Volleyball Leads-Off Midnight Madness Against #12 UCLA

Oct. 13, 2009

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#4 WASHINGTON vs. #12 UCLA • 6:00 p.m.

#4 WASHINGTON vs. #16 USC • 7:00 p.m.

The Huskies host a pair of critical conference match-ups this weekend against the L.A. schools at Bank of America Arena. Fourth-ranked Washington (15-1, 5-1 Pac-10) will be part of the Midnight Madness festivities this Friday night, beginning with its showdown with 12th-ranked UCLA (13-5, 3-2) which begins at 6:00 p.m., which is one hour earlier than originally scheduled. The match was moved up to accommodate the men's basketball session which will begin following the match and will be televised on ESPNU.

The Huskies will be back to a typical 7:00 p.m. start time for Saturday night's duel with the 16th-ranked Trojans of USC (13-4, 2-3).

For the first time this season the Dawgs will have to deal with rebounding from a defeat, as Washington was edged 3-2 at Stanford this past Saturday, snapping their 15-match and 46-set win streak. The Huskies still hold a half-game edge in the conference standings over Stanford and 1.5 games over the Bruins.

The Huskies headed to the Bay Area to take on highly-ranked Cal and Stanford squads on their home turf. Friday night the Dawgs were in Berkeley to take on the 15th-ranked Bears. Both teams were on fire offensively, but the Huskies were especially dominant, hitting a season-best .490 against Cal's .349, as UW went on to sweep . Kindra Carlson had a season-high 19 kills while hitting .471, and Jill Collymore and Airial Salvo combined for 26 kills with just one single error between them.

The next night Washington was up against the defending Pac-10 Champion Cardinal in Palo Alto. Washington won the first set, 25-19, its 46th-straight set win to start the year, but the Huskies finally tripped up in set two, falling 25-15. UW battled back with a 25-23 win in set three, and held leads of 13-9 and 19-17 in the fourth set, but the Cardinal broke a 23-23 tie with the next two points to force a fifth set, which they grabbed 15-12. Washington was barely outhit for the first time this year, .254-.257, and were out-aced for the first time all year as well, 3-4. Bianca Rowland set a career-high with 16 kills while hitting .462, while Salvo's 17 put-aways was her high for the year.

If you miss any of Washington's home matches this year, or just want to relive the action or a particular play, remember that every match is available to watch on Comcast OnDemand. The video is taken from the GoHuskies.com live stream with all the accoutrements of your typical television broadcast. To find the Huskies, start under 'Get Local' or 'Sports & Fitness' then 'Local Sports' followed by 'UW' and then 'Volleyball.'

Washington's first couple set losses at Stanford last weekend ended UW's record run of 46-consecutive set wins to start the season. The Huskies were the last team in Division-I to drop a set. Washington swept five Top-20 opponents during the string, including No. 4 Florida, No. 7 Oregon, No. 9 Minnesota, No. 15 California, and No. 18 Arizona. The previous set streak record was 36-straight which occurred at the start of the 2005 season. Washington's perfect start through the first six weeks was nothing new under head coach Jim McLaughlin. Last year the Huskies won their first seven matches before dropping a 3-2 decision at Hawai'i. The year before that Washington rolled to a 16-0 record before finally giving up a five-set loss at Cal. In the national title season in 2005, the Dawgs were 23-0 before their one and only loss at UCLA, and in 2004 Washington got off to a 22-0 start on the way to its first Final Four appearance. The Huskies also had an 11-match win streak to start the 2003 season, McLaughlin's third at Washington.

With a 10-0 run through its non-conference schedule, the Huskies ran their record against non-conference foes to 86-5 since the beginning of the 2003 season. That adds up to a .945 winning percentage out of the Pac-10. All five losses have been five-set nailbiters as well. Though its not as if UW has been shabby in league play either. Starting in 2004 when the Huskies won their first Pac-10 title, they have gone a combined 83-13 (.864) in conference matches and finished no worse than a tie for second.

