No. 5 Volleyball Hosts No. 10 USC and No. 9 UCLA This Weekend
Nov. 4, 2008
Setting The Scene: Hosting USC and UCLA
Washington enters the weekend with its highest ranking of the season, after dropping a quick three-set decision to then-No. 5 Stanford and winning a strong three-set outing over then-No. 4 California. The Huskies are fifth in the nation, according to the latest Bison/AVCA Coaches' Poll. Southern California has crept back into the top 10, after winning its last three, while UCLA stayed in the nine-spot after splitting its weekend by defeating Oregon State and falling to Oregon. Sunday's match will be aired live on FSN Prime Ticket with Paul Sunderland, Holly McPeak and Karch Kiraly calling the action.
Last Time Out
Washington saw its five-match winning-streak snapped by then-No. 5 Stanford on Halloween. The Huskies came out a little flat against the defending Pac-10 champ and current conference leader, falling 3-0 in a quick Friday night romp. A mere 42 hours later, Washington efficiently quashed then-No. 4 California in a 3-0 sweep that saw the Huskies hitting just shy of .300 (.298) and two players with double-figure kills. After the weekend, Stanford found itself ranked No. 2 in the nation, while Cal slipped to No. 6.
Scouting The Women of Troy
Southern California has crept back into the top 10 after spending the last four weeks bouncing between 11th and 14th. The Women of Troy are 13-7 overall and 6-5 in the Pac-10, but have won their last three contests, defeating Cal, Oregon and Oregon State. USC boasts two hitters who average three-plus kills per game in Alex Jupiter (3.32) and Jessica Gysin (3.12). Taylor Carico quarterbacks the Trojans with 10.35 assists per set and Alli Hillgren pulls rank on the defense with 4.17 digs per set. Only Lauren Williams averages more than one block per set for USC, putting up 1.09 bps. As a team, USC hits .235 and leads its opponents in kills, assists, aces and blocks.
About the Series
Southern California and Washington have met 48 times since 1980, with the Women of Troy holding the all-time series advantage, 33-15. The Huskies are 6-4 in the last 10 meetings, including a hard-fought 3-2 win at USC on Oct. 11, which snapped Southern California's 32-match home winning streak. The last time Washington prevailed in both meetings during the same season was in 2005. The Women of Troy last defeated the Huskies in Seattle was Nov. 26, 2004, when USC claimed a 3-2 victory.
Scouting the Bruins
Ninth-ranked UCLA enters the weekend with a 15-7 record, 5-6 in the Pac-10. The Bruins have spent the entire season ranked 10th or higher, with a season-high ranking of fourth coming in mid-September. UCLA is a strong defensive team, currently at the top of the Pac-10 in digs with 15.19 dps and third in the conference in blocking with 2.58 bps. The Bruins are also fifth in the Pac-10 in hitting percentage (.255) and kills per set (13.85). Amanda Gil is a force at the net for the Bruins, coming in second in the Pac-10 and 14th in the nation in blocks with 1.41 bps. Libero Jessica Fine is third in the conference and 51st in the country in digs with 4.59 dps. The Bruins also boast three hitters who average 2.5 kps or more. Dicey McGraw comes in on top with 3.05 kps with Ali Daley just behind at 2.95 kps. Gil averages 2.77 kps.
About The Series
The Bruins and Huskies have faced each other 52 times since 1980, with UCLA holding the all-time series advantage, 39-13. Washington defeated the Bruins, 3-2, on their home turf back on Oct. 10, marking the Huskies' fourth straight win over UCLA. The Bruins last defeated the Huskies in Seattle on Oct. 3, 2003, when UCLA pulled off a tough 3-2 win, gutting out a fifth set that went well into extra points (27-30, 26-30, 30-26, 30-21, 22-24).
Huskies In the National Rankings
The Huskies find themselves ranked in the top-25 in four statistical categories the NCAA tracks. Washington is currently ranked sixth in the nation in hitting percentage with a team attack average of.295. The Huskies are also 14th in the country (and third in the Pac-10) in assists per set with 13.16 aps. Washington comes in at 18th in the country (and fourth in the conference) in kills per set, averaging 14.11 kps. The Huksies are 25th in winning percentage (.810).
