Volleyball Hosts No. 24 ASU and No. 17 Arizona This Week
Oct. 1, 2002
A Look Ahead
The Huskies (10-3/2-2) host two conference matches this week. Volleyball action starts Oct. 3 when Washington squares off against No. 24 Arizona State (6-2/2-1) at 7:00 p.m. in the Bank of America Arena. The Dawgs then battle No. 17 Arizona (6-5/1-2) on Oct. 4 at 7:00 p.m.
No. 24 Arizona State is fresh off an upset victory over No. 13 Arizona last week, 3-0. The win improves the Sun Devils' record to 6-2 overall and 2-1 in the Pac-10. ASU is now 3-1 against ranked opponents this season, with all three wins coming against teams in the top 15. Junior outside hitter Juliana Escobar who has notched six double-doubles this year leads Arizona State. She has led the Sun Devils in kills in seven of their eight matches, in service aces in all eight matches and digs three times. Escobar leads the team in kills (4.66 kpg), aces (0.84 apg) and digs (3.12 dpg). Joining Escobar on the offensive front are Julia Leddy and Jodi Smith who average 2.81 and 2.53 kills per game, respectively. Leddy leads the team in hitting percentage with a .351 mark and Smith has scored 12 kills in her last three matches. Defensively, ASU has received quality play from libero Courtney Blocher who chips in 3.09 digs per game.
Huskies vs. Sun Devils: All-Time Series
Washington holds the slim 19-17 (.528) lead over Arizona State in the all-time series. Last season the two split, each winning on the road.
No. 17 Arizona looks to redeem itself after a disappointing loss to No. 24 ASU last week. Game three went to 42-40, setting a Pac-10 record for longest game. The loss marks the first time ASU had swept the Wildcats since 1994. Arizona is led by freshman Kim Glass with 4.43 kills per game and 2.70 digs per game. Seniors Lisa Rutledge and Shannon Torregrosa are also key attackers for the Wildcats, pouring in 3.59 kpg and 2.59 kpg, respectively. Senior Laurie Gardner runs Arizona's offense, dishing 11.68 assists per game, while also adding 2.38 digs per game.
Huskies vs. Wildcats: All-Time Series
Arizona leads the all-time series over Washington, 13-22 (.371), including the last nine meetings. The Huskies last win over the Wildcats came in 1997 at Arizona, 3-1.
Dawgs Receive Votes
Despite a pair of losses last week to No. 1 USC and No. 13 UCLA, the Huskies held steady in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches poll. Washington is listed just eight teams out of the top 25 with 14 votes.
Senior setter Gretchen Maurer tops the Pac-10 in assists with 13.27 apg. She also leads the conference in overall assists with 531 despite Washington playing just three games in 12 of their 13 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 Play
Senior outside hitter Paige Benjamin has led the Huskies all season in total kills and hitting percentage. Last week, Benjamin continued to score big posting 15 kills against No. 13 UCLA and 19 against No. 1 USC, for a .342 hitting percentage. In Washington's four conference matches this season, Benjamin is averaging 5.50 kpg with a .396 hitting percentage to rank fifth in the Pac-10.
McDonald Keeps Knocking 'Em Down
Sophomore Alexis McDonald has been dominating opponents at the net, averaging 1.31 blocks per game to rank third 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 2.71 bpg.
On The Money
Junior Kara Bjorklund ranks third in the league with a .410 hitting percentage (85-14-173). 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 fourth in the conference with 0.67 aces per game, while her 26 tallies rank fourth 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 6.16 points per game. She is second in the league in kills with 5.50 kpg and is fifth in hitting percentage at .396. 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 (109), digs per game (2.72), kills (137), kills per game (3.42), aces (20) and aces per game (0.50). Her 0.50 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 10-3 start (2-2 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 21-19. 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 17 matches on the regular season schedule.