Volleyball Advances To National Semifinal Vs. Stanford

Dec. 13, 2004

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UP NEXT: For the first time in the program's history, the Washington volleyball team (28-2) will play in the Final Four. The No. 7-seed Huskies will play Pac-10 rival and No. 11-seed Stanford on Dec. 16, at 5:30 p.m., in the national semifinal in Long Beach, Calif. The other semifinal match includes two-time defending national champion and Pac-10 foe, No. 8-seed Southern California and No. 4 seed Minnesota on Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m. Thursday's winners will play for the National Championship Dec. 18 at 1 p.m.

NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP TO BE TELEVISED: The national championship semifinal matches will be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis by ESPN2. Washington's match vs. Stanford will play on Thursday, Dec. 16 at 8 p.m. The USC vs. Minnesota match will air on Friday. Dec. 17 at noon. Saturday's national championship will air live on ESPN2 at 1 p.m.

UW IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: The Huskies have made eight previous appearances in the NCAA Tournament (1986, 1988, 1989, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2003) and have an all-time mark of 14-8. UW is 10-1 in postseason matches played in Seattle. Last season, Washington tied its best-ever finish when it advanced to the Elite Eight. The Huskies fell to Minnesota in the match, 3-2.

UW DEFEATS UCLA IN REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: Before a crowd of 4,532 at Bank of America Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion, the Huskies rallied in the deciding fifth game to defeat UCLA by scores of 27-30, 30-19, 30-28, 24-30, 15-9. After dropping game one, the Huskies looked to be in control when they won games two and three and led 12-3 in game four before UCLA stagged a remarkable comeback. The Bruins went on a 12-3 run to tie the match at 15-15 and then pulled ahead 23-18 before tying the match at two games apiece. In the fifth game, UCLA led 8-6 before the Huskies scored six points behind the powerful arm of Brie Hagerty. Hagerty was named to the Regional All-Tournament, as were Courtney Thompson and MVP Sanja Tomasevic. Tomasevic led all players with 24 kills, while Hagerty added 23. Thompson had 67 assists and 21 digs on the night.

HUSKIES DEFEAT SAINT MARY'S IN REGIONAL SEMIFINAL: Washington defeated No. 10-seed Saint Mary's in the Regional Semifinal to advance to the Elite Eight for the third time in the program's history and for the second year in a row. The Huskies defeated the Gaels 30-20, 30-20, 30-20 and were led by Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and Pacific Region Freshman of the Year Christal Morrison. Morrison, who was making her first start since tearing her meniscus, led all players with 19 kills, while hitting .439. Seniors Kaitlin Leck and Sanja Tomasevic added 15 and 14 kills, respectively.

HUSKIES DEFEAT IDAHO/KANSAS IN OPENING ROUNDS: The Huskies defeated Idaho (3-0) and Kansas (3-2) in the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament to advance to the Sweet 16. Sanja Tomasevic led Washington with 5.00 kpg and 5.12 dpg. The Huskies also received strong play from Brie Hagerty (4.62 kpg), Kaitlin Leck (3.38 kpg, 1.88 bpg) and Candace Lee (5.38 dpg).

WINNING WAYS: Washington has a 28-2 record and boasts the second-most wins in school history. UW also won 28 matches in 1977 (28-2) and 1980 (28-12) and was 37-8-2 in 1978. The Huskies' .933 winning percentage this year ties the 1977 squad for best winning percentage in school history.

MORRISON SUFFERS KNEE INJURY: Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and Pacific-Region Freshman of the Year Christal Morrison tore the meniscus in her right knee on Wed., Dec. 1 in practice. The knee injury is the same one she suffered last season at Puyallup High School. She missed two weeks with the previous injury. Morrison made her first start since the Dec. 1 practice in the regional semifinal vs. Saint Mary's (Dec. 10) and led all players with 19 kills. She had limited playing time in the regional championship vs. UCLA due to a sore foot.

MCLAUGHLIN NAMED PACIFIC REGION COACH OF THE YEAR: Jim McLaughlin was voted Tachikara/American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Pacific Region Coach of the Year, the organization announced on Wednesday. He is now on the ballot for National Coach of the Year. McLaughlin led Washington to its first-ever Pacific-10 Conference title with a 16-2 record this season and garnered Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors for the second time in three years. The Huskies opened 2004 with a school-record 22-match win streak, and their only losses have been five-game setbacks to Southern California and Stanford. Washington was ranked as the top team in the USA Today/CSTV Top 25 Coaches Poll for a seven-week period and never fell below seventh place in 2004. McLaughlin and the Huskies worked around an injury to returning AVCA All-American Sanja Tomasevic, who missed nearly a month of the 2004 season and returned just prior to the NCAA Tournament. McLaughlin boasts a 163-81 career record over eight seasons as a women's head coach, including an 82-38 mark in four years at Washington. He could become the first coach to win both a men's and women's NCAA volleyball championship as he also directed the USC men's team to the 1990 title.

