OSU, Oregon To Face Off In Civil War Volleyball Match This Week

Nov. 6, 2001

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THIS WEEK'S ACTION: The Oregon State volleyball team (15-7, 8-5 Pacific-10) will play just one match this week, but it's a key one. The Beavers head south to Eugene to take on Oregon (8-16, 0-13) in the Civil War presented by Northwest Dodge Dealers. Match time is set for 7 p.m., Friday, November 9.

BEAVERS PICK UP FIRST WINNING RECORD SINCE 1996: When OSU defeated Cal last week, the win assured the Beavers of a winning season for the first time in five years. OSU enters this week with a 15-7 overall record, with six regular season matches remaining. The winning record makes the Beavers eligible for consideration to the NCAA Tournament. OSU has made just one NCAA Tournament appearance in the program's history (1983). The Pacific-10 Conference has typically had a good showing in the tournament, six teams advanced out of the league last season and at least four Pac-10 teams have gone each year since 1991. The NCAA selections will be announced Monday, November 26 at 12 p.m. PST.

NATIONAL POLLSTERS TAKING NOTE: Oregon State's success this season has hit the national scene as the Beavers received votes in the November 5 USA Today/AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll. It's the first time the Beavers have been mentioned in the poll this season. OSU received four votes, which puts the Beavers at No. 36 in the poll (teams must appear on at least two ballots to be listed in the 'Receiving Votes' column). The last time the Beavers received votes in the AVCA poll was in 1998, when OSU was mentioned in the preseason poll, although the team never appeared in a regular season poll that season.


On getting the winning season and focusing on what's ahead: 'The team's reward for how hard they've worked and grinded through the competitive season is being able to play in November with confidence and at their peak. We're playing sharp, and I know the team is enjoying how they are competing. It's a lot of fun when you're playing well in November and know that playoffs are right around the corner.'

On the Civil War match: 'Oregon is improving like every other team in this conference, so I'm sure we'll see a much better Oregon team this time around. But, Oregon will also see a much better Oregon State team this time around too. It's the Civil War, so I'm sure it will be another competitive, hard-fought match.'

RECAPPING LAST WEEK'S ACTION: The Beavers picked up a split against the Bay Area schools last week, defeating California in three games (30-21, 30-22, 30-28) on Friday but losing to No. 3 Stanford in three games (30-23, 30-22, 35-33) the following night. Gina Schmidt hit .345 in the two matches, leading the Beavers with 25 kills (4.17 kpg) and 27 digs (4.50 dpg). Katrina Nelson hit .265 with 16 kills (2.67 kpg) and led the team with seven blocks (1.17 bpg). Three other Beavers had at least 16 kills over the weekend, and Laura Collins dished out 92 assists, good for an average of 15.33 assists per game, nearly three more per game than her season average.

CIVIL WAR, PART ONE: Oregon State came out on top in the first Civil War match of the season, with the Beavers posting a 30-25, 23-30, 30-18, 30-21 over the Ducks in Corvallis on Oct. 10. Gina Schmidt hit .306 and turned in a team-best 15 kills to go along with 11 digs, while Michele Solomon hit .458 with 13 kills. The Beavers outdug the Ducks, 74-54, led by Nikki Neuburger's 16 digs. For the Ducks, Stephanie Martin led the way with 15 kills and a match-high eight blocks as Oregon outblocked OSU, 13-7. Oregon leads the all-time series 43-32. The teams have split the annual series the last three years, with the Beavers last winning twice in the same season back in 1997.

A LOOK AT THE DUCKS: Oregon (8-16, 0-13 Pac-10) will try to snap a 16-match losing streak when it travels to Portland for a non-conference match on Tuesday. The Ducks lost to both Cal and No. 3 Stanford in four games at home last week. Monique Tobbagi leads Oregon with 338 kills (3.66 kpg), while Stephanie Martin is hitting .351 (sixth in the Pac-10) with 274 kills (3.38 kpg) and a team-high 100 blocks (1.23 bpg, fifth in the Pac-10).

SCHMIDT'S BITS: After becoming one of only five OSU players with 1,000 career kills and digs, Gina Schmidt now looks to continue her climb up the record books, with a jump in both categories a strong possibility this week. She ranks fourth all-time at OSU with 1,292 kills, seven away from taking over the No. 3 spot from Heather Lowe (1,298 from 1995-97). Schmidt also ranks ninth with 1,071 digs, just four away from jumping into the No. 8 spot (currently held by Leslie Preiss, who had 1,074 from 1989-92). Schmidt leads the Beavers with 14 double-doubles in 22 matches this season. For the year, she has team-highs of 311 kills and 275 digs, ranking third in the Pac-10 for digs (3.35 dpg) and ninth for kills (3.79 kpg). Schmidt has had 10 or more kills in 18 matches, including four with 20-plus, with a season-high 26 against UC Irvine. She also had 25 in a match against Northern Arizona. She's also had 10-plus digs in 15 matches, with 20-plus three times, including 22 in two of OSU's last three matches (against Washington and California). With 22 digs against Cal last week, she became the first Beaver player with 20-plus digs in a three-game match this year.

COLLINS' CORNER: With an impressive week against Cal and Stanford last week, Laura Collins has jumped up to fourth in the Pac-10 for assists average after ranking either fifth or sixth all season. Collins had 92 assists last week, for an average of 15.33 assists per game, which boosted her season average up to 12.36 assists per game. She's doing even better in conference matches, ranking third in the league with 12.52 apg. Collins was named to the all-tournament teams at both of OSU's preseason tournaments, and she was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for her efforts in leading OSU to a sweep over the Washington schools in September. Collins has 1,001 assists for the year, which ranks 10th on the single-season assists list at OSU. She had a career-high 75 assists in OSU's win at Washington two weeks ago, with that total equalling OSU's sixth best single-match assists total for an individual. It's also good for the most assists by a Pac-10 player in a single match this season. Collins recently jumped into the top 10 for all-time assists at Oregon State, now ranking sixth with 1,069 career assists. Collins is also a key defensive player for the Beavers, ranking fifth on the team with 163 digs (2.01 dpg). She's had 10 or more in six matches, including a career-high 14 against Oregon in the first Civil War match this year.

