Rivals Collide as Bruins Host Trojans

Oct. 5, 2009

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Friday, Oct. 9
7 p.m. - #13 USC at #16 UCLA

Gametracker, free audio, free video for USC match

A pair of 2-2 teams will look to be the one to get over the .500 mark in Pac-10 play on Friday, as 16th-ranked UCLA (12-5) hosts #13 USC (13-3) at 7 p.m. at Pauley Pavilion. The match will feature Gametracker, as well as free audio and video, on UCLABruins.com.

The Bruins are back on the road next weekend, facing the top two teams in the Pac-10 standings in Washington and Washington State. UCLA takes on the Huskies on Friday at 6 p.m. (changed from the previous 7 p.m. start) and the Cougars on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Match jerseys and volleyballs from last weekend's Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend are up for auction at UCLABruins.com. All proceeds benefit the UCLA/Revlon Breast Center. The auction ends on Oct. 17. Click here to bid.

The Bruins stayed at 16th in this week's AVCA Top 25 poll. UCLA did earn 97 more points in this week's rankings, but it was not enough for them to move up. The Bruins were 15th in last week's Volleyball Magazine poll, with a new poll coming out on Tuesday. In the Pac-10 Preseason Coaches poll, the Bruins were ranked fourth behind Washington, California and Stanford.

All UCLA home matches will feature free audio and video at UCLABruins.com. Darren Preston and Michael Sondheimer will call all the action. In addition, Gametracker or live stats will be available for all home matches and most road contests. Links can be found on the schedule page of UCLABruins.com.

Like the Bruins, USC split with the Bay Area teams last weekend, defeating California in five on Friday before getting swept by Stanford on Saturday. Through the first four Pac-10 matches of the season, sophomore outside hitter Alex Jupiter (4.81 kills per set) and senior outside Jessica Gysin (4.50) lead the offensive attack, as the Trojans are hitting .215 with 0.88 aces and 1.81 blocks per set. Overall, Jupiter paces the team with 4.18 kps and is third with 2.55 digs per set, while Gysin is second with 3.79 kps and 2.79 dps. Sophomore Kendall Bateman handles the setting, averaging 12.09 assists per set, while senior libero Alli Hillgren is posting 4.02 dps. As a team, the Trojans are hitting .265 with 1.29 aces and 2.38 blocks per set.

The Bruins and the Trojans have split the last four matchups in 2007 and 2008, with each team winning on their home court. UCLA has won three straight at Pauley Pavilion against USC, including a sweep on Nov. 28, 2008. The Bruins have not lost to the Trojans at home since Sept. 30, 2005 and hold a 26-18 advantage in Westwood.

With 17 blocks over a pair of matches last weekend, sophomore Amanda Gil moved from 10th to second in the country in blocks per set at 1.55. The sophomore trails only South Florida's Alli Arbogast, who has 1.74 bps. Gil is also 40th in the nation in hitting percentage at .370. As a team, the Bruins are 17th in bps (2.68) and 34th in kills per set (13.66).

Sophomore Amanda Gil also increased her lead in blocks per set among conference players, coming in at 1.55 bps. Gil is also seventh in hitting percentage at .370. Junior Dicey McGraw ranks eighth in kills per set (3.42), while sophomore Lainey Gera is fourth with 4.16 digs per set. A pair of freshmen are also in the rankings, with Lauren Cook sixth in assists per set (10.14) and Bojana Todorovic eighth in service aces per set (0.32). As a team, the Bruins are second in dps (15.54), third in opponent hitting percentage (.163) and fourth in bps (2.68).

