No. 3 Volleyball Opens Pac-10 Season At No. 10 UCLA & No. 2 USC

Sept. 21, 2004

THIS WEEK: The third-ranked Washington volleyball team (8-0) opens Pacific-10 Conference play this weekend with matches in Los Angeles against No. 10 UCLA (7-2) and No. 2 USC (5-1). The Huskies make their league debut against sixth-ranked UCLA on Sept. 24 (7 p.m.), before playing second-ranked USC on Sept. 25 (7 p.m.). Friday's match vs. UCLA will air on a tape-delayed basis Saturday morning on FSN. Check you local listings.

UW RANKED THIRD IN AVCA POLL: With two victories last week to win the Northwest Classic, the Washington volleyball team (8-0) maintained its No. 3 national ranking in the USA Today/CSTV Top 25 Coaches Poll. The ranking is the highest nation ranking in Washington volleyball history. Six Pacific-10 Conference teams are ranked in this week's poll, including No. 2 USC (5-1), No. 10 UCLA (7-2), No. 12 Stanford (7-2), No. 14 Arizona (8-2) and No. 16 California (5-3) with USC and UW receiving first-place votes.

SCOUTING UCLA: The UCLA Bruins (7-2) are coming off a 1-1 performance last weekend with a loss to Utah (3-2) and a win over Brigham Young (3-1). The Bruins have already played three ranked teams this season and have come away with victories over No. 15 Texas A&M (3-0) and No. 17 Santa Clara (3-0) and a loss to No. 11 Hawaii (3-2). The team is led by Brittany Ringel with 4.10 ppg and 3.42 kpg, while Brynn Murphy averages 3.95 ppg, 3.34 kpg and 1.00 bpg. Nana Meriwether has also been key to UCLA's early success with a team-best .306 hitting percentage, 3.74 ppg and 1.93 bpg. Setter Krystal McFarland averages 12.38 apg for the Bruins, while Chrissie Zartman averages 5.36 dpg.

SCOUTING USC: USC (5-1) was idle last week after it withdrew from the Gamecock Invitational in Columbia, S.C., because of safety and travel concerns regarding Hurricane Ivan and the impending Hurricane Jeanne. USC is coming off a 3-2 loss to No. 16 Illinois- a loss that ended its 53-match win streak. The Lady Trojans are led by Bibiana Candelas, who tops the Pac-10 with a .453 hitting percentage, while Emily Adams is hitting at a .428 clip and averages 1.33 bpg. Deborah Seilhamer leads the defense with 5.04 dpg.

SERIES HISTORY: The Huskies trail UCLA 6-38 in the all-time series, including both matches last season. Washington's last victory against the Bruins was on Oct. 26, 2002 in Seattle (3-0). The Huskies also trail USC 9-30 in the all-time series. Washington's last win over the Lady Trojans came on Oct. 24, 1997 in Los Angeles (3-2).

WASHINGTON WINS NORTHWEST CLASSIC: Washington defeated Montana (3-0) and host Boise State (3-0) to win the Northwest Classic, Sept. 18. Sophomore setter Courtney Thompson was named tournament MVP with 78 assists (13.00 apg) in six games. Brie Hagerty, Christal Morrison and Sanja Tomasevic were also named to the all-tournament team. Hagerty averaged 3.17 kpg with a .326 hitting percentage, while Tomasevic averaged 4.80 kpg and 1.00 bpg with a .396 hitting percentage. Morrison contributed 2.50 kpg and 1.67 bpg.

HUSKIE STIFFLE OPPONENT OFFENSES: Washington has held its opponents to a .075 hitting percentage this season to lead the Pac-10. UW opponents have hit above .100 in just two of eight matches with Northern Illinois' .147 the highest hitting percentage allowed by the Huskies.

UW SHUTS THEM OUT: All eight of Washington's match victories have come in straight sets (3-0). The 24-straight game wins are a UW record.

1,000 KILL CLUB: With 18 kills against Butler on Sept. 3 Sanja Tomasevic became just the 11th player in Husky history to tally 1,000 career kills. She currently ranks 10th on the Husky all-time chart with 1,037 kills.

RECORDS WATCH: Sanja Tomasevic ranks sixth on the Washington all-time chart with 112 career aces ... she is just five aces away from the No. 5 spot ...Candace Lee ranks fifth on the UW career digs list with 964 ... Lee is just four digs away from the No. 4 spot and needs 36 digs to become the fourth player in UW history to record 1,000 career digs ...Courtney Thompson ranks eighth on the Husky career list with 1,796 assists.

