Beavers Travel To No. 13 UCLA, No. 1 USC

Oct. 8, 2002

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UPCOMING ACTION: Oregon State (6-8, 1-4 Pacific-10) continues its string of matches against ranked opponents, with the Beavers slated to play five consecutive matches against Top 25 teams. After taking on No. 18 Eastern Washington last week, the Beavers hit the road to play at No. 13 UCLA (10-6, 3-3) and No. 1 USC (12-0) this week. OSU will face the Bruins at 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 10 before taking on USC at 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 11. The top competition continues the following week when No. 20 Arizona and No. 22 Arizona State head to Corvallis.

COMMENTS FROM COACH NANCY SOMERA: 'We've been playing well, but we've made some mistakes in crucial situations. We need to bear down and get tougher when it matters. We're going to create more situations in the practice gym this week where adjustments must be made and the play executed. A few points here and there, and our record looks a whole lot different.'

RECAPPING LAST WEEK'S ACTION: The Beavers snapped a seven-match losing streak by sweeping Oregon (30-22, 30-25, 30-25) to pick up their first Pac-10 win. OSU also played No. 18 Eastern Washington and nearly handed the unbeaten Eagles their first loss but EWU eventually won in five games (30-32, 26-30, 30-27, 32-30, 15-10). Allison Lawrence led the OSU offense in both matches, with 14 kills against Oregon and 22 against Eastern Washington. Michele Solomon and Karah Rhoades each chipped in 24 kills over the weekend. Defensively, OSU was led by Nikki Neuburger (44 digs, 5.50 dpg) and Megan McMillan (31, 3.88 dpg). Laura Collins had 106 assists (13.25 apg) and 25 digs (3.12 dpg).

COLLINS REACHES 2000: Laura Collins picked up 66 assists against Eastern Washington last week, pushing the junior setter over 2,000 for her career. Collins now has 2,030 career assists, good for fourth on OSU's all-time list. Christine Camp holds the No. 3 spot with 2,860 assists from 1989-91.

NEUBURGER MAKING THE NEWS: Nikki Neuburger has been in the news for her defensive performances lately, most recently her career-high 33 digs against Eastern Washington for the fourth-best total in OSU history. The senior has been on the other side of the news as well, working as a student host for a new weekly FOX Sports show highlighting Beaver athletics. The half-hour show airs Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. on FOX Sports Northwest.

SERIES RECORDS: vs. UCLA: The Beavers are just 2-30 all-time against the Bruins, but the teams have split the annual series the last two years. OSU picked up its first-ever win over UCLA in Los Angeles in 2000, and the Beavers defeated the Bruins in four games in Corvallis last year. vs. USC: OSU is 7-25 all-time against the Women of Troy, with USC winning the last 10 meetings. The Beavers last beat USC in 1996, when OSU won twice.

A LOOK AT UCLA: The Bruins (10-6, 3-3) split a pair of four-game matches with the Bay Area teams last week, beating California but losing to No. 4 Stanford. UCLA has a young team, with only one senior and one junior in the lineup on a regular basis. Senior Lauren Fendrick leads the squad with 3.51 kills per game and is second with 2.96 digs per game. Brittany Ringel adds 3.11 kills per game, and Chrissy Zartman averages a team-best 3.70 digs per game.

A LOOK AT USC: The No. 1 Women of Troy (12-0, 6-0) were taken to the limit last week but managed to come away with 3-2 wins over both No. 4 Stanford and California. Prior to the two matches with the Bay Area schools, USC had lost just one game all season. Emily Adams was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for her efforts last week, finishing with 33 kills and a .491 hitting percentage. April Ross leads the team with 4.10 kills per game, with Keao Burdine adding 3.32 per game. Defensively, Nicole Davis leads USC with 3.50 digs per game.

LIBERO LOWDOWN: Two of the Pac-10's top liberos will go head-to-head when the Beavers and Bruins meet on Thursday. OSU's Nikki Neuburger ranks first in the Pac-10 with 4.18 digs per game, while UCLA's Chrissy Zartman is third at 3.70. The two defensive standouts have the top four single-match totals in the Pac-10 this year. Neuburger had a league-best 33 digs against Eastern Washington (10/5) and 29 against Cal (9/28), while Zartman had 28 against Cal (10/4) and 27 against Washington State (9/28).

