Volleyball in Maryland for Four Matches

Sept. 12, 2006

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The Bruins, who are off to their best start since opening the 1993 season 20-0, continue their seven-match road swing, this time headed for Towson, Md., and College Park, Md., for a single match at Towson and the Hilton Garden Inn Greenbelt Invitational hosted by Maryland. Both sites are close to the home of senior middle blocker Nana Meriwether, who continues to hold remarkable season totals including 4.50 kills and 1.58 blocks per game to go along with a stunning .562 season attack percentage. UCLA did not return to Los Angeles following their Pioneer Classic tournament championship, choosing instead to head directly east to Maryland. This is UCLA's second trip to the Eastern Time Zone this season as the Bruins opened the year in Cincinnati.

UCLA vs. Towson Tigers (7-2)
Towson has ripped off six straight victories heading into Tuesday night's contest including a pair of conference match-ups against James Madison and George Mason last weekend. Tuesday's match will be the first meeting between UCLA and Towson. The Tigers are led by head coach Paul Koncir who is in his first season at Towson. Stat Leaders: KILLS- Maddie Haseltine (4.00/game), ASSISTS- Kimberly Snider (11.89/game), ACES- Maddie Haseltine (0.44/game), DIGS- Alison Essink (4.43/game), BLOCKS- Alysha Fanning (1.49/game).

UCLA vs. Florida International Golden Panthers (7-2)
Florida International won the Fiesta Bowl Volleyball tournament at Northern Arizona last weekend to improve to 7-2 on the season. FIU lost its opener to BYU before falling to then-No. 17 California on Sept. 2. Friday's match will be the first meeting between the Bruins and Golden Panthers. FIU is coached by Danijela Tomic, who is in her second year with the Golden Panthers. Stat Leaders: KILLS- Yarimar Rosa (5.45/game), ASSISTS- Kelia Oliveira (12.91/game), ACES- Mariana Drumeva (0.39/game), DIGS- Keila Oliveira (2.67/game), BLOCKS- Mina Spasojevic (1.09/game).

UCLA vs. Long Island Blackbirds (6-4)
The Blackbirds are fresh off of the Harvard Invitational tournament championship, defeating Rutgers, Harvard and Binghamton last weekend in Cambridge, Mass. This will be the first meeting between UCLA and LIU. The Blackbirds are coached by Toby Rens, who is in his third year at LIU. Stat Leaders: KILLS- Martina Wagner (5.15/game), ASSISTS- Lindsey Patty (11.68/game), ACES- Toni Perhat (0.61/game), DIGS- Svetlana Simic (4.12/game), BLOCKS- Shelby Heggie (0.85/game).

UCLA vs. Maryland Terrapins (5-1)
The Terrapins have won their two most recent matches against Albany and Stony Brook after suffering their lone loss of the season last Friday against then-No. 17 Ohio. Saturday night's match will be the first meeting between UCLA and Maryland in women's volleyball. The Terrapins are coached by Janice Kruger who is in her 19th year at Maryland. Stat Leaders: KILLS- Jade Brown (4.25/game), ASSISTS- Teryn Papp (6.43/game), ACES- Jade Brown (0.42/game), DIGS- Jade Brown (2.96/game), BLOCKS- Meredith Doyle (1.35/game).

Banachowski Enters 40th Season
A dramatic five-game upset win over then-undefeated Washington on Nov. 12, 2005, made UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski the first women's Division I volleyball coach to win 1,000 career matches. Banachowski, who holds a career record of 1,013-266 (.792), is in his 40th season on the Bruin bench. He trails only UCLA men's coach Al Scates and Juniata (Div. III) head women's coach Larry Bock (1,069 entering 2006) for wins by a collegiate volleyball coach.

Banachowski was an All-America setter for Scates during his collegiate career at UCLA. (Scates holds a career record of 1135-212.) The first women's volleyball coach to be inducted into the National Volleyball Hall of Fame in Holyoke, Mass., Banachowski has coached the Bruins to six national championships, including three NCAA titles (1984, `90, `91).

UCLA Wins Pioneer Classic; Spicer Named MVP
The Bruins extended their season-opening streak to nine straight wins last weekend in Denver as UCLA won the Pioneer Classic with wins over Texas State, Georgia and host Denver. Nellie Spicer was named the Tournament MVP while Nana Meriwether was also named to the All-Tournament team. This is UCLA's best start to a season since the 1993 campaign when the Bruins won their first 20 matches.

Against Texas State, Spicer set the Bruins to a team .229 attack percentage including a .529 mark as a team in game four. Despite not starting the match or playing in the opening game, Meriwether continued her white-hot offensive streak, downing 22 kills on 29 error-free attacks for a .759 attack percentage and added four block assists for 24 points. Kaitlin Sather joined Meriwether in double-figure kills with 15, while Jordan Smith contributed 16 digs.

Saturday morning against Georgia, the Bruins hit .352 as a team, led by senior co-captain Katie Carter with 11 kills in the three-game match. Although Carter was the only Bruin with double-figure kills, six players had more than five kills as 13 players saw action against the Bulldogs. Smith and Spicer shared the team's dig lead with 11 apiece.

In the tournament finale against host Denver, four Bruins finished with double-figure kills, led by Meriwether with 17 kills, a .517 attack percentage and five blocks (one solo, four assists) for 20 points in the match. Joining her in double figures were Carter and Ali Daley with 13 kills apiece and Rachell Johnson with 10. Spicer tied her season-high of 58 assists in the four-game win over the Pioneers.

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