Kim Turner and the Utes face Texas A&M on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Dec. 2, 2002
SALT LAKE CITY -
No. 23 Utah (25-8) travels to the University of Southern California for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament, where they will face Texas A&M at 5 p.m. (PST) on Friday, Dec. 6. If the Utes win that match, they will face the winner of the USC/San Diego match in the second round at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7.
UTAH TOURNAMENT TIDBITS:
Utah has faced 40 of the other 63 teams in this year's field with a 67-162 (.293) all-time record. This season, the Utes went 4-4 against teams they played that made the tournament.
UTES AND THE NCAA TOURNAMENT:
This year marks the fifth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance for the Utes. Utah qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 1998, receiving an at-large bid as the No. 8 seed in the Pacific Region. Utah defeated ninth-seeded Illinois State in three games in the first round, then lost to No. 1-seeded Nebraska in four games in the second round.
In 1999, Utah, seeded No. 9 in the Mountain Region, defeated eighth-seeded Colorado in three games in the first round and lost to top-seeded Hawaii in three games in the second round.
The following year, in 2000, the Utes were the No. 8 seed in the West Region and defeated Texas Tech, 3-2 in the first round the tourney. The team then lost to Hawaii, 3-0, in the second round.
The 2001 team hosted the NCAA first and second rounds, defeating Texas Tech and Utah State at home, before concluding the season with a loss in the Sweet 16 to eventual national champion Stanford. It was the first time in Utah volleyball history that a team had advanced to the Sweet 16.
QUOTING HEAD COACH BETH LAUNIERE:
On the upcoming match against Texas A&M - "We are happy to be in the NCAA Tournament - there are a lot of teams that aren't. Texas A&M is a good Big 12 team, with a great program. They have had a lot of success in the NCAAs. I think it will be an exciting match-up and some great volleyball. It's close enough for family and friends to go. Hopefully we'll get some fan support, which is really important in the NCAAs."
UTES ON RADIO AND INTERNET:
Utah's match against Texas A&M on Friday, Dec. 6, will be broadcast live on KALL 910AM. The match can also be heard on the Internet at www.utahutes.com. If the Utes play on Saturday, that match will air on the Internet only. The match(es) will be called by Chris Tunis, who served as the president of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association from 1999-2001. A graduate of San Diego State, Tunis has been selected as Utah Sportscaster of the Year seven times by his peers.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:
Texas A&M - The Aggies (20-9) are led by Big 12 Freshman of the Year Laura Jones, who leads the team in kills (3.79) and aces (0.38), and honorable mention all-Big 12 honoree Melissa Munsch, who averages 3.48 digs per game and has 19 double-doubles on the season. Setter Lexy Beers averages 12.83 assists per game. Texas A&M was ranked No. 17 in the preseason USA Today/AVCA Coaches Poll and remained in the rankings until Oct. 14, when the Aggies fell out after 111 consecutive appearances in the poll.
USC - No. 1 Southern California (25-1) has only lost 10 games all season and 20 of its 25 victories have been sweeps. The Trojans' only loss came on Nov. 2 against then-No. 6 Stanford in five games. USC has three players - April Ross (3.70), Keao Burdine (3.23) and Emily Adams (3.13) - who average more than three kills per game, and three players - Ross (3.07), Burdine (3.00) and Nicole Davis (3.53) - who average more than three digs per game. Adams leads the Trojans with 1.30 blocks per game, followed by Katie Olsovsky with a 1.23 average. As a team, USC hits for .288 and holds its opponents to .152.
San Diego - The No. 25 Toreros (25-7) finished in third place in the West Coast Conference behind Pepperdine and Santa Clara, both of which also received NCAA bids. They are led by senior outside hitter Noel Frohman and sophomore Devon Forster, both of whom were named first-team all-WCC. Frohman averages a team-high 4.90 kills and 3.39 digs per game, while Forster notches 4.44 kills per game on average. Freshman setter Lindsey Sherburne, the 2002 WCC Co-Freshman of the Year, averages 13.67 assists per game.
* The Utes trail the all-time series with Texas A&M 1-3. The two teams met most recently on Oct. 28, 1995, with Utah losing 3-2 at home. The Utes are 0-1 at home and 1-2 at a neutral site vs. the Aggies.
* Utah trails the all-time series with the Trojans 2-4. The last time the two teams met, on Sept. 17, 1994, Utah fell 3-1 in Provo, Utah. The Utes are 0-1 at home, 1-0 away and 1-3 at a neutral site vs. the Wildcats.
