Dawgs Visit The Bay For Crucial Pac-10 Matches

Oct. 6, 2009

FRIDAY, OCT. 9 • BERKELEY, CALIF.
#3/3 Washington at #15/14 California • 7:00 p.m.

SATURDAY, OCT. 10 • PALO ALTO, CALIF.
#3/3 Washington at #7/7 Stanford • 7:00 p.m. • FSN (delayed)

SETTING THE SCENE: BAY AREA BATTLES
The third-ranked Huskies put their perfect record on the line this weekend in the Bay Area against two of the Pac-10's toughest programs in 15th-ranked California and seventh-ranked Stanford. Wins this weekend would really give Washington (14-0, 4-0 Pac-10) the early edge in the conference race but wins in Berkeley and Palo Alto are always tough to come by.

The Huskies will be in Berkeley first this Friday to face the Golden Bears (8-5, 1-2 Pac-10) at Haas Pavilion at 7 p.m. One night later the Dawgs will be in Palo Alto to face the three-time defending Pac-10 Champion Cardinal (9-4, 2-1) who are coming off big weekend road wins over the L.A. schools. That match at Maples is also set for 7 p.m. and will be shown on a tape-delayed basis by FSN.

Washington has finished as runner-up in the Pac-10 to Stanford in each of the last three years, while Stanford was runner-up to UW in 2004 and 2005. Easy to understand therefore why both Husky-Cardinal meetings this year will be broadcast on FSN.

Washington is now the only team left in D-I that has not lost a set this year, with its streak now standing at a program-best 42-straight set wins. The Huskies have won their sets by an average score of 25.0-16.7. Cal and Stanford will be UW's fifth and sixth ranked opponents this year. UW has already defeated then-No. 4 Florida, No. 7 Oregon, No. 9 Minnesota, and No. 18 Arizona.

WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!
Washington returned home for the first time since late August to open its Pac-10 home slate against the Arizona schools. Arizona State came first on Friday night, and UW picked up a 25-23, 25-16, 25-22 decision despite hitting a season-low .230 on offense. Kindra Carlson led the way with 13 kills and Becky Perry subbed in late in the third set when UW trailed by as much as 17-13 and helped spark a decisive comeback with five kills on seven swings. Bianca Rowland had one of her finest all-around matches with 10 kills, four blocks, a career-high four aces, and a .600 hitting percentage.

One night later, the Huskies roared back from an off-night hitting and turned in their best performance of the year with a .413 mark compared to just .094 for the 18th-ranked Wildcats. Washington dominated every statistical category including kills (45-27), aces (7-1), digs (46-34), and blocks (5.5-3.0). Carlson again led the way with a season-high 16 kills, hitting .438. Airial Salvo hit a career-best .562 with 10 kills on 16 attempts and just one error, and added 10 digs for her third double-double of the year. Jenna Hagglund also posted her second-straight double-double with 39 assists and 11 digs. The Huskies wound up running away with a 25-15, 25-13, 25-16 victory.

ALL HOME MATCHES ARE ONDEMAND
If you miss any of Washington's home matches this year, or just want to relive the action or a particular play, remember that every match is available to watch on Comcast OnDemand. The video is taken from the GoHuskies.com live stream with all the accoutrements of your typical television broadcast. To find the Huskies, start under 'Get Local' or 'Sports & Fitness' then 'Local Sports' followed by 'UW' and then 'Volleyball.'

FOR STARTERS...
Washington's perfect start through the first six weeks is nothing new under head coach Jim McLaughlin. Last year the Huskies won their first seven matches before dropping a 3-2 decision at Hawai'i. The year before that Washington rolled to a 16-0 record before finally giving up a five-set loss at Cal. In the national title season in 2005, the Dawgs were 23-0 before their one and only loss at UCLA, and in 2004 Washington got off to a 22-0 start on the way to its first Final Four appearance. The Huskies also had an 11-match win streak to start the 2003 season, McLaughlin's third at Washington.