Senior Kaitlin Sather extended her streak of double-figure digs matches to four last weekend and moved closer to a prestigious club. Sather had double-doubles in both contests, recording 13 kills and 10 digs against Stanford and 13 kills and 16 digs against California to give her six double-doubles this season and 43 for her career. The senior enters Friday's match against USC with 954 digs and is just 46 away from becoming only the 12th Bruin to reach 1,000 in both kills and digs. Sather, who made her 100th career start last Friday, is second on the team with 2.41 kills and 2.77 digs per set. She has nine matches with at least 10 digs this season and 47 for her career. Sather equaled her season high in digs with 16 against the Golden Bears, also producing that output to go along with 13 kills on Sept. 13 at Nebraska. She has added 13-dig contests against Loyola Marymount (Sept. 5) and Virginia (Sept. 11), when she had 13 kills for her second double-double of the season. Sather also has double-doubles against BYU (Sept. 10) and Pepperdine (Sept. 16). Offensively, Sather has notched a season-best 13 kills in a match four times. She also posted 12 at BYU and Pepperdine and 10 against Western Michigan (Aug. 29) and Idaho (Sept. 5). Her eight double-figure kills contests give her 77 for her career. Sather surpassed the 1,300-kill mark against California and enters the USC match with 1,304. She is four away from 15th-place Elisabeth Bachman (1,308) on UCLA's all-time list.

After posting only four double-doubles in her first two seasons at UCLA, junior Dicey McGraw already has four this year after producing a 14-kill, 10-dig effort against Stanford on Friday. The double-double was her third in a row, a streak that began on Sept. 25 when McGraw had 13 kills and 11 digs at Arizona State. The following night at Arizona, the junior torched the Wildcats for a career-high 20 kills and added 15 digs, which was just one shy of a personal best. McGraw leads the team with 3.42 kills per set and nine double-figure kills contests. She has led the Bruins in kills in a match a team-best 10 times and has produced at least seven kills in all 17 contests. McGraw has broken the 15-kill threshold three other times, recording 18 at Nebraska (Sept. 13), 17 against BYU (Sept. 10) and 16 versus Loyola Marymount (Sept. 5). In the match with BYU, she added 12 digs for her first double-double of the season. McGraw has five double-figure digs matches and is fifth on the team with 1.95 digs per set. The junior has set or tied six career highs this year. She had a personal-best three aces and 22.5 points at Nebraska and hit .500 against Santa Clara on Aug. 28, which was also a career high. McGraw also tied career bests with two block solos against Loyola Marymount and five total blocks against Stanford.

Freshman Bojana Todorovic had her best match of the season on Saturday against California, leading the Bruins with a career-high 14 kills, hitting .345 and adding 13 digs for her first double-double. Todorovic, who has earned three straight starts, is averaging 2.60 kills and 2.47 digs per set over her last four matches. She has taken a liking to her first go-around of Pac-10 play, producing at least seven kills and digs in each contest. Against Arizona State on Sept. 25, the freshman had 11 kills and seven digs, which earned her a start the following night at Arizona, in which she tallied seven kills, eight digs and a pair of aces. On Friday against Stanford, Todorovic had seven kills and nine digs. She also added five blocks, which was one more than she had in her first 15 matches combined. The freshman posted her first double-figure kills contest at Nebraska on Sept. 13 when she had 10. Todorovic is fourth on the team with 2.14 dps. Her season high in digs came on Sept. 19 against Fordham, when she had 16 playing as the libero. Her first double-figure digs match was against BYU on Sept. 10 when she notched 12. Todorovic has nine digs in four other contests. The freshman has also produced with the aces, leading the squad with 19. She had a season-best four at Pepperdine on Sept. 16 and added three against Fordham. Todorovic has at least one ace in 11 of 17 matches.

With a few more blocking performances like she has produced in her last three matches, sophomore Amanda Gil will soon be the national leader in that category. Gil leads the Bruins and the Pac-10 and also ranks second in the nation with 1.55 blocks per set. The sophomore has 24 blocks in her last three matches (2.00 bps), tying a season high with nine to go along with 10 kills on Friday against Stanford. The next evening against California, Gil had eight blocks, adding eight kills and only one error for a .368 hitting percentage. The sophomore has at least five blocks in 10 matches. She had nine at Cal State Fullerton on Sept. 18 and eight apiece against Virginia (Sept. 11) and at Pepperdine (Sept. 16). Offensively, Gil has six double-figure kills matches, posting a season-best 11 at Fullerton. She has 10 kills in five other contests (Loyola Marymount, Sept. 5; Virginia; Nebraska, Sept. 13; Pepperdine; Stanford). Gil, who leads the team with a .370 hitting percentage, has swung at a .400 clip or better seven times. Her season-best total (with at least 10 kills) came against Virginia when she hit .562 with 10 kills and one error in 16 attempts. Gil has also chipped in with her defense and serving. She has at least four digs in a match six times, including a career-best seven against Nebraska. In the serving department, the sophomore has seven aces and no errors.