* The Utes and Toreros are even at 3 apiece in the all-time series. The two teams last met on Sept. 9, 2000, at the Cal Poly Tournament in San Luis Obispo, Calif., and Utah won 3-2. The Utes are 1-2 away and 2-1 at a neutral site vs. San Diego.
USA Today/AVCA Top 25
Rank School Total 2002 Last
(1st-place Votes) Points Record Week
1 USC (59) 1614 25-1 1
2 Hawai'i (2) 1520 30-1 2
3 Stanford (2) 1505 27-4 4
4 Nebraska (2) 1456 28-1 5
5 Florida 1301 30-2 3
6 Northern Iowa 1297 32-2 8
7 UC Santa Barbara 1241 28-2 6
8 Pepperdine 1206 23-6 7
9 Long Beach State 1093 28-3 10
10 Minnesota 999 30-5 9
11 Washington State 982 21-7 11
12 Penn State 834 24-7 16
13 North Carolina 781 30-3 14
14 Santa Clara 736 24-6 13
15 Wisconsin 735 23-8 15
16 Arizona 638 17-11 12
17 Georgia Tech 538 32-5 17
18 Eastern Washington 409 29-2 18
19 Ohio State 408 19-10 20
20 Missouri 370 25-7 19
21 UCLA 305 19-13 21
22 Kansas State 297 20-8 22
23 UTAH 285 25-8 24
24 South Carolina 181 21-6 23
25 University of San Diego 116 25-7 25
Others receiving points and listed on two or more ballots: Washington (71), California (59), South Florida (25), Arkansas (24), Michigan State (17), Louisville (16), Notre Dame (13), Texas (10), Northwestern (10), Colorado State (9), Texas A&M (6), Arizona State (5), Fresno State (5). Four teams mentioned on only one ballot for a total of eight combined points.
W L Pct. W L Pct.
UTAH* 25 8 .758 10 4 .714
Colorado State# 22 9 .710 12 2 .857
San Diego State 22 12 .647 11 3 .786
Wyoming 20 11 .645 5 9 .357
BYU 14 19 .424 7 7 .500
UNLV 11 20 .355 6 8 .429
New Mexico 10 21 .323 3 11 .214
Air Force 8 22 .267 2 12 .143
# - Regular-season champion
* - MWC Tournament champion
REVIEWING LAST WEEK:
Last Saturday, the Utes upset then-No. 12 Arizona 3-1 (20-30, 31-29, 30-18, 30-17). Utah hit for a season-high .385 and held the Wildcats to .169. The Utes also out-blocked Arizona 13.5-9. Earlier in the week, Utah fell to No. 2 Hawaii 29-31, 16-30, 18-30. The Utes notched a season-low 37 kills and a .124 hitting percentage, while the Rainbow Wahine finished with 56 kills on .298 hitting. Utah was also out-blocked 11-7.5
As a team, Utah leads the MWC in hitting defense (.148) and blocks per game (3.36), ranks second in assists per game (13.91) and service aces (1.80), and third in kills per game (15.30).
Individually, junior Kim Turner leads the conference in blocks per game (1.64), ranks third in kills per game (3.84), tied for seventh in service aces (0.32) and ranks ninth in hitting percentage (.290). Senior captain Sylva Strzinková ranks fifth in kills per game (3.80), tied for 10th in service aces (0.31), 10th in digs per game (2.55) and 18th in hitting percentage (.247). Sophomore Lyndsey Phillips is fourth in blocks (1.34) and 17th in hitting percentage (.256), while senior Brenda Beal is tied for seventh in blocks (1.22) and 15th in hitting percentage (.265). Jackie Morrill is fourth in digs per game with a 3.15 average, and sophomore Kelsie Kartchner is tied for third in service aces (0.43) and fifth in assists (10.89).
SINGLE SEASON RECORDS:
With at least one match (minimum) left this season, several Utes have moved into the top 10 in various single-season statistical categories. Kim Turner is second in block assists (164) and third in total blocks with 190. Setter Kelsie Kartchner currently ranks eighth in assists with 1,252 and third in service aces with 50. Junior libero Jackie Morrill ranks ninth in digs with 365.
MILESTONE WATCH: Kim Turner ranks second all-time in block assists with 440 (just 10 away from first place), second in total blocks with 495 (just two away from first place), fifth in kills with 1,114 and seventh in block solos with 55 (just one away from sixth place).
Should the Utes win both the first and second round NCAA Tournament matches, they would advance to the NCAA regionals Dec. 12-14, on selected campus sites. If/when Utah loses, its season is over.