Volleyball Opens Season In Wisconsin

Aug. 25, 2003

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THIS WEEKEND: The Washington volleyball team kicks off the 2003 season this weekend at the four-team Badger Invitational in Madison, Wis. The Huskies open round-robin play against UMKC on August 29 at 5 p.m. (CT) Washington will then face New Hampshire on August 30 at 10 a.m., before taking on tournament host and No. 17-ranked Wisconsin Saturday night at 7 p.m. All three opponents are playing their first matches of the year this weekend. Each match will include LIVESTATS and can be accessed on Wisconsin's web site at www.uwbadgers.com (to view, click on 'Gameday' icon in the left-hand column, then click on the 'Volleyball' icon). Next week, the Huskies travel to Indiana for another four-team tournament hosted by IPFW. The Dawgs will take on Middle Tennessee State on Sept. 5 (4:30 p.m. (CT)) and Ohio and IPFW on Sept. 6 (11 a.m. and 7 p.m.)

Friday, August 29: Washington vs. UMKC, 5 p.m. (CT)
Saturday, August 30: Washington vs. New Hampshire, 10 a.m. (CT)
Saturday, August 30: Washington at No. 17 Wisconsin, 7 p.m. (CT)

SERIES HISTORY: Washington will make its first appearances against UMKC and New Hampshire at the Badger Invitational. The Huskies are 1-1 all-time versus Wisconsin, winning a 3-2 contest in 1989 and losing a 3-1 decision in 1999.

COACH MCLAUGHLIN:In just his second year at the helm of the Washington volleyball program, Jim McLaughlin earned Pacific-10 Conference Coach of the Year honors after leading the 2002 squad to its best finish in the Pacfic-10 Conference in five seasons and its seventh NCAA appearance. McLaughlin also helped develop Washington's first All-America honoree since 1997 with first team selection Paige Benjamin.

A 13-year veteran head coach, McLaughlin has proved his ability to recruit talented student-athletes and cultivate championship programs. He has made 12 appearances in the NCAA postseason, including four with Kansas State, which advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2000. He also spent seven seasons as the men's head coach at USC, where he won a national championship in 1990 and finished as runner-up a year later.

McLaughlin's record is 31-27 at UW and his 13 year coaching career boasts a record of 255-145 (.638) all-time.

SCOUTING UMKC: UMKC returns seven letterwinners and four starters from a 2002 squad that finished fourth in the Mid-Continent Conference with a 5-7 mark. The Kangaroos (14-18 overall in 2002) are led by Lindsey Zerr and Sara Foster, who each averaged 3.06 and 3.04 kills per game, respectively, in 2002. Kristy Waltemeyer also returns in the setter position after averaging 9.83 assists per game last season.

Steve Dallman is the UMKC head coach and has led the Kangaroos to a 67-89 mark over five seasons. Dallman's career coaching record stands at 99-157 over eight years.

SCOUTING NEW HAMPSHIRE: The New Hampshire Wildcats enter the 2003 season with 12 returning letterwinners and five returning starters. The 2002 team won the America East crown with an 11-1 record and finished the season with a 23-11 overall mark. UNH advanced to the NCAA Tournament where it fell in the first round to seventh-seeded Minnesota. The Wildcats are led by outside hitter and America East Player of the Year Alyson Coler and America East Defensive Player of the Year Sasha Scott. Coler ranked second in the conference with 4.41 kills per game, while Scott broke UNH's single-season record for digs with 492 (3.84 dpg).

Jill Hirschinger is New Hampshire's head coach and has led the squad to a 141-90 record in seven seasons. Her overall coaching mark is 550-331-10 over 24 years.

SCOUTING WISCONSIN: No. 17-ranked Wisconsin returns nine letterwinners and four starters for the 2003 campaign. The Badgers, who advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a win over Alabama A&M, tied for second in the Big Ten Conference with a 14-6 record. The team is led by setter Morgan Shields who averaged 13.91 assists per game, which ranked fourth in the nation. The Badgers also return outside hitter Jill Odenthal, who averaged 3.16 kills per game with a .304 hitting percentage.

Pete Waite is the Wisconsin head coach and has led the Badgers to a 108-25 record over four years. His career coaching record stands at 374-127 over 15 seasons.

