Friday, August 31, 2012

Pac-12 | Washington wins again, sweeps LSU

#11 Washington 3, LSU 0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-22)
next: #11 Washington @ Rice | 9AM (Pacific), September 1

Volleyblog Seattle photo by Leslie Hamann
Four hours after dispatching #7 Purdue (see: “A severe beat down”: Washington clobbers #7 Purdue), the Washington Huskies came back to sweep host LSU at the Tiger Classic in Houston.

Krista Vansant led all hitters with 13 kills and 3 errors on 29 attacks (.345). Kylin Muñoz had 9 kills, 2 errors on 21 attacks (.333).

Pac-12 | “A severe beat down”: Washington clobbers #7 Purdue

LSU Tiger Classic, Houston
#11 Washington 3, #7 Purdue 0 (25-21, 25-17, 25-9)
LSU 3, Rice 0 (25-16, 25-15, 25-21)
Next up: #11 Washington vs. LSU | 5PM (Pacific) tonight (August 31)

After the final point of an eye-popping match in a bandbox gymnasium, Purdue’s radio play-by-play announcer said it all:

“Washington just administered a severe beatdown on the Boilermakers”

Purdue came into the match ranked #7, returning several veterans from a team that finished 27-5 last season. For the Washington Huskies, it looked to be their toughest nonconference opponent in several seasons.

Pac-12 | Live Radio/Stats links for Washington vs. Purdue

#11 Washington vs. #7 Purdue (@ LSU Tiger Classic in Houston)
August 31, 10:00AM (Pacific)

Fox gym at Rice University
Here are links to follow this morning’s big showdown between Washington and Purdue:

A crazy match is on tap. Hurricane Isaac forced the tournament to relocate from Baton Rouge to Houston. But Rice University’s usual arena is unavailable this weekend, so they are playing in a tiny little practice gym.
A reminder that UW has won 34 consecutive nonconference matches, dating back to a narrow 2-3 loss in Honolulu to Hawai’i on September 13, 2008. During that run, the Huskies have played 103 sets, losing just one, during a 3-1 win last year at Long Beach State.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pac-12 | Huskies in Houston, face powerhouse Purdue

Tiger Classic moved to Rice University’s tiny gym
  • Friday, August 31 | 10am: #11 Washington vs. #7 Purdue 
  • Friday, August 31 | 5pm: #11 Washington vs. LSU
  • Saturday, September 1 | 9am: #11 Washington vs. Rice
  • No television | follow live on Gametracker

The big matches this weekend:
Gabbi Parker and Lianna Sybeldon
-Volleyblog Seattle photo
by Leslie Hamann

#11 Washington vs. #7 Purdue @ Houston (Friday)
The Tiger Classic, hosted by LSU, was moved to Rice University to avoid Hurricane Isaac. Seventh ranked Purdue  is a powerhouse, coming off a 29-5 season that ended in the Sweet 16 (to Florida State.) This season’s big hitters include sophomore Val Nichol, senior Ariel Turner and junior Catherine Rebarchak. Like Jim McLaughlin at Washington, Purdue coach Dave Shondell has doled out plenty of preseason playing time up and down his roster. This should be Washington’s toughest opponent until UCLA and USC come to Seattle September 26-27.

#8 Stanford @ #4 Penn State (Friday)
Stanford lost convincingly at Hawai’i on Sunday, and now must travel 7 time zones face the Beasts of the East. For a detailed preview, visit DigNittanyVolleyball.

#2 Texas @ #4 Penn State (Saturday)
Texas plays in a relatively easy conference, so these nonconference matchups are a good way to measure whether the Longhorns deserve their lofty ranking.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Pac-12 | What we learned from Washington’s first three matches

#12 Washington wins its 32nd, 33rd and 34th consecutive nonconference matches (a new team record); #7 Purdue is up next

Washington coach Jim McLaughlin had a grin on his face.