MORE ON THE DEFENSE: OSU has been the Pac-10 leader for digs all season. The Beavers are averaging 17.92 digs per game, while no other league school is averaging more than 16.50 a game. OSU ranked 25th nationally last week (the latest national stats were not available at press time). OSU has outdug or tied 12 of its 14 opponents this season, and the Beavers have three of the top five single-match totals in the Pac-10 this year. The 103 against Eastern Washington last week ranks first, the 92 against North Carolina (9/14) ranks third and the 88 versus Ball State (9/14) ranks fifth. OSU is the only school to have three players in the league's individual top 10 list for digs as well. Nikki Neuburger is first (4.18 dpg), Joscelyn Hannaford is fifth (3.34) and Megan McMillan is sixth(3.27).

HEAD COACH NANCY SOMERA: OSU is under the direction of fourth-year head coach Nancy Somera. Somera, whose career record stands at 47-54, arrived at OSU in February 1999 after spending time as an assistant coach at USC since 1991. Last season, Somera guided the Beavers to a 17-12 record and a trip to the NCAA Tournament for just the second time in school history. 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.

#1 Lianne Dela Cruz, Jr., DS

Has played in 43 of 51 games... Has 67 digs, for an average of 1.56 dpg... Had double figures in both matches last week, good for the first such performances in her career... Had a career-high 11 in the win at Oregon and followed up with 10 against Eastern Washington... Her previous career high was 9 as a freshman in 2000.

#3 Karah Rhoades, RS-Fr., OH
Has seen action in 28 games... Had been a backup outside hitter until injuries put her in the regular rotation last week... Responded to the challenge by hitting .250 with 3.00 kills per game in the two matches last week... Had a then-career-high 10 kills at Oregon before topping that with 14 kills against Eastern Washington... Had a team-high five blocks in the EWU match as well... For the season, is hitting .167 with 1.79 kills per game.

#4 Tami Halleck, Sr., DS
Served one play against Boise State and Idaho State for her first collegiate action.

#5 Michele Solomon, Sr., MB
One of four Beavers to have played in all 51 games... Hitting a team-best .309 and has 121 kills (2.37 kpg)... Has had double-figures five times, including OSU's last three matches... Hit .448 with 14 kills against Eastern Washington and added 10 kills against Oregon last week... Had a season-high 15 kills against Ball State (9/14)... Hit a career-best .591 with 13 kills against Cal State Northridge (9/7)... Ranks second on the team with 31 blocks (0.61 bpg), including a season-high five against Ball State... Now has 365 total blocks, seventh best all-time at OSU... Also ranks eighth for career hitting percentage (.270).

#9 Desma Stovall, Fr., S
Has played in six games in limited action as a backup setter, most recently playing one game against Stanford last week... Has four assists, with all of them coming against Boise State (9/7)... Also had two service aces in that match.

#13 Joscelyn Hannaford, Sr., Opp.
Missed both matches last week after surgery to remove a cyst in her knee... Expected to be out two weeks... Has played in 35 games... Averaging 3.34 digs per game, second on the team and fifth in the Pac-10... Has 117 total digs, with double-figures in six matches, including a season-high 17 twice... Has 96 kills (2.74 kpg), with double-figures three times... Had a career-high 24 kills against Missouri (8/31)... Has three double-doubles... Earned Most Valuable Player honors at the OSU Challenge and also earned all-tournament honors at the OSU Showcase.

#14 K.C. Frederic, Jr., DS/OH
Has played in 37 games... Has 63 digs (1.70 dpg)... Has had double-figures twice, including 10 against Eastern Washington last week... Had a season-high of 11 versus Ball State (9/14)... Has five aces, five assists and three kills.

