No. 10 Volleyball Heads To Los Angeles

Oct. 29, 2003

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THIS WEEKEND: The 10th-ranked Washington volleyball team (15-5, 6-5 Pac-10) travels to Southern California this week to take on top ranked USC (20-0, 11-0) on Oct. 31 and eighth-ranked UCLA (17-4, 8-3) on Nov. 1. The Huskies lost to the Los Angeles based schools in Seattle earlier this month and hope to shake up the Pac-10 standings with at least one upset. USC is on a 32 match win streak, dating back to the 2002 season and UCLA has a steady hold on third place in the Pac-10 with an 8-3 record.

Friday, October 31: Washington at USC, 7 p.m.
Saturday, November 1: Washington at UCLA, 7 p.m.

SERIES HISTORY: Washington trails both UCLA and USC in the all-time series. The Huskies trail the Bruins 6-37 (.140), including a 3-2 loss in Seattle on Oct. 3. The Women of Troy lead the series 9-29 (.237) and have won the last 11 matches, including a 3-0 sweep in Seattle on Oct. 4. Washington's last win against USC came in 1997 in Seattle.

COACH MCLAUGHLIN: Jim McLaughlin is in the midst of his third season as head coach at Washington. Last season, he earned Pacific-10 Conference Coach of the Year honors, led the Huskies to their best finish in the Pacfic-10 Conference in five seasons and led them to their seventh NCAA tournament. McLaughlin also helped develop Paige Benjamin, Washington's first All-America honoree since 1997.

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 46-32 (.590) at UW and his 13 year coaching career boasts a record of 270-150 (.643) all-time.

LAST TIME OUT: The 10th-ranked UW volleyball team split with its Bay Area rival last week, upseting sixth-ranked Stanford, 3-1 and dropping to seventh-ranked California, 3-2.

Washington's four-game win over Stanford marked the Huskies' first win over the Cardinal since the 1989 season. It was just the third win for UW over Stanford in school history, spanning 23 years and 39 matches. It was Washington's first-ever win in Seattle and broke a 28-match Stanford win streak. Game scores were 30-25, 30-27, 20-30 and 30-28.

The Huskies used a balanced attack to down Stanford with five players recording double-digit kills. Junior outside hitter Sanja Tomasevic led with way with her eighth double-double. Tomasevic tallied 24 kills, while Brie Hagerty added 15 kills and Kaitlin Leck , Kara Bjorklund and Darla Myhre each chipped in 11 kills.

Saturday night, the Huskies fell to California in five games, 30-16, 26-30, 20-30, 33-31 and 11-15.Five Huskies finished the match with double-figure kills for the second time in as many nights. Tomasevic led the way with 21 kills, while picking up her ninth double-double of the season with 13 digs. She also added six aces, topping her career-best of five aces earlier this season.

Leck tallied 14 kills for UW, while Hagerty added 13, Bjorklund chipped in 12 and Myhre had 10.

Candace Lee anchored the defense with 26 digs, while Courtney Thompson recorded 12 digs and 68 assists on the night.

SCOUTING USC: The Women of Troy (20-0, 11-0 Pac-10) have won their last 32 matches, dating back to last season. The 20-0 overall record is USC's best start to a season since 1977.

The topped-ranked team in the nation, USC leads the countrywith a .356 hitting percentage and ranks in the top 10 in kills per game (4th) and assists per game (4th) and is 12th in blocks per game.

Junior middle blocker Emily Adams leads the nation with a .474 hitting percentage and ranks 21st with 1.46 blocks per game. Adams and April Ross lead the team with 3.60 kpg, while Keao Burdine chips in 3.25 kpg. Bibiana Candelas is hitting .442 for USC and averages 1.18 bpg and 2.72 kpg.

SCOUTING UCLA: The UCLA Bruins (17-4, 8-3 Pac-10) have won four consecutive matches, including a 3-1 win over Santa Clara on Tuesday. UCLA is 4-3 against ranked opponents and have lost just one match to an unranked opponent all season (Arizona).

