KU NCAA Tournament Preview: UCLA
Nov. 30, 2005
LOS ANGELES –
Kansas volleyball earned its third-straight NCAA Tournament bid Sunday and travels to Los Angeles Friday to face #14 UCLA (18-10) in first round action at 10 p.m. (Dec. 2) at Pauley Pavilion. The Jayhawks were one of seven teams from the Big 12 Conference to receive bids in 2005, marking the most of any league.
Should the Jayhawks advance, they will play the winner of the Long Beach State (25-6)/San Diego (22-5) match in the second round of play Saturday at 9 p.m. (all times Central).
The 16th-seeded Bruins, also ranked 14th in the most recent CSTV/AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll, are participating in their 24th NCAA Championship. UCLA has won three NCAA titles (1984, 1990, 1991) and six total national championships in women’s volleyball.
A live Internet radio stream and post-match results will be available on Kansas Athletics’ official website, kuathletics.com.
Kansas finished the 2005 regular season 15-14 overall and 7-13 in the Big 12 for an eighth-place league finish. The Jayhawks join Big 12 foes Nebraska, Kansas State, Texas A&M, Texas, Missouri and Colorado in this year’s 64-team field.
The Jayhawks return nine letterwinners including four starters in 2005. KU is led by senior middle blocker Josi Lima, a four-time All-Big 12 First Team selection. Postseason awards candidates Paula Caten (senior) and Emily Brown (sophomore) are also in the starting six.
Lima averages 3.44 kills (.232 hitting efficiency) and a team-high 1.14 blocks per game. Freshman Savannah Noyes, at 6-3, adds 1.66 kills and 0.83 blocks per game in the other middle blocker spot.
Caten, a 6-3 outside hitter, contributes 3.17 kills and 2.32 digs per game and Brown, a 6-2 right side hitter, chips in 3.07 kills, 2.25 digs and 0.40 aces per game. Junior outside hitter Megan Hill has started seven matches and adds 1.45 kills per game.
Junior libero Jamie Mathewson paces the defense and ranks ninth in the league with 3.33 digs per game while junior defensive specialist Dani Wittman (1.50 dpg) has made six starts for KU. Senior setter Andi Rozum (12.87 apg) is a four-year starter for the Jayhawks.
KU is without junior outside hitter Jana Correa, who suffered a season-ending injury against then-ranked #20 Kansas State on Oct. 5. Before the injury, Correa averaged a team-best 3.60 kills to go with 2.29 digs per game in 16 starts.
KANSAS IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
The Jayhawks are making their third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament and third to the West Coast for postseason action. KU made its first-ever postseason appearance in 2003 and has advanced to the second round in both trips. The Jayhawks are 2-2 overall in NCAA Tournament matches.
2003 Malibu, Calif. (Pepperdine) Second Round (L, 1-3 to Pepperdine)
2004 Seattle, Wash. (Washington) Second Round (L, 2-3 to Washington)
2005 Los Angeles, Calif. (UCLA)
THE KU/UCLA SERIES
Friday’s meeting will be the first ever between Kansas and UCLA in volleyball.
The Bruins (18-10, 10-8 Pac-10) finished the conference season tied for fifth place with California and received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. The 16th-seeded Bruins, also ranked 14th in the most recent CSTV/AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll, are participating in their 24th NCAA Championship.
UCLA is led by outside hitters Kaitlin Sather (3.88 kills per game), Rachell Johnson (3.15 kpg) and Katie Carter (2.71 kpg). Colby Lyman, who normally starts at opposite hitter, has an elbow injury and has not played since Nov. 3.
Middle blocker Nana Meriwether adds 1.77 blocks per game and the other middle, Nancy Barba, has 0.71 per game. UCLA’s setter, freshman Nellie Spicer, averages 12.58 assists per game. UCLA is 61-21 all-time in the NCAA tourney but have not reached the national semifinals since 1994. UCLA has won three NCAA titles (1984, 1990, 1991) and six total national championships in women’s volleyball.
Last year, UCLA lost in the regional finals to Washington, the same team that ended KU’s season in the second round in a five game thriller.
Postseason Notes in PDF Format
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