Seventh-Ranked Bruins Look to Continue Winning Ways at Rival USC

Nov. 2, 2009

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Friday, Nov. 6
7 p.m. - #7 UCLA at #17 USC

Gametracker, free audio

The seventh-ranked Bruins (18-6, 8-3 Pac-10), winners of seven of their last eight, close out a three-match road trip Friday at #17 USC (15-8, 4-7). First serve at Galen Center is at 7 p.m. Gametracker and free audio will be available at

The Bruins begin a stretch of four of their next six at home starting next weekend when they host the Washington schools. On Friday, Nov. 13, UCLA entertains Washington State before welcoming Washington to Pauley Pavilion on Saturday, Nov. 14. Both matches start at 7 p.m.

The Bruins jumped up four spots to seventh in this week's AVCA Top 25 poll. It is the biggest jump for UCLA in any of this season's rankings and equals the position it held following the Sept. 14 poll. UCLA was ranked 11th in last week's Volleyball Magazine poll, with a new poll coming out on Tuesday.

All UCLA home matches will feature free audio and video at 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

Since starting Pac-10 play with a 2-1 record, USC has dropped six of eight, with the only wins coming two weeks ago at home against the Oregon schools. Last weekend, the Trojans lost in four at both Stanford and Cal. USC is hitting .250 as a team with 1.10 aces and 2.44 blocks per set. Alex Jupiter leads the squad with 4.45 kills per set, adding 2.65 digs per set. She has improved on both stats during Pac-10 with 4.95 kps and 3.17 dps. Jessica Gysin is second overall with 3.39 kps, followed by Kimmee Roleder (2.75) and Lauren Williams (2.31). Kendall Bateman handles the setting and averages 12.23 assists per set, while Alli Hillgren is tops in dps at 4.29. In conference action, the Trojans have dipped to a .218 hitting percentage, 0.76 aces and 2.28 blocks per set.

The Bruins swept the Trojans in their first meeting this season at Pauley Pavilion, winning 27-25, 25-20, 25-22 on Oct. 9. Kaitlin Sather led UCLA with 15 kills, adding 15 digs for a double-double. Lauren Cook also had a double-double with 47 assists and 10 digs, while Amanda Gil (13) and Dicey McGraw (12) posted double figures in kills. Lainey Gera added 23 digs. The Bruins hit .265 for the match. UCLA leads the series 55-49 and has won two straight, but will be looking for its first win at Galen Center. The Bruins are 0-2 at USC's new home, dropping a heartbreaking, five-setter last Sept. 26 after leading the Trojans 2-1. Despite UCLA holding a 19-18 advantage in road tilts with USC, the Bruins have dropped eight of their last nine away matches in the series. The last UCLA win at USC was on Oct. 20, 2006 in four sets at the Lyon Center.

Saturday's victory over Stanford was a milestone in more ways than one. Not only was it the first win for the Bruins against Stanford since 2000, spanning 18 matches, but it was also the 1,100th victory of the distinguished career of head coach Andy Banachowski. The UCLA skipper has a record of 1,100-298, making him the winningest coach in women's volleyball history.

By the slimmest of margins, sophomore Amanda Gil regained the top spot in the nation in blocks per set. Gil ranks a mere .0004 percentage points ahead of South Florida's Alli Arbogast, with both players technically averaging 1.61 bps. Gil has been at the top of the rankings for two of the last three weeks. She is also 40th in the nation in hitting at .360. As a team, the Bruins are 11th nationally in bps (2.80), 39th in kills per set (13.82), 42nd in digs per set (16.33) and 48th in assists per set (12.68).

As the 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 (17.62), blocks per set (2.90) and opponent hitting percentage (.187). Overall, the Bruins are first in dps (16.33) and second in opponent percentage (.170) and bps (2.80). Sophomore Amanda Gil continues to lead all Pac-10 players in bps at 1.61, recording 1.77 bps during conference action. Gil is also fifth overall in hitting percentage at .360. Sophomore Lainey Gera checks in this week at fourth in dps (4.56), freshman Lauren Cook is seventh in assists per set at 10.42 and senior Kaitlin Sather (3.05 dps) and freshman Bojana Todorovic (0.28 aces per set) are 10th in their respective categories. Full overall and conference-only rankings are available on page four of this release.

