Ninth-Ranked Bruins Travel to Oregon State and Oregon

Nov. 5, 2007

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#9 UCLA (16-7, 6-6 Pac-10) at Oregon State (10-15, 3-10 Pac-10)
Thursday, Nov. 8
Corvallis, Ore.
Gill Coliseum
7 p.m.
Live: Live Stats, Video

#9 UCLA (16-7, 6-6 Pac-10) at #20 Oregon (16-9, 5-8 Pac-10)
Friday, Nov. 9
Eugene, Ore.
McArthur Court
7 p.m.
Live: Live Stats, Video

The ninth-ranked women's volleyball team (16-7, 6-6 Pac-10) resumes their three-match road trip this week, taking on Oregon State (10-15, 3-10) on Thursday and #20 Oregon (16-9, 5-8) on Friday. Game times are 7 p.m. for both matches. Live stats and video are available on the home school's respective websites.

The Bruins remained at ninth for the second straight week in this week's CSTV/AVCA Top 25 poll. The Pac-10, the toughest conference in the nation, boasts five of the top nine teams in the country. Washington, Stanford, USC and California are fourth through seventh respectively. Oregon gives the Pac-10 a sixth team in the Top 20 at 20th. For the first time since Nov. 13, 2006, the Bruins dropped out of the top five of the rankings after their loss to Oregon State on Oct. 12. In last week's Molten Volleyball Magazine poll, the Bruins were ranked 10th.

In taking a closer look at the UCLA women's volleyball jerseys, you will notice that the 'C' is a different color than the 'U', 'L', 'A' this season. The different color 'C' signifies the roman numeral for 100 and celebrates the 100 NCAA Championships won by the Bruins. Women's volleyball has a hand in three of those national titles, winning NCAA championships in 1984, 1990 and 1991.

Since upsetting UCLA at Pauley Pavilion on Oct. 12, Oregon State is 1-4, with its only victory coming at home in five games against Arizona. The Beavers' last three wins have all come in five games, while their last 10 losses have been three-game sweeps. OSU's offense is led by sophomore Rachel Rourke, who is posting a team-best 4.45 kills per game to go along with 1.69 digs per game. Freshman Jill Sawatzky is second at 2.91 kpg, while senior Kristin Murray is averaging 2.30 kpg. The Beavers employ two setters, with junior K.C. Walsh posting 9.93 assists per game and sophomore Camilla Ah-Hoy at 5.92 apg. Junior libero Ashley Evans leads the team in digs at 3.95 dpg. As a team, the Beavers are hitting .197, averaging 14.57 digs per game and 2.79 blocks per game. Taras Liskevych is in his third season at Oregon State and holds a 24-52 record with the Beavers to go along with a 291-137 career mark in 11-plus seasons.

The Beavers shocked the Bruins on Oct. 12 at Pauley Pavilion, snapping a 10-match losing streak with a five-game victory. Game scores were 31-29, 16-30, 30-27, 17-30, 15-13. Ali Daley led the Bruins with 26 kills and 25 digs, while Jade Machado had 29 digs. Kaitlin Sather (15 kills, 13 digs) and Nellie Spicer (52 assists, 13 digs) each had double-doubles and Rachell Johnson added 14 kills. Oregon State was led by Rachel Rourke's 25 kills. Ashley Evans had 32 digs and Camilla Ah-Hoy posted 38 assists and 17 digs. Prior to that win, Oregon State's last victory against UCLA was in Corvallis in four games on Nov. 19, 2001. The Bruins, who hold a 41-3 all-time advantage over the Beavers, are 20-1 against Oregon State in Corvallis. All three wins for the Beavers in the series have come when they take the first game.

Oregon has dropped three straight and seven of nine, losing to Arizona State, Stanford and California over the last three contests. The Ducks won their first 10 matches of the season, but are 6-9 since then. Junior Gorana Maricic leads the Ducks with 5.21 kills per game, also adding 2.39 digs per game. Sophomore Sonja Newcombe is posting 3.56 kpg and 2.56 dpg, while freshman Heather Meyers is averaging 2.94 kpg. Oregon has a two-setter attack, with sophomore Nevena Djordjevic averaging 8.29 assists per game and freshman Rachel Morris at 4.89 apg. Junior libero Katie Swoboda paces Oregon defensively with 5.16 digs per game. Jim Moore is in his third year at the helm of the Ducks and holds a 45-39 record to go along with a 397-195 career mark in 18-plus years.

