners-up last year. Last season the Huskies were picked fifth in the preseason coaches' poll but vastly outperformed that estimate to finish second behind Stanford. The last time the Huskies were voted the Pac-10 preseason favorite was 2005, when UW went on to win its first NCAA Championship, losing just one match all year.