Individually, Jill Collymore leads the Pac-10 and is 25th in the nation in aces per set with 0.48. Sophomore setter Jenna Hagglund is tied for second in the country and first in the Pac-10 in assists per set, averaging 12.09. Senior Jessica Swarbrick has crept into the top-50 in blocks per set, coming in at No. 44 with 1.19 bps. Junior libero Tamari Miyashiro is currently 31st in the nation (and second in the Pac-10) in digs per set with 4.89.
Sophomore setter Jenna Hagglund is currently ranked SECOND IN THE NATION in assists per set with an average of 12.09.
Hagglund tallied 42 assists against Washington State on Oct. 24, moving her into seventh place all-time in career assists (2,329). At her current clip, Hagglund could well be in fifth place all-time by the end of 2008 (she needs just 296 to take possession of fifth) and could challenge Husky legend Courtney Thompson (6,552) for the top spot by the end of her Husky career.
Jessica Swarbrick continues to gain on third place in the Husky record book in total blocks. So far, the senior has 451 total blocks. She needs just 24 more blocks to pass Darla Myhre for third place all-time. In addition, Swarbrick has 394 career block assists, putting her in sole possession of fourth place in that category as well.
So far in 2008, Swarbrick is hitting a team-leading .419 with 142 kills on 258 swings, highlighted by a perfect, errorless performance against Pacific on 9/11/08, in which she had eight kills on eight attacks.
Dig For the Cure
The Huskies participated in the national Dig For the Cure initiative to support breast cancer research. October is breast cancer awareness month and all Pac-10 teams hosted Dig For the Cure nights. The Huskies held their event on Oct. 24 as they hosted Washington State and tried to 'pink out' the Bank of America Arena. The first 500 fans received free pink T-shirts printed with the slogan 'Real Huskies Wear Purple and Pink' and all cancer survivors were recognized during the match.
Player of the Week
Jessica Swarbrick earned her first career Pac-10 Player of the Week honors for the week of Sept. 22-28 after her outstanding performances on the road in the opening weekend of Pac-10 play. Swarbrick hit a scorching .550 at Arizona with 12 kills and five blocks to help the Dawgs dig out a win. At Arizona State, Swarbrick managed eight kills and five blocks. Her weekend efforts moved her into sole possession of fourth place all-time in Washington's block assist record list.
Jenna Hagglund earned her second career Pac-10 Player of the Week nod for the week of Oct. 6-12 after the roadtrip to L.A. The Huskies earned a pair of matching five-set road wins over No. 8 UCLA and No. 11 USC last weekend and Hagglund registered a pair of double-doubles to earn her accolades. At UCLA, Hagglund recorded 56 assists and a career-high 25 digs. The next night, Hagglund helped the Huskies snap USC's 32-match home winning streak with her third double-double of the season; 57 assists and 11 digs. Hagglund became just the third Husky to ever earn AVCA/Sports Imports Division I National Player of the Week honors for her strong play. Hagglund was the first Husky since Sanja Tomasevic in Oct. 2005 to be so honored.
All Present and Accounted For
Washington is 15th in the country in home match attendance. The Husky faithful average out to 1,703 fans per match for a total of 17,030 fans so far over the nine home matches. The most attended home match so far this season was the Wazzu match on Oct. 24, when 2,562 fans showed their support of Washington volleyball.
UW on the Tube
The Huskies can look forward to three televised matches this season, two of which will be played at home in the Bank of America Arena. First up will be defending Pac-10 champion Stanford on Sunday, Oct. 5 at 12:30pm. Washington then hosts UCLA on Sunday Nov. 9 at 1:00pm, before heading south to Eugene, Ore. for a Sunday, Nov. 16 match-up with Oregon at 12:30pm. All three matches will be shown live on FSN.
In addition, Washington's department of intercollegiate athletics has inked a deal with Comcast for all home volleyball matches to be aired On-Demand for regional Comcast subscribers.