The Bruins lead the Pac-10 with 16.30 digs per game and rank second with a .173 opponent hitting percentage. Brynn Murphy and Heather Cullen lead UCLA's offense with 3.84 and 2.99 kills per game, respectively. Chrissie Zartman leads the defense with 4.12 digs per game, while Cira Wright addes 1.27 blocks per game.

SCHEDULE CHANGE: Washington's match against Utah Valley State, previously scheduled for Nov. 26, has been moved to Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m.

HUSKIES HAVE CAREER DAY VS. BRUINS: The Huskies set nine personal bests in the Oct. 3 match versus No. 8 UCLA. Sanja Tomasevic set a Pac-10 and UW record with 96 total attacks and her career-best 32 kills marked the most of any Pac-10 player this season. Tomasevic also logged a career-best nine blocks against the Bruins. Candace Lee tallied a career-high 33 digs in the match, also the most of any conference player this season. Kara Bjorklund tied her career kill record with 15. Courtney Thompson notched the most assists of any Pac-10 player this season with 69 and posted career-highs with six kills and nine attacks. Brie Hagerty tied her personal-best defensive effort with nine digs.

SENSATIONAL START: Washington opened the season with an 11-0 record, marking the program's best start in school history. The previous record was 9-0, set in 1987. The Huskies are now 15-5.

TOMASEVIC SETS THE PACE: Sanja Tomasevic ranks second in the Pac-10 with 6.46 points per game and 0.54 service aces per game. She also ranks third in the conference and 10th in the nation with 5.45 kills per game.

ACCURATE ATTACK: The Huskies rank sixth nationally and second in the Pac-10 with a .306 hitting percentage. Darla Myhre ranks third in the conference and fifth in the nation with a .429 clip. Kara Bjorklund ranks fifth in the Pac-10 and 13th in the nation with a .399 clip.

SETTING UP THE OFFENSE: Freshman setter Courtney Thompson has been instrumental to Washington's success this season. Thompson currently ranks fifth in the country and leads the Pac-10 with 13.70 assists per game. She has six 60-plus assists performances this season, including a career-best 69 assists against UCLA on Oct. 3.

SERVING ACES: UW has been tough with its serves this season, recording 124 service aces (1.75 sapg) to rank third in the Pac-10. In return, UW has given up just 70 aces to its opponents. Sanja Tomasevic leads the way with 36 aces, including six aces against California and five aces versus UMKC and Arizona. Courtney Thompson has posted 23aces, while Kaitlin Leck has added 19. Leck tied the UW match record with eight aces last season.

BIG DIGS: Candace Lee leads the Pac-10 with 4.13 digs per game. She's had 16 double-figure dig totals in 20 matches, including a career-best 33 digs against UCLA on Oct. 3. Her 33 digs are the most by any player in the conference this season. Lee also recorded 26 digs vs. California (Oct. 24) and 25 digs vs. Oregon State (Oct. 11).

NATIONALLY RANKED: Washington held on to its No. 10 ranking in the USA Today/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll after defeating No. 6 Stanford and dropping to No. 7 California last week. The top 10 national ranking is the highest for the Huskies since 1988 when they finished the season ranked ninth. Five Pac-10 teams rank in the nation's top 10 for the first time ever. USC leads the way at No. 1, followed by No. 6 California, No. 8 UCLA and No. 9 Stanford.

AVCA/SPORTS IMPORTS NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sanja Tomasevic was selected as the AVCA/Sports Imports National Player of the Week on Sept. 3 for her performance in three matches at the Badger Invitational (Aug. 29-30). Tomasevic averaged 6.00 kills per game with 18-kill performances in each of the three matches. She also averaged 8.22 points per game with a .485 hitting percentage to earn MVP honors at the tournament and the Pac-10 Volleyball Player of the Week award. It is just the second national POTW award for the UW program. Makare Desilets received the award in 1997.

TEAM CAPTAINS: The Washington volleyball players selected Sanja Tomasevic and Courtney Thompson as team captains for the 2003 season.

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: Washington has played eight matches against ranked teams this season. The Huskies have played No. 1 USC, No. 4 and No. 6 Stanford, No. 8 UCLA, No. 7 and No. 11 California, No. 16 Arizona and No. 17 Wisconsin. UW is 3-5 against those teams.

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