Volleyball Opens NCAA Tournament vs. UAB Friday

Nov. 29, 2006


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A top-four national seed for the first time since 1994, the Bruins will play the opening two rounds of the NCAA Tournament in Pauley Pavilion this Friday and Saturday. The Bruins finished second in the Pac-10 Conference race and are just one victory shy of their first 30-win season since 1994, the year of the program's most recent trip to the NCAA Semifinals. Three Bruins earned All-Pac-10 honors on Monday with Katie Carter, Nana Meriwether and Nellie Spicer honored by the league. It is the first such honor for Carter and the second for Meriwether and Spicer.

UCLA vs. UAB (27-9, Automatic Qualifier, Conference USA)
The Blazers are on a 13-match winning streak, finishing third in the regular season Conference USA standings before defeating 12th-seeded Central Florida, fourth-seeded Tulane, top seed Tulsa and third-seeded Memphis to capture the CUSA Tournament title and corresponding automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. This is UAB's first ever NCAA Tournament appearance. Friday will be the first-ever meeting between UAB and UCLA. UAB is coached by Kerry Messersmith who is in her first year with the Blazers. Website: uabsports.com Stat Leaders: KILLS- Ivana Bozic (4.92/game), ASSISTS- Nevena Stefanov (12.71/game), ACES- Ivana Bozic (0.50/game), DIGS- Briana Galvin (4.33/game), BLOCKS- Casey Dent (0.79/game).

UCLA vs. Utah (27-3, At-Large Qualifier, Mountain West Conference)
Utah is the 11th-ranked team in the current CSTV/AVCA Coaches Poll. The Utes had an impressive 25-match winning streak snapped on Saturday, falling to Colorado State in five games at the Mountain West Championship Tournament. Should the Bruins and Utes meet up in the NCAA Second Round, the match would feature the nation's top two blockers in Utah's Emillie Toone and UCLA's Nana Meriwether. UCLA leads the all-time series with Utah by a 6-1 margin with the most recent meeting a five-game win by the Utes on Sept. 17, 2004, in Salt Lake City. Utah is coached by Beth Launiere who is in her 17th season at Utah and who has led the Utes to nine straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Website: utahutes.com Stat Leaders: KILLS- Airial Salvo (4.25/game), ASSISTS- Sydney Anderson (12.49/game), ACES- Airial Salvo (0.42/game), DIGS- Connie Dangerfield (4.31/game), BLOCKS- Emillie Toone (1.94/game).

UCLA vs. Michigan State (19-11, At-Large Qualifier, Big Ten Conf.)
Michigan State closed out the regular season with victories against Michigan and Iowa, but the Spartans have not won more than three matches in a row since September and finished 10-10 in Big Ten play. UCLA holds a 3-0 advantage in the all-time series with Michigan State, most recently with a five-game win on Dec. 3, 2000, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Pauley Pavilion. The Spartans are coached by second-year mentor Cathy George and MSU is making its 11th appearance all-time in the NCAA Tournament field. Website: msuspartans.com Stat Leaders: KILLS- Ashley Schatzle (4.62/game), ASSISTS- Allison Ianni (13.09/game), ACES- Miken Trogdon (0.28/game), DIGS- Nicole Colaluca (4.68/game), BLOCKS- Jessica Hohl (1.03/game).

Banachowski Leads Bruins For 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 1,033-269 (.793), 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).

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