No. 5 UW Travels to No. 8 USC and No. 10 UCLA

Nov. 13, 2007

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SEATTLE - The fifth-ranked Washington volleyball team (23-2, 12-2 Pac-10) hits the road to face No. 8 USC and No. 10 UCLA this weekend. The Huskies and USC face off at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16, in a match that will be aired live in Seattle on Fox Sports Northwest. On Saturday, the UW takes on UCLA at 7 p.m.

After splitting with Stanford and Cal last week, the Huskies dropped a spot this week to No. 5 in the CSTV/AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll (Nov. 12). The Huskies received 1,269 points this week, down from 1,335 last week.

On Friday night, the Huskies will be facing a Trojans (21-4, 10-4 Pac-10) team that earned a split last week on the road, losing to then No. 20 Oregon, 3-1, before sweeping Oregon State. The Ducks win over USC was their first since 1990. Senior OPP/OH Asia Kaczor had 25 kills and nine digs in a losing effort to Oregon. The following night, she tied a school record with eight service aces and added 22 kills to fuel the Trojans win over OSU. Kaczor is second in the Pac-10 in points per game (5.59) and kills (4.80 kpg), and is tied for second in service aces per game (0.38). USC has won 21 straight matches at their new arena, the Galen Center, since losing 3-0 to Stanford on Oct. 12, 2006. That match marked the arena's debut.

While USC leads the all-time series 32-14, the Huskies have won five of the past seven, including two in a row. Washington swept USC earlier this season in Seattle behind double-doubles from Christal Morrison (17 kills, 10 digs) and Stevie Mussie (13 kills, 13 digs). The Huskies Tamari Miyashiro led all players with 19 digs. The UW last won in Los Angeles in 2005, and is 5-8 against the Trojans under Jim McLaughlin.

The Huskies other opponent this week, UCLA (17-8, 7-7 Pac-10), also split with OSU and Oregon last weekend. The Bruins defeated Oregon State, 3-1, on Thursday, Nov. 8 before being swept by then Oregon the following night. UCLA fell to No. 10 this week in the coaches poll, its lowest ranking of the season. Junior outside hitters Ali Daley (3.90 kpg) and Kaitlin Sather (3.44 kpg) and junior S Nellie Spicer (12.55 apg) lead the Bruins attack. The Bruins also receive 3.43 kpg from senior OH/MB Rachell Johnson. Freshman MB Katie Mills is second in the Pac-10 in blocks at 1.49 bpg.

UCLA dominated the series early against the Huskies, winning the first 25 matches. Since 1994, though, UCLA holds a slim 15-12 advantage. The Bruins lead the all-time series 40-12. Since 2004, the Huskies hold a 5-2 advantage, including three wins during the 2004 season, which was also the last time Washington won in Pauley Pavilion. Under McLaughlin, the UW is 7-7 against UCLA, including a sweep of the Bruins earlier this season in Seattle. In that match, Washington won 30-20, 30-27, 30-26, holding UCLA to just a .146 hitting percentage and 4.5 team blocks. Morrison and Mussie had 13 kills apiece for the Huskies, who hit .315 as a team. In 2005, UCLA was the only team to defeat Washington as the Huskies went 32-1 and captured the national title. The Huskies hold a two-match winning streak in the series.

Last week, No. 5 Stanford snapped the Huskies school-record 39-match home winning streak on Thursday, Nov. 8, by defeating the UW 3-2. Washington rebounded, though, downing No. 7 California, 3-1, the next night.

Stanford and UW traded wins in the first four games before the Cardinal won game five (30-23, 24-30, 30-25, 21-30, 15-10). Jessica Swarbrick led the UW with 14 kills and eight blocks, Miyashiro had 30 digs, and Morrison (11 kills, 18 digs) and Mussie (13 kills, 11 digs) both had double-doubles.

Against Cal, the Huskies dropped game one 30-16, before winning the final three games 30-21, 30-26, 30-22. Morrison paced the Huskies with 17 kills while Becky Perry added nine.

Morrison became the Huskies all-time leader in attacks last weekend, passing former teammate Sonja Tomasevic. Morrison has tallied 4,398 attacks in her career and can also pass Tomasevic for the career lead in kills this season. Morrison, with 1,740 kills needs 56 more to pass Tomasevic, who had 1,795 from 2002-05.

After this week's matches, the Huskies return home to close out the regular season against Oregon State and Oregon. The Huskies and Beavers will face off on Wednesday, Nov. 21, and the UW will take on Oregon on Friday, Nov. 23. Both matches are set for 7 p.m. The match against Oregon will be senior night, marking the final home match for Morrison, Mussie, Ashley Aratani, Alesha Deesing and Alison Simmons.

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