Volleyball Hits The Road For Oregon, Oregon State

Sept. 25, 2001

SEATTLE - Last Week:
9/20 California* W, 3-0
9/21 #4 Stanford* L, 1-3

This Week:
9/24 Idaho W, 3-0
9/27 at Oregon State* 7:00 PM
9/28 at Oregon* 7:00 PM

10/4 UCLA* 7:00 PM
10/5 USC* 7:00 PM
10/8 at Washington St.*^ 5:00 PM

Great Start: With its three-game sweep over Idaho Monday, the Washington volleyball team (7-3) is off to its best start since 1996 when the Huskies went 9-1 to open their campaign.

The UW split its first Pac-10 weekend matches, ending a four-match losing streak to California (3-0) and then falling to No. 4 Stanford (1-3) in a highly competitive match.

Schedule Moves: The UW's match with in-state rival Washington State, which was scheduled for September 14, will be played on Monday, October 8, at 5 p.m. in Pullman.

A possible make-up date for the team's non-conference match with Gonzaga, which was postponed on September 12, is still pending.

Washington's opponents for its October 12-13 matches in Arizona also have been switched. The Huskies will face Arizona State on Friday, October 12, before heading to Arizona on Saturday, October 13. The two schools had originally been flip-flopped on some schedules. Both matches will begin at 7 p.m.

Block Party: The Huskies have had great success at the net so far this season, reaching double-digits in team blocks in eight straight matches, including a season-best 16 versus Stanford.

The UW has outblocked its opponents 100.5-58 over the past eight matches, while three players, senior Lisa Underhill (Vista, Calif.), Allison Richardson (Hemet, Calif.) and Paige Benjamin (Redmond, Wash.), all average over a block a game.

Hitting The Percentages: Not only is the UW outblocking its opponents at the net, the Huskies have also hit better than .300 in five of their last six matches. Included in that streak is a .436 mark versus Air Force, which currently ranks second in the Pac-10. In addition, only one opponent, BYU (.281), has been able to hit above the .200 mark, while three have hit below .100.

Within The Ranks: Three Washington players currently rank within the top 10 of several categories in the Pac-10s most recent leader charts. Junior setter Gretchen Maurer's (San Clemente, Calif.) 13.03 assists per game is third-best in the conference, while senior Lisa Underhill is fifth in hitting percentage (.392) and second in blocks per game (1.63). Senior Allison Richardson appears in four categories, including kills (4th), aces (4th), digs (8th) and points (third).

The points category is a new feature which came about this season as a result of the rally-only scoring format. Points are calculated by adding player kills, aces, block solos and half of their block assists.

Allison En Fuego: UW's Allison Richardson has been out to prove that her last year at the UW will be her best, as she ranks first on the team in kills per game (4.53), aces per game (0.47) and digs per game (2.97). Richardson has led the team in kills in seven of the 10 matches (one of which she missed due to injury) and has tallied double-doubles six times.

The 6-1 senior also has already recorded career game-highs in hitting attempts with 67 versus Stanford (third best in Pac-10), service aces with seven versus Purdue (1st) and blocks with 10 at Denver (2nd).

Fierce Freshmen: UW freshmen Vanessa Gilliam (Fairfield, Nev.) and Kaitlin Leck (Carson City, Nev.) continue to be integral parts of the Husky starting line-up. The pair has combined to miss just seven of the team's 35 games, with Gilliam sitting out three of them in the team's match at Air Force. Both have played the entire rotation, providing the team with great all-around skills, both offensively, defensively and behind the service line.

In the Record Books: Just 10 matches into the 2001 season, a number of Washington volleyball players continue to make their way up the school's all-time career top 10 list.

Senior Lisa Underhill has led the way, ranking in the top 10 in four categories, including kills, hitting percentage, block assists and total blocks. After last week's matches, Underhill moved from third to second in hitting percentage and leapt over UW All-American Angela Bransom from fourth to third in total blocks with 357.

Junior setter Gretchen Maurer joined teammate Britni Churnside (Eugene, Ore.) in the career assists top 10 with 1,006 to rank eighth overall. Churnside remained sixth in assists at 1,894 and junior Paige Benjamin still has the fourth-best career hitting percentage of .275.

On The Road Again: After almost 20 days since their last road match, the Huskies will pack their bags and head to the Oregon schools on Wednesday for a Thursday match with Oregon State and a Friday date with Oregon. The UW split their meets with each school last season, winning on the road in Corvallis and at home in Seattle versus Oregon.

Scouting Oregon: Oregon (8-3, 0-2 Pac-10), under head coach Carl Ferreira, opened its season with a six-match win streak, before falling at both Arizona and Arizona State last weekend.

The Ducks are once again led by outside hitter Monique Tobbagi, who averages 4.05 kills per game. Middle blocker Stephanie Martin (3.10 kills per game) is second on the team in kills, while Lindsay Closs ranks first in blocks per game (1.31). Setter Sydney Chute runs the Duck offense (10.30 a/g) and Melanie Taylor is the team's top defensive player (2.50 d/g) in 2001.

The UW split its meetings with Oregon a year ago with each school winning on its home court. The Huskies own the all-time series lead at 38-16, including a 10-match winning streak from 1995-2000.

Scouting Oregon State: After dropping its first match of the year, Oregon State (7-3, 1-1 Pac-10) rebounded with a five-match win streak in early September, and split its matches with Arizona (L, 0-3) and Arizona State (W, 3-2) a week ago.

Under head coach Nancy Somera, the Beavers big gun is outside hitter Gina Schmidt, who averages a team-best 3.88 kills per game and 3.27 digs per game. Michelle Solomon (2.73 k/g) and Joscelyn Hannaford (2.41 k/g) also add offensive firepower, while setter Laura Collins has averaged 11.75 assists per game.

Washington defeated Oregon State in the two schools' last meeting in 2000, winning a thrilling five-game match behind senior Lisa Underhill's 19 kills. The Huskies are 33-19 all-time versus the Beavers.

See Us On TV: If you're looking to see a Husky home match without leaving your home, Fox Sports and the Pac-10 have made it all possible. Washington's match with Arizona on Friday, Nov. 9, in Seattle will be televised by Fox Sports Net (national) on a tape-delay basis. The team's Nov. 16 meeting with Washington State also will be televised by Fox Sports Northwest and can be chosen as the 'wildcard' selection for Fox Sports Net.

Fox Sports Net will televise eight other Pac-10 women's volleyball matches in 2001, all of which are scheduled to air on Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. from Sept. 22-Nov. 17.

A New Coach: Jim McLaughlin, head coach at Kansas State University for the past four seasons, was named head women's volleyball coach at the University of Washington on August 1, 2001. McLaughlin, who became the seventh head coach in school history, replaces former head coach Bill Neville, who announced his retirement on July 17, after 10 years at Washington.

McLaughlin spent the last four seasons building the Kansas State women's volleyball program into a national power, compiling an 82-43 record and taking the Wildcats to four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. Last season, McLaughlin led Kansas State to a 22-9 record, a program-best No. 16 national ranking and its first-ever trip to the NCAA Sweet 16.

Prior to a one-year stint as an assistant at Notre Dame in 1996, McLaughlin was the men's head coach at the University of Southern California for seven seasons, leading the Trojans to the NCAA title in 1990 (his first season as head coach) and a runner-up finish a year later.

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