In three victories against three regional opponents (Boise State, Gonzaga and Portland State), every player on his roster saw action (except freshman middle blocker Melanie Wade, recovering from an ankle sprain.)

And McLaughlin readily admitted—with obvious glee—that his lineups are not yet set.

NCAA | Washington volleyball ranked #12 in second coaches’ poll

Washington (3-0) moves up two places; will face #7 Purdue Friday in Houston

The weekly coaches’ poll is conducted by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).
Worth noting: Oregon defeats Ohio State, but voters unimpressed. Iowa State and Illinois look awful, yet remain in the Top 20.
Washington's Krista Vansant passes
-Volleyblog Seattle photo by Leslie Hamann

Pac-12 | Volleyball tournament moves to Houston, sidestepping hurricane

LSU Tiger Classic—featuring Washington, Purdue, Rice and host LSU—is moved to Houston

With Hurricane Isaac bearing down on Louisiana, host LSU has decided to move its Tiger Classic volleyball tournament to Rice University in Houston. #12 Washington and #7 Purdue will join LSU and Rice in the 

The tournament’s schedule remains the same:

Pac 12 | Hurricane Isaac may change Washington volleyball plans

Baton Rouge Tournament—featuring Washington, Purdue, Rice and host LSU—may have to be moved to Houston

The latest hurricane projections from NOAA show Hurricane Isaac heading straight for Louisiana.

There are now discussions about moving this weekend’s volleyball matches from Baton Rouge, home of host LSU, to Houston, home of participant Rice

The tournament is scheduled for this Friday and Saturday, but teams were scheduled to arrive in Baton Rouge earlier in the week.

courtesy NOAA (as of 11:00AM, Pacific time, August 27, 2012)

WRITTEN BY: Jack Hamann | PHOTOGRAPHY: Leslie Hamann

NCAA | How the Top 20 fared

How the Top 20 fared, August 24-26, 2012

It was an eventful three days …
Washington's Kelcey Dunaway
-Volleyblog Seattle photo
by Leslie Hamann
  • In the first weekend’s marquee matchup, #1 UCLA built a 19-13 lead in the second set against #5 Nebraska, only to let it slip away. Playing at home, the Huskers hung on, barely, until the match was tied 13-all in the fifth set. Nebraska won the next two points and came away with the narrowest of victories.
  • The Bruins were last season’s national champions; their Finals opponent, #9 Illinois, also lost … twice, to Dayton and to #11 Pepperdine. Not to be outdone, Pepperdine also lost to unheralded Dayton.
  • Nebraska’s Coliseum is probably the second-toughest place for visitors to play; #3 Stanford travelled to the toughest: Honolulu. In something of a surprise, Hawai’i handled Stanford fairly easily, 3-1, in front of 7,426 Wahine Rainbow fans.
  • #2 Texas swept away pesky #19 San Diego, and watched #10 Iowa State—its only serious competition in the Big 12—lose to both #14 Florida State and #16 Tennessee. Florida State also easily handled Tennessee.
  • Last season, #18 Oregon stunned the volleyball world by beating #4 Penn State. This season, the Ducks overcame Ohio State in five sets.
  • #17 California stumbled, losing in five sets to San Diego State.

Friday, August 24, 2012

WAC | Seattle U opens 2012 season with a win

LARAMIE, WYO: Seattle U 3, Presbyterian 1 (25-15, 25-21, 21-25, 25-22)

Sarah Jaeckel
The 2012 volleyball season is officially underway, and Seattle University starts with a win.

At the University of Wyoming Invitational, the Redhawks defeated Presbyterian College (Clinton, S.C.)  3-1.

SU's Sarah Jaeckel led the way with 11 kills on 35 attempts. Karina Miastkowska added 10 kills on 21 attempts.

