Volleyball Heads to California

Nov. 26, 2002

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A Look Ahead
Washington (17-10, 9-9) travels to Stockton, Calif. to play in the Community Bankers Classic on Nov. 29-30. The Huskies open play againat Southwest Missouri State on Friday at 5 p.m.and will face either Nevada or host Pacific on Saturday.

A Look Back
Washington concluded the Pac-10 regular season on a high note with two wins over Oregon State and Oregon. The Huskies defeated the Beavers, 3-1 and trounced the Ducks, 3-0, on the road to finish the conference schedule with a 9-9 mark and a 17-10 overall record. With the 9-9 league mark, Washington ties for fifth in the Pac-10 with No. 21 UCLA and posts its best finish since the 1997 season when it went 13-5 and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16.

Oregon State Recap
Senior outside hitter Paige Benjamin record 27 kills en route to Washington defeating Oregon State, 3-1 in Gill Coliseum on Friday. Game scores were 21-30, 30-20, 30-16, 30-21.

Oregon State took game one, 30-21, as Washington hit a mediocre .119 to the Beavers' .286. The Huskies found their touch in games two (.429), three (.333) and four (.625) to close out the match with a .358 hitting percentage to OSU's .210.

Sophomore Sanja Tomasevic had an all-around game for the Huskies, leading the team with four aces, 15 digs and adding 14 kills.

Junior Kara Bjorklund recorded 12 kills with a .526 hitting percentage and anchored the defense with seven blocks. Benjamin and senior Gretchen Maurer each added eight digs in the win and Maurer added 58 assists.

Oregon Recap
Paige Benjamin and Sanja Tomasevic paced Washington with nearly 75 percent of its kills en route to a 3-0 romp over Oregon (30-18, 30-18, 30-19).

Benjamin tallied 20 kills while Tomasevic posted 17 of the Huskies 52 kills this evening. The duo also joined freshman libero Candace Lee on the defensive front. Lee recorded a match-high 11 digs, while Tomasevic added 10 and Benjamin chipped in nine.

Washington out hit the Ducks .500 to .070 and held the advantage in every statistical category, including kills, assists, digs and blocks.

Scouting Southwest Missouri
The Bears (21-7, 15-3) are reeling from an upset loss to Southern Illinois in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Women's Volleyball Championship on Nov. 23. The Salukis trailed two games to one and were down 18-10 in the third game before coming from behind for the surprise victory.

SMS is led by Erin Murphy with 3.92 kills per game, Linette White with 2.87 kpg and Casey Young with 2.46 kpg. Chenille Bayless runs the Bear offense with 11.81 assists per game. Murphy and Leah Johnson anchor the SMS defense with 3.87 and 3.58 digs per game, respectively.

The Huskies lead the all-time series, 3-1 (.750)

Scouting Nevada
The Wolf Pack (21-8, 8-5) lost the Western Athletic Conference title match last Saturday to No. 2 Hawaii. 3-1. It marked Nevada's third loss of the season to the Rainbow Wahine.

The Wolf Pack is led by Michelle Moore with 5.11 kpg and Laura Wooley with 3.34 kpg. Jill Couwenhoven runs Nevada's offense with 13.17 apg and libero Lindsay Holda headlines the defense with 3.07 dpg.

If the two teams meet on Saturday, it would mark the first time in school history for the Huskies.

Scouting Pacific
The Tigers (17-11, 12-6) finished the regular season with a 3-1 defeat over Cal Poly last weekend to secure a fourth place finish in the Big West Conference.

The Tigers are led by Jennifer Joines with 5.08 kpg. Three other players contribute at least two kills per game, including Megan Haunschild (2.43), Joanna Rentz (2.17) and Ashley Groothuis (2.12). Hayley Anderson runs the Pacific offense with 11.88 assists per game and Haunschild and Rentz anchor the defense with 2.67 dpg.

The Tigers lead the all-time series 7-2, but the Huskies have won two of the last three meetings.

The Waiting Game
The Huskies anxiously await the Dec. 1 selection show to hear if they will compete in the 2002 NCAA Tournament. Should Washington be invited, it would be the first appearance for the Dawgs since 1997, and its seventh appearance overall. Since 1986, nine of 11 Pac-10 teams that finished with a .500 record in Pac-10 play and have had a winning record overall have participated in the tournament.

