Volleyball Heads To California To Take On USC & UCLA

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Sept. 24, 2002

A Look Ahead
The Huskies (10-1/2-0 Pac-10) hit the road this week to face No. 1 USC and No. 17 UCLA on September 27 and 28. Washington's 10-1 record is its best since 1996 when the Huskies started the season 12-1. Game time is slated for 7:30 p.m. against USC and 7:00 p.m. against UCLA.

Scouting USC
No. 1 USC leads the all-time series against the Huskies 9-26 (.257) and has won the last eight meetings. The Trojans are 8-0 overall and 2-0 in the Pac-10 after a weekend sweep of the Arizona schools. USC returns two-time All-Pac-10 selection April Ross to its potent line-up which averages a league leading 17.88 kills per game. Ross tops the Trojans with 4.08 kpg and 3.28 digs per game. USC also receives it offensive punch from Keao Burdine (3.52 kpg) and Pac-10 Player of the Week Katie Olsovsky (2.52 kpg). Running the Trojan offense are Toni Anderson (9.32 assists per game) and Tracy Lindquist (6.40 apg). On the defensive end, Nicole Davis adds 3.20 dpg and Olsovsky chips in 1.33 blocks per game. Last weekend, USC defeated Arizona State and No. 12 Arizona, 3-0, led by Oslovsky's 28-kill performance.

Scouting UCLA
No. 17 UCLA holds a commanding 5-35 (.125) lead over Washington in the all-time series, including the last eight match-ups. The Bruins are 7-5 overall and 0-2 in the conference after falling to ASU and Arizona last weekend. The pair of loses marked the first time in UCLA volleyball history that the team has started the league season 0-2. The Bruins have numerous offensive weapons, headlined by Lauren Fendrick (3.56 kills per game), Brynn Murphy (3.05 kpg) and Brittany Ringel (2.95 kpg). Splitting setting duties are Krystal McFarland (8.82 assists per game) and Haley Jorgensburg (5.78 apg). At libero, Chrissie Zartman anchors the defense with 3.27 digs per game, while Fendrick adds 2.88 dpg. Last weekend, UCLA was out hit .170 to .305 as the Bruins recorded 71 errors to ASU's and Arizona's 41.

Dawgs Receive Votes
With a 10-1 record and an unblemished 2-0 mark in Pac-10 play, the Huskies make their debut on the USA Today/AVCA Coaches poll for the first time this season. Washington is listed under others receiving votes with 15.

Great Start
Washington defeated Oregon State and Oregon last weekend to start the conference season 2-0. UW last started conference play 2-0 in 1997 when it started 3-0. That year, the Huskies finished second in the conference and advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament. With the two league wins, the Huskies have posted half of their league win total from a year ago. In fact, the Huskies' 10 wins are one short of equaling last year's win total of 11.

Sweeping Through The Season
With last week's 3-0 victories over the Oregon school's the Huskies pushed their win streak to 15 games (five matches). Washington has not lost a game in any of its ten match victories this season. The Dawgs have only lost one match all season, dropping a 3-1 contest to No. 2 Hawaii on Sept. 7 in Honolulu.

Maurer Mania
Senior setter Gretchen Maurer tops the Pac-10 in assists with 13.50 apg. She also leads the conference in overall sets with 459 despite Washington playing just three games in 10 of their 11 outings this season. Last year, Maurer ranked fourth in the Pac-10 and 28th nationally with 12.53 apg. She also ranks ninth in the league in aces, averaging 0.50 aces per game.

Benjamin Comes Through In Pac-10 Opener
Senior outside hitter Paige Benjamin has led the Huskies all season in kills and hitting percentage. Last week, Benjamin continued to dominate Washington opponents, recording 36 kills (6.00 kpg) for a .457 hitting percentage. She also had 14 digs (2.33 dpg), five aces and three blocks while collecting 42 points in the sweep of the Oregon schools.

McDonald Stuffs The Opposition
Sophomore Alexis McDonald has been phenomenal at the net, averaging 1.29 blocks per game to rank fourth in the league. McDonald's eight block assists against Miami (OH) on August 30 and against No. 2 Hawaii on September 7 lead the Pac-10 this season. Combined, the Huskies rank fourth in the conference with 2.72 bpg.

On The Money
Junior Kara Bjorklund ranks third in the league with a .449 hitting percentage (76-10-147). Her best showing was an .833 hitting percentage (5-0-6) against Texas A&M- Corpus Christi on September 14. Overall, Bjorklund has recorded a .500 hitting percentage or better five times.

Servin' Up Aces
Sophomore outside hitter'Kaitlin Leck ranks third in the conference with 0.76 aces per game, while her 26 tallies rank second overall. Leck tied a school record with eight aces in the three-game match victory over San Francisco on September 6. The record was originally set by Kara Hardesty in 1984 and was tied by Dragana Djordjevic in 1994, both in five-game matches. As a team, Washington leads the Pac-10 in aces with 2.79 per game.

Big Points For Benjamin
Senior Paige Benjamin ranks second in the Pac-10 with 6.21 points per game. She is second in the league in kills with 5.47 kpg and is fourth in hitting percentage at .408. Benjamin has been selected Most Valuable Player twice this season, garnering the honor at the Sycamore Inn/ Best Western Classic and the Mean Green Classic (co-MVP with Gretchen Maurer).

Tomasevic Shows Versatility
Sophomore transfer Sanja Tomasevic has proven herself one of the most effective all-around players on the 2002 squad. She is second in digs (92), digs per game (2.71), kills (116), kills per game (3.41), aces (18) and aces per game (0.53). Her 0.53 apg also rank seventh overall in the Pac-10

McLaughlin Gets Results
Head Coach Jim McLaughlin, in only his second year at the helm of UW volleyball, has propelled the Huskies to a 10-1 start (2-0 in Pac-10) and two tournament titles. Last year, McLaughlin led Washington to an 11-16 record and a 4-14 mark in the powerful Pac-10, which saw four of its teams advance to the Elite Eight. The team's 11 wins in 2001 were the most for the program since 1997, while six players earned Pac-10 All-Academic honors. McLaughlin's UW record now sits at 21-17. He is just one win away from surpassing last season win mark and two league victories away from equaling last season's conference record. Washington still has 19 matches on the regular season schedule.

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