Later today, the Redhawks face Eastern Washington. Tomorrow they'll take on San Francisco, then host Wyoming.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pac-12 | Jim McLaughlin: “It’s hard to pick a starting lineup”

Veteran Seattle Times volleyball correspondent Terry Wood has a preseason profile of the Washington Huskies in the paper's August 24 edition. Terry shares the full transcript of his preseason interview with Jim McLaughlin with Volleyblog Seattle

Q: What’s your assessment of your latest team as the first match draws near?

I think we have the capacity to be a much-improved team in many areas because we have capabilities in each position.

NCAA | Local connections at this weekend’s NW Volleyball Challenge

Lineups dotted with former Washington preps and Huskies’ former teammates

If you’re headed to Alaska Airlines Arena for the season-opening Northwest Challenge this weekend, you can see several players on the visiting rosters with local connections:
Top: Sarah Baugh, Casey Rose, Cara Olden, Leigh-Ann Haataia
Bottom: Sara Bradley, Lyndsay Palmer, Lauren Joseph, Jordan Gasser


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

NCAA | What are the must-see preseason matches?

Here are the national 2012 nonconference matches worth watching

Starting Friday, and for the following 22 days, the calendar is full of must-see matches across the nation.

How about UCLA @ Nebraska this Saturday? Washington vs. Purdue next Friday? Stanford @. Penn State followed by Texas @ Penn State?

Two others we'll have our eye on: San Diego @ USC on September 7, and Pepperdine @ UCLA September 12 ...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pac-12 | Washington volleyball takes nonconference matches seriously

Washington has lost just two nonconference matches in the past nine years. This season, nonconference matches matter more than ever.

On August 31, 2001, Jim McLaughlin’s inaugural Washington volleyball team took the court for the very first time … and lost, 3 sets to none. The winner was BYU, a team that would finish the season ranked #22 with a 20-9 record.

The very next day, also at Hec Ed Pavilion, the Huskies defeated Purdue in the afternoon, but lost its second match of the season that night, falling to perennial power Texas 1-3.

NCAA | Washington Volleyball ranked 13th in first media poll

Volleyball Magazine ranks Washington #13; six Huskies' opponents among top 18

UW middle blocker Kelcey Dunaway
-Volleyblog Seattle photo
by Leslie Hamann
In the first media poll of the 2012 season, Washington is ranked the 13th best team in the nation. The weekly poll is conducted by the Volleyball Magazine.
Practices for all NCAA Division 1 teams began two weeks ago; the first matches won’t be played until this Friday.
Six traditional powers dominate the top of the poll, including three Pac-12 schools, among them defending national champion UCLA (#1), Stanford (3) and USC (6). Texas is ranked 2nd, Penn State 3rd and Nebraska 4th.
Hawai’i—moving this season to the Big West Conference—is ranked 7thPurdue—whom Washington plays in Baton Rouge on August 31—is eighth. 2011 NCAA runner-up Illinois is ranked 9thIowa State is 10th.

Volleyblog Seattle is one of ten national voters in the weekly Volleyball Magazine poll.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

WAC | Seattle U volleyball picked to finish ninth

After wandering the country as a D1 independent, Seattle University finally finds a home in the vastly reconstituted Western Athletic Conference.

In a just-released preseason poll, the WAC coaches pick SU to finish ninth this season. The top eight schools advance to the postseason conference tournament.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Olympics | Courtney Thompson: “Losing sucks”

Back in the USA, the Olympic setter talks about the gold medal match, her punch in the nose and her next volleyball assignment. A Volleyblog Seattle exclusive.

For a very long stretch, Courtney Thompson and her Olympic teammates knew nothing but winning.

A 2012 World Grand Prix championship after going undefeated in 14 matches across three continents. Winners of seven straight Olympic matches, dropping just two sets along the way.

