10th-Ranked Bruins Conclude Regular Season on Friday Against #11 USC

Nov. 26, 2008

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#11 USC (16-10, 9-8 Pac-10) at #10 UCLA (19-10, 8-9 Pac-10)
Friday, Nov. 28
Los Angeles, Calif..
Pauley Pavilion
3 p.m.
Live: TV-FSN Prime Ticket, Internet-Audio, Gametracker

The 10th-ranked Bruins (19-10, 8-9 Pac-10) will be in search of their 10th-straight, 20-win season on Friday when they host #11 USC (16-10, 9-8 Pac-10). First serve is at 3 p.m. and the match will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Net Prime Ticket with Paul Sunderland, Holly McPeak and Karch Kiraly at the call. Gametracker and live audio will also be available on UCLABruins.com. Prior to the match, seniors Ali Daley, Jessica Fine, Laura Holloway, Jade Machado and Nellie Spicer will be honored in a ceremony that will start at 2:50 p.m.

The Bruins find out where their postseason journey begins on Sunday when ESPNU airs the NCAA Selection Show at 7 p.m. The show will last a half-hour, providing full brackets and analysis. A brief bracket announcement will also be aired between 7:30-8 p.m. on ESPNEWS.

All UCLA home matches, along with the first two weekends of the NCAA Tournament, will feature live audio broadcasts at UCLABruins.com. Darren Preston and Michael Sondheimer will call all the action for each contest. In addition, Gametracker will be available for all matches for the rest of the season.

The Bruins dropped one spot to 10th in this week's Bison/AVCA poll. UCLA has been ranked 10th or better in each poll this season. The Pac-10 has six of the country's Top 11 teams (#2 Stanford, #5 Washington, #7 California, #8 Oregon and #11 USC). In last week's Molten/Volleyball Magazine poll (Nov. 18), the Bruins were ranked 10th.

Freshman Amanda Gil has moved into the nation's Top 10 in blocks per set, coming in at eighth in this week's rankings released by the NCAA on Monday. Gil is averaging 1.44 bps, the most among all of the nation's freshmen. Senior Nellie Spicer is 32nd in assists per set at 10.92, while senior Jessica Fine is 48th in digs per set with 4.66. As a team, the Bruins are 13th in the country in bps at 2.67 and remained in the Top 40 in three other statistical categories. UCLA is 39th in assists per set (12.71), 41st in kills per set (13.73) and 47th in hitting percentage (.245).

The Bruins remained in first in the Pac-10 in blocks and digs per set, coming in with 2.67 blocks per set and 15.78 digs per set. UCLA is also fifth in hitting percentage (.245) and kills per set (13.73), sixth in assists per set (12.71) and seventh in service aces per set (1.08). Individually, senior Jessica Fine is third in the Pac-10 in digs per set at 4.66, while senior Nellie Spicer is fourth in assists per set with 10.92. Freshman Amanda Gil is second in blocks per set (1.44) and sixth in hitting percentage (.317) and freshman Katie Camp is 10th in hitting percentage (.310). Sophomore Jazmin Machado ranks ninth in service aces per set at 0.25.

Like the Bruins, USC dropped a pair of matches last weekend in the Bay Area, falling in four to both Stanford and California. The Trojans have four players averaging more than 2.00 kills per set, led by freshman Alex Jupiter, who is posting 3.28 kps. Junior Jessica Gysin is second with 3.20 kps, sophomore Kimmee Roleder is third at 2.32 kps and freshman Lauren Williams is fourth with 2.07 kps. Junior Taylor Carico handles the setting duties and averages 10.43 assists per set, while the top digger is junior Alli Hillgren, who is posting 4.20 digs per set. The Trojans are hitting .233 and are averaging 13.51 kills, 1.08 aces, 13.80 digs and 2.43 blocks per set. Mick Haley is in his eighth year as the head coach at USC and owns a 203-42 record. In 31-plus years of coaching overall, Haley is 976-230-1.

USC came from 2-1 down to defeat UCLA in five in the first meeting between the two teams on Sept. 26 at Galen Center. The Trojans came out on top 24-26, 25-14, 20-25, 25-14, 15-5. Amanda Gil was just shy of a double-double with 14 kills and nine blocks, as was Nellie Spicer, who had 42 assists and nine digs. Ali Daley did post a double-double with 11 kills and 15 digs, Dicey McGraw had 11 kills and Jessica Fine recorded 27 digs. The Bruins struggled to a -.043 hitting percentage in the fourth and fifth sets. UCLA has lost two in a row overall against USC after holding a three-match winning streak. The Bruins have won two in a row at Pauley Pavilion, including a 3-1 victory last season. UCLA is 25-18 all-time in Westwood against its cross-town rival, with USC's last victory coming in 2005.

