Volleyball Set To Open Pac-10 Season At Washington, No. 20 Washington State
Sept. 17, 2002
OREGON THIS WEEK After three preseason tournaments, a stop in Tallahasee vs. Florida State and home stop vs. Idaho State, the Ducks (9-3) finally open Pac-10 play. Oregon will stay within Northwest, heading to Seattle to face Washington (8-1) Friday before traveling to Pullman for a match against Washington State (9-0) Saturday. Oregon is also slated to play at Eastern Washington (11-0) Monday in a non-conference match up.
THE SERIES The Huskies hold a 40-19 all time record versus Oregon with the Ducks' last victory coming in 2000 under head coach Carl Ferreira. Prior to that, Washington had won 10 consecutive meetings. The Ducks have a 34-24-1 advantage over Washington State, but the Cougars have won the last 22 meetings dating back to 1991. Both Washington and Washington State swept the Ducks in both meetings a year ago. Oregon is 8-1 against Eastern Washington and prior to a loss at home to the Eagles in 2001, the Ducks had not faced the school since 1984.
A LOOK AT WASHINGTON The Huskies are off to their best start (8-1) since 1996 and have swept every opponent they have defeated. Washington currently leads the Pac-10 in hitting percentage (.337) led by Paige Benjamin's .396 percentage. The Huskies also lead the league in aces (2.68 apg). Washington's only loss was to Hawaii, which is ranked No. 2 this week. Washington did win the second game of the match, 30-22.
A LOOK AT NO. 20 WASHINGTON STATE The Cougars are also off to their best start (9-0) since winning 16 consecutive matches in 1997. Washington State has not lost a game since a 3-1 win over Nevada, Aug. 30. The Cougars have held preseason opponents to a .112 hitting percentage and are second in the conference, averaging 17.71 kills per game.
A LOOK AT NO. 23 EASTERN WASHINGTON After starting the season 11-0, Eastern Washington has earned its first-ever national ranking, coming in at No. 23 on the USA Today/AVCA poll. Janell Ruen leads the team, averaging 3.24 kills per game and as a team Eastern Washington is hitting .334 for the season. On the other hand, the Eagles have held opponents to a .096 hitting percentage. Eastern has swept all 11 opponents thus far.
WHAT'S HAPPENED Oregon swept host DePaul and outlasted UNLV in its first five-game match of the season to win the DePaul Invitational. In its first-ever meeting with Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Ducks won 3-1 behind a balanced offensive attack. Middle blockers Lindsay Closs and Amanda Porter combined for 31 kills while outside hitters Kelly Russell, Lauren Westendorf and Jaclyn Jones combined for 28 kills. As a team, Oregon outblocked the Panthers 7.5 to one. Prior to heading to the DePaul Invitational, Oregon squared off against the Florida State Seminoles for just the second time in school history, dropping a 30-22, 30-28, 30-28 decision at Tully Gym. Senior middle blocker Lindsay Closs again led the Ducks, finishing the match with 15 kills and a .560 hitting percentage.
ALL TOURNAMENT HONOREES Lindsay Closs was named Most Valuable Player of the DePaul Invitational while senior middlle blocker Amanda Porter was named to the all-tournament team. Oregon freshman Kelly Russell was named Most Valuable Player of the Fremont Loan and Investment Tournament in Oregon's first tournament of the season, finishing with 42 kills. Senior middle blocker Lindsay Closs was named to the all-tournament team after leading Oregon with an average of 4.47 kills per game. Both players were also named to the all-tournament team in the University of Miami Tournament.