McLaughlin Tabbed Pac-10 Coach of the Year
Washington head coach Jim McLaughlin has been tabbed the Pac-10 Coach of the Year after guiding the Huskies to their best record and conference finish since 1997. In just his second year at the helm of the Washington program, McLaughlin led the Huskies to a tie for fifth place in the Pac-10 race at 9-9, while posting an overall record of 17-10 (with two matches remaining). Washington also made an appearance in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches poll with a No. 21 ranking on November 4 and a No. 22 ranking on November 11. McLaughlin has a career record of 110-69 (.615) in six seasons. Prior to his arrival at Washington, McLaughlin spent five years at Kansas State where he led the Wildcats to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearanes and was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year in 1999.

Huskies Earn All-Conference Honors
Seniors Paige Benjamin and Gretchen Maurer were named to the 14 member Pac-10 All-Conference team for the first time in their careers. Benjamin, an honorable mention selection in 2001, ranks second in the conference in kills (5.24 kpg) and points (5.78 ppg). Maurer leads the league in assists (13.11 apg). Sophomore Sanja Tomasevic was a honorable mention pick as she ranks seventh in the Pac-10 in points (4.58 ppg) and aces (0.40 apg), eighth in kills (3.76 kpg) and ninth in digs (3.14 dpg).

Libero Candace Lee was named to the six member Pac-10 All-Freshman team as she ranks sixth in the conference in digs (3.37). Middle blocker Darla Myhre was a honorable mention selection as she ranks sixth in blocks (1.24 bpg) in conference matches.

Academic Accolades
Senior outside hitter Paige Benjamin was recently selected to the Pac-10 All-Academic first team and the Verizon Academic All-District first team. Benjamin, an accounting major, has maintained a 3.84 gpa and currently ranks second in the Pac-10 in kills (5.24 kpg) and points (5.78 ppg). Juniors Kara Bjorklund and Libba Lawrence were Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention picks.

Benjamin & Tomasevic Pack One-Two Punch
Senior outside hitter Paige Benjamin and sophomore outside hitter Sanja Tomasevic continue to provide the scoring touch for the Husky offense. Benjamin led Washington with 47 kills against the Oregon Schools last week and ranks second in the conference with 5.24 kpg. She also ranks second in points with 5.78 ppg. Benjamin has posted double-digit kill totals in 24 consecutive matches and has tallied 20 or more kills 10 times this season, including a career-high 28 kills against Arizona on Oct. 4.

Tomasevic ranks seventh in the conference with 4.58 ppg and 0.40 aces per game, eighth with 3.76 kills per game and ranks ninth with 3.14 digs per game. Tomasevic has tallied 22 double-figure kill performances, including a career-high 23 kills against California.

Digging Duo
Freshman libero Candace Lee and sophomore Sanja Tomasevic have anchored the Husky defense all season. Lee ranks sixth in the Pac-10 with 3.37 digs per game, including a career-high 28 against Cal on Nov. 16.

Tomasevic ranks ninth in the Pac-10 with 3.14 digs per game and has collected 20-plus digs three times this season. Her career-high of 25 came against Arizona State on Oct. 3.

Career Milestones
Senior Paige Benjamin became just the 10th player in Husky history to record 1,000 career kills with her 19-kill performance against the California Bears on Oct. 17. Her career mark now stands at 1,212 and is sixth on the school's all-time chart. Senior Gretchen Maurer also etched her name in the Husky history books this season as she surpassed the 3,000-career assist mark against OSU on Nov. 22. Maurer is just the second UW player to reach the milestone and ranks second all-time at Washington with 3,010 dishes.

Big Blocks
Sophomore Alexis McDonald and freshman Darla Myhre have been essential to the Husky defense this season at the net. McDonald ranks seventh in the league with 1.18 blocks. In Pac-10 matches, Myhre ranks fourth with 1.24 bpg. Washington ranks third as a team in the Pac-10 with 487 total blocks for a 2.86 bpg average.

Leader Of The 'Dawg' Pack
Senior setter Gretchen Maurer leads the conference with 13.11 assists per game this season, which also ranks 22nd on the national chart. Last year, Maurer ranked fourth in the Pac-10 and 28th nationally with 12.53 apg. Maurer ranks second on the school's all-time chart with 3,010 career assists.

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