The Bruins won their 40th straight matchup against the Ducks with a four-game victory on Oct. 11 in Westwood to improve to 46-1 all-time against Oregon. Game scores were 31-29, 22-30, 30-24, 36-34. Three Bruins had at least 18 kills, with Ali Daley leading the way with 19 kills and 11 digs. Rachell Johnson and Dicey McGraw each added 18 kills, while Nellie Spicer had a double-double with 45 assists and 10 digs. Sonja Newcombe led the Ducks with 24 kills and 14 digs, Gorana Maricic had 21 kills and 12 digs and Neticia Enesi posted 12 kills. Oregon's only win came in Eugene on Sept. 26, 1987 in four games.

The strongest part of the UCLA women's volleyball team match after match is their defense, with the Bruins' blocking and digging rising to the occasion against some of the most powerful offenses in the nation. UCLA's previous season high in blocks came on Oct. 5 against USC with 15.5, but that mark was shattered on Friday at the Galen Center against the Trojans. The Bruins had 17.5 blocks, including 9.5 in the opening-game victory, led by Rachell Johnson's eight. Four other players had at least five, with Nellie Spicer recording seven, Katie Mills posting six and Elise Carstensen and Ali Daley adding five each. The Bruins have double figures in blocks in eight of the last 12 matches. Mills leads the team in blocks at 1.30 per game. In conference games, Mills is averaging 1.29 bpg, which is seventh among Pac-10 players. She also has posted a team-leading eight matches with at least five blocks, including a career-high nine in the first matchup against the Trojans. Johnson, who posted a UCLA season-high 11 blocks against Arizona State, has six matches with at least five blocks, while Daley has five. Away from the net, the backcourt is anchored by libero Jade Machado. She has 19 matches with double figures in digs to lead the team, while Daley has 15 and Spicer has 14. Machado's career-high in digs came against Oregon State, recording 29, while Daley had a personal-best 25 against the Beavers. As a team, the Bruins are first in the Pac-10 averaging 18.21 digs per game.

The Bruins saw one of their undefeated streaks come to an end Friday night at USC. UCLA, which was 11-0 this season when outblocking its opponent, lost for the first time when winning that category despite holding a 17.5-11 blocking advantage. One undefeated streak that remains for the Bruins is a 9-0 mark when hitting better than .250 for a match. With their loss at USC, the Bruins also fell to 12-2 when winning the first set of a match. UCLA is 4-5 when dropping the initial game.

A pair of junior outside hitters are nearing the 1,000-career kill mark. Kaitlin Sather enters this week's matches with 995 kills, just five shy of becoming the 23rd member of UCLA's 1,000-kill club. Ali Daley has 997 kills and is three shy, but is still a year away from joining the Bruins' 1,000-kill club, with 367 of her kills coming during her freshman season at Long Beach State.

The Bruins remained as the top-ranked digging team in the Pac-10, averaging 18.21 digs per game. UCLA is also in the top half of the conference in kills (5th, 16.29), assists (5th, 15.02) and aces per game (5th, 1.56). Thanks to its 17.5 blocks against USC, UCLA moved up from ninth to fifth in blocks per game at 2.81. Individually, Ali Daley is in the Top 10 in aces per game (5th, 0.37), while Nellie Spicer is fourth in assists at 12.48 apg. Jade Machado is seventh in digs per game at 3.87. Katie Mills, who is seventh in hitting percentage (.288) and seventh in blocks (1.29) during conference matches, will qualify for the overall season leaders after the Nov. 8 match at Oregon State. Mills, who missed the first six matches of the season, would be tied for sixth with 1.29 blocks per game.

