No. 4 Huskies Host No. 5 Stanford, No. 13 Cal

Nov. 3, 2009

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It's a battle for first place in the Pac-10 as 5th-ranked Stanford visits the 4th-ranked Washington volleyball team this Friday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. Saturday night features another critical match-up with UW hosting 13th-ranked California, also at 7 p.m. Both matches are at Bank of America Arena and Friday's match will be televised on a delayed basis by FSN.

The Huskies (19-2, 9-2 Pac-10) have a one-game lead over the Cardinal (15-6, 8-3) in the conference standings, but Stanford took the first meeting between in the teams last month in Palo Alto, coming back from 2-1 down for a 3-2 victory that was UW's first loss of the season.

Washington will be televised in each of the next three weeks by FSN. After the Stanford match, UW's Nov. 14 road match vs. UCLA will be broadcast, as will the Nov. 21 home match against WSU.

Washington got back to its road warrior ways with two big wins over the Arizona schools last weekend. Friday night, UW went up against the 18th-ranked Wildcats, and after stumbling in the first set, the Huskies rallied for a 18-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-19 victory that snapped a two-match road skid. Jill Collymore had a great all-around effort with 14 kills, 13 digs, four blocks and an ace. Kindra Carlson had 18 kills and Airial Salvo had her seventh double-double with 13 kills and 11 digs. With a team-high 18 digs, Tamari Miyashiro passed Oregon's Katie Swoboda for second on the Pac-10 career digs list with 2,213. The Huskies then completed a season-sweep over the Arizona schools with a 3-0 win at Arizona State on Sunday afternoon. Washington pulled out two close first sets then rolled in the third, 25-23, 28-26, 25-18. Carlson had a career-day with 24 kills over just three sets. Her kills total was two more than her previous career-best and the most by a Husky this year. Salvo also notched a season-high 18 digs.

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 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.'

Now just seven matches remain in the regular season and the Pac-10 slate, and the race for the conference crown continues to escalate with each passing week. At 9-2, the Huskies currently have a one game advantage over Stanford and UCLA, both at 8-3. The Bruins moved to second with a 3-2 win at Stanford last weekend. California is alone in fourth with a 6-5 mark and Oregon is fifth at 5-5. The Huskies are seeking their first Pac-10 title since 2005. Stanford has won the past three titles with UW as runner-up each year. Washington has not lost more than three Pac-10 matches since 2003.

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 87-14 (.861) in conference matches and finished no worse than a tie for second.

Stanford had its three-match win streak snapped in a 3-2 home loss to UCLA last Saturday. It was the Cardinal's first home loss and dropped them into a tie with the Bruins for second in the Pac-10. Stanford gave UW its first set losses and first loss of the year back in Palo Alto, pulling out a five-set thriller. Senior middle blocker Janet Okogbaa did the most damage in the match, with 21 kills on a .528 hitting percentage. Okogba ranks third in the Pac-10 in hitting with a .379 mark and is second in blocks with 1.33 per set. Junior libero Gabi Ailes has also been playing at a very high-level with 5.87 digs per set in conference play. She had 25 vs. UW. Two-time All-American junior Alix Klineman ranks sixth in the Pac-10 with 3.96 k/s and her 358.0 points lead the Cardinal. Freshman setter Karissa Cook has taken over the starting job and averages 8.57 assists/set. Stanford won the serve/receive battle in Palo Alto, out-acing UW, 4-3, and committing just four serve errors while UW had 17. The Cardinal rank fourth in the conference with a .263 hitting percentage and have allowed opponents to hit .207, ranking eighth. Stanford is just 3-4 in true road matches thus far.

The Cardinal have taken the last four meetings against the Huskies, and lead the all-time series, 45-9. Stanford took the first match this year in five sets, coming back from 2-1 down. The Dawgs' last win came in Palo Alto back in 2007, when they pulled out a five-set thriller. Washington's last home win over Stanford came in 2006 in three sets.

The Bears split its home matches last weekend against the L.A. schools, falling to UCLA in four sets but bouncing back to defeat USC in four sets. At 6-5 in conference Cal is alone in fourth-place. The Bears are leading the Pac-10 in hitting percentage in Pac-10 matches, one percentage point ahead of UW at .278. Senior Hana Cutura is the Pac-10 leader in kills and points per set with 5.03 and 5.52 respectively. Senior middle blocker Mindi Wiley is fourth in the league with a .379 attack percentage and averages 1.10 blocks. She hit .538 vs. UW with nine kills in the first meeting in Berkeley. Washington swept Cal earlier this year with both offenses firing on all cylinders. UW hit .490 while Cal was at .349 for the match. Cal's Correy Johnson had seven kills on 10 swings and no errors. The Bears are 1-3 in Pac-10 road matches but did earn a 3-2 win over No. 3 Hawai'i on the road back in early September.

Home court has not meant much to the Huskies and Bears over the last two years, though UW hopes to change that this weekend. The visiting team has swept the home team in the last three meetings. Cal spoiled UW's Pac-10 home opener last year with a 28-26, 25-22, 25-23 win, but Washington turned the tables in Berkeley, winning 25-17, 27-25, 25-29, and then posted a 25-16, 25-22, 25-23 win in Berkeley in October. The Huskies lead the all-time series, 29-23 and has won nine of the last 11 meetings.

The Huskies moved back up into the No. 4 spot in this week's AVCA poll, trading places with Stanford which was 1-1 last week while the Dawgs were 2-0. UW was third for much of the year until suffering its first loss at Stanford. Penn State remains No. 1 and Texas No. 2, with Hawai'i third and Stanford and Illinois tied for fifth. Washington is also fourth in the Volleyball Magazine poll this week. The Huskies are now 8-1 against ranked opponents. Nine Pac-10 teams are currently in the Top-25 or receiving votes. After UW and Stanford, UCLA continues to climb up to No. 7 this week, followed by No. 13 California, No. 14 Oregon, No. 17 USC, No. 18 Arizona, and No. 24 Washington State. Oregon State is receiving votes. 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 2,233 career digs and just passed Oregon's Katie Swoboda (2005-08) for second in Pac-10 history. Only Arizona State's Sydney Donahue (2004-07) owns more digs with 2,385. 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 5.42. Miyashiro has also moved up to sixth all-time in sets played with 412, having just surpassed Makare Desilets (404; 1994-97) and former National Player of the Year Sanja Tomasevic (393; 2002-05). 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, and passed the 3,500 mark last weekend. Hagglund passed Gretchen Maurer (1999-02) for third on the Husky all-time list and now has 3,586. Also worth keeping an eye on is the impressive hitting of sophomore middle blocker Bianca Rowland. Currently hitting .451, 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 110 service winners. Senior Airial Salvo also recently became a member of the exclusive 1,000 kills-1,000 digs club adding in her two years at Utah. Salvo now has 1,343 kills and 1,093 digs.

Washington makes its final road trip of the regular season, heading to Los Angeles to take on 17th-ranked USC and 7th-ranked UCLA. The Huskies will battle the Trojans first on Friday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m., then face the Bruins on Saturday, also at 7 p.m. The UCLA match will be televised by FSN.

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