11th-Ranked Bruins Open Second Half of Pac-10 Play in Bay Area

Oct. 26, 2009

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Friday, Oct. 30
7 p.m. - #11 UCLA at #14 California

Saturday, Oct. 31
7 p.m. - #11 UCLA at #4 Stanford


The 11th-ranked Bruins (16-6, 6-3 Pac-10), winners of five of their last six, head to the Bay Area this weekend to face #14 California (12-7, 5-4) on Friday and #4 Stanford (14-5, 7-2) on Saturday. Both matches start at 7 p.m. and Gametracker will be available at UCLABruins.com.

The Bruins close out a three-match road trip next weekend at rival USC on Friday, Nov. 6. First serve will be at 7 p.m.

The Bruins moved up two spots to 11th in this week's AVCA Top 25 poll. UCLA gained 104 points in this week's rankings. The Bruins were ranked 14th 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.

Since getting swept at Oregon on Oct. 16, California has won three straight with sweeps against Oregon State and Arizona State and a four-set victory at home against Arizona last Friday. Reigning Pac-10 Player of the Week Hana Cutura is coming off an unbelievable weekend in which she had 52 kills and only four errors in a pair of wins against the Arizona schools. She is averaging a conference-best 5.07 kills per set and hitting .327. During Pac-10 play, Cutura has improved to 5.21 kps and a .359 percentage. Tarah Murrey (2.72) and Mindi Wiley (2.54) also average above 2.00 kps on the season, with Wiley leading the team with a .378 hitting percentage and 1.04 blocks per set. Carli Lloyd handles the setting duties and averages 11.21 assists per set, while Kristen Kathan is the top defender with 3.56 digs per set. The Bears hit .274 as a team with 0.70 aces and 2.63 blocks per set. During conference action, Cal is swinging at a .291 clip with 0.73 aces and 2.61 blocks per set.

The Bruins snapped a three-match losing streak to the Golden Bears with a four-set victory on Oct. 3 at Pauley Pavilion. Bojana Todorovic posted her first career double-double with a team-high 14 kills and 13 digs. Kaitlin Sather also had a double-double with 13 kills and 16 digs, while Katie Camp was in double figures in kills with 10. The Bruins are 51-4 all-time against California and 21-2 in Berkeley. UCLA dropped its last matchup at Haas Pavilion, falling in five sets on Nov. 21, 2008. In their most recent victory up north, the Bruins came back from 0-2 down to win in five on Sept. 27, 2007.

Stanford has won seven of eight after sweeping both Arizona schools at home last weekend. Both losses for the Cardinal during Pac-10 play have come in five sets (Cal, Sept. 25; Oregon, Oct. 17). Stanford, which is 6-0 at home, is averaging 0.99 aces and 2.58 blocks per set with a .265 hitting percentage. During conference action, the Cardinal are hitting just .238 with 0.89 aces and 2.61 blocks per set. Alix Klineman paces the offensive attack with 3.96 kills per set and has improved nearly a kill per set during conference with a 4.94 average. Cassidy Lichtman is second with 3.31 kps and 2.68 digs per set, while Janet Okogbaa is third in kps (2.76) and first in blocks per set at 1.33 and hitting percentage (.373). Karissa Cook has handled the bulk of the setting duties during Pac-10 play, averaging 9.32 assists per set in conference. Gabi Ailes leads the squad with 4.93 dps.

The Cardinal won their 18th in a row against the Bruins on Oct. 2 at Pauley Pavilion. UCLA won the opening set, but dropped the last three, despite double-doubles from Dicey McGraw (14 k, 10 d), Kaitlin Sather (13 k, 10 d) and Lauren Cook (47 a, 17 d). Stanford holds a 41-34 all-time series advantage over UCLA and is 21-11 in Palo Alto, winning nine straight at home. The Bruins' last two victories came in 2000, both three-game sweeps, one in Westwood and one at Stanford.

Despite 16 blocks in two matches, sophomore Amanda Gil relinquished the top spot in the nation in blocks per set, falling to second with a 1.63 average. Illinois' Johannah Bangert overtook Gil after posting 22 roofs last weekend to increase her average to 1.67. In addition to her status in bps, Gil is also 45th in hitting percentage at .365. As a team, the Bruins are 11th nationally in bps (2.82), 33rd in kills per set (13.86), 44th in assists per set (12.63) and 45th in digs per set (16.23).