Junior setter Nellie Spicer continues to live up to her status as arguably the best setter in the country and will soon be considered the best setter in UCLA history. Spicer moved past Julie Bremner for third on UCLA's all-time assists list on Oct. 27 against California. With 4,158 assists for her career, Spicer will remain in third for the rest of the season before embarking on her trek towards the top of the standings in 2008. Second-place Ann Boyer has 5,667 assists, while the school leader is Erika Selsor at 6,234. Spicer posted her 14th double-double of the season and 42nd of her career against USC on Friday with 45 assists and 11 digs. Spicer was also just one off a career high in kills and blocks against the Trojans, recording seven of each. The junior has earned All-Tournament honors in all four tournaments the Bruins played in during the preseason, earning MVP accolades at the Hawaiian Airlines Classic and the UC Irvine Invitational. Spicer is fourth in the Pac-10 in assists at 12.48 apg.

At her current pace, junior outside hitter Ali Daley is going to have more double-doubles than an In-N-Out drive-thru window. Daley saw her seven-match double-double streak come to an end against Stanford on Oct. 26, but she has rebounded with back-to-back double-doubles, including an 11-kill, 19-dig performance against USC. It was her 15th double-double of the season and the 21st of her UCLA career. Daley had a career night against Oregon State on Oct. 12. Despite the loss to the Beavers, Daley had 26 kills and 25 digs to post her first-ever 20-20 match. She was the first Bruin to attain a 20-20 contest since Ashley Bowles on Nov. 2, 2001. Daley has led the Bruins in kills 13 times this season, including six straight from Sept. 21 to Oct. 18, and also has a team-best 20 matches with double figures in kills. She has twice earned All-Tournament Team honors this season at the AVCA College Volleyball Showcase and the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic. Her 3.87 kpg leads the team. Daley is also fifth in the conference in aces.

Junior Kaitlin Sather rebounded from a slow start on Friday night against USC to achieve her fourth straight double-double and 11th of the season with 10 kills and 15 digs against the Trojans. Along with her 28th career double-double, Sather moved to within five kills of 1,000 for her career. This week, she will become the 23rd Bruin to accomplish that feat. Sather's season high in kills came against Stanford on Oct. 26, posting 20. She has led the team in kills seven times this season and has double figures in kills in 14 of the last 15 matches. Her 17 contests with at least 10 kills are third on the squad. On the defensive side of things, Sather has 11 contests with double figures in digs, including a season-best 18 against Stanford. She also has four matches with at least five blocks, including tying a career high with six against USC on Oct. 5. The junior is tied for second on the team in kills per game at 3.46 and is fourth with 2.77 digs per game.

Stepping up in the absence of graduated senior Nana Meriwether, senior Rachell Johnson has made a huge impact in the middle of the Bruins' lineup in her final campaign in Westwood. Johnson tallied her ninth consecutive match with double figures in kills against USC, leading the team with 14. It was her 18th double-figure kills contest this season and fifth time she has led the Bruins in a match. She also added eight blocks to post her sixth match this season with at least five blocks. Johnson's personal high in blocks came against Arizona State. She had 11 roofs and 14 kills for her first career double-double. Offensively, Johnson is tied for second on the team at 3.46 kills per game. Johnson's season best of 19 kills came against Nebraska on Aug. 25. The senior has hit better than .400 for a match on seven occasions.

A person can really stand out on a volleyball court when they are wearing a different colored jersey than their teammates. For junior Jade Machado, sure see stands out because she carries the libero tag and hence the different jersey, but so far this season she is also standing out because of her great defensive play. Machado had a career-high 29 digs against Oregon State on Oct. 12, bettering her personal best by nine. Machado has had double figures in digs 19 times this season, including 15 or more on 12 occasions. During the last 10 matches, Machado is averaging 16.7 digs per contest and has led the team in digs 14 times this season. The junior is averaging a team-best 4.11 digs per game in Pac-10 play and a team-leading 3.87 dpg on the season. The junior also ranks seventh in the Pac-10 in dpg.

Junior Jessica Fine put on the libero jersey for the first time against USC since Sept. 8. Fine started the Sept. 8 match against Southern Miss to rest Machado, with the only other time she started coming in the season opener against Utah ... junior Elise Carstensen started her fourth match in a row against the Trojans and had seven kills to give her 31 over her last four. Her start against Washington State was her first since Sept. 14. Carstensen had played only seven games during the month in between starts.

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