Volleyball Heads to Desert for UNLV Invitational

Sept. 8, 2009

Complete Release in PDF Format

LOOKING AHEAD -- The Oregon State Beavers (5-2) head to Las Vegas for the UNLV Invitational in week three for a pair of matches. The Beavers kick off play against  the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (4-1) on Friday at 6:00 p.m. before taking on the host team, the UNLV Rebels, on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Cox Pavilion.


TRACKING THE BEAVS -- Full results from this weekend's tournament can be found through the newly redesigned osubeavers.com. Gametracker will be available for both matches and can be found by clicking on the `Gametracker' link located on the volleyball schedule page.


Twitter and blogs -- Follow the Oregon State volleyball program this season on Twitter. 'Beavsvolleyball' provides updates throughout matches and the week. And follow the team on road trips through daily blogs on osubeavers.com, where different players will give their insight on the team and what goes on when they travel.


match eight: uc santa barbara (4-1) -- Friday, Sept. 11 (6:00 p.m.): Oregon State is 0-1 all-time against UC Santa Barbara. The two teams met on September 5, 1984.


The Gauchos are coming off a couple of wins over No. 15 San Diego on the road at the University of San Diego Tournament. The victories helped boost the team to earning 28 points in this week's AVCA Top 25 Poll, good for 32nd. Leading the way for the  squad is senior outside hitter Rebecca Saraceno, who is averaging 4.00 kills per set with 84 total on the season and 44 digs (2.10 dps). Her play against the Toreros earned her Big West Player of the Week honors. Defensively, sophomore libero Chelsey Lowe averages 3.38 digs per set with 71 total on the year. Head coach Kathy Gregory is in her 35th season at the helm of the program.


match nine: unlv (1-4) -- Saturday, Sept. 12 (3:30 p.m.): Oregon State is 0-2 all-time against UNLV. The two teams last met on August 26, 2006.


UNLV is coming off a tough weekend at home, falling to No. 9 UCLA, Idaho and Loyola Marymount. Freshman middle blocker Cursty Jackson currently paces the Rebel offense with 44 kills on the season, averaging 2.59 per set. Defensively, junior Kela Lau Hee leads the team with 55 digs, and Jackson has posted a team-high 16 blocks. Allison Keeley is in her sixth season as head coach of the Rebels.


REWIND TO LAST WEEK -- Senior Rachel Rourke and junior middle blocker Kiersten Sambrailo were named to the 2009 Active Ankle Challenge All-Tournament Team, while junior outside hitter Jill Sawatzky was named Most Valuable Player. The Beavers were named the Active Ankle Challenge Champions.


The Beavers went 3-1 in week two, sweeping Portland on the road on Wednesday. The team swept Seattle and Cal State Fullerton in the weekend's tournament but came up just short in a five-set heartbreaker against Wisconsin on Sunday night.


ODDS & ENDS -- Senior Rachel Rourke is the first `everyday champion' of the 2009-10 school year. Rourke, a sociology major and the volleyball program's first ever All-American, was on the KJOE 1240 AM Joe Beaver Show with hosts Mike Parker and Jon Warren. And she was featured on the first episode of Beavers All Access for the school year, while also being interviewed by KPAM 860 AM out of Portland.


The Beavers are a perfect 5-0 in their season openers under head coach Taras Liskevych. The team has won its season opener in seven of the last eight years.


In home openers, Oregon State has won its last three, defeating Seattle this season, Wyoming last season and Washington State in 2007.


Senior Rachel Rourke and junior Jill Sawatzky have been named to each All-Tournament Team this year.


national attention -- Although not receiving votes in this week's poll, the Oregon State volleyball team received 12 votes in the August 31 AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll, good for 37th. The Beavers reached as high as 24th in the 2008 season after not being ranked in the top 25 since 1996.


start the countdown -- Senior Rachel Rourke is on track to breaking the school record in kills, attacks and possibly total points. She currently boasts 1,491 career kills - third on the list - and is just 63 from second all time, 272 from the school record. As a freshman she racked up 387 kills, 505 as a sophomore and 497 as a junior.


ATTENDANCE AVERAGE -- The Beavers are currently averaging 724 per match over the three matches last weekend for the Active Ankle Challenge. Oregon State finished the 2008 season 36th in the country for attendance, averaging 1,037 per match. The Beavers were fifth in the conference behind Stanford, Washington, USC and Oregon. The Civil War in Corvallis ranked the 86th highest single-match attendance of the season.