NCAA | Washington volleyball ranked 14th in first preseason poll

Huskies’ 2012 schedule includes 11 matches against Top 25 teams, plus 3 matches against teams rated 26-35

Washington setter Jenni Nogueras
-Volleyblog Seattle photo
by Leslie Hamann
In their first poll of the 2012 season, Division 1 coaches rank Washington the 14th best team in the nation. The weekly poll is conducted by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).
Practices for all NCAA Division 1 teams began last Wednesday; the first matches won’t be played until the end of next week.
Six traditional powers dominate the top of the poll, including three Pac-12 schools, among them defending national champion UCLA (#1), USC (5) and Stanford (6). Texas is ranked 2nd, Penn State 3rd and Nebraska 4th.
2011 NCAA runner-up Illinois is ranked 7th. Hawai’i—moving this season to the Big West Conference is ranked 8th. Purdue—whom Washington plays in Baton Rouge on August 31—is ninth. And Iowa State is 10th.
Of the 29 matches on Washington’s schedule, 14 are against teams in the top 35, including two each against UCLA (rated  #1), USC (5), Stanford (6), California (17) and Oregon (20), plus one each against Purdue (9), Long Beach State (26), LSU (33) and Arizona (35).

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Olympics | Lessons learned from volleyball's gold medal match

Brazil 3, USA 1 (11-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-17)
After shock and a bit of sadness, fans of USA volleyball will want to evaluate just how sure-fire gold slipped from the team’s fingers. Here, then, are some early talking points:
Brazilian ball falls between Nicole Davis and Lindsey Berg
In every volleyball match, at every level, winning teams have to serve tough and pass well. Many of USA’s 9 service errors came at inopportune momentum-killing times, especially the 4 by Logan Tom. But USA’s serve-receive was the real story: libero Nicole Davis was simply not up to the task, and USA coach Hugh McCutcheon made a huge mistake sticking with poor-passing Megan Hodge too long. Far too often, USA was operating out-of-system and Brazil was in-system. At this level, that essentially spells defeat.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Olympics | Gold Medal Match: How USA beat Brazil 12 days ago

Gold Medal match: USA (7-0) vs. Brazil (5-2)
Saturday, August 11 | 10:30am (Pacific)
Only July 30, USA met Brazil in the second match of Olympic pool play. Coming in, USA had looked erratic in a hard-fought 3-1 victory against South Korea. Brazil had struggled to a 3-2 win against Turkey.
USA’s 3-1 win against Brazil that night was hardly easy (25-18, 25-17, 22-25, 25-21). But a careful review of that contest may shed light on what to expect during Saturday’s gold medal rematch:
Logan Tom passes as Nicole Davis looks on during
USA's July 30 win against Brazil
After a shaky pool play performance against South Korea, libero Nicole Davis greatly improved her serve-receive game against Brazil. It helped that the Brazilians had a terrible serving night; when they weren’t making service errors (15 for the match), they were delivering easy serves. By comparison, USA served tough, particularly Jordan Larson and Logan Tom.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Olympics | Playing for gold: USA defeats South Korea

USA 3, South Korea 0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-22)
Gold Medal Match: USA vs. Brazil, Saturday, August 11, 10:30am

On a day when its passing and setting were less than stellar, USA found a way to outlast South Korea in straight sets to reach Saturday’s Olympic gold medal match.
Destinee Hooker celebrates during USA's 3-0 semifinal victory over South Korea
-Associated Press
Destinee Hooker was again the star. She had 21 kills and just 1 error on 33 attempts. Her incredible .606 average marked the sixth straight match she has improved her efficiency.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Olympics | Courtney Thompson's nose, Lindsey Berg's calf

USA vs. South Korea (semifinals), Thursday, August 9, 7:00am (Pacific)

USA volleyball fans won't know until Thursday morning whether Courtney Thompson or Lindsey Berg will take the setter's reins against South Korea in the Olympic semifinals.