#15 Megan McMillan, Sr., OH
One of four players to see action in all 51 games... Leads the Beavers with 176 kills (3.45 kills per game)... Has had double-figures in 10 matches, most recently posting 16 against Eastern Washington last week... Had a career-high 20 against North Carolina (9/14)... Has led the team in kills in seven matches... Hitting .224... Ranks second on the team with 167 total digs and is third with a 3.27 digs per game average (sixth in the Pac-10)... Has had double-figures 10 times, including both matches last week ... Had a team-high 14 at Oregon and added 17 against Eastern Washington... Had a season-high of 20 against Cal (9/28)... Has led the team in kills seven times and in digs five times... Has had eight double-doubles... Leads the team with 17 aces (0.33 sapg), with a career-high five against Cal... Earned all-tournament honors at the OSU Challenge.

#16 Katelyn Healy, RS-Fr., OH
Has played in six games, with most of her action coming against Cal (9/28), when she played three games... Had her first collegiate kill against Cal and also had an assist and a block in that match.

#19 Katrina Nelson, Sr., MB/OPP
Missed both matches last week and is expected to be out another three weeks with a fractured thumb... Had started every match prior to the injury, and had played in 40 of 43 games... Hitting .296 with 102 kills (2.55 kpg)... Had double-figures five times, including the last three matches she played in... Had a season-high 17 kills while hitting .382 against Cal (9/28)... Had a team-high 10 kills against Stanford (9/27) and Washington State (9/20)... Hitting a team-best .368 with 3.14 kills per game in Pac-10 games... Leads the team with 32 blocks (0.80 bpg).

#21 Amanda Eggert, So., MB
Has played in 37 of 51 games and has started the last five matches as a result of injuries... Hitting .202 with 52 kills (1.41 kpg)... Had a season-high seven kills against both Oregon and Eastern Washington last week... Had a career-high seven blocks against Cal (9/28), good for the most by a Beaver this year.

#22 Allison Lawrence, So., OH
Has played in 49 of 51 games... Averaging 3.24 kills per game (159 total) while hitting .215... Has stepped up her play the last three matches, averaging 4.77 kpg (62 total) and hitting .290... Hit .418 with a career-high 26 kills against Cal (9/28)... Had 14 kills against Oregon and 22 against Eastern Washington last week... Has had double-figures in eight matches... Has two double-doubles this year, with both coming on the same day... Against North Carolina (9/14) she had 13 kills and 14 digs, and had 16 kills and 15 digs against Ball State later that day... Earned all-tournament honors at the OSU Showcase the first week of the season.

#23 Laura Collins, Jr., S
Recorded her 2,000th career assist last week... Had 66 assists against Eastern Washington to give her 2,030 for her career... Ranks fourth for career assists at OSU... Has 665 assists this season, good for 13.04 per game to rank first in the Pac-10... She was 14th nationally last week (the latest national stats were not available at press time)... Had a season-best 72 assists against Cal (9/28), good for the second highest total of her career and eighth best in OSU history... Is the third OSU setter with two 70-plus assist matches in her career... Has two of the top five assists totals in the Pac-10 this year... Her 72 versus Cal ranks second, and 66 against EWU ties for fifth... Has 117 digs this year (2.29 dpg), including a season-high 16 against Eastern Washington last week... Has four double-doubles, most recently against EWU... Hitting .173 with 39 kills (0.76 kpg)... Second on the team with 13 aces (0.25 sapg)... Named to the all-tournament teams at the OSU Showcase (MVP) and OSU Challenge.

#31 Nikki Neuburger, Sr., L
Leads the team and ranks first in the Pac-10 with 4.18 digs per game (213 total)... Has been outstanding the last three matches, averaging 5.62 dpg... Had a career-high 33 digs against Eastern Washington last week, good for the fourth-best total in school history and the first 30-plus performance since 1995... Just missed another 30-dig effort with a then-career high 29 digs against Cal (9/28), now good for the eighth-best total at OSU... The 33 and 29 digs are the most by a Pac-10 player this season... Has had 20-plus digs in two other matches, , with 24 against Ball State (9/14) and 23 against Cal State Northridge (9/7)... Has had double figures in 10 matches this year and has been the team's dig leader seven times.

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