UW WINS IN AND OUT OF CONFERENCE
With a 10-0 run through its non-conference schedule, the Huskies ran their record against non-conference foes to 86-5 since the beginning of the 2003 season. That adds up to a .945 winning percentage out of the Pac-10. All five losses have been five-set nailbiters as well. Though its not as if UW has been shabby in league play either. Starting in 2004 when the Huskies won their first Pac-10 title, they have gone a combined 82-12 (.872) in conference matches and finished no worse than a tie for second.

SCOUTING THE GOLDEN BEARS
The Bears will be looking to make a stand on Friday and bounce back from two losses this past weekend in Los Angeles. Cal lost a five-set heartbreaker at USC that went all the way to 22-20 in the final frame, then fell in four close sets at UCLA the next night to drop to 1-2 in conference. The one win, however, was a five-set dogfight over Stanford at home where Cal came back from 2-1 down to win 15-12 in set five. Cal also had marquee non-conference matches with No. 2 Texas (3-1 loss) and No. 4 Hawai'i (3-2 win). The Bears are again led by senior Hana Cutura, a first team All-American last year. Cutura leads the Pac-10 in both kills (4.71) and points (5.26) per set and is hitting .275 for the year. The Bears have a .253 team attack percentage and are holding opponents to .183. Cal has one of the top blocks in the league with 2.80 per set, but serving could be a key edge for UW as Cal is last in aces at 0.65, while UW averages 2.05 aces per set, fifth-best in the nation. Junior setter Carli Lloyd was a First Team All-Pac-10 selection last year and is fourth in the league with 10.69 assists/set. Senior middle Mindi Wiley also ranks fourth in the Pac-10 with a .386 hitting percentage.

ABOUT THE SERIES
Home court did not mean much to the Huskies and Bears last year, as each team swept the other on the road. Cal spoiled UW's Pac-10 home opener last year with a 28-26, 25-22, 25-23 win, but Washington turned the tables in Berkeley, winning 25-17, 27-25, 25-29. The Huskies lead the all-time series, 28-23, going back to the first meeting in 1982 won by Cal. UW has won eight of the last 10 meetings.

SCOUTING THE CARDINAL
Stanford should be full of confidence after going to L.A. last weekend and knocking off UCLA and USC on consecutive nights to move to 2-1 in Pac-10 play. They lost the first set to UCLA, but then won the next six. Set two against the Trojans went all the way to 33-33 before Stanford finally grabbed the final two points. Junior All-American Alix Klineman was named Pac-10 Player of the Week. She had 23 kills and 10 digs against the Bruins plus five solo blocks, then upped that to 24 kills and 11 digs against the Trojans. Klineman is tied for sixth in the Pac-10 with 3.67 kills/set. Janet Okogbaa has stepped up to replace the void left by the graduation of National Player of the Year Foluke Akinradewo, and is hitting .380 out of the middle with 2.62 kills/set and 1.29 blocks/set, fourth-best in the league. Both teams played Florida in the non-conference season, UW sweeping the Gators while Florida upended the Cardinal, 3-2. Stanford has played just twice at home, winning both. Stanford's .277 attack percentage is third-best in the Pac-10 but they have allowed opponents to hit .200 for the year, ranking 9th out of 10 teams.

ABOUT THE SERIES
The Cardinal have taken the last three meetings against the Huskies, and lead the all-time series, 44-9. The Dawgs' last win came in Palo Alto back in 2007, when they pulled out a five-set thriller. Under Coach McLaughlin, the Huskies also earned a road win at Stanford in 2005.