In a senior season which has already seen her become the 12th player in UCLA history to record 1,000 kills and digs, as well as move up to 12th on the Bruins' career kills list, Kaitlin Sather can now call herself a Pac-10 Player of the Week. Sather earned her first POW honor after posting a pair of double-doubles in road wins at Cal and Stanford last weekend. She had 11 kills and 12 digs against the Golden Bears and recorded 14 kills and 20 digs versus the Cardinal. Sather is the 60th Bruin to receive POW accolades and the second this season (Lauren Cook, Sept. 14). The senior is second on the team with 2.72 kills per set and 3.05 digs per set, stepping it up during Pac-10 play to lead the Bruins with 3.17 kps to go along with 3.52 dps. She has a team-best 12 double-doubles, including one in eight of her last nine matches, and 49 for her career. Sather's dozen double-doubles have come in three separate streaks of four. Her most recent stretch began on Oct. 23 against Oregon when she crossed the 1,000-dig threshold. She had 13 kills and 20 digs, which was one off a career high. The senior followed that with 11 kills and 12 digs against Oregon State the next night before adding two more double-doubles last weekend. She also had four consecutive from Sept. 10-16 and Oct. 2-16. Sather is first on the squad with 15 double-figure kills matches to bring her career total to 84 and has at least 10 in nine straight contests. She has led the Bruins in kills for a match nine times, including each of the last three. Her season-best total came on Oct. 17 when she had 16 at Washington State with a .560 hitting percentage, which was also a season-high. Sather is 10 kills away from moving past Lori Zeno (1,404) into 11th place on UCLA's career list. Defensively, Sather has produced 15 matches with at least 10 digs, which is second on the team, and has 53 such contests as a Bruin. She has double figures in digs in 10 of 11 Pac-10 contests.

Sophomore Lainey Gera surpassed the 20-plus digs mark twice last weekend, tying a career high with 28 digs at Stanford on Saturday and posting 20 against Cal on Friday. Gera has at least 20 digs nine times this season and in seven of her last 10 matches. The sophomore leads the Bruins with 4.56 digs per set, ranking fourth in the Pac-10. Gera's 28 digs against the Cardinal equaled the output she had at Washington on Oct. 16. She also had a 25-dig effort at Nebraska (Sept. 13), 23 against USC (Oct. 9), 22 against BYU (Sept. 10), Stanford (Oct. 2) and Oregon (Oct. 23) and 21 at Arizona (Sept. 26). Gera has double figures in digs in 11 of her last 12, a team-best 20 times this year and 26 times for her career. In addition to her prowess at digging, Gera has chipped in offensively with her serving and setting. The sophomore's 22 service aces are second on the team. She has at least one in seven of her last eight matches. Gera's season and career high was three at Pepperdine on Sept. 16. She has also tallied at least five assists in a match eight times, posting a career-high seven at Hawai'i (Aug. 30) and at Stanford on Saturday.

Freshman Lauren Cook produced her second 50-assist match in as many weeks on Saturday at Stanford and also set a career high in digs to post her 11th double-double of the year. The freshman had 50 assists and 18 digs after falling just one dig shy of a double-double on Friday at Cal when she notched 39 assists and nine digs to go along with six kills, which tied a season high. Cook, who is second on the team in double-doubles, leads the squad with 10.42 assists per set and is third with 2.47 digs per set and 18 service aces. Her season high in assists came on Oct. 23 against Oregon when she had 54, adding 10 digs for a double-double. 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 also had a double-double against Stanford on Oct. 2 with 17 digs and 47 assists. The freshman had a happy homecoming against Nebraska on Sept. 13, as the Lincoln native had 48 assists and 15 digs in a win over the Huskers. 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 nine times. She had a season-high six against Virginia and Arizona (Sept. 26) before equaling that output last Saturday. The freshman has posted at least three kills with no errors nine times. Cook had a season-high three aces against Cal on Oct. 3 and has at least one ace in five straight matches (seven aces total).

Sophomore Amanda Gil has recorded six straight matches with at least six blocks and has moved back to the top spot in the nation in blocks per set at 1.61. Gil has led the Bruins in roofs in 10 consecutive contests, producing at least five in nine of them. Her season high came against Oregon on Oct. 23 when she had 10 to go along with a season-best 14 kills. The double-double was Gil's second of her career, with the first coming last year against the Ducks. During Pac-10 play, she is averaging 1.77 bps. The sophomore is also tops on the team in hitting percentage (.360) and third in kills per set (2.30). Gil had fallen just one block short of a double-double two previous times this season with nine roofs 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 five more times against UNLV (Sept. 4), Arizona (Sept. 26), Washington (Oct. 16), Washington State (Oct. 17) and Stanford (Oct. 31). All told, Gil has at least five blocks in 16 of her 23 matches. Offensively, the sophomore has nine double-figure kills matches this season and 21 for her career. 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 10 times, including a career-best seven against Nebraska (Sept. 13). In the serving department, the sophomore has eight aces.