There is no reason to suspect that Thompson's bump on the nose--sustained on the final play of Tuesday's Dominican Republic match--has had any significant effect. But much thanks to Seattle's Dave Weitl of Washington Volleyball Academy for passing along his photo of Courtney signaling to her parents that she's bloodied, but not bowed:

Olympics | USA vs. South Korea: Comparing the big guns

USA vs. South Korea (semifinals): Thursday, August 9, 7:00am (Pacific)

Thursday’s semifinal showdown between USA (6-0) and South Korea (3-3) features the two best women hitters in the world. Their numbers so far offer some intriguing lessons.
Destinee Hooker (19) challenges Yeon-Koung Kim (10)
during USA's 3-1 pool play victory
South Korea’s Yeon-Koung Kim has the most attempts (by far) of any player in the 2012 Olympics, averaging 52 attempts per match. She also has the most kills, averaging 24.3 per match.
USA’s Destinee Hooker ranks fifth in attempts (37.3) and third in kills (17.0 per match). Hooker has the tournament’s second-best hitting percentage so far (.357), ahead of third place Kim (.342).
First, let’s compare the raw numbers.

Olympics | Destinee Hooker’s “embrace” of Courtney Thompson

Newspapers around the world—including the Seattle Times—ran an Olympic volleyball report that opened this way:
LONDON — Destinee Hooker threw her arms around teammate Courtney Thompson in celebration after the U.S. women's volleyball team defeated the Dominican Republic to advance to the semifinals at the London Olympics.
That paragraph, written by Associated Press sportswriter Anne M. Peterson, sounds dramatic enough. But it might be deceptive.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Olympics | Courtney Thompson leads USA to 3-0 victory in quarterfinals

USA 3, Dominican Republic 0 (25-14, 25-21, 25-22)
next: Semifinals, USA (6-0) vs. South Korea (3-3),
Thursday, August 9, 7:00am (Pacific)
USA coach Hugh McCutcheon raised a few eyebrows when he named Courtney Thompson as one of his two 2012 Olympic setters. Some thought Thompson had impressed McCutcheon primarily for her ability to provide a late spark in close matches.
Courtney Thompson sets during 3-0 Olympic
quarterfinal win against Dominican Republic
But when Volleyblog Seattle flatly asked McCutcheon if he thought Thompson could lead the team through an entire match, he didn’t hesitate.
“We wouldn’t have selected her if she couldn’t.”
On a day when three favored teams—Russia, China and Italy—all went down to defeat in the Olympic quarterfinals, it was Courtney Thompson fully at the controls as USA swept Dominican Republic in generally emphatic fashion.
Thompson replaced Lindsey Berg, who injured her right ankle in the third set of Sunday’s pool play victory over Turkey. If she was nervous about her first-ever Olympic start, she didn’t show it.
The first point of the match was a sweet connection between Thompson and middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo. The two were in sync all night, as Akinradewo finished with 10 kills and no errors on 13 attempts … an eye-popping .770 average.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Olympics | How USA and Dominican Republic match up

2012 London Olympic Quarterfinals
USA (5-0) vs. Dominican Republic (2-3)
Tuesday, August 6, 2012, 11:00am (Pacific Time)

Pool Play
USA: 5-0 in Pool B [beat South Korea (3-1), Brazil (3-1), China (3-1), Serbia (3-0), Turkey (3-0)]
Dominican Republic: 2-3 in Pool A [lost to Italy (1-3), Russia (1-3), Japan (0-3); beat Great Britain (3-0), Algeria (3-0)

World Ranking (as of July 4)
USA: #1
Dominican Republic: #11
Foluke Akinradewo attacks against South Korea