COACH MCLAUGHLIN: Jim McLaughlin begins his fourth year as head coach of the Washington volleyball team and has helped catapult it to a top five program and national championship contender. After inheriting a program that finished last in the Pac-10 standings in 2000, McLaughlin has taken the Huskies to the postseason in each of the last two seasons, leading UW to an Elite Eight appearance last year. UW's record has improved in each season under McLaughlin's direction and the Huskies have reintroduced themselves as one of the country's top volleyball programs.

A 14-year veteran head coach, McLaughlin has proven his ability to recruit talented student-athletes and cultivate championship programs. He has made 13 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 62-36 (.632) at UW and his 14 year coaching career boasts a record of 286-154 (.650) all-time.

HUSKIES WIN GREEN MILL CLASSIC: The Huskies picked up their second-straight tournament title on Sept. 11, sweeping Wichita State, Arkansas and Michigan State in straight sets to win the Green Mill Classic. Washington held advantages in every statistical category including hitting percentage (.314 to .096), kills (16.56 to 11.11 kpg) and digs (17.89 to 13.11 dpg). Junior libero Candace Lee earned MVP honors after averaging 5.56 dpg, including a 26 dig performance against Wichita State. Freshman Christal Morrison and senior Sanja Tomasevic were also named to the all-tournament team for their efforts. Morrison led the team in kills in all three match with a career-best 20 kills against Michigan State. Tomasevic averaged 3.22 kpg, 2.33 dpg and 1.00 bpg. UW also received solid play from Courtney Thompson (14.22 apg) and Brie Hagerty (4.00 kpg).

HUSKIES WIN NIU INVITATIONAL: Washington opened the season with a 3-0 record to win the NIU Comfort Inn & Suites Invitational last week. The Huskies defeated Butler, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and host Northern Illinois, all by a 3-0 score, to earn the tournament title. Washington held its opponents to 20 or less points in six of nine games and out-hit its opponents .384 to .083. Senior All-American Sanja Tomasevic and junior Brie Hagerty were named to the all-tournament team for their performances. Tomasevic led the squad with 5.67 kills per game, a .450 hitting percentage (51-6-100) and 6.38 points per game. She tallied double figure kills in all three matches and had a double-double against Butler in the season opener. Hagerty ranked second on the team with 3.67 kpg and 3.89 ppg, while hitting at a .483 clip (33-5-58). She hit .647 (12-1-17) in the opener and .500 vs. NIU (13-1-24), with just one error in each match. Other players with strong outings included libero Candace Lee (6.11 dpg), outside hitter Christal Morrison (3.38 kpg/1.00 bpg) and middle blocker Darla Myhre (2.44 kpg, 1.56 bpg).

ROSTER BREAKDOWN: The 14-player Washington roster includes 10 returning letterwinners and four returning starters. The 2004 team includes three seniors, six juniors, two sophomores and three freshmen. The team represents six states and three countries, including Washington (3), California (2), Hawaii (1), Oregon (2), Indiana (1), Nevada (1), Ohio (1), British Columbia (1) and Serbia & Montenegro (2).

HUSKIES PICKED TO FINISH THIRD IN PAC-10: Pac-10 head coaches predict that Washington will finish third in the Pacific-10 Conference. Southern California, the defending national champion, was picked to win its third-straight title with 89 points, while UCLA was picked to place second with 78 points. Washington picked up the third spot with 78 points and was followed by Stanford (71 points) and California (58 points) to round out the top five. The remaining Pac-10 teams were Arizona (55), Arizona State (38), Oregon State (36), while Oregon and Washington State (23) tied for the last slot.

2003 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS: Last season, the Huskies placed fifth in the Pac-10 (10-8) before peaking in the postseason and defeating Utah, Northwestern and Stanford in the NCAA tournament to advance to the quarterfinals. Washington lost a five-game heartbreaker to Minnesota in the Elite Eight match to tie for its best NCAA finish in the program's history. The Huskies' 23-9 record was the second-best ever at Washington.The Huskies received multiple honors and awards, highlighted with Sanja Tomasevic being named a second team All-American. Washington also had five athletes named to the Pac-10 All-Conference teams, including Tomasevic to the first team, Kara Bjorklund, Darla Myhre and Candace Lee to the honorable mention team and Courtney Thompson to the All-Freshman and honorable mention teams.

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