Volleyball team drills Kansas, moving on to NCAA Sweet 16


he Washington State University women’s volleyball team advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship Tournament…wins over Oral Roberts and Kansas State placed the WSU Cougars into the third NCAA Regional semi-finals in school history…the previous times were 1996 and 1997…WSU advanced to the Elite Eight in 1997..coincidently, this year as in 1997, the Cougar football team won the Pac-10 and will play in the Rose Bowl…WSU takes a seven-match win streak into the NCAA competition…this is the fifth time in Cougar Head Coach Cindy Fredrick’s 14-year career at WSU the Cougars have won 23 or more matches in a season…Washington State has won all 12 non-conference matches this season…also tallied a dozen wins on the road…only loss at home was to No. 1 USC.

ABOUT THE NCAA EAST REGION TEAMS: Northern Iowa is the number four seed nationally and top seed in the East…Florida is seeded 5th nationally…Northern Iowa should be hosting the East Region competition but did not bid due to the NCAA requirement of 4,000 seat venues…WSU is one of four Pac-10 teams in the Sweet 16…Penn State was the 13th seed but was upset by Temple in the second round at University Park, Pa.

COUGAR VOLLEYBALL ON RADIO AND INTERNET: The local LIVE and Internet accessible radio broadcasts of the WSU volleyball NCAA matches begin Friday at 12:45 p.m. PT…the announcers are yet to be determined as long-time Cougar volleyball announcer Alex Webster is not available this weekend…in the Palouse, the broadcasts are on KRPL-AM, 1400…for the internet connection, go to www.wsucougars.com for the audio link.

ABOUT NORTHERN IOWA (34-2): NCAA number four seed…located in Cedar Falls, Iowa, the purple Panthers have only lost to Stanford, 3-0 in the first match of the year, and at Bradley 3-1, in mid-season…UNI won its fourth consecutive Missouri Valley Conference title this year with a 17-1 record…the Panthers have won 21 straight matches including a home win-streak of 60 matches, the second longest home win streak in the NCAA…UNI defeated No. 3 Florida 3-2, Nov. 30, at the SEC Challenge tournament in Orlando…third time in four years the Panthers have advanced to Sweet 16…hosted first and second d rounds, defeating Wisconsin-Milwaukee 3-1 and Missouri 3-2…junior MB Molly O’Brien leads the team with 4.55 kpg and 1.29 bpg…senior OH Kim Kester brings 3.99 kpg and 3.16 dpg…coach Bobbi Petersen (83-13, 2 years)…Northern Iowa and Washington State have met four times with UNI winning twice in 1987 and at the 1994 Cougar Challenge…WSU prevailed in three games at the 2000 Fresno State Invite.

BITS ABOUT THE BEST OF THE REST: FLORIDA (32-2)…NCAA number five seed…Gators have won five straight SEC tournaments and 12 regular season titles…Puerto Rican junior OH Aury Cruz was named the SEC Player of the Year for the second straight year (4.57 kpg, 3.01 dpg)…senior MB Nicole McCray brings 3.35 kpg with a .410 hpct…junior MB Benavia Jenkins averages 1.54 bpg…coach Mary Wise was voted the league’s Coach of the Year for the 10th time in 12 years…WSU is 0-2 against Florida…in 1997, the Gators defeated the Cougars 3-0 in the NCAA Central Region semi-finals at Madison, Wis…the following year Florida swept WSU at the SEC-Pac-10 Challenge Tournament at DisneyWorld…TEMPLE (29-6) is located in Philadelphia, Pa…the Owls are the 2002 Atlantic 10 champions…making fourth appearance in tournament but first in advancing past first round…junior OH Xu Yun (China) was named Atlantic 10 Player of the Year…sophomore Alison Runk was named Atlantic 10 Setter of the Year…junior OH Yamit Haba (Israel) was named to the All-Conference team…coach Bob Bertucci (188-72 in 8 years at Temple, 540-259, 24 years career) was named Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year…WSU defeated Temple at the 1994 Cougar Challenge.

COUGS IN THE NATIONAL POLLS: Washington State is 11th in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll released Dec. 2…USC is No. 1 and Stanford is No. 3…other Pac-10 members in the poll include No. 16 Arizona, and No. 21 UCLA…also receiving votes were Washington (26th), California (27th), and Arizona State (37th)…WSU’s highest ranking was 7th in the final poll for 1996…Volleyball Magazine no longer produces a poll.

COUGAR COACHING STAFF: Head coach Cindy Fredrick’s 350th career win came against No. 1 Stanford, Nov. 16, in Pullman…Fredrick is coaching her 14th season on the Palouse…her record at WSU is 268-171 (.610) while her overall collegiate record is 354-231 (.605) in 18 years…her Pac-10 record is 126-126 (.500) in 14 years…assistant coaches are her husband, Dr. Mashallah Farokhmanesh (14th year), and former Cougar standout, Jennifer Stinson Greeny (third year).

BOHLER GYM ROCKS AND COUGAR VOLLEYBALL ROLLS ON HOME COURT: During the last nine seasons (1991-1997, 2000-02) WSU has used Bohler Gym as its home court, the Cougars racked up a 187-77 record (.708), averaged 22 wins per season, and made nine post season appearances…during the 2002 season, WSU had an 11-1 home record, 8-1 in Pac-10, losing only to No. 1 USC…great attendance is an asset.

NATIONAL ATTENDANCE RANKINGS: WSU is 17th in the national attendance rankings with an average home attendance of 1,357 fans (12 home matches)…WSU averaged 1,630 fans for Pac-10 matches…the 2,539 fans for the WSU-Stanford match 11/16, was the largest crowd in the remodeled Bohler Gym and the largest crowd since 1997…Hawai’i leads the nation (7,309 fans, 22 matches)…Arizona is the top Pac-10 school at seventh nationally (2,178 fans average in 13 matches including 9,141 fans at the Arizona – Stanford match prior to Midnight Madness basketball)…Stanford is 11th (2,017 fans average in 16 matches).

HARRIS NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: WSU right side/left side hitter LaToya Harris was named Pac-10 Volleyball Player of the Week for Nov. 10-Nov. 16…Harris, a senior from Portland, Ore., had 40 kills (4.71 kills per game) on .367 hitting along with 27 digs (3.86 digs per game) as the Cougars swept the Bay Area schools in Pullman…against Cal, Harris posted 11 kills with nine digs and four blocks and sang the national anthem a capella prior to the match…in an upset win over Stanford, she hit .460 with a career-high 29 kills, while adding a season-high 18 digs and three aces…No.17 Washington State (19-7, 9-7 in Pac-10) defeated Cal (3-0) and upset No.1-ranked Stanford (3-1)…this was the second weekly honor for Harris (the first was in October of 2000), and Washington State’s 18th Player of the Week honor all-time.

COUGAR BIRTHDAYS: December is a bumper month for Cougar volleyball birthdays: 12/2 Victoria Prince and assistant coach Jen Greeny, 12/4 Holly Harris, 12/11 Ance Auzina, and 12/13 LaToya Harris.

COUGAR SUCCESS IN EUROPE: The WSU volleyball squad took its preseason practices to Europe and returned home with an undefeated record (8-0), a first for any collegiate team according to Bring It promotions, the organization running the tour…the Cougars’ conquering of Europe included 3-0 wins over Team Lohoff (Dachau, Germany), Augsburg (Germany), and Salzberg (Austria), 3-1 and 3-0 wins over Club Vasas (Budapet, Hungary), a 3-2 win at Brno (Czech Republic), and finally 3-1 and 3-2 wins over Olymp Praha.

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