USA’s setters
Starting setter Lindsey Berg left Sunday’s Turkey match with an apparent right ankle injury. After the match, head coach Hugh McCutcheon said she had not torn anything, and Berg said she hoped to play against Dominican Republic. Sources tell us Berg had an MRI on Monday—standard practice, we assume—but no word on results. Berg, who says her knees hurt “all the time,” announced a couple weeks ago that she will retire after these Olympics.
Berg has forged a strong setter/hitter connection with Destinee Hooker, USA’s most consistent and devastating weapon. Berg’s distribution to her outside hitters has remained fairly constant, but she seems less confident setting her middles. Her serving is adequate, and her defense (perhaps because of her knees) can be uninspired. But because she gets the ball to Hooker—right side, left side and back row—the team wins.
When backup setter Courtney Thompson enters matches, Hooker comes out, so Thompson usually works without USA’s best player. Thompson does a great job setting her middles, though, and tends to disguise her sets until the very last moment, often leaving opposing blockers flat-footer. Her serving, usually a plus, has been so-so during the Olympics. But her defense is outstanding, and anytime she plays an entire set, her leadership shines. Both Berg and Thompson are 5-8, so their blocking is a wash. Frankly, if Berg can’t go, the USA will be a slightly different team, but just as good a team.
Dominican Republic’s defense
Libero Brenda Castillo is one of the world’s best defenders, and leads all Olympic setters in digging and serve receiving. USA must have the confidence and patience to serve short or to the deep corners … anywhere except right at Castillo. Great teams also find ways to attack line and set quicks; both strategies usually take liberos out of the play.
Consistent hitting
Dominican Republic has three big experienced hitters (see below,) but each has struggled at times during these Olympics. The middles see very few sets, so USA’s usually overpowering block advantage can make the difference. For USA, Hooker has been great throughout; Logan Tom and Foluke Akinradewo get better each match. McCutcheon will likely keep Jordan Larson in the match as long as she is producing, but he’s been willing to insert Megan Hodge if Larson falters.

vs. Italy
(L 1-3)
vs. Russia
(L 1-3)
vs. Japan
(L 0-3)
vs. Britain
(W 3-0)
vs. Algeria
(W 3-0)
Pool A
Bethania de la Cruz de Pena (6-2 OH)
Milagros Cabral de la Cruz (5-11 OH)
Prisilla Rivera Brens
(6-1 OPP)

This looks like a 3-0 USA sweep.
I’ll also guess Italy 3-2 over South Korea and China 3-1 over Japan
In the biggest match of the quarterfinals, I think Russia will prevail over defending gold medalist Brazil. It should be 3-1, but a five-set thriller wouldn’t surprise me.

Olympics | Elimination/Medal Round Schedule

2012 London Olympics | Women’s Indoor Volleyball
All times Pacific
Quarterfinals: Tuesday, August 7

5:00am—Japan vs. China

Algeria (3-0)
Dom. Rep. (3-0)
Gr. Britain (3-0)
Italy (1-3)
Russia (1-3)
Serbia (3-1)
Turkey (3-1)
Korea (3-2)
USA (0-3)
Brazil (2-3)

7:00am—Russia vs. Brazil

Gr. Britain (3-0)
Dom. Rep. (3-1)
Algeria (3-0)
Japan (3-1)
Italy (3-2)

Turkey (3-2)
China (3-2)
Serbia (3-0)
USA (1-3)
Korea (0-3)

11:00am—USA vs. Dominican Republic

Korea (3-1)
Brazil (3-1)
China (3-0)
Serbia (3-0)
Turkey (3-0)

Dominican Republic
Gr. Britain (3-0)
Algeria (3-0)
Italy (1-3)
Russia (1-3)
Japan (0-3)

1:00pm—South Korea vs. Italy

South Korea
Serbia (3-1)
Brazil (3-0)
USA (1-3)
Turkey (2-3)
China (2-3)
Dom. Rep. (3-1)
Japan (3-1)
Gr. Britain (3-0)
Algeria (3-0)
Russia (2-3)

Semifinals: Thursday, August 9

7:00am—Japan/China winner vs. Russia/Brazil winner
11:30am—USA/Dominican Republic winner vs. Italy/Korea winner

Medals: Saturday, August 11

4:30am—Bronze Medal match
10:30am—Gold Medal match

Have your friends discovered Volleyblog Seattle? Number of unique visits: