This Week In Bruin Volleyball

Dec. 9, 2003

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UCLA advanced to its fourth NCAA Sweet Sixteen in the last five seasons with wins over San Diego and UC Irvine last weekend in Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins now make their second trip to Lincoln, NE, in a three-year span to play the host Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Regional Semifinal on Friday night. Should the Bruins win on Friday, it would set up a probable rematch with the top-ranked and undefeated USC Women of Troy, who play Texas A&M on Friday at 4:30 pm CT. UCLA's last Sweet Sixteen appearance yielded a 3-1 win over Hawai'i on Dec. 6, 2001 in Long Beach, CA. The Bruins were then eliminated by eventual NCAA Runner-Up Long Beach State in the Regional Final.

Bruins Sweep San Diego, UC Irvine:
UCLA opened its 2003 NCAA Tournament with an expedient 30-20, 30-17, 30-24 victory over San Diego at Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins were led by senior Cira Wright, who had 17 points on 13 kills with a .632 attack percentage and eight block assists in the match. On Saturday, UCLA posted a sweep of UC Irvine with game scored of 30-24, 30-28, 30-22. The Bruins had four players with double-figure kills, led by junior Brittany Ringel with 14. Junior libero Chrissie Zartman had 18 digs in each match and now boasts 1,319 career digs.

UCLA vs. Nebraska (28-4, At-Large, Big 12 Conference):
The Bruins hold a 2-6 all-time record against the Cornhuskers, including a 1-2 record in Lincoln and an 0-2 record in postseason play. Nebraska won the most recent meeting between the teams, a 30-25, 30-24, 30-21 win in the Coliseum at the 2001 US Bank/Arby's Classic. Stat Leaders: Kills- Jennifer Saleaumua (3.28/gm); Attack Percentage- Melissa Elmer (.360); Assists- Michelle Lynch (7.26/gm); Aces- Lynch (0.40/gm); Digs- Jennifer Saleaumua (3.87/gm); Blocking- Elmer (1.60/gm)

UCLA vs. USC (31-0, Automatic Bid, Pac-10 Conference):
UCLA is 50-42 all-time against the Women of Troy, with a 10-11 record at neutral sites and a 3-8 postseason record against USC. Should the Bruins play USC on Saturday, it would be a Lexus Gauntlet match. USC swept the regular season series against the Bruins. Stat Leaders: Kills- April Ross (3.63/gm); Attack Percentage- Emily Adams (.459); Assists- Toni Anderson (10.54/gm); Aces- April Ross (0.56/gm); Digs- Nicole Davis (4.01/gm); Blocking- Emily Adams (1.45/gm).

UCLA vs. Texas A&M (23-9, At-Large, Big 12 Conference):
UCLA holds a 3-0 all-time record against the Aggies, and a 1-0 record in postseason play. All three meetings have been on a neutral floor, with the most recent contest a 15-2, 10-15, 15-11, 15-8 UCLA win at the Hawaiian Airlines Classic on Sept. 3, 2000. Stat Leaders: Kills- Melissa Munsh (3.73/gm); Attack Percentage- Kari Kelley (.385); Assists- Lexy Beers (8.75/gm); Aces- Munsh (0.38/gm); Digs- Laura Jones (3.48/gm); Blocking- Kendra Felder (1.08/gm)

Head Coach Andy Banachowski:
In his 37th season on the Bruin bench, UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski remains one of the top coaches in his profession. On Sept. 1, 2001, in Hawaii, he became the first collegiate women's volleyball coach in history to record 900 career wins, and is just the second collegiate volleyball coach for either gender to reach that milestone. UCLA men's coach Al Scates, for whom Banachowski was a setter during his collegiate career, posted his 1,000th career win in February, 2000. The first women's volleyball coach to be inducted into the National Volleyball Hall of Fame in Holyoke, MA, Banachowski currently has a career record of 962-243 (.798), and has coached the Bruins to six national championships, including three NCAA titles.

Murphy Named Texas MVP, 10/6 Pac-10 Player of the Week:
Junior Brynn Murphy, one of three Bruins to earn first-team All-Pac-10 honors, is leading the Bruins with 428 kills and 3.82 kills per game, and is second on the team (among non-setters) with a .301 attack percentage and 0.95 blocks per game. Murphy was named the Pac-10 Player of the week on Oct. 6 after posting career-high matches against Washington and Washington State, and earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors this season for the first time in her career. In earning Pac-10 Player of the Week honors, she hit .268 with 43 kills (4.30 kpg) on 112 attack attempts for the week with just 13 errors. She also had 16 digs, seven blocks and two service aces as the Bruins won two five-game matches in Washington.

Murphy was named to the All-Tournament Team at all three of UCLA's pre-conference tournaments, the Hawaiian Airlines Classic and the Ruby's Montana Invitational. At the Hawaiian Airlines Classic, she led the Bruins with 41 kills (3.73/game) while hitting .307 and recording 10 blocks for an 0.91 per-game average. In Montana, Murphy's numbers were again impressive, as she averaged team-highs of 4.00 kills per game, a .509 attack percentage and eight blocks for a 1.00 per-game average. Murphy was named the Student-Athlete of the Week after her MVP performance at the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational, where she had 4.22 kills per game and a .479 attack percentage in UCLA's three victories. She is seventh in the Pac-10 in points per game with 4.57, sixth in the Pac-10 in kills per game with 3.82 and finished the regular season with a career-high 23 kills at Pepperdine.

Cullen Named MVP in Montana, Hits Highs vs UW:
First-team All-Pac-10 selection Heather Cullen earned MVP honors at the Ruby's Montana Invitational Sept. 5-6, downing 32 kills in nine games with a .397 attack percentage and 12 digs. Cullen led all players with a career-high 17 kills against Idaho in UCLA's tournament opener, hitting .600 (17 K-2 E-25 TA). On the season, Cullen is second on the team with 315 kills for a 2.86 per-game average, has 16 service aces and 77 blocks for a 0.70 per-game average. Cullen also stepped out in a big way in early October against the Washington schools in UCLA's pair of dramatic five-game victories, hitting a team-high .306 for the weekend with 34 kills, 22 digs and 10 blocks. In UCLA's five-game win over Washington on Oct. 3, Cullen turned in four career-high numbers with 18 kills, 15 digs, seven blocks (1BS/6BA) and 22 points. She had a career blocking night on Nov. 1 vs. UW with eight blocks, four solo and four assisted.

McFarland Setting Bruins in 2003:
Redshirt junior Krystal McFarland is one of UCLA's tri-captains for the 2003 season (with classmates Heather Cullen and Chrissie Zartman), earned Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 notice and has been UCLA's primary setter this season. McFarland leads the Bruins in assists, averaging 11.31 per game to rank fourth in the Pac-10 statistical standings, and has also averaged 2.25 digs and 0.50 blocks per game. McFarland set the Bruins through the Hawaiian Airlines Classic, but stepped aside through parts of the Montana and Texas Invitationals as sophomore Haley Jorgensborg took over setting duties.

McFarland was one of several Bruins to post impressive numbers at Washington State and Washington in early October, turning in then-season-high numbers of 56 assists, five kills (tied her then-career-high) and 20 digs (one shy of career-high) against UW on Oct. 3. On Oct. 16, she posted a career-high 65 assists in UCLA's five-game loss at Stanford. She has since tied her career-high in kills, recording six in the Nov. 14 match against Cal in Pauley Pavilion.

The Wright Stuff on the Block:
The only senior remaining on the 2003 Bruins active roster, Cira Wright earned All-Tournament honors at the season-opening Hawaiian Airlines Classic. Wright leads the team averaging 1.12 blocks per game, and is eighth in the Pac-10's statistical rankings for blocks. Playing all the way around for the first time in her career, Wright posted a career-high digging match numerous times this season, recording eight digs in UCLA's five-game loss to then-No. 2 Hawai'i on Sept. 1 and topping that mark with a 10-dig performance at Washington on Oct. 3 before recording another career-high of 11 digs at Cal on Oct. 17 and shattering both of those plateaus with a 19-dig effort at Oregon on Oct. 23. She set a new career-high with three aces against Oregon on Sept. 26 in a 20-point performance, and matched that total with a three-ace match at Oregon State on Oct. 24. Wright posted a then-season-high of 14 kills in three consecutive matches, against Oregon (Sept. 26), at Washington State (Oct. 2) and at Washington (Oct. 3). She then posted her current season-high of 15 kills at Oregon on Oct. 23.

Ringel Impressive in Late-Season Matches:
An Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 selection, Brittany Ringel continues to pound down kills with a 2.82 per-game average, including a season-high 19 kills and 21 points at Pepperdine on Nov. 25. Ringel had double-figure kills in both of UCLA's NCAA Tournament matches at Pauley Pavilion against San Diego (11) and a team-high 14 kills against UC Irvine on Dec. 6. Replaced by a libero in the back row, Ringel has served 17 aces this season. She had three aces on Sept. 6 at Montana, setting a new career-high mark. She is averaging just under one dig per game, and has scored 283.0 points. The Pepperdine match was statistically one of Ringel's best of the season, as she recorded season-highs in kills (19) and points (21) with an ace, six digs and two block assists.

Zartman Digs No. 1,000 in Washington:
Named first-team All-Pac-10 for the second time in her Bruin career, junior Chrissie Zartman is believed to be the only defensive specialist in conference history to earn All-Pac-10 honors. Named the 'Top Libero' at the Ruby's Montana Invitational despite playing the position for just seven of UCLA's nine tournament games, Zartman continues to shine as the Bruin libero, leading the Bruins and the Pac-10 with 4.51 digs per game. On Oct. 3 at Washington, Zartman became the 14th player in UCLA women's volleyball history to record her 1,000th career dig, a mark she recorded with her final dig of game four in UCLA's five-game win over the Huskies. She enters NCAA Regional play with 1,319 career digs, good for second on UCLA's all-time list and tied for 14th on the Pac-10's all-time list. She passed Ashley Bowles (1,269 from 1998-2001) for second place on UCLA's list in the regular season finale at Pepperdine; next in line in Bruin history is UCLA's career dig leader, Samantha Shaver, at 1,405. Surpassing that mark would also break Zartman into the Pac-10's career top-10. The Pac-10 record of 1,702 career digs is held by Katie Haller (USC, 1990-93). Zartman has 16 matches this season with 18 or more digs, more than twice the number of the closest Pac-10 player (Washington libero Candace Lee with seven).

