Volleyball Hosts NCAA First & Second Rounds Dec. 5-6
Dec. 2, 2003
UP NEXT: The 14th-ranked Washington volleyball team (20-8, 10-8 Pac-10) was selected as the 12th seed in the 2003 Division I Women's Volleyball Championships and will host the first and second round matches Dec. 5-6 at the Bank of America Arena in HEC Edmundson Pavilion. Northwestern, Utah and Santa Clara join UW to make up the four-team field with Santa Clara and Utah squaring off on Fri., Dec. 5 at 4:30 p.m., and Washington playing Northwestern at 7 p.m. in the opening round. The first round winners will play each other on Sat., Dec. 6 at 7 p.m., with the winner advancing to the Regional Tournament in Long Beach, Calif., Dec. 12-13.
UW IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: The Huskies have made seven previous appearances in the NCAA Tournament (1986, 1988, 1989, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2002) and have an all-time mark of 7-7. UW is 4-1 in postseason matches played in Seattle. Washington's best finish came in 1998 when it advanced to the Sweet 16 before falling to UCLA, 3-0.
COACH MCLAUGHLIN: Jim McLaughlin is in 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 51-35 (.593) at UW and his 13 year coaching career boasts a record of 275-153 (.643) all-time.
SCOUTING NORTHWESTERN: With an at-large berth, Northwestern (18-14) makes its sixth appearance (1981, 82, 83, 84, 2002) in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats are making their second straight trip to the tournament and have a 5-5 all-time postseason record, including a first round loss to Missouri (3-2) last season. This season, Northwestern finished seventh in the Big Ten conference with a 9-12 record.
The Wildcats are led by seniors Iwona Lodzik and Erika Lange with 4.49 and 4.04 kills per game, respectively. Lange, a first team All-Big Ten selection, also leads the team with a .334 hitting percentage and 1.38 blocks per game. Drew Robertson runs the offense from the setter position, averaging 13.20 assists per game. Lodzik anchors the defense with 2.97 digs per game, while Christie Gardener adds 2.81 dpg.
Washington leads the all-time series against the Wildcats, 1-0, winning a 3-0 match in 1980.
SCOUTING SANTA CLARA: Santa Clara (20-10) received 830 points in this week's USA Today/AVCA Coaches Top 25 to just edge the Huskies for the No. 13 position. The Broncos, who are at-large selections, are making their eighth appearance (1992, 93, 98, 99, 2000, 01, 02) in the NCAA Tournament and have an overall postseason record of 2-7. Last year, Santa Clara lost to California in the first round (3-1). The Broncos finished second in the West Coast Conference (11-3) behind fourth-ranked Pepperdine.
Santa Clara is led by All-West Coast selections Becky Porter, Toni Muratore and Kelli Sousa. Porter leads the team with 4.36 kpg, 1.17 bpg and a .302 hitting percentage, while Muratore boasts a 3.63 kpg average. Sousa averages 13.73 assists per game to rank second in the conference. Jac Heler tops the defense with 3.64 dpg, while Porter adds 3.18 dpg.
Washington leads the all-time series against the Broncos, 2-1. Santa Clara won the last match-up, 3-2 in 1984.
SCOUTING UTAH: Utah (21-8) received an at-large berth for its sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance (1998, 99, 2000, 01, 02). The Utes are 5-5 all-time in the postseason, including a first round loss to Texas A&M (3-0) last year. This season, Utah finished second in the Mountain West Conference, dropping to 14th seed Colorado State in the conference championship.
The Utes are led by Mountain West Co-Player of the Year Kim Turner and first team honorees Shelly Sommerfeldt and Jackie Morrill. Turner, a four-time conference Player of the Week selection, leads the team with 4.23 kpg, 1.54 bpg and a .361 hitting percentage, while Sommerfeldt chips in 3.69 kpg. Morrill leads the defensive efforts with 3.40 dpg, which ranks second in the conference.
Utah leads Washington in the all-time series, 4-3, with the Utes winning the last match-up, 3-1 in 1994.
HUSKIES FIFTH IN PAC-10: The Huskies wraped up the Pac-10 season with a 10-8 record to tie Arizona for a fifth place conference finish. It was the second season in a row Washington placed fifth, which is the team's highest finish since the 1997 squad placed second (13-5). USC won the Pac-10 with an 18-0 record.
MCLAUGHLIN WINS 50TH: With a 3-0 sweep over Arizona State on Nov. 22, head coach Jim McLaughlin won his 50th match at the helm of UW volleyball.
BACK-TO-BACK 20-WIN SEASONS: Washington picked up its 20th win of the season on November 25 vs. Utah Valley State (3-0) to mark its first back-to-back 20-win season since 1996-97. Washington has had five 20-win seasons since joining the Pac-10 in 1986.
ACADEMIC ALL-PAC-10: Sophomore libero Candace Lee was selected to the Pac-10 All-Academic volleyball second team. Senior Kara Bjorklund and Libba Lawrence and juniors Kaitlin Leck and Sanja Tomasevic were honorable mention picks.
A FULL HOUSE: The Huskies are averaging 1,414 fans per match and rank 20th nationally. On Nov. 14, UW set a school record with 3,203 fans at the Washington State match. Overall, the Huskies have had 14,143 fans come through the doors of Bank of America Arena.
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 17th nationally with 5.30 kills per game. She ranks second in the Pac-10 with 0.56 services aces per game and her 6.34 points per game rank third. Tomasevic had tallied double figure kills in all 28 matches this season and has posted 13 double doubles. She was named AVCA National Player of the Week and Pac-10 Player of the Week on Sept. 2 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 14.01 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 1,359 assists this season rank third on the UW top 10 list and she is just 66 assists out of the top 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 seventh nationally with a .424 clip, while Bjorklund, a senior, ranks fourth in the conference and eighth nationally with a .417 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 .316 (583-158-1344), which ranks second on the Huskies' top 10 list behind Stone (.361).
The Huskies are hitting .304 as a team, which ranks second in the conference and sixth in the nation. Washington's best hitting percentage ever is .287 in 2002.
DYNAMITE DIGGER: Sophomore libero Candace Lee has been the mainstay of Washington's defense this season and ranks second in the Pac-10 with 4.26 digs per game. Lee has notched double figure digs 22 times, including in 13 of the last 15 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 21 matches and her 4.26 dpg average may topple 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: The Huskies are ranked 14th in this week's USA Today/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll. UW's highest ranking this season was 10th from Oct. 20-Nov. 2. It highest ever ranking 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.
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 11 matches against ranked teams this season. The Huskies have played No. 1 USC, twice, No. 4 and No. 6 Stanford, No. 8 UCLA, twice, No. 7 and No. 11 California, No. 16 and No. 25 Arizona and No. 17 Wisconsin. UW is 3-8 against those teams.