As the old saying goes, defense wins championships, and it is the Bruins' defense that has gotten them to within one match of first place in the Pac-10 standings. In conference matches only, UCLA is first in all three defensive categories, leading the way in digs per set (17.73), blocks per set (2.97) and opponent hitting percentage (.179). Overall, the Bruins are first in dps (16.23) and second in opponent percentage (.165) and bps (2.82). Sophomore Amanda Gil continues to lead all Pac-10 players in bps at 1.63, recording 1.87 bps during conference action. Gil is also sixth overall in hitting percentage at .365. Sophomore Lainey Gera checks in this week at fourth in dps (4.47), while freshman Lauren Cook is seventh in assists per set at 10.49. Full overall and conference-only rankings are available on page four of this release.

Head coach Andy Banachowski is two wins away from 1,100 for his career. The UCLA skipper has an overall record of 1,098-298, making him the winningest coach in women's volleyball history.

Senior Kaitlin Sather made UCLA history on Friday as she became the 12th player to record 1,000 in both kills and digs. Needing only eight digs to cross the 1,000 mark, Sather got to that total by the end of the second set against Oregon, finishing the match with a season-high 20 digs, which was one off a personal best. The senior added 13 kills for a double-double and had another one the following night against Oregon State when she had a team-high 11 kills and 12 digs. Sather is tied for the team lead with 10 double-doubles and has 47 for her career. She is second on the squad with 2.72 kills per set and 2.99 digs per set, stepping it up during Pac-10 play to lead the Bruins with 3.27 kps to go along with 3.52 dps. Sather has double-doubles in six of her last seven and had four straight from Oct. 2-16. That streak began against Stanford when she had 13 kills and 10 digs. She followed that up with a 13-kill, 16-dig performance against Cal on Oct. 3, 15 kills and 15 digs versus USC on Oct. 9 and 11 kills and 10 digs at Washington on Oct. 16. Even though her streak came to an end at Washington State (Oct. 17), Sather still had a great contest with a match and season-high 16 kills. She hit a season-best .560 with only two errors in 25 attempts, adding six digs and five blocks. Sather also had four straight double-doubles from Sept. 10-16 against BYU (12 k, 12 d), Virginia (13 k, 13 d), Nebraska (13 k, 16 d) and Pepperdine (12 k, 12 d). She has produced 13 double-figure digs matches this season and eight in nine Pac-10 contests, giving her 51 for her career. Offensively, Sather has a team-leading 13 double-figure kills contests and 82 as a Bruin. She has at least 10 kills in seven straight and has led the Bruins in kills in a match seven times. Sather moved into 13th place on UCLA's career kills list, entering this weekend with 1,370. She is 20 away from surpassing Daiva Tomkus (1,389) for 12th place.

Sophomore Amanda Gil loves to play Oregon. Nearly a year after she recorded her first career double-double against the Ducks, Gil picked up her second when she had season highs in kills (14) and blocks (10) in the Bruins' win on Friday. Gil, who has at least six blocks in seven of her last eight matches, leads the Bruins and the Pac-10 and is second in the nation with 1.63 blocks per set. During Pac-10 play, she is averaging 1.87 bps. The sophomore is also tops on the team in hitting percentage (.365) and third in kills per set (2.34). Gil had fallen just one block short of a double-double two previous times this season against Cal State Fullerton (Sept. 18) and Stanford (Oct. 2) before finally getting to double figures against Oregon. She has produced eight roofs in a match three times against Virginia (Sept. 11), Pepperdine (Sept. 16) and California (Oct. 3) and seven four more times against UNLV (Sept. 4), Arizona (Sept. 26), Washington (Oct. 16) and Washington State (Oct. 17). All told, Gil has at least five blocks in 14 of her 21 matches. Offensively, the sophomore has eight double-figure kills matches this season and 20 for her career. Prior to last Friday, her previous season best was 13 against USC on Oct. 9, when she hit .478 with only two errors in 23 swings. Gil has swung at a .400 clip or better nine 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 nine times, including a career-best seven against Nebraska (Sept. 13). In the serving department, the sophomore has eight aces.

Freshman Lauren Cook crossed the 50-assist mark for the first time in her career last Friday against Oregon, producing 54 helpers and 10 digs for her 10th double-double of the season. She is tied for the team lead in double-doubles and ranks first in assists per set (10.49) and third in digs per set (2.41) and service aces (16). Cook had four straight double-doubles from Oct. 9-23, recording 10 digs in each match to go along with 47 assists against USC (Oct. 9) and Washington (Oct. 16) and 33 at Washington State (Oct. 17). She has 10 double-figure digs contests, with her season-best output coming against Stanford on Oct. 2 when she had 17 to go along with 47 assists. Cook has crossed the 40-assist mark 10 times. Prior to Friday's match, her previous season high in assists came at Nebraska on Sept. 13 when she had 48 with 15 digs. 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 eight times. Cook had a season-high three service aces against California on Oct. 3 and has at least one ace in 11 of her 21 matches and five aces in her last three contests.