FOUR EARN ALL-PACIFIC REGION RECOGNITION: The Washington volleyball team had four players named to the American Volleyball Coaches' Association (AVCA) All-Pacific Region teams, including first team selections Candace Lee, Christal Morrison and Courtney Thompson. Brie Hagerty was named to the honorable mention team. Morrison was also named the Pacific Region Freshman of the Year. Lee, Morrison and Thompson are now eligible for the All-America ballot.

WASHINGTON WINS FIRST PAC-10 TITLE: With a 3-1 victory over No. 16 UCLA on Nov. 27, Washington won its first-ever Pac-10 Championship outright. The Huskies won the Pac-10 with a 16-2 mark, edging out second place Stanford who finished one match back with a 15-3 record. With the conference title, Washington received the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

HUSKIES SET PROGRAM RECORD FOR BEST START/ MOST CONSECUTIVE WINS: Washington opened the season with 22-straight victories to set school records for best start and most consecutive wins. The previous record was a 21-0 start set by the 1977 volleyball team.

UW TALLIES BEST PAC-10 RECORD EVER: Washington finished the Pac-10 season with a 16-2 record, marking the most conference wins by UW in a single-season. Washington's previous best conference record was 13-5, set in 1988 and again in 1997, when the team's placed second in the Pac-10. In 1988, Washington advanced to its first Elite Eight, while the 1997 squad made it to the Sweet 16.

SCOUTING STANFORD: No. 11-seed Stanford cruised through the Wisconsin-Green Bay Regional, defeating Texas and Wisconsin in straight sets to advance to the Final Four. The Cardinal are led by Pac-10 Player of the Year Oggona Nnamani with 6.04 kills per game and a .344 hitting percentage. Kristen Richards and Jennifer Hucke also headline the Stanford attack, averaging 3.71 and 2.67 kpg, respectively. Byrn Kehoe runs the offense and averages 12.26 assists per game and leads the team with 36 service aces (0.29 sapg). Richards leads the defense with 3.75 digs per game and Lizzie Suiter chips in 1.52 blocks per game. The Huskies and Cardinal split the Pac-10 series this season, with both teams winning at home. Washington swept Stanford in Seattle, 3-0, and lost a 3-2 match on the road.

SCOUTING SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: No. 8-seed Southern California (23-5) knocked off top-seed Nebraska 3-2 Saturday to advance to its third-straight Final Four. The Women of Troy are the two-time defending national champions. The team is led by regional MVP Keao Burdine with 4.18 kills per game and Bibiana Candelas and Emily Adams. Candelas averages 3.03 kpg and Adams averages 3.02. Allison Dillon and Kimi Freeburg pace USC's offense with 7.41 and 6.57 assists per game, respectively. Deborah Seilhamer anchors the defense with 5.32 digs per game. The Huskies and Women of Troy split the Pac-10 series this season, with both teams winning 3-2 match on the road.

SCOUTING MINNESOTA: No. 4-seed Minnesota (32-4) defeated Georgia Tech (3-2) and Ohio State (3-2) at the Minneapolis Regional to advance to its second-straight Final Four. Last season, the Gophers defeated Washington in five games in the Elite Eight to advance to the national semifinal. Minnesota is led by Erin Martin with 5.03 kills per game, while Trisha Bratford averages 3.50 kpg. Lindsey Taatjes and Kelly Bowman split setting duties and average 8.47 and 6.93 apg, respectively. Paula Gentil headlines the defense with 6.69 digs per game, while Meredith Nelson chips in 0.95 blocks per game. Taatjes earned the region's MVP award after posting triple-doubles in both the regional semifinal and final.

HOME SWEET HOME: The Huskies are 12-1 at home this season, winning nine of those in matches in straight 3-0 sets. Washington lost three games to USC on Nov. 27 in its only home loss of the season and one game to UCLA on Nov. 28 in the Pac-10 finale. Washington dropped two games to Kansas and two games to UCLA in the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies hold a 38-10 game advantage in Bank of America Arena.

UW RANKED NO. 5 IN AVCA POLL: With a pair of wins to open the NCAA Tournament, the Huskies maintained their No. 5 ranking in the Dec. 7 USA Today/ CSTV Top 25 poll. Washington, who held the No. 1 ranking for seven weeks earlier this season, received 1,362 points in the poll, including one first-place vote. UW volleyball is just the sixth Washington program to hold top-billing. Other Husky programs to hold the coveted top ranking include football (last on 11-7-92), softball (last on 5-10-00), men's soccer (last on 9-21-98), women's crew (last on 5-14-03) and men's crew (last on 5-6-02).