Zartman opened the season with a 4.45 digs/game average at the Hawaiian Airlines Classic, and went on to average 4.33 digs/game as she earned All-Tournament honors at the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational, UCLA's final tournament of the regular season. Zartman is the only Bruin to have played in all of UCLA's 114 games thus far. Zartman holds a 4.59 per-game average in conference play, tops in the Pac-10. She posted a season-high 25 digs in UCLA's four-game win at Oregon.

An accomplished beach volleyball player, Zartman has earned her AAA beach rating, and won a gold medal at the World University Games in 2002 while playing with long-time partner Tracy Lindquist. She also finished second at the FIVB Under-21 World Championships with playing partner Keao Burdine.

Need an Anthem Singer?:
Freshman Rachell Johnson performed the 'Star Spangled Banner' prior to the start of three home matches (Sept. 19 vs. USC, Oct. 31 vs. Washington State as a last-minute replacement and on Nov. 14 vs. Cal). She also sang the anthem for UCLA's women's basketball home opener on Nov. 23. Johnson will continue to sing the anthem for women's basketball once volleyball season is over. When the scheduled anthem singer for UCLA's Oct. 11 match at Pauley Pavilion faltered twice early in the song, Johnson stepped out to the edge of the court and helped her through the remainder of the anthem. On the court, Johnson's collegiate career started with a pre-season injury (see injury report) and she is expected to redshirt the 2003 season.

Injury Update:
*Senior Natalie Ray was sidelined on Oct. 6 when blood clots were discovered in her right shoulder. Ray has had the blood clots removed, and had surgery to remove the top rib on her right side. She is back on campus to complete winter quarter classes, but is unable to participate with the volleyball team. Despite her surgery, Ray started UCLA's Nov. 14 match against California, which was Senior Night at Pauley Pavilion. Ray was in the starting lineup, but stepped off the court after Cal served to open the match. When UCLA won the first rally of the evening, Ray stepped back to serve one rally before returning to the bench. She will play again this season.* Freshman Rachell Johnson broke a finger in her right hand on Aug. 24, an injury that held her out of practice and competition through the early weeks of the season. She will most likely take a medical redshirt for the 2003 season.

Freshman Firepower:
Four of UCLA's five freshmen have seen game action this season. Colby Lyman had an impressive collegiate debut match against Louisville, posting 14 kills, 14 digs, four blocks and 16 total points with a .478 attack percentage. She started all three matches in Honolulu. She did not participate at the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational due to injury, and missed the October series in Oregon due to pink-eye. She started against USC on Sept. 19, assisting on two of UCLA's 16 blocks in the match. Against OSU on Sept. 25, Lyman had a 12-kill, 16-dig, six-block, two-ace performance for a career-high 18.5 points. She was UCLA's top player in Arizona in early November, leading the Bruins in kills (3.67/game), attack percentage (.400) and aces (4) for the week. Against Stanford on Nov. 13, she turned in a new career-high of 15 kills and tied her career high with two aces.

Becky Green came off the bench in UCLA's five-game loss to Hawai'i on Sept. 1, turning in an impressive performance, particularly during the last two games of the match. Green then set career highs in nearly every category in the Sept. 5 match against Idaho at the Ruby's Montana Invitational, turning in nine kills, four digs, three block assists and 11.5 points with a .467 attack percentage. She has continued to improve, and career-high marks of 13 kills, 10 digs and four blocks against the Oregon schools in late October, and plays a solid role for the Bruins off the bench.

Katie Carter saw limited action at the Hawaiian Airlines Classic, then earned her first career start against Boise State on Sept. 6 at the Ruby's Montana Invitational. Carter posted several career highs in that match against the Broncos, recording 11 kills, two service aces, four digs and 13 points in the match. She is averaging 1.77 kills per game this season. In Texas, Carter was second on the team with a 3.33 kills per-game average, while contributing 2.00 digs/game and two block assists for 22 points on the weekend.

Laura Kroneberger made her collegiate debut at libero in game three against Boise State on Sept. 5, recording her first career dig in the match. Kroneberger was unable to play at the Hawaiian Airlines Classic due to a pulled abdominal muscle, but has recovered nicely to play in 55 games over 24 matches. She played in six games in Texas, recording nine digs and an assist. Against Oregon State on Sept. 25, she had a career-high eight digs. She played in 33 Pac-10 games, primarily as a back-row substitute to serve and play defense. She tied her career-high with eight digs against Cal on Nov. 14.

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