Senior Nellie Spicer posted her team-best 14th double-double on Tuesday against Pepperdine, recording 44 assists and 10 digs to give her 64 double-doubles for her career. Nine of her 14 double-doubles this season have come during Pac-10 play. The senior has provided double figures in assists and digs in conference wins against Oregon State (Oct. 4), Arizona (Oct. 17) and Arizona State (Nov. 14). Spicer moved into second place on UCLA's all-time assists list during a Nov. 14 victory against ASU and now has 6,000 career assists in her sights. Spicer enters Friday's match with 5,866 assists and is just 134 away from joining Erika Selsor (6,234) as only the second Bruin to reach 6,000 assists. She is averaging 10.93 assists per set this season, which ranks fourth in the Pac-10 and 32nd in the nation. On five occasions this year, Spicer has produced at least 50 assists, with the last effort coming against California last Friday. Her season best in assists came against Washington on Oct. 10. Spicer notched 61 assists in the five-set contest to give her 10 career 60-plus assists matches. The senior has set the Bruins to at least a .300 hitting percentage 10 times (all UCLA wins), including a season-best total of .400 at Cal State Northridge on Sept. 16. Spicer has 14 double-figure digs matches this season and 64 for her career. Her season high in digs came on Oct. 3 at Oregon with 15. With 1,257 digs for her career, Spicer is fourth at UCLA and 13 away from moving into third all-time (Ashley Bowles, 1,269). She has also contributed to the Bruin offense in the kill department, matching a career high with eight kills in three different contests this season (Hawai'i, Aug. 31; Washington, Oct. 10; Arizona State, Oct. 18). This year, Spicer has been named to All-Tournament teams three times, including being named MVP of the Nevada Tournament and the Wildcat Classic. 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.

Senior Ali Daley moved into the team lead in kills per set following a 20-kill performance against Pepperdine on Tuesday, which was a season high and her third career match with at least 20 kills. Daley is first on the team with 3.02 kills per set. She just missed out on her third consecutive double-double against the Waves by adding nine digs. Daley had a career effort at California last Friday, posting 19 kills, a personal-best 28 digs and seven blocks, which tied a career high. She followed that up with a 13-kill, 18-dig effort against Stanford last Saturday for her 11th double-double of the season and 40th of her UCLA career. Daley had 124 swings during last weekend's matches, including a season-high 65 at Cal, which was just one off her career best. She equaled that total on Tuesday when she had another 65 attempts against Pepperdine, putting her at 189 attacks over the last three. Nine of Daley's 11 double-doubles have come during Pac-10 play, including in victories against Washington State (Oct. 11) and Arizona (Oct. 17). The senior reached a milestone on Nov. 15 against Arizona, recording her 1,000th kill at UCLA to become the 24th member of the exclusive club. Daley has 17 double-figure kills matches this season (60 as a Bruin), with 12 of them coming during Pac-10 play. She has led the Bruins in kills for a match 10 times, which is tied for the team lead, including seven times during Pac-10 play and in each of the last three contests. Defensively, the senior is second on the club with 2.87 digs per set. She has 13 double-figure digs contests and 47 for her Bruin career. Along with reaching the 1,000-kill mark, Daley has 973 digs at UCLA, putting her 27 away from becoming the 18th member of the 1,000-dig club. The senior also ranks second on the team with 19 service aces.

Senior Jessica Fine continues to stand out on the volleyball court, not just because of the fact she wears a different color jersey than her teammates, but also due to her defensive prowess. One of the top passers in the Pac-10, Fine is first on the team, third in the conference and 48th in the nation with 4.79 digs per set. The senior became the 17th player to reach the 1,000-career dig mark at UCLA, hitting the number on the nose with her 25th and final dig at Stanford on Saturday. On Tuesday against Pepperdine, Fine had a season-high 32 digs, marking the fifth time in her career she has reached at least 30 digs in a match. The 32 digs were just one off her career high of 33, which also came against Pepperdine last year. Fine has three 30-dig efforts, producing 30 against both Washington (Oct. 10) and Oregon (Nov. 1). The senior has also reached the 20-dig plateau 13 times this season and on 19 occasions for her career. Fine has produced at least 14 digs in 19 straight matches, leading the Bruins in digs 24 times this year. She has a team-best 23 double-figure digs matches in 2008 and 43 for her career. Fine is averaging 5.35 digs per set during Pac-10 Conference play. She is also third on the team with 18 service aces.