Jim McLaughlin NAMED PAC-10 COACH OF THE YEAR: Washington head volleyball coach Jim McLaughlin has been named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year for the second time in three years after guiding the Huskies to their first ever Pac-10 Championship (16-2) and No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies opened the season with a school-record 22-match winning streak and finished the regular season at 24-2. Washington has been ranked among the top seven all season, including a seven-week stint at No. 1 in the USA Today/ CSTV Top 25 poll. McLaughlin, who also was tabbed Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 2002, boasts a 161-81 (.665) career record over eight seasons coaching women's collegiate volleyball. He has a 82-38 (.683) record at Washington in four seasons. Prior to Washington, McLaughlin spent four seasons at Kansas State, compiling an 81-43 (.653) record and leading the Wildcats to four consecutive NCAA appearances. He was named Big 12 Coach of the Year in 1999. McLaughlin also coached six seasons with the USC men's team, leading the 1990 squad to the NCAA Championship.

Christal Morrison NAMED PAC-10 FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Christal Morrison, an outside hitter from Puyallup, Wash., was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year after ranking second in the conference with 4.40 kills per game and 5.01 points per game. She has 12 double-doubles on the season and has tallied double-figure kills in 24 matches. She earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors earlier this year and was named to the Northwest Classic and Green Mill Classic all-tournament teams. Morrison is Washington's first ever Pac-10 Freshman of the Year.

FIVE HUSKIES NAMED TO ALL-PAC-10 TEAMS: Five Huskies were named to the All-Pac-10 teams, including first team members Brie Hagerty, Candace Lee, Christal Morrison and Courtney Thompson and honorable mention selection Darla Myhre. Hagerty ranks third in the Pac-10 in kills per game (4.16) and sixth in points per game (4.47). She has tallied double-digit kills 23 times and has hit .400 or better in seven matches. Lee ranks second in the Pac-10 and ranks 16th nationally with 5.85 digs per game. She broke Washington's single-season and career records this season and became just the fourth player in Huskies' history to enter the 1,000 dig club. Morrison is the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and ranks second in the league in kills (4.21 kpg) and points (4.79). Thompson leads the Pac-10 and ranks second nationally with 14.66 assists per game. She leads the team with a .387 hitting percentage and has dished 50 or more assists 17 times. Myhre leads the team and ranks fourth in the Pac-10 with 1.44 blocks per game. She has notched eight or more block seven times this season, including an 11 block performance against UCLA on Sept. 25.

RECORD ATTENDANCE: The Huskies have broken the school's home attendance record twice this season. UW first broke the record on Oct. 8 vs. Washington State with 3,673 fans, topping the previous record of 3,203 set last season vs. the Cougars. Washington shattered the record two weeks later, pulling in 5,712 fans vs. Stanford on Oct. 23, marking the fourth-highest attendance figure in Pac-10 history. UW has pulled 41,738 fans through its doors this season in 13 home matches for an average of 3,211 fans per match. Washington has the highest attendance average in the Pacific-10 Conference and ranks fifth in the nation.

TOMASEVIC MAKES HER COMEBACK: Senior All-American Sanja Tomasevic made her first start since breaking her hand on Oct. 14 against USC on Nov. 26. Tomasevic led the Huskies with 20 kills and 30 digs against USC. She followed up with 22 kills and 20 digs against UCLA on Nov. 27. She was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for her performances.

LEE SETS CAREER & SEASON DIG RECORDS: Junior libero Candace Lee became the all-time digs leader at Washington against Arizona on Nov. 11, picking up 16 digs to surpass Lisa McCammond's 1,237 digs set from 1986-89. She surpassed her own single-season record on Nov. 27 with her 368th dig vs. USC. Lee now has 632 digs this season and 1,531 in her career, which ranks fourth on the all-time Pac-10 list.

MCLAUGHLIN GETS 300TH CAREER WIN: Head coach Jim McLaughlin tallied his 300th career win as a Division I coach (including stints with both men's and women's teams) with a 3-0 sweep over Arizona State on Nov. 12. His career record as a women's coach is 163-81 (eight seasons) and he is 82-39 at Washington (four seasons).

THREE HUSKIES RECEIVE ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT HONORS: The Washington volleyball team placed three players on the Academic All-District VIII University Division Volleyball Team. Senior outside hitter Sanja Tomasevic, junior libero Candace Lee and sophomore setter Courtney Thompson were named to the seven-member first team. Tomasevic, who was a second team Academic All-District selection last year, owns a 3.34 cumulative grade point average in Communications. Lee boasts a 3.78 grade point average in English with a minor in Italian, while Thompson has achieved a 3.63 grade point average in Business.