Freshman Bojana Todorovic tallied her third double-double of the season on Saturday at Stanford, tying season highs with 14 kills and five blocks and adding 10 digs. Todorovic has eight double-figure digs contests, with six of them coming during Pac-10 play. Five of them were in a row from Oct. 3-23. The freshman had 13 digs to go along with 14 kills against California (Oct. 3) for her first career double-double. Her second came at Washington on Oct. 16 when she posted 10 kills and 11 digs. For the year, Todorovic is fourth in digs per set (2.28) and sixth in kills per set (1.60), but she is well above those averages during conference play, posting 2.55 dps and 2.31 kps. Her career high in digs came against Fordham on Sept. 19 when she had 16, adding a dozen apiece in wins against BYU (Sept. 10) and Oregon (Oct. 23). In the kills department, Todorovic has at least 10 in five contests. Along with her three double-double matches, the freshman had 11 at Arizona State on Sept. 25 and 10 at Nebraska on Sept. 13. Todorovic leads the squad with 24 aces. She had a season-best four at Pepperdine on Sept. 16 and added three against Fordham, registering at least one ace in 15 of 24 matches. Todorovic has also stepped up her blocking of late, recording 21 in her last nine matches after notching only four in her initial 15 contests.

After posting only four double-doubles in her first two years in Westwood, junior Dicey McGraw already has five this season after recording one on Saturday against Stanford. McGraw had 12 kills and 15 digs, which was one shy of a career high. Her first three double-doubles during Pac-10 play came consecutively, as she had 13 kills and 11 digs at Arizona State (Sept. 25), a career-high 20 kills and 15 digs against Arizona (Sept. 26) and 14 kills and 10 digs versus Stanford (Oct. 2). The team leader in kills per set at 3.14, McGraw has 13 double-figure kills matches this season and 44 for her career. She has led the Bruins in kills in a match 11 times, producing at least seven kills in 22 of her 24 matches. Including her career effort against Arizona, the junior has broken the 15-kill threshold three other times against Nebraska (18, Sept. 13), BYU (17, Sept. 10) and Loyola Marymount (16, Sept. 5). In the match with BYU, she added 12 digs for her first double-double of the season. McGraw has seven double-figure digs matches and is fifth on the team with 1.98 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 seven block assists and eight total blocks against Oregon on Oct. 23 and tied a personal best with two blocks solos against LMU.

Sophomore Katie Camp registered a season-best seven blocks on Oct. 23 against Oregon and has been very steady at the net with at least three blocks in seven of her last eight matches. Camp, who did not make the trip to the Bay Area due to the flu, 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.

Stepping in for an under the weather Katie Camp, sophomore Sara Sage had a career night against California on Friday, recording 11 kills, a .471 hitting percentage and 13.5 points. After having no kills and three blocks in her last eight matches and 17 sets, Sage had 18 kills and 11 blocks in a pair of contests last weekend. She tied a career high with six roofs against Stanford on Saturday. Sage also had six blocks against Fordham on Sept. 19. The sophomore is third on the team with 0.71 blocks per set and is also averaging 0.96 kills per set ... freshman Rachael Kidder, who comes into matches just once per rotation as a blocking sub for Lauren Cook, became a huge part of the Bruins' rally at the end of the opening set against Stanford on Saturday. Down 18-14, UCLA earned a sideout, brought in Kidder and then reeled off 10 straight points to win the set. The freshman had a hand in four of the points on three kills and a combo block. She finished the match with four kills in nine swings with a pair of roofs. Kidder had a career-high six blocks twice against Fordham (Sept. 19) and Oregon (Oct. 23) and is averaging 0.45 blocks per set, recording at least one roof in eight consecutive matches. She has at least four kills in a match five times, tallying a season-high eight against Virginia (Sept. 11), and is averaging 0.60 kills per set ... freshman Mari Hole has appeared in each of the last six matches and is averaging 1.65 kills per set during that span. She tied a career high with 12 kills at Washington on Oct. 16, posted six against Oregon (Oct. 23) and had five at Stanford on Saturday. Hole also had double figures in kills against Virginia (12, Sept. 11), UNLV (10, Sept. 4) and Fordham (10, Sept. 19). For the year, Hole is averaging 1.90 kills per set, which is fourth on the team.