Busy Week Sees Fourth-Ranked Bruins Play Four Times

Sept. 15, 2008

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#4 UCLA at Cal State Northridge
Tuesday, September 16
Northridge, Calif.
The Matadome
7 p.m.
Live: Gametracker, Audio

#4 UCLA vs. Virginia
Friday, September 19
Evanston, Ill.
Welsh-Ryan Arena
8 a.m. PT
Live: Gametracker

#4 UCLA vs. Georgetown
Friday, September 19
Evanston, Ill.
Welsh-Ryan Arena
3 p.m. PT
Live: Gametracker

#4 UCLA at Northwestern
Saturday, September 20
Evanston, Ill.
Welsh-Ryan Arena
2 p.m. PT
Live: Gametracker

The fourth-ranked Bruins (6-1) play four times this week, starting with a non-conference matchup at Cal State Northridge (5-4) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. UCLA then heads to Evanston, Ill. for the Northwestern Wildcat Classic for three matches. On Friday, the Bruins take on Virginia (7-2) at 8 a.m. PT and Georgetown (6-3) at 3 p.m. PT. On Saturday, UCLA faces the host Wildcats (4-4) at 2 p.m. PT. Live internet audio will be available for the Cal State Northridge match on UCLABruins.com with Darren Preston at the call, while Gametracker will be featured for all four contests.

The first of 12 UCLA women's volleyball regular-season matches will be broadcast live over the internet at UCLABruins.com starting with Tuesday's contest at Cal State Northridge. Darren Preston will handle all the play-by-play duties for all audio broadcasts. Every home Pac-10 and postseason contest, as well as a road match at USC and a home tilt against Pepperdine, will also be broadcast on UCLABruins.com.

For the second straight week, the Bruins moved up one spot in this week's CBS College Sports Network/AVCA poll. UCLA stands fourth with 1,301 points, marking the third consecutive week the Bruins have gained in the points column. UCLA picked up 59 more points from the voters. The Bruins were also fourth in last week's Molten/Volleyball Magazine Top 25 rankings (Sept. 9).

Every year brings rule changes to women's volleyball, but most are so subtle that fans don't notice. That won't be the case in 2008, with perhaps the biggest rule change being the switch to 25-point sets. It marks the third different scoring method in the last nine seasons. After switching from sideout scoring and 15-point games to rally scoring and 30-point games for the 2001 season, the NCAA moves to 25-point sets to mirror the international scoring method. In addition to the new scoring system, the term 'game' has been replaced with 'set', so matches will now be a best three-out-of-five sets. The fifth set will remain rally scoring to 15. Other rule changes include a limit of substitutions to 12 and a loosening of the double-hit call for setters.

Two Bruins, senior Nellie Spicer and junior Laura Holloway, will be returning to the Chicago area for this week's tournament at Northwestern. The duo are both from Barrington, Ill., which is located 35 miles northwest of downtown Chicago and 30 miles west of the Northwestern campus in Evanston, Ill. Holloway and Spicer are both 2005 graduates of Barrington High School.

Three weeks into the season, the Bruins find themselves in the Top 25 in the nation in blocks per set, ranking 21st at 2.70. UCLA and the Pac-10's top blocker, freshman Amanda Gil, is 10th in the country in bps at 1.50.

Cal State Northridge (5-4) has alternated wins and losses in its last six matches, going 1-2 last weekend at the Arizona State Invitational. The Matadors were swept by Cincinnati and ASU and won in three against Montana. Sophomore Brittany Williams leads the offense with 2.72 kills per set, one of five players averaging at least 2.00 kps. Junior Angela Hupp is second at 2.53 kps, while senior Jenn Probert is third at 2.52 kps. Freshman Sam Orlandini handles the setting duties, averaging 10.58 assists per set. As a team, the Matadors are averaging 9.54 kills, 1.12 service aces, 9.68 digs and 1.71 blocks per set, while hitting .180. Jeff Stork is in his seventh year as the Matadors' head coach and holds a 82-97 record at Northridge and a 104-103 career mark in eight seasons of coaching. The Bruins have won 15 straight from the Matadors and lead the overall series 32-5. The teams met last year in San Diego, with UCLA sweeping Northridge, 30-16, 30-24, 30-18. Ali Daley led UCLA with 17 kills. The Bruins are 8-3 at The Matadome, last winning on Sept. 1, 2004 in four sets. The last time the Matadors beat the Bruins was on Oct. 15, 1975, a 2-1 victory in Westwood, while the last time Northridge won at home against UCLA was on Oct. 31, 1972 (2-0).

Virginia (7-2) swept all three of its opponents last weekend at its home tournament, defeating Virginia Commonwealth, Binghamton and Appalachian State. The Cavaliers, who are hitting .215 as a team, are averaging 11.97 kills, 1.50 service aces, 13.75 digs and 2.61 blocks per set. Offensively, Virginia is led by junior Lauren Dickson, who is averaging 3.26 kps and 2.71 dps. Senior Beth Shelton is second on the squad with 2.96 kps. Senior Marlow Bruneau handles the setting for Virginia and is posting 8.81 assists per set. Lee Maes is in his first season at the helm of the Cavaliers. The Bruins are 1-0 against Virginia, beating the Cavaliers in four sets in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Dec. 5, 1998 in Santa Barbara. Scores were 15-7, 15-6, 14-16, 15-5. The Bruins are a perfect 16-0 against schools in the 12-team Atlantic Coast Conference.

Georgetown holds a 6-3 record after going 3-0 in its home tournament last weekend, beating SFNY, Morgan State and Brown in straight sets. Freshman Sara Manley is one of three players averaging at least 2.50 kills per set, with Manley tops on the squad at 3.14 kps. Junior Jessica Hardy is second at 2.86 kps, while senior Kit Niesen is third with 2.60 kps. Senior Caitlin Boland is the setter for the Hoyas and is averaging 11.16 assists per set. The Hoyas are averaging 13.18 kills, 1.75 service aces, 14.32 digs and 1.64 blocks per set to go along with a .223 attack percentage. Arlisa Hagan Williams is in her third year at Georgetown and holds a 19-49 record. The Bruins have never faced the Hoyas and are 14-1 against teams from the Big East Conference.

Northwestern went 1-2 last week at the Washington State Tournament to drop to 4-4 on the season. The Wildcats defeated Montana State in three, but then fell to 18th-ranked Wichita State in five and to the host Cougars in three. The Wildcats are averaging 10.68 kills, 1.08 service aces, 11.43 digs and 1.65 blocks per set. Leading Northwestern on offense is sophomore Sabel Moffett, who has a team-best 3.17 kps and 1.21 bps. Sophomore Brittani Gray is second on the squad with 3.08 kps, while senior Chelsy Hyser is third at 2.76 kps. Sophomore Elyse Glab sets for the Wildcats and holds a 10.97 assists per set average. Keylor Chan is in his ninth year as Northwestern head coach and holds a record of 118-135. Overall in 10 seasons, Chan is 136-150.

With every kill and subsequent assist by setter Nellie Spicer, the senior gets closer and closer to the possibility of becoming UCLA's all-time assists leader. This weekend, Spicer should reach another assists milestone by surpassing the 5,000 career mark. She enters this week's play with 4,911 assists and should get to 5,000 in her home state of Illinois this weekend. Spicer is seventh in the Pac-10 in assists per set at 10.19, recording at least 30 in five of seven matches. The senior has set the Bruins to at least a .300 hitting percentage in three matches this year, including a season-best .337 mark on Sept. 3 at UC Riverside. Spicer's season best in assists came in a four-set thriller at Hawai'i on Aug. 31 when she had 45. In that match, she also tied a personal high with eight kills and added 11 digs for her 52nd career double-double. It was Spicer's second double-double of the weekend after recording 32 assists and 10 digs in the opener against Ohio on Aug. 29. The senior has earned All-Tournament honors twice this season at the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic and the Nevada Tournament, where she was also named MVP. Spicer is less than 800 assists back of second-place Ann Boyer (5,667) on UCLA's all-time list and has a chance of catching first-place Erika Selsor (6,234) by the end of the season. Spicer had 1,550 assists a year ago and would break Selsor's mark by 13 if she equals last season's total. In addition to her quest to become the school's all-time leader in assists, Spicer has the chance to become the third player in UCLA history to earn three first-team All-American accolades. She received a second consecutive first-team All-American honor as a junior to become the sixth Bruin to accomplish the feat (Annett Buckner, Liz Masakayan, Daiva Tomkus, Natalie Williams, Elaine Youngs). Williams and Youngs are the only Bruins to earn three first-team All-American awards.

For the fifth time this season, sophomore Dicey McGraw found her name at the top of the Bruin kill chart, posting a match-high 12 in last Wednesday's victory at Cal State Fullerton. McGraw already has four double-figure kills matches this year, including a season and team-best 15 in a win at Hawai'i on Aug. 31. The sophomore leads the Bruins and is 10th in the Pac-10 with 3.27 kills per set. She has also been outstanding with her attack percentage, hitting at a .310 clip, which is third on the squad. McGraw is swinging nearly 100 points better this season after hitting just .212 as a freshman. She has hit above .350 with at least 10 kills three times, including the last two matches against Seattle University (.421) and Cal State Fullerton (.440). In McGraw's last four contests, she has just six errors in 77 swings to go along with 36 kills for a .390 hitting percentage. Two weekends ago, the sophomore was named to the Nevada Tournament All-Tournament Team.

With six more blocks last Wednesday at Cal State Fullerton, freshman Amanda Gil has moved to the top spot in the Pac-10 in blocks per set at 1.50. The 6-foot-6 Gil has posted at least four blocks in four of seven matches this season, including a personal-high eight on two occasions in wins at Hawai'i (Aug. 31) and at Nevada (Sept. 5). Against the Rainbow Wahine, Gil added 12 kills and an ace for a season-high 17.5 points. She has posted at least five kills in five of seven matches, recording nine at Cal State Fullerton last Wednesday and eight at Nevada. The freshman got out of the gates fast on offense in the season opener on Aug. 29, posting seven kills and no errors in 12 swings (.583 hitting percentage) against Ohio. Gil is third on the team with 2.30 kills per set and is hitting .304, which is fourth on the squad. The freshman has already earned All-Tournament Team honors twice this season after receiving the awards at the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic and the Nevada Tournament.

Another year, another Ali Daley sighting at the top of the Bruins' kill category. The senior enters this week's play second on the squad with 2.56 kills per set, having posted at least eight kills in four of six matches this season. Daley's season best in kills came in a four-set thriller at Hawai'i, as she had 12 kills to go along with a season-high 14 digs and four blocks in a win against the Rainbow Wahine on Aug. 31. The double-double was the 30th of her career and also marked her 45th double-figure kills match and 36th double-figure digs contest. On defense, Daley is second on the team with 2.44 digs per set, registering at least six digs four times, including 10 against top-ranked Penn State on Aug. 30. She also leads the team with six service aces, a category she was tops in a year ago. Four of those aces came against Seattle University on Sept. 6, as Daley served the Bruins to a 12-0 run at one point in the victory over the Redhawks. After surpassing the 1,000-career kill mark for her collegiate career last year, Daley is just 195 kills shy of becoming the 24th member of UCLA's 1,000-kill mark, earning her 800th kill as a Bruin last Wednesday at Cal State Fullerton. She is also 34 digs away from 1,000 for her career and 270 away from 1,000 as a Bruin.

Katie Camp is the other part of the Bruins' towers in the middle, as the 6-foot-5 freshman is second on the team and tied for sixth in the Pac-10 with 1.20 blocks per set. Camp has at least five blocks in three of the last five matches, including a career-high nine roofs in a win at Hawai'i on Aug. 31. In four matches from Aug. 31 to Sept. 6, Camp posted 22 blocks and also helped out offensively with 32 kills. Her season high in kills came on Sept. 3 at UC Riverside with 12. Camp also added 10 against Seattle University (Sept. 6), swinging above .380 in both contests. Camp is averaging 1.90 kills per set, which is sixth on the team, and is hitting .291.

Senior Jessica Fine notched her 22nd career double-figure digs match and second of the season last Wednesday at Cal State Fullerton, posting 14 digs, which is tied for the most in a match for a UCLA player this year. Fine has been consistent throughout the early part of the season in the backcourt, recording anywhere between six and 10 digs before her 14-dig outburst against the Titans. Fine's first double-figure digs match of the season came in the opener against Ohio, as the senior had 10 in the victory. For the year, Fine is tops on the squad at 2.77 digs per set.

The match at Cal State Fullerton last Wednesday saw the debut of two more Bruin freshmen in Eva Gabrielsen and Amber McBenttez. Gabrielsen was unable to touch the ball in her brief time in the third set, but McBenttez had two digs in the final game. Two weeks ago, four more players made their UCLA debuts. Redshirt freshman Stephanie Nucci made her first collegiate appearance in the third set of UCLA's victory at UC Riverside (Sept. 3), recording a combo block. She played the entire third set on Sept. 6 against Seattle University, posting a kill, a dig and eight assists. Sara Sage also debuted against the Highlanders, playing the third set against UCR and Seattle. While she didn't record a kill in either of those contests, Sage notched her first-career kill at Fullerton. Against Seattle, redshirt junior transfer Laura Holloway made her Bruin debut, while freshman Alexa Harper appeared in her first college match. Holloway played in the first and third sets, but did not have an attempt, while Harper had a service ace and an assist in the second set against the Redhawks. Freshmen Katie Camp, Amanda Gil and Lainey Gera have appeared in all seven matches.

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