FIVE PLAYERS NAMED TO PAC-10 ALL-ACADEMIC TEAMS: Five Washington players earned Pac-10 All-Academic honors, including first team selection Candace Lee. Courtney Thompson and Sanja Tomasevic were second team picks and Kaitlin Leck and Danka Danicic were named to the honorable mention team.DEESING HAS CAREER NIGHT OFF THE BENCH: Freshman Alesha Deesing, who had played in just nine games all season, came off the bench Nov. 26 vs. USC to give UW a spark with 15 kills, a .467 hitting percentage and a team-high seven blocks. Heading into the match vs. USC, Deesing had just eight kills and seven blocks on the season.

HAGERTY HITS HER MARK: Junior outside hitter Brie Hagerty has hit .500 or better four times this season and has produced three of Washington's top-five hitting performances. Hagerty hit .647 (12-1-17) at Butler, .607 vs. Oregon (19-2-28), .533 vs. California (18-2-30) and .500 at Northern Illinois (13-1-24). Sanja Tomasevic and Darla Myhre are the only other Huskies to hit above .500 in a match this season (with a minimum 12 kills). Tomasevic hit .562 at Northern Illinois (19-1-32) and Myhre hit .545 at Stanford (12-0-22).

STEPPING UP: When Sanja Tomasevic broke her hand on Oct. 14, the Huskies asked senior Kaitlin Leck and junior Jessica Veris to pick up the scoring slack. During the six weeks Tomasevic missed, Leck increased her offensive output from 2.86 kpg to 3.64 kpg. She has also increased her defensive contributions from 1.00 dpg to 1.79 dpg. Leck had 27 kills and 16 digs vs. Oregon State (Oct. 28) and 12 kills and 10 digs vs. Oregon (Oct. 29) for her first double-doubles of the season. Veris increased her offensive production from 1.39 kpg to 1.81 kpg and is fourth on the team with a .329 hitting percentage. She has notched eight or more kills in nine of the last 15 matches, including 11 vs. Stanford (Oct. 23) and 10 vs. UCLA in the Regional Championship (Dec. 11).

UW SHUTS THEM OUT: Washington has tallied 3-0 victories in 19 of 30 matches this season. Washington holds the 88-22 edge in game victories over its opponents.

3,000 ASSIST CLUB: Sophomore setter Courtney Thompson has tallied 3,173 assists in her career and is just the third Husky to join the 3,000 assists club. She ranks third on the UW all-time career list, while her 1,583 assists this season rank second-best on the Husky single-season list. Thompson already set single-season records for assists (1,590) and assists per game (14.20) last year. She currently leads the Pac-10 with 14.66 apg, which ranks second nationally.

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 fourth on the Husky all-time chart with 1,298 kills.

COACH MCLAUGHLIN: Jim McLaughlin is in his fourth year as head coach of the Washington volleyball team and helped catapult its first No. 1 national ranking earlier this season, which it held for seven weeks. 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 82-38 (.683) at UW and his 14 year coaching career boasts a record of 306-156 (.662) all-time (men's and women's record).

MORRISON NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Freshman outside hitter Christal Morrison was named Pac-10 Player of the Week on Oct. 18 after leading the Huskies to wins at Arizona State and No. 22 Arizona. With an injury sidelining senior outside hitter Sanja Tomasevic, the seventh-most prolific offensive player in Washington history with 1,176 career kills, Morrison carried the Washington offense, collecting 38 kills on 86 attempts over the weekend. She also contributed 27 digs. Against the Sun Devils, Morrison tallied 18 kills and 15 digs for her third double-double of the season. The 15 digs fell one shy of her career-best. Morrison followed that up against the Wildcats with another double-double (her fourth) on a career-best-tying 20 kills and 12 digs. She also tied her career best for aces with two.

TOMASEVIC EARNS PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS- TWICE: Senior outside hitter Sanja Tomasevic was named Pac-10 Volleyball Player of the Week for Sept. 20-26 and Nov. 22-28. Tomasevic, led Washington to wins at No. 10 UCLA and No. 2 USC, the Huskies' first road sweep of the Los Angeles schools since 1997 and second all-time. Against the Bruins, Tomasevic collected 27 kills, 12 digs and eight block assists, while hitting at a .453 clip. She followed that with 18 kills and 14 digs in the Huskies' five-game upset win over the Women of Troy. For the weekend, Tomasevic recorded 45 kills (5.00 kpg), 26 digs (2.89 dpg), nine blocks (1.00 bpg), and 50.5 points (5.61 ppg). Two months later, Tomasevic made her comeback from a broken hand with 20 kills and 30 digs against USC (Nov. 26). The next night, she recorded 22 kills, 20 digs, three aces and three blocks in leading the Huskies to a 3-1 victory over UCLA that clinched Washington's first-ever Pac-10 title outright. For the weekend, Tomasevic recorded 42 kills (4.67 kpg) 50 digs (5.56 dpg) and four aces (0.44 apg).

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.

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, three 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 (2) 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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