Sophomore Lainey Gera surpassed the 20-plus digs mark for the seventh time this season against Oregon last Friday, totaling 22 against the Ducks and adding 17 more digs on Saturday against Oregon State. Gera has double figures in digs in nine of her last 10 matches, 18 times this year and 24 for her career. Her season and career-high came on Oct. 16 at Washington when she had 28. Gera leads the Bruins with 4.47 digs per set, ranking fourth in the Pac-10. Her other 20-plus digs matches have come against Nebraska (25, Sept. 13), USC (23, Oct. 9), Stanford (22, Oct. 2), BYU (22, Sept. 10) and Arizona (21, Sept. 26). In addition to her prowess at digging, Gera has chipped in offensively with her serving and setting. The sophomore's 21 service aces are tied for the team lead. She has at least one in six straight matches and 14 of her last 19 contests. Gera's season and career high was three at Pepperdine on Sept. 16. She has also tallied at least five assists in a match seven times, posting a career-high seven at Hawai'i (Aug. 30).

The fifth set of Friday's victory against Oregon belonged to Dicey McGraw. The junior had a hand in six of the Bruins' 15 points on five kills and a solo block, finishing the match with 14 kills, which tied for the team lead. McGraw also provided excellent defense with a career-high eight blocks and seven digs. The junior has led the Bruins in kills in a match a team-best 11 times and is tops on the squad with 3.23 kills per set. After posting only four double-doubles in her first two years, McGraw already has four this year after producing a 14-kill, 10-dig effort against Stanford on Oct. 2. 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 a season-high 15 digs, which was just one shy of a personal best. McGraw is second on the team with 11 double-figure kills contests, giving her 42 for her career, and has produced at least seven kills in 18 of her 20 matches. Along with her 20 kills at Arizona, 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 six double-figure digs matches and is fifth on the team with 1.96 digs per set. The junior has set or tied seven 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. McGraw also had a career high with two block solos against LMU and posted seven block assists against Oregon.

Freshman Bojana Todorovic has been one of the most consistent Bruins of late, producing at least six kills and seven digs in all nine Pac-10 matches. Todorovic posted five consecutive double-figure digs contests from Oct. 3-23 and has seven on the season. The streak started against California when she had a match and season-high 14 kills to go along with 13 digs for her first career double-double. She followed that with three straight 11-dig performances, notching her second double-double at Washington on Oct. 16 when she tallied 10 kills. The freshman extended the streak with 12 against Oregon last Friday. For the year, Todorovic is third in digs per set at 2.31 and sixth with 1.55 kills per set, but she is well above that average during conference play. Since Sept. 25, she is averaging 2.36 kps and 2.70 dps, which both rank third on the team during that time frame. Todorovic had a season-best 16 digs against Fordham on Sept. 19 and also had double figures in digs with 12 against BYU (Sept. 10). In the kills department, Todorovic has at least 10 in four contests. Along with her two double-double matches, the freshman had 11 at Arizona State on Sept. 25 and 10 at Nebraska on Sept. 13. Todorovic is tied for the team lead in service aces with 21. She had a season-best four at Pepperdine on Sept. 16 and added three against Fordham, posting at least one ace in 13 of 22 matches. Todorovic has also stepped up her blocking of late, recording 16 in her last seven matches after notching only four in her initial 15 contests.

Sophomore Katie Camp registered a season-best seven blocks on Friday against Oregon and has been very steady at the net with at least three blocks in seven of her last eight matches. Camp is second on the team with 0.91 blocks per set. The sophomore has produced at least five blocks in a match five times, tallying six at Washington State (Oct. 17) and five apiece against Nebraska (Sept. 13), Fordham (Sept. 19) and Long Beach State (Sept. 19). On offense, Camp recorded her first two double-figure kills matches of the season against Stanford (11, Oct. 2) and Cal (10, Oct. 3) and is fifth with 1.90 kills per set. The sophomore has at least five kills in eight straight contests. Camp also ranks third in hitting at .301. Against BYU on Sept. 10, she hit a season-best .571 with nine kills and one error in 14 attempts. Camp has hit at least .400 in a contest four times this season.

Freshman Rachael Kidder tied a season high with six blocks against Oregon on Friday. She also had two kills in five attempts. Kidder is averaging 0.60 kills per set and 0.46 blocks per set. The freshman's season best in kills came against Virginia on Sept. 11 when she had eight with two errors in 14 swings for a .429 hitting percentage. Kidder earned her first career start on Sept. 19 against Fordham and contributed seven kills and six blocks ... freshman Mari Hole has appeared in each of the last four matches and is averaging 2.20 kills per set during that span. She tied a career high with 12 kills at Washington on Oct. 16 and had six last Friday against Oregon. For the year, Hole is averaging 2.07 kps, which is fourth on the team.

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