And not just due to the fact that she is the tallest member of the Bruins at 6-6. Amanda Gil enters this week's play first in the nation among all freshmen in blocks per set at 1.44. Gil, who is eighth in the nation and second in the Pac-10 in blocks per set, has a team-best 17 matches with at least five blocks, with 12 of them coming during league action. Gil posted her second career, double-figure blocks match with 10 at California last Friday. She just missed out on a double-double with nine kills. Gil added 11 kills and seven more blocks last Saturday at Stanford. On Tuesday against Pepperdine, the freshman had nine kills and no errors in 19 swings for a .474 hitting percentage, also producing six roofs. Her career high in blocks came on Nov. 1 when she had 13 against Oregon. The freshman became the 16th Bruin to post at least 13 blocks in a match and the first to do so since Nana Meriwether (2006). Gil added 13 kills against the Ducks for her first career double-double. The freshman has led the Bruins in blocks a team-best 18 times this season. Along with her status as top blocker on the team, Gil is first in hitting percentage (.322), second in points per set (3.50) and third in kills per set (2.65). She has 12 double-figure kills matches this season and eight during Pac-10 play. Gil's season high in kills came at Northwestern on Sept. 20 when she had 20. Gil has hit over .300 in 16 matches, totaling a season-best .647 hitting percentage (12 kills, one error, 17 attempts) at Cal State Northridge on Sept. 16. The freshman has been named to three All-Tournament teams this season at the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic, the Nevada Tournament and the Northwestern Wildcat Classic.

Chalk up two more double-figure kills matches for sophomore Dicey McGraw, who leads the Bruins with 18 contests with at least 10 kills. Eleven of those 18 matches have come during Pac-10 play, posting 10 against California and 12 against Stanford last weekend. McGraw's season high in kills came against Oregon on Nov. 1 when she had 17, which was just one shy of her career best. She has 29 double-figure kills contests for her career. The sophomore, who is second on the team at 2.89 kills per set, has led the Bruins in kills 10 times this season. McGraw has been the top kill producer in Pac-10 victories against Arizona State (Oct. 18), Oregon State (Oct. 31) and Washington State (Nov. 7), in addition to a win at nationally-ranked Hawai'i on Aug. 31. The sophomore recorded her first double-double of the season and fourth of her career with 16 kills and 10 digs at Northwestern on Sept. 20. McGraw earned All-Tournament honors at the Northwestern Wildcat Classic after she totaled three matches with at least 10 kills (12 vs. Virginia, 10 vs. Georgetown and 16 vs. Northwestern). McGraw has hit above .400 on five occasions this year, including a season-best .440 at Cal State Fullerton on Sept. 10.

Joining fellow freshman Amanda Gil in the middle, Katie Camp has made as much an impact as her counterpart, as she is second on the team with a .311 hitting percentage (10th in the Pac-10) and second with 1.04 blocks per set. Camp posted her 10th double-figure kills match on Tuesday against Pepperdine, producing 12 kills to go along with a team-best seven blocks. The freshman's season high in kills came against California (Oct. 24) when she had a team-high 19 with a .538 hitting percentage. She followed that up with seven more kills and no hitting errors in 14 swings (.500) against Stanford on Oct. 26. That marked the fifth time this season that Camp has recorded zero hitting errors (with at least five kills) in a match. The freshman has hit better than .500 seven times, including a season-best .733 percentage in a win at Washington State (Oct. 11). Six of Camp's 10 double-figure kills contests have come during Pac-10 play. She is fourth on the team with 2.17 kills per set. At the net, Camp has produced at least five blocks in nine matches, which is second on the team. Her season high in blocks is nine, set twice in wins at Hawai'i (Aug. 31) and Oregon State (Oct. 4). Camp has led the Bruins in blocks in 10 contests this season.

Freshman Sara Sage has started 12 straight matches and has produced at least five kills in 10 of those 12 starts. Sage set a career high with nine kills last Friday at California. On Tuesday against Pepperdine, the freshman had six kills and a personal-best six blocks. Sage has also produced at least four roofs in five other matches. In her last three home starts, Sage is averaging 1.80 kills per set and hit over .450 in two of those matches against Arizona State (.455) and Arizona (.462). Sage's season high in hitting percentage came against Oregon State (.545) when she had eight kills and two errors in 11 attempts. For the season, the freshman is averaging 1.39 kills per set.

Freshman Lainey Gera posted her second consecutive double-figure digs match and her sixth of the season on Tuesday against Pepperdine with 17. She has 36 digs in her last two contests after producing a career-best 19 at Stanford last Saturday. Gera is averaging 2.74 digs per set over the last seven, almost one dig more than her season average of 1.98 dps, which stands fourth on the team. Gera had a pair of double-figure digs contests against Washington, posting 11 in both matches against the Huskies (Oct. 10 and Nov. 9). She also had 13 digs in a victory at Hawai'i on Aug. 31 and 12 digs in a win at UC Riverside on Sept. 3. In the serving department, Gera is tied for fourth on the team with 16 aces. She had a season-best three at California last Friday.

Sophomore Jazmin Machado has produced at least nine digs in seven of her last eight matches, averaging 2.38 digs per set during that span. Three of those contests have been double-figure digs matches, including a season-best 13 against Oregon on Nov. 1. Machado followed that up with 10 digs at Washington State (Nov. 7) and 11 at Washington (Nov. 9). She is averaging 1.46 dps this year. The sophomore is also making an impact in the serving department, leading the squad with 20 aces. Machado has at least one ace in five of her last eight, including a career-high four against Arizona on Nov. 15. She is ninth in the Pac-10 in aces per set (0.25).

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