McMILLAN, HANNAFORD CONTINUE TO COMPETE FOR STARTING SPOT: Opposite hitters Joscelyn Hannaford and Megan McMillan have been competing for playing time as of late, with each starting several matches over the last few weeks. Hannaford had started the first 15 matches of the year, with McMillan often playing in the back row. Lately, however, McMillan has been challenging as a six rotation player and as a result, there's been a battle for the starting job. In the last eight matches, Hannaford has started five times, while McMillan has gotten three starting bids. Both have made their case for playing time during that span. Last week against Cal, Hannaford hit .320 with 12 kills, one match after hitting .463 with a career-high 21 kills at Washington. In OSU's last match, it was McMillan's turn to stand out. She hit .467 with nine kills against Stanford while playing in just two games off the bench. She also came up big in the win over Arizona State three weeks ago, hitting .579 with 12 kills. For the year, Hannaford has played in 72 games with 173 kills (2.40 kpg, third on the team) and 110 digs (1.53 dpg), while McMillan has played in 66 games with 92 kills (1.39 kpg) and 154 digs (2.33 dpg, fourth on the team).

BEAVERS FALL OUT OF TOP SPOT BY NARROWEST OF MARGINS: After holding steady as the No. 1 team in the Pac-10 for digs the last five weeks, Oregon State dropped down to second in this week's rankings by a slim margin of just 0.01 digs per game. The Beavers are averaging 17.29, second only to ASU's 17.30 dpg mark. Individually, Gina Schmidt ranks third overall (3.35 dpg) and is sixth in Pac-10 games (3.41 dpg), while Nikki Neuburger ranks eighth in Pac-10 games with 3.09 digs per game. For the year, Schmidt leads the team with 275 digs, while Neuburger is second (223). Five other Beavers also have at least 100 digs. The Beavers have outdug their opponents in all but three matches this year (Arizona twice and Washington State once), and OSU has two of the top five single-match team totals in the Pac-10 this year (110 against Washington State and 98 against Sacramento State). Eight Beavers have combined for 56 double-figure dig performances in 20 matches this season. Schmidt leads the way with 15, while Neuburger has had 14 double-figure efforts. Four Beavers have had matches with 20+ digs this year, led by Schmidt with three and Megan McMillan with two. Schmidt has had a season-high 22 digs in two of OSU's last three matches and became the first Beaver with 20 digs in a three-game match this year when she had 22 against Cal last week. McMillan had a career-high 25 against Northern Arizona and added 24 against WSU. K.C. Frederic had 24 against Sacramento State, while Lori Daedelow had a career-high 20 at Arizona State.

MIDDLES COULD EARN A SPOT IN THE RECORD BOOKS: Michele Solomon and Katrina Nelson could become the first Beavers since 1997 to earn a spot in the single-season hitting percentage category in the OSU record books if their current marks hold up. Solomon is hitting .331 and Nelson is at .323 heading into this week's match. If those hold up, they would finish as the fourth and fifth best single-season marks at OSU (minimum of three attempts per game played). Solomon ranks second on the team with 219 kills (2.67 kpg) with double figures in 10 matches, including 11 against Cal last week. Nelson ranks fourth on the team with 165 kills (2.20 kpg), with 10 or more in seven matches. Solomon also leads OSU with 81 blocks (0.99 bpg), with Nelson second at 54 blocks (0.72 bpg).

BEAVERS SIT ATOP THE CHARTS IN SIX SINGLE-MATCH CATEGORIES: OSU's win at Washington (10/26) placed the Beavers atop the charts in three categories in the Pac-10's list of single-match season bests. OSU's 91 kills in that match was a season-high for the Beavers, and it was also good for the most kills by any Pac-10 team this year. In addition, OSU's 86 assists in that match were the most by a Pac-10 team this year, and Laura Collins' career-high 75 assists in that match is the highest single-match total by an individual in the Pac-10 this season. The Beavers also have the top marks in three other categories as a result of their efforts in other matches this year. OSU's 110 digs against Washington State (9/28) is the most in the conference this season, and Gina Schmidt holds the top marks for total attacks (75 at Northern Arizona, 9/8) and block solos (5 at Arizona State, 9/22).

OSU AT UCLA TO BE TELEVISED: The Pacific-10 wildcard match has been selected, with OSU's match at UCLA on Sept. 16 chosen to be televised as the final Pac-10 match of the week on FOX Sports Net. The match will air nationally on a tape-delayed basis, with the replay being aired at 10 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 17 in the Northwest. Check local listings for airtimes on FOX Sports stations in other regions.

REGIONAL RANKINGS: OSU has been ranked eighth in all three NCAA Regional Polls this season. The next poll will be released Nov. 14. OSU was ranked in two regional polls last year, checking in at 10th on Oct. 4 and ninth on Oct. 18 before dropping out for the remainder of the season.

HEAD COACH NANCY SOMERA: The Beavers are under the direction of third-year head coach Nancy Somera. Somera, whose career record stands at 39-41, arrived at OSU in February 1999 after spending time as an assistant coach at USC since 1991. While at USC, Somera helped the team earn eight consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament and helped develop eight USC All-Americans. Somera also played collegiately at USC, and she was a two-time All-Pacific-10 Team selection. She still holds the USC record for career and single-season aces.

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