Volleyball To Face Stanford In NCAA Sweet 16

Dec. 9, 2003

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UP NEXT: The No. 12 seed Washington volleyball team (22-8, 10-8 Pac-10) will face No. 5 seed Stanford (25-6, 14-4 Pac-10) in the regional semifinal in Long Beach, Calif., on Fri., Dec. 12 at 5:30 p.m., in The Pyramid. No. 4 seed Pepperdine (27-2) will play No. 13 seed Minnesota (24-10) in the other semifinal match at 7:30 p.m. Friday's winners will play each other on Sat., Dec. 13 at 7 p.m., with the winner advancing to the Final Four in Dallas, Texas, Dec. 18-20.

NCAA REGIONAL SEMIFINAL ON FOX SPORTS NET: The NCAA Regional Semifinal in Long Beach, Calif., on Friday, December 12, will be broadcast live in the Pacific Northwest on Fox Sports Net. Chris Marlowe will provide play-by-play and Mike Dodd will provide color commentary.

UW IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: The Huskies are making their eighth appearance in the NCAA Tournament (1986, 1988, 1989, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2003) and have an all-time mark of 9-7. Washington's best finish came in 1988 when it advaced to the Elite Eight before falling to UCLA, 3-0. The Huskies are 3-0 in postseason matches on neutral courts including a 1988 regional semifinal win over Stanford (3-2) in Los Angeles, a 1996 first round win over Texas Tech (3-1) in Provo, Utah and a 2002 first round win over Colorado State (3-1) in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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 53-35 (.667) at UW and his 13 year coaching career boasts a record of 277-153 (.555) all-time.

SCOUTING STANFORD: Stanford is making its 22nd Sweet 16 appearance after defeating Sacramento State (3-0) and Pacific (3-0) in the first and second rounds. The Cardinal placed second in the Pac-10 with a 14-4 mark and were an at-large NCAA selection. The team is led by first team All-Pac-10 picks Ogonna Nnamani, Kristen Richards and Jennifer Harvey. Nnamani leads the team with 5.47 kpg and 6.06 ppg.Richards, who was also the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, averages 3.34 kpg and 3.03 dpg. Harvey leads the conference with 1.55 blocks per game.

Washington trails the all-time series 37-3 with each team winning on its home court this season.

SCOUTING PEPPERDINE: Pepperdine (27-2) enters the Regional Tournament as the No. 4 seed and boasts a 25-match win streak. The Waves have not lost a match since they lost back-to-back matches against Arizona and Southern California on Aug. 30 and Sept. 3. Pepperdine, who makes its seventh straight NCAA appearance and 16th overall, defeated Manhattan College (3-0) and Kansas (3-0) in the first and second rounds to make the Regional Tournament. The Waves won the West Coast Conference to receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. The team is led by WCC Player of the Year Katie Wilkins. Wilkins leads the team with 5.31 kpg and has a .309 hitting percentage and averages 0.94 blocks per game. The Waves are also led by WCC Freshman of the Year Sophia Milo who leads Pepperdine with 1.33 bpg. Libero Christina Hinds was named WCC Co-Defensive Player of the Year as she averages 4.28 dpg. Head coach Nina Matthies was selected as the WCC Coach of the Year for the third staight time.

Washington trails Pepperdine in the all-time series, 1-4. The teams have not met since the 1991 season when the Waves won a 3-2 match.

SCOUTING MINNESOTA: Minnesota (24-10) advances to its fourth Regional in five season after defeating Wisconsin-Green Bay (3-0) and Northern Iowa (3-1) in the first and second rounds. The Gophers received an at-large postseason bid after tying for second place in the Big Ten Conference. Minnesota is led by Big Ten Player of the Year Cassis Busse who averages 4.65 kpg. Busse became just the fourth player in Minnesota history to record 500 kills in back-to-back seasons. The Gophers are also led by first team All-Big-Ten selection Paula Gentil who ranks ninth nationally with 5.03 dpg. Gentil was also named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Lindsey Taajes was an All-Big-Ten honorable mention selection and ranks 22nd nationally with 13.11 assists per game. Meredith Nelson was a Big Ten All-Freshman pick after leading the Gophers with 1.23 bpg.

Washington leads the all-time series, 1-0, winning a 3-1 contest in 1996.

HUSKIES FIFTH IN PAC-10: The Huskies wrapped 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 18th nationally with 5.29 kills per game. She leads the Pac-10 with 0.57 services aces per game and her 6.36 points per game rank third. Tomasevic had tallied double figure kills in all 30 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 14.12 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 1,454 assists this season is a UW record.

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 .419 clip, while Bjorklund, a senior, ranks fourth in the conference and eighth nationally with a .416 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 .318 (596-162-1366), which ranks second on the Huskies' top 10 list behind Stone (.361). The Huskies are hitting .307 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 4.14 digs per game. Lee has notched double figure digs 23 times, including in 14 of the last 17 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 4.14 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 13th 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. Its 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.

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 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.

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