Huskies Host Oregon State and No. 13 Oregon

Nov. 21, 2007

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SEATTLE - The sixth-ranked Washington volleyball team (24-3, 13-3 Pac-10) returns home this week to host Oregon State on Wednesday, Nov. 21, and No. 13 Oregon on Friday, Nov. 23. Both matches are set for 7 p.m. at Bank of America Arena.

Friday's match against No. 13 Oregon will mark the final home game for five Husky seniors. Ashley Aratani, Alesha Deesing, Christal Morrison, Stevie Mussie and Alison Simmons will all be honored prior to the match. The five players have been a part of arguably the best era of Husky volleyball, which includes a national title in 2005. Aratani, Deesing and Morrison have played their entire careers at the UW, and have made three straight trips to the NCAA Final Four.

Deesing was a Second Team All-America selection last year and is a two-time First Team All-Pac-10 pick. Morrison is the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year and has garnered numerous awards in her career. She is a three-time First Team All-Pac-10 honoree and has been named to the AVCA All-American team three times, including a first team selection last year. Mussie, who transferred in following the 2004 season from Pacific, redshirted in 2005 due to a knee injury, and has been instrumental in the Huskies success the past two seasons. Simmons transferred to Washington last fall after two years at Northwest University. She has been a key reserve and one of the team's top servers.

Catch your Huskies take on Oregon State and No. 13 Oregon this week. Tickets are on sale through the Husky Ticket Office at 206-543-2200 or by clicking here to purchase online.

Morrison has a good chance of becoming the Huskies all-time leader in kills against OSU on Wednesday. She has 1,784 kills and needs 12 more to pass former teammate Sonja Tomasevic, who had 1,795 kills from 2002-05.

Washington dropped a spot this week to No. 6 in the CSTV/AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll (Nov. 19). The Huskies received 1,175 points this week, down from 1,269 last week. In the Molten/Volleyball Magazine Women's College Top 20 Poll, Washington fell to No. 7, down from No. 5 last week.

The Huskies will learn their fate for the 2007 NCAA playoffs this Sunday, Nov. 25. The selection show will be aired on ESPNU at 5 p.m. Washington has put in a bid to host the first and second rounds at Bank of America Arena.

On Wednesday, Washington will be facing an Oregon State team that has lost five in a row, including losing to Oregon last week, 3-1. Sophomore OH Rachel Rourke leads the Beavers (10-18, 3-13 Pac-10) and is third in the Pac-10 in kills at 4.50 kpg, while also ranking third in the Pac-10 in points (5.31 ppg) and fourth in aces (0.36 sapg). OSU is 2-11 against ranked opponents this year, with those wins coming at then No. 10 Hawai'i and at then No. 4 UCLA.

Washington leads the all-time series, 44-21, and has won 11 in a row over the Beavers. The UW swept OSU earlier this season in Corvallis (Sept. 22) behind 20 kills from Mussie and 13 from Morrison. In that match, Washington hit a season-best .446. The Huskies are 11-2 against OSU during Jim McLaughlin's tenure, with the only two losses coming in his first season at the UW in 2001.

The Ducks (19-9, 8-8 Pac-10) defeated Oregon State, 3-1, last week and have won three in a row. Two weeks ago, Oregon defeated both UCLA and USC at home, when both teams were ranked in the Top 10. In their past three matches, the Ducks are hitting .289 and averaging 18.64 kpg. Oregon climbed up one spot to No. 13 in this week's CSTV/AVCA Coaches Poll, which is their highest ranking of the season. The Ducks are led by Junior OH Gorana Maricic, who leads the conference in kills (5.37 kpg) and points (5.98 ppg). Against Pac-10 teams only, she is averaging 5.75 kpg and 6.45 ppg.

The Huskies have won 13 in a row over Oregon, with all 13 of those matches coming under McLaughlin. The UW leads the all-time series, 51-16, including a 3-2 win earlier this season in Eugene (Sept. 21). The Ducks won the first two games, before Washington stormed back for the 3-2 win. Oregon last defeated Washington on Nov. 9, 2000 in Eugene.

The Huskies rank among the top-50 in the nation in four different statistical categories, including seventh in hitting percentage at .292. Washington also ranks among the top-50 in winning percentage (10th/.889), blocks per game (13th/3.20 bpg) and assists per game (41st/14.88). The Huskies sit just outside the top-50 in kills per game at No. 52 (16.06).

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