Volleyball Wraps-up Pac-10 Season In Arizona

Nov. 18, 2003

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THIS WEEKEND: The 11th-ranked Washington volleyball team (18-7, 9-7 Pac-10) wraps-up the Pac-10 season this weekend in Arizona. The Huskies open play against Arizona on Fri., Nov. 21 and close out the conference season against Arizona State on Sat., Nov. 22. Both games are scheduled for a 7 p.m. start.

SERIES HISTORY: Washington holds the slim 21-18 (.538) lead in the all-time series against Arizona State and trails Arizona 15-23 (.395). The Huskies defeated both Arizona schools earlier this season in Seattle and have a two match win streak with each team.

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 49-34 (.590) at UW and his 13 year coaching career boasts a record of 273-152 (.642) all-time.

LAST TIME OUT: The Huskies swept Washington State last week in front of a record crowd of 3,203 fans. Game scores were 32-30, 30-17, 30-26. Sanja Tomasevic led the Huskies with 20 kills (.341) and 19 digs. It marked the 12th double double of the season for Tomasevic and her ninth match with 20 or more kills. Brie Hagerty added 16 kills for Washington and middle blockers Darla Myhre and Kara Bjorklund recorded nine and eight kills, respectively. Lee finished the match with 27 digs and Courtney Thompson added 53 assits.

SCOUTING ARIZONA: Arizona (14-13, 8-8 Pac-10) re-enters the top 25 poll at No. 25 this week after winning four of its last five matches, including an upset of sixth-ranked UCLA. The Wildcats are led by Kim Glass with 5.56 kpg and 0.43 sapg. Her 620 points this season are nearly double of her next closest teammate (Jennifer Abernathy- 350) for a 6.49 ppg average. Abernathy averages 3.28 kpg, while Bre Ladd chips in 2.81 kpg for the Wildcat offense. Jolene Killough tops the defense with 1.22 bpg, while libero Kelli Mulvany averages 3.01 dpg. Arizona is 4-9 against top 25 teams this season with wins over No. 5 Pepperdine, No. 6 and No. 8 UCLA and No. 6 California.

SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE: Arizona State (9-16, 4-12 Pac-10) broke a six match losing streak with a 3-1 win over Oregon last week. The Sun Devils are led by Natalie Harris with 3.98 kpg and Mandy Stephens with 2.32 kpg. Libero Courtney Blocher averages 3.57 dpg and Stephens averages 0.69 bpg to anchor ASU's defense. Arizona State is 1-9 against ranked opponents this season with its one win coming over Arizona in five games.

A FULL HOUSE: The Huskies are averaging 1,523 fans per match to rank 25th nationally. Last week, UW set a school record with 3,203 fans at the Washington State match. Overall, the Huskies have had 13,706 fans come through the doors of Bank of America Arena.

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.

ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT: Washington junior outside hitter Sanja Tomasevic has been named to the 2003 Academic All-District VIII women's volleyball second team. The team is chosen by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) from Division I volleyball teams in California, Hawaii, Alaska, British Columbia, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada and Utah.

Tomasevic, who owns a 3.33 cumulative grade point average in economics, leads the Huskies and ranks 15th nationally with 5.40 kills per game. She ranks second in the Pac-10 with 0.52 services aces per game and her 6.40 points per game rank second. Tomasevic had tallied double figure kills in all 25 matches this season and has posted 12 double doubles. She was named AVCA National Player of the Week and Pac-10 Player of the Week on Sept. 8 and earned MVP honors at all three pre-conference tournaments the Huskies played this fall.

ASSIST LEADER: Freshman setter Courtney Thompson leads the Pac-10 and ranks fourth nationally with 14.23 assists per game. If the season were to end today, Thompson would hold the school record for assists per game average, a record currently held by Washington assistant coach Michelle Patton who averaged 13.28 apg in 1996. Thompson's 1,238 assists this season rank fifth on the UW top 10 list and she needs just 30 more assists will propel her into the No. 3 spot. Gretchen Maurer holds the record for most assists in a season with 1,425 set last year.

HITTING THEIR TARGETS: Middle blockers Darla Myhre and Kara Bjorklund currently lead the Huskies in hitting percentage. Myhre, a sophomore, ranks third in the Pac-10 and eighth nationally with a .422 clip, while Bjorklund, a senior, ranks fourth in the conference and 12th nationally with a .414 hitting percentage. Bjorklund already ranks second on the UW single season chart with a .397 hitting percentage set last year to fall just short of Becky Stone's 1984 average of .402. Bjorklund boasts a career hitting percentage of .313 (570-157-1318), which ranks second on the Huskies' top 10 list behind Stone (.361).

The Huskies are hitting .306 as a team, which ranks second in the conference and sixth in the nation. Washington's best hitting percentage ever is .287 in 2002.

ONE WIN AWAY: Head coach Jim McLaughlin is just one win away from capturing his 50th victory at the helm of the Washington volleyball team.

DYNAMITE DIGGER: Sophomore libero Candace Lee has been the mainstay of Washington's defense this season and leads the Pac-10 with 4.39 digs per game. Lee has notched double figure digs 21 times, including the last 12 consecutive matches. She has posted 20 or more digs seven times, highlighted by a 33 digs match against No. 8 UCLA on Oct. 3. Lee has led the Huskies in digs in 20 matches and her 4.39 dpg average challenges Washington's single-season record. The current season record belongs to Ashleigh Robertson who averaged 4.04 dpg in 1991.

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 (California's Mia Jerkov has since had a 34 kill match vs. Santa Clara). 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 second-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.

HUSKIES DOWN STANFORD: Washington's four-game win over No. 6 Stanford on Oct. 23 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.

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.

NATIONALLY RANKED: With a pair of wins against Oregon State and Oregon last week, Washington maintained its No. 11 ranking in the USA Today/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll. UW's highest ranking ever was in 1988 when it finished the season ranked ninth.

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.

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