GET YOUR TICKETS -- Season tickets are on sale now for the 2009 Oregon State volleyball season. The adult price is $63 and the youth/senior price is $40 for all 12 home matches, including all of the tough Pac-10 matches. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-GOBEAVS or by visiting osubeavers.com.


can't make it to a match? -- Oregon State will be televised once this season on the road. The Civil War in Eugene will air live nationally on FSN on Friday, Oct. 2, at 7:00 p.m., via tape delay.


All home matches will be webcast for free through Beaver Nation Online (BNO), the audio/visual service of osubeavers.com.


BRING OUT THE WELCOME WAGON -- The Beavers welcome six freshmen to the 2009 roster, including athletic legacies Dianni Freeman and Megan McBride. Freeman's father, Shawn, played basketball at Oregon State in 1987-88, while McBride's father, Kevin, played football for the Beavers for a pair of seasons. Adding to the mix is Camille Saxton, whose parents Don and Mylène both played on the Canadian National Team. Rounding out the freshmen are Alyssa O'Neil, Ashley Eneliko and Tami Brown, who is from Eugene and was highly recruited for basketball, being named a McDonalds All-American nominee as a senior in high school.


OREGON STATE VS. RANKED OPPONENTS -- Oregon State will face eight opponents this season ranked in the AVCA Coaches Division I Top 25 Preseason Poll with its first test coming in the ASICS Classic against No. 24 Colorado State. The Pac-10 boasts six teams, Stanford, USC, California, UCLA, Washington and Oregon, in the top 25 with all six in the top 14. Other top teams the Beavers will face this season are Pepperdine, Wisconsin, Cal Poly and Arizona, who fell just outside the top 25 with substantial votes.


PAC-10 PRESEASON POLL -- The Beavers were voted to finish ninth in the Pac-10 Preseason Volleyball Poll with 31 total points ahead of Washington State. Washington was voted to finish first receiving nine first place votes and 90 total points.


LOOKING BACK AT THE LAST season -- The 2008 season started with high hopes as the Beavers got off to their best start since 1996. Oregon State easily cruised through its first five matches, sweeping the first four. After a pair of tough losses to No. 17 Colorado State and Pepperdine in the ASICS Classic, the team recovered with a six-match winning streak, defeating tough opponent, No. 13 Wisconsin, on the road. The stretch earned the program individual and team accolades beginning with junior Rachel Rourke becoming 11th honoree in school history to earn Pac-10 Player of the Week honors for her three 20-plus kill matches in the Marquette Cheese Bowl. Additionally, the Beavers received votes in the top 25 for the first time during the season.


The season continued to progress in successful fashion with a huge upset over No. 4 USC in Oregon State's conference home opener, leading to the program's first top 25 ranking since 1996. Oregon State climbed to as high as No. 24 during the season. The Beavers nearly stunned No. 5 UCLA the following evening, falling to the Bruins in a five-set heartbreaker. The rise of the program's talent boosted home attendance, setting a new school record against No. 8 Oregon in the second Civil War match of the season with 3,547 spilling into legendary Gill Coliseum.


But the Beavers didn't stop as they picked up a win on the road over Washington State before hosting Arizona for Spike Out Cancer Night on October 24. The team shut down the Wildcat attack to tally the sweep. However, despite strong showings at No. 12 USC and Arizona State and at home against Washington State, Oregon State was unable to muster another win, falling just three matches shy of its goal of its first NCAA berth since 2001.


That didn't stop Rourke from accumulating a handful of firsts for the program. The 6-foot-5 outside hitter from Queensland, Australia first earned the program's inaugural All-Pacific Region selection, being named to the honorable mention squad. She then went on to earn 2008 Under Armour/Volleyball Magazine All-America Honorable Mention accolades. She added these two honors to her All-Pac-10 First Team recognition, the first for Oregon State since 2000.


60TH ANNIVERSARY OF LEGENDARY GILL COLISEUM -- Legendary Gill Coliseum is the home to Oregon State's volleyball, men's and women's basketball, gymnastics and wrestling teams. The arena seats 10,400 for competitions on Ralph Miller Court. The building which opened in the winter of 1949-50 has seen several refurbishment projects in recent years and is on the docket for a major renovation. Gill has seen over 3,000 victories, 150+ All-Americans and more than 25 individual and team titles. The Oregon State Athletic Department is celebrating the 60th anniversary of legendary Gill Coliseum.


what's next for the beavers -- Oregon State stays on the road, heading to the Michigan ADIDAS Invitational. The Beavers face Dayton on Friday at 8:00 a.m. PT before Marquette at 2:30 p.m. PT. The team wraps up the tournament against No. 7 Michigan on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. PT.


Support Oregon State University Athletics by making your tax deductible donation to the Beaver Athletic Student Fund.  For more information follow this link or call 541-737-2370.  You can make an 'everyday champion.'  Follow Beaver Athletics on twitter.

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