ROSTER BREAKDOWN: The 15-player Washington roster includes 12 returning letterwinners and four returning starters. The 2003 team includes two seniors, five juniors, five sophomores and three freshmen. The team represents six states and three countries, including Washington (5), California (2), Oregon (2), Indiana (1), Nevada (1), Ohio (1), British Columbia (1) and Yugoslavia (2).

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: The Huskies have 13 matches slated on the 2003 schedule against opponents who currently rank on the American Volleyball Coaches' Association top 25 poll. Seven of those opponents are Pac-10 members, including No. 1 USC, No. 4 Stanford, No. 10 Arizona, No. 14 UCLA, No. 19 Washington State and No. 24 California. Washington is also scheduled to play against No. 17 Wisconsin.

HUSKIES PICKED TO FINISH SIXTH: Pac-10 head coaches picked Washington to finish the 2003 season sixth. The Huskies, who tied for fifth last season with a 9-9 record, received 49 points to fall short of California who received 61 points for the fifth spot. Leading the Pac-10 predictions is defending national champion USC (90 points), Stanford (82), Arizona (68) and UCLA (68). Rounding out the list is Arizona State (39), Washington State (36), Oregon State (28) and Oregon (19).

STRONG OUT OF THE GATES: Washington has faired well in season openers over the last decade with seven wins and three losses. Five of those wins were in three games. Last season, the Huskies defeated Delaware in straight games at the Miami (OH) Best Western Classic in Oxford. Here's a look at Washington's season openers over the last 10 seasons.

August 30, 2002: W, 3-0 vs. Delaware (at Oxford, Ohio)
August 31, 2001: L, 3-0 at Brigham Young
September 1, 2000: W, 3-0 vs. Portland State (Albuquerque, N.M.)
September 1, 1999: W, 3-0 at Illinois-Chicago
September 4, 1998: L, 3-0 vs. UC Santa Barbara (Long Beach, Calif.)
August 29, 1997: W, 3-1 vs. Rhode Island (Seattle, Wash.)
August 30, 1996: W, 3-0 vs. Butler (Athens, Ga.)
September 1, 1995: W, 3-0 vs. West Virginia (University Park, Pa.)
September 1, 1994: L, 3-0 at Colorado
September 1, 1993: W, 3-2 at Bowling Green

2002 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS: The Huskies (20-11, 9-9 Pac-10) posted their best record since 1997 and made the program's seventh postseason appearance ...Washington defeated Northern Colorado in the NCAA first round, 3-1 ... UW won three tournament championships in preconference play, including the Miami-Best Western Classic (Miami, OH), the Mean Green Classic (North Texas) and the Community Bankers Classic (Pacific) ... Paige Benjamin became just the 10th player in Husky history to record 1,000 career kills and sets the single-season kill record ...Gretchen Maurer became only the second UW player to notch 3,000 career assists ... Washington more than doubled its conference win total from 2001 for a fifth place finish in the Pac-10 (9-9) ...Paige Benjamin was invited to train with the US National Volleyball Team.

2002 HONOR ROLL: AVCA All-American: Paige Benjamin (first team) ...AVCA All-Region: Paige Benjamin (first team) ...Pac-10 All-Conference: Paige Benjamin (first team), Gretchen Maurer (first team), Sanja Tomasevic (honorable mention) ...Pac-10 All-Freshman: Candace Lee and Darla Myhre (honorable mention) ...Pac-10 Coach of the Year: Jim McLaughlin ...Academic All-American: Paige Benjamin (second team)...Academic All-District: Paige Benjamin (first team)...Pac-10 All-Academic: Paige Benjamin (first team), Kara Bjorklund and Libba Lawrence (honorable mention) ...NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Winner: Paige Benjamin ...John McLendon Memorial Postgraduate Scholarship Award: Paige Benjamin ...Miami-Best Western Classic All-Tournament Team: Paige Benjamin (MVP), Kaitlin Leck and Alexis McDonald ...Mean Green Classic All-Tournament Team: Paige Benjamin and Gretchen Maurer (Co-MVPs) ...Community Bankers Classic All-Tournament Team: Gretchen Maurer (MVP), Paige Benjamin and Kara Bjorklund.

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