Volleyball Looks to Stay Hot in the Desert

Oct. 6, 2009

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LOOKING AHEAD — The Oregon State Beavers (10-5, 1-2 Pac-10) head to the desert to face the No. 22 Arizona Wildcats (12-3, 1-3) on Friday before the Arizona State Sun Devils (11-5, 1-3) on Saturday. Both matches are slated to begin at 7:00 p.m.


TRACKING THE BEAVS — Full results from this weekend’s matches can be found through the newly redesigned osubeavers.com. Gametracker will be available for all three matches and can be found by clicking on the ‘Gametracker’ link located on the volleyball schedule page.


Twitter and blogsFollow 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 16: no. 22 arizona (12-3, 1-3)Friday, Oct. 9 (7:00 p.m.): Oregon State is 12-35 all-time against Arizona. The two teams split last year’s meetings with each team winning at home.


Arizona received 216 votes in this week’s AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll, good for 22nd, but dropping four spots from last week. The Wildcats are coming off a rough weekend on the road at the Washington schools, losing in three to each. Junior outside hitter Tiffany Owens paces the Arizona offense with 198 kills (3.88 kps), good for fifth in the conference. Owens also has a team-high 146 digs (2.86 dps). Senior middle blocker Jacy Norton leads the defense at the net with 55 blocks (1.15 bps). Head coach Dave Rubio is in his 18th season at the helm, boasting a 321-189 record at Arizona. The Wildcats are 7-1 overall at home, 1-1 in conference play.


match 17: arizona state (11-5, 1-3)Saturday, Oct. 10 (7:00 p.m.): Oregon State is 14-33 all-time against Arizona State. The Sun Devils hold a six-match series winning streak.


Arizona State found a similar fate at the Washington schools last weekend, falling in three to No. 3 Washington and in five to Washington State. Junior outside hitter Sarah Reaves leads the Sun Devils’ offense with 257 kills (4.51 kps), good for second in the Pac-10. Junior libero Sarah Johnson leads the team defensively with 191 digs (3.41 dps), while senior outside hitter Paige Mittelstaedt has posted a team high 78 blocks (1.30 bps). Sophomore setters Cat Highmark and Katie Crosby have been splitting time at setter this season. Jason Watson is in his second season as head coach of Arizona State, compiling a 13-18 overall record last season. The Sun Devils are 4-1 at home overall, 1-1 in conference play.


REWIND TO LAST WEEK — Oregon State snapped a six-match series winning streak by Oregon on Friday in the first meeting of the Civil War Series, defeating the seventh-ranked Ducks in five at home.


Senior Rachel Rourke terminated a season and match-high 29 balls, tying the third highest single-match record this season in the conference. The 29 kills also ties the ninth single-match school record. Rourke had a solid all-around performance with her second double-double of the season with 11 digs, adding a service ace and six blocks, including two solos.


ODDS & ENDS — The Beavers snapped a six-match series winning streak by Oregon on Friday, Oct. 2, defeating the seventh-ranked Ducks in five.


The Civil War match on Friday, Oct. 2, set a new school record for attendance with 3,576 in legendary Gill Coliseum. The previous record of 3,547 was set at the last Civil War in 2008.


Oregon State snapped Michigan’s 52-match non-conference regular season winning streak with the sweep on Saturday, Sept. 19. The win also ended the Wolverines’ perfect 13-0 season starts that date back to the 2005 season.


The win over sixth-ranked Michigan marks the first win over a top 10 opponent since No. 4 USC in 2008 on October 3 at home, and the first win on the road since No. 4 UCLA on October 12, 2007. It is believed that this win is over the highest ranked non-conference opponent on the road in school history.


The Beavers are currently 7-2 in three-set matches and 4-0 on the road.


Senior Rachel Rourke was 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. Senior Lexie Rathgeber is currently the ‘everyday champion’ the week of Sept. 28-Oct. 2.


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 earned three All-Tournament nods this season, including one Most Valuable Player honor at the Michigan ADIDAS Invitational, and junior Jill Sawatzky was named to two All-Tournament teams with Most Valuable Player honors at the Active Ankle Challenge.


PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK — Senior Rachel Rourke was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for Sept. 15-21. It marks the second time in her career that she’s received the honor. And she is the eighth player in school history to earn it, 12th overall school honor.


national attention — The Beavers received 42 votes in this week’s top 25 poll, good to tie for 27th. The Beavers were 41st last week with six votes. 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 1,623 career kills - second on the list - and is just 140 from the school record. As a freshman she racked up 387 kills, 505 as a sophomore and 497 as a junior.


FACING OFF AGAINST THE NATION — Two Oregon State players are ranked in the top 50 in the nation for their stats in blocks, kills and points, as of October 5. Junior Kiersten Sambrailo is the 37th best blocker in the country, averaging 1.24 blocks per set, while senior Rachel Rourke is 17th for kills per set (4.39) and 14th for points per set (5.11 pps). As a team, Oregon State is third for blocks (3.03).


IT’S NOT “OFFICIAL” BUT — Despite the fact that the NCAA hasn’t released new RPI ratings since last December, the Oregon State volleyball team is ranked 25th currently in the Rich Kern Power Index (RKPI) as of October 5. There are only four Pac-10 teams ahead of Oregon State — Oregon, Washington, Arizona and California. The Beavers finished the 2008 season ranked 82nd.


ATTENDANCE AVERAGE — The Beavers are currently averaging 1,408 on the season, unofficially 25th in the country. The team is currently only behind Stanford, and last Friday’s Civil War ranks 40th. 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. 30, 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 seasonThe 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 beaversOregon State returns home to legendary Gill Coliseum to host Spike Out Cancer on Friday at 7:00 p.m. against No. 7 Stanford. Fans have the opportunity to purchase mini pink volleyballs for $12 with part of the proceeds going to the Corvallis Clinic. And admission to Friday’s match is only $1. The Beavers host No. 15 California on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.


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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