UCLA is coming off an impressive 3-0 sweep of the Trojans and has moved up to third in the Pac-10 standings at 3-2. The Bruins are just 4-3 in road matches, having fallen at Hawai'i, Cal State Fullerton, and Arizona State. However, one of UCLA's signature wins was a 3-2 victory over then-No. 5 Nebraska that snapped the Cornhuskers' 90-match home winning streak. Junior Dicey McGraw has led the offensive attack with 3.45 kills per set while hitting .221. Senior Kaitlin Sather also averages 2.54 k/s. UCLA is eighth in the Pac-10 with a .235 hitting percentage, but ranks second behind only UW in opponent hitting percentage, limiting their foes to .166 on the year. Sophomore Amanda Gil, the 2008 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, leads the Pac-10 and ranks second nationally with 1.53 blocks per set and is fifth in attack percentage at .379. Sophomore Lainey Gera is fourth in the conference with 4.33 digs per set.

The Huskies have taken the last five meetings against the Bruins, including a 3-1 victory last year in Seattle. Washington also pulled out a five-set win in L.A. last year. It has also been five wins in a row for UW over UCLA in Seattle, the last Bruin win a five-set marathon in 2003. UCLA still leads the all-time series, 38-14.

USC is 13-4 on the year but came up short in its past two matches at UCLA (3-0) and home against Stanford (3-0). They have league wins over Arizona State (3-1) and California (3-2) while falling at Arizona (3-1). After losing its opener to Michigan State, USC rolled to 11-consecutive victories, highlighted by sweeps of 21st-ranked Pepperdine and 20th-ranked UC Irvine. USC has outhit its opponents .262-.170 and leads the Pac-10 in both kills per set (14.93) and assists per set (14.10). Sophomore setter Kendall Bateman leads the Pac-10 and ranks third nationally with 12.07 assists per set. Bateman and sophomore outside hitter Alex Jupiter are the only Trojans to have played in every set. Jupiter leads the team with 4.19 kills/set and is fourth in the league with 4.97 points per set. USC also rates near the top in team digs--3rd with 15.28 per set and led by senior libero Alli Hillgren who averages 4.05.

Washington trails the all-time series with USC, 16-33 but has won four of the past five and six of the past eight meetings going back to 2005. Washington swept the Trojans in Seattle last year and picked up a five-set victory down in Los Angeles. UW has won the past four meetings in Seattle.

After suffering its first loss of the year, Washington slipped one spot in the rankings to No. 4, despite new No. 3 Hawai'i having two losses, including a home defeat to Cal which the Huskies just swept on the road. Penn State remains No. 1 and Texas No. 2. Washington dropped to fourth in the Volleyball Magazine poll as well. The Huskies are now 5-1 against ranked opponents. Nine Pac-10 teams are now in the Top-25 or receiving votes. Stanford moved up to fifth behind the Huskies. Also appearing is No. 12 UCLA, No. 14 California, No. 15 Oregon, No. 16 USC and No. 18 Arizona. One impressive rankings-related note is that Washington, Penn State, and Nebraska are the only three teams to have been ranked in the Top-10 by the AVCA every week for the past five years. All three teams were last out of the Top-10 in December of 2003.

Senior libero Tamari Miyashiro took down the Washington record for digs at Oregon State, surpassing All-American Candace Lee (2,038; 2002-05) in the first set. The Kaneohe, Hawai'i native is now up to 2,115 career digs and passed two more Pac-10 greats against the Arizona schools to move into third in Pac-10 history. Miyashiro succeeded Lee at the libero position, giving Husky fans eight-straight seasons of historically outstanding defensive play. A two-time National Defensive Player of the Year, Miyashiro broke the digs record despite the switch to 25-point sets last season. She also continues to lead the digs per set career list with 5.40. Miyashiro has also moved up to ninth all-time in sets played with 392 and will tie Sanja Tomasevic (393; 2002-05) the next time she takes the court. Also climbing the career Top-10 list is junior setter Jenna Hagglund, who at the Tampa Twice Tournament became the fourth setter in school history to pass 3,000 career assists, coming in now at 3,345 over her two-plus seasons. Hagglund just passed Gretchen Maurer (1999-02) for third on the Husky all-time list. Also worth keeping an eye on is the impressive hitting of sophomore middle blocker Bianca Rowland. Currently hitting .514, Rowland is on pace to surpass the season attack percentage mark set last year by Jessica Swarbrick at .427. Senior Jill Collymore also cracked the Top-10 in career aces this season, and is now ninth with 103 service winners.

The Huskies head east to Pullman to battle the surprising Cougars of Washington State, who have gone 14-3 on the year and are holding their own in Pac-10 play with a 3-3 record after being last in the conference just one year ago. The match is set for Friday, October 23, at 7 p.m.

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