Freshman Lauren Cook went over the 40-assist barrier twice last weekend and posted her sixth double-double of the season against Stanford. Cook had 47 assists and a career-high 17 digs against the Cardinal on Friday. One night later, she added 44 assists and a season-high three aces in a win over California. Cook leads the team with 10.14 assists per set and is third with 11 service aces and 2.33 digs per set. She has crossed the 40-assist mark seven times, producing a personal-high 48 to go along with 15 digs at Nebraska on Sept. 13. That match concluded an outstanding weekend that saw Cook post three double-doubles to earn Ameritas Players Challenge MVP, AVCA National Player of the Week and Pac-10 POW honors. She began the weekend with 43 assists and 14 digs against BYU (Sept. 10) and had 44 assists and 15 digs versus Virginia (Sept. 11). Cook became just the fifth Bruin to earn AVCA NPOW accolades, joining Annett Buckner (1994), Kristee Porter (1998), Nellie Spicer (2005) and Nana Meriwether (2006). The double-double streak continued the following week when Cook went for 37 assists and 12 digs at Pepperdine (Sept. 16) and 44 assists and 13 digs at Cal State Fullerton (Sept. 18). Besides quarterbacking the offense, Cook has been helping the Bruins with her killing, posting four kills or more eight times. She had a season-high six kills against Virginia and Arizona (Sept. 26). The freshman has posted at least three kills with no errors six times.

Sophomore Lainey Gera ran her double-figure digs streak to five after recording 22 against Stanford on Friday and 14 against California on Saturday. The team leader in digs per set at 4.16 has 14 matches with at least 10 digs to give her 20 for her career. Gera has surpassed 20 digs four times this season, producing a career-high 25 at Nebraska on Sept. 13. She also had 22 against BYU (Sept. 10) and 21 at Arizona (Sept. 26) and has totaled at least 15 digs in four other contests. Gera has at least 10 digs in 12 of her last 13 matches. The only time she didn't make it to double figures was on Sept. 19 against Fordham when she was given a break from her libero duties, but she still had seven digs and posted her first kill of the year. In addition to her prowess at digging, Gera has chipped in offensively with her serving and setting. The sophomore's 14 service aces are second on the team, as she has recorded at least one in nine of the last 14 matches, including three at Pepperdine on Sept. 16, which tied a career high. Gera has also tallied at least five assists in a match seven times, posting a career-high seven against Hawai'i.

Sophomore Katie Camp recorded her first two double-figure kills matches of the season last weekend, posting 11 kills against Stanford and 10 versus California. Against the Golden Bears, Camp hit .421 with only two errors in 19 attacks to go along with four blocks. The sophomore has at least five kills in eight of her last 11 matches and is fifth on the team with 1.86 kills per set. Camp also ranks tied for third in hitting percentage at .313 and second with 0.82 blocks per set. She had nine kills in back-to-back matches against BYU and Virginia (Sept. 10 and 11) and added eight more at Nebraska on Sept. 13. Against BYU, she hit a season-best .571 with one error in 14 attempts. Camp has produced five blocks in a match three times against Nebraska, Fordham and Long Beach State (Sept. 19).

Andy Banachowski is closing in on his 1,100th career victory. The UCLA skipper has an overall record of 1,094-297, making him the winningest coach in women's volleyball history ... the Bruins played their 1,000th NCAA match on Sept. 26 at Arizona. UCLA is 775-227 since joining the NCAA in 1981 ... after playing in only four sets through her first year and a half in Westwood, sophomore Amber McBenttez has played in 12 sets through six matches this season. She has a dig in each of her last three contests, including five at Arizona State on Sept. 25. McBenttez also had a service ace the following night at Arizona ... freshman Rachael Kidder is one of five Bruins to have played in all 17 matches this season (Camp, Gera, McGraw, Todorovic). Kidder earned her first collegiate start on Sept. 19 against Fordham, producing seven kills and season highs in aces (4) and blocks (6). Her career high in kills came against Virginia on Sept. 11 when she had eight.

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