HUSKIES IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
Once again the top-three teams in the national rankings held serve, and there was no change at the top for the sixth poll in a row. Washington stayed put at No. 3 following top-ranked Penn State and No. 2 Texas. The Nittany Lions have 48 first-place votes while the Longhorns have nine in their corner and the Huskies are pulling down the remaining three. Washingon remained third in the Volleyball Magazine poll as well. This six-week stretch is the first time in the top-three for the Huskies since December of 2006 prior to UW's third Final Four in as many years. The Huskies are now 4-0 against ranked opponents. Every Pac-10 team is now in the Top-25 or receiving votes. A record eight Pac-10 teams are now ranked in the Top-25, as Washington State joined the elite group at No. 25. Stanford moved up to seventh after winning twice in L.A. last week. Also appearing is No. 11 Oregon, No. 13 USC, No. 15 California, No. 16 UCLA, and No. 22 Arizona. 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.

RECORDS WATCH
Senior libero Tamari Miyashiro took down the Washington record for digs at Oregon State, surpassing All-American Candace Lee (2,038; 2002-05) in the first set. The Kanaohe, Hawai'i native is now up to 2,083 career digs and passed two more Pac-10 greats against the Arizona schools to move into thid in Pac-10 history. 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 broke 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 at the Tampa Twice Tournament became the fourth setter in school history to pass 3,000 career assists, coming in now at 3,232 over her two-plus seasons. Hagglund just passed Gretchen Maurer (1999-02) for third on the Husky all-time list. Also worth keeping an eye on is the impressive hitting of sophomore middle blocker Bianca Rowland. Currently hitting .523, Rowland is on pace to surpass the season attack percentage mark set last year by Jessica Swarbrick at .427. Senior Jill Collymore also cracked the Top-10 in career aces this past weekend, moving up to ninth with her 101st service winner.

NEXT UP
Washington tests itself against still two more ranked teams as the L.A. schools visit the Pacific Northwest. No. 16 UCLA will be at BOA on Friday, October 16 for a 6 p.m. start time. The next night, 13th-ranked USC will be in town for a 7 p.m. tip.

MIYASHIRO EARNS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
On the heels of UW's sweep over the Oregon schools, senior libero Tamari Miyashiro picked up the first Pac-10 Player of the Week award of her storied career on Sept. 28. Miyashiro's weekend was highlighted by breaking the UW career digs record, surpassing Candace Lee (2002-05) and moving into fifth in conference history with 2,048. In Friday's match against No. 7 Oregon, Miyashiro posted 18 digs as the Huskies held the previously undefeated Ducks to a season-low .143 hitting percentage. In addition, she tallied a season-high three service aces in the match. Against Oregon State on Sunday, the Huskies continued to play solid defense as Miyashiro registered 15 digs and Washington held the Beavers to their second-lowest hitting percentage of the year at .149. The Kaneohe, Hawai'i native became the first Husky defensive specialist to earn Player of the Week honors.

NUMBER CRUNCHING
Washington must be doing something right to be sitting at 14-0, and the stats certainly reflect that. While UW's balanced attack has prevented any one player from racking up overwhelming point totals, the Huskies have shined where it matters most--hitting percentages. The Huskies currently rank second in the nation and lead the Pac-10 with a .323 team hitting percentage; only Penn State is hitting at a higher level, and second-ranked Texas is third at .321. Sophomore Bianca Rowland has been the most efficient Husky, hitting at a .523 clip that is second-highest in the nation and leads the Pac-10. Even more impressive than UW's offense however, has been their defensive acumen. The Dawgs have limited their opponents to a .098 hitting percentage, and much credit there can go to two-time National Defensive Player of the Year Tamari Miyashiro who is leading the Pac-10 once again with 5.19 digs per set. Arizona State is second behind the UW in opponent hitting percentage, but are well back of UW at a .159 mark. Both serving and receiving serve have been major strengths for the Dawgs. With 2.05 aces per set, the Huskies rank fifth in the nation and second in the Pac-10. That average is UW's highest since 1991, and with only 16 reception errors thus far, Washington is on pace to set an all-time low. Senior Jill Collymore is averaging 0.65 aces per set which is second in the Pac-10 and seventh in the NCAA, while Miyashiro is third in the Pac with 0.43.

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