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Volleyball Heads To Central Region Semifinals In Lincoln, Neb.
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 06/22/2004
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    A Look at the Pac-10 Co-Champs: After a school recorded setting 2000 performance, the Arizona volleyball team advanced to its second straight NCAA Regional Semifinal. The Wildcats tallied 3-0 victories over Alabama A&M and Michigan in the first and second rounds in Tucson, Ariz. The Wildcats avanced to the regional semifinals a year ago, falling 3-1 to Stanford in Palo Alto.

    A Look at the Cougars: The Cougars advanced to the regional semifianls for the fifth striaght season, defeating Hofstra 3-0 and Utah State 3-0 in the first and second rounds in Provo, Utah. BYU, the Mountain West Tournament champions, are 26-6 this season. BYU completed the regular season second among Division I teams in blocks, averaging 3.73 per game and were 11th in hitting percentage at .279. Led by Nina Puikkonen's NCAA's second-best 1.86 blocks per game and Jackie Bundy's 1.54 average, 15th in Division I, the Cougars present an imposing defensive force at the net. BYU owns a 14-10 record in 24 meetings betwen the tow teams, but lost the Sept. 15 match 3-1 this season. See below for match details.

     
     

    Arizona-BYU Part Duex: BYU and Arizona met once in the regular season with the then-13th-ranked Wildcats scoring a 3-1 upset over the then-10th-ranked Cougars in Provo. Game scores were 15-12, 15-9, 8-15, 15-5. The Wildcats had four players figure in double digit kills and two in digs while hitting .356 as a team. Sophomore Lisa Rutledge led all attackers with 21 kills on .366 hitting. Seniors Marisa DaLee and Allison Napier tallied 16 and 15 kills, respectively, both hitting .462 in the match. DaLee also had a match-high six total blocks. Junior Jill Talbot recorded 10 kills on .364 hitting and also chipped in with five assists and eight digs. Classmate Dana Burkholder had 65 assists and 16 digs for the Cats. The Cougars, who hit .234 as a team, had five player figure in double digit kills. Paced by Nina Puikkonen and Melissa Layton's 15 kills, Jackie Bundy, Sunny and Kalani Tonga had 12, 11 and 10, respectively. Kalani Tonga also had 10 digs. Setter Karina Puikkonen dished out 56 assists in loss.

    Arizona's 2000 Tournament: The host Wildcats faced Alabama A&M in the first round in McKale Center in Tucson. Arizona had little trouble dispatching the Lady Buldogs 3-0. Game scores were 15-1, 15-3, 15-3. The seven total points scored by A&M were the fewest points surrendered by a Wildcat team in school history, breaking a 17 year-old record. A night later the Wildcats overpowered the Wolverines of Michigan. Defeating UM 15-1, 15-1, 15-8, the Cats limited the Maize and Blue to .046 in the match. The ten total points surrendered to Michigan ties the old school record for least amount of points given up and is now second on the list. The Cats limited Cal-State Fullerton to 10 total points in a 1983 match.

    The Huskers and Buckeyes: Should Arizona advance to the Regional Finals, they would face either top-ranked Nebraska or No. 16 Ohio State for the right to advance to the Final Four in Richmond, Va. The Huskers are undefeated at 30-0 and have been atop the AVCA national poll for the majority of the 2000 season. Arizona is 1-3 all-time against Nebraska with the Huskers taking the last meeting3-0 last season in Lincoln. Ohio State, is 26-6 overall and finished fourth in the Big Ten this season. UA has played the Buckeyes once in its history falling 2-3 in 1995.

    Arizona In the NCAA's: The Wildcats have been to the NCAA Tournament 15 times in school history prior to this season, tenth-best among Division I teams, and own an all-time record of 14-15. Head coach David Rubio has now led the team into the NCAA's seven times in his nine years at the helm. With a record of 10-6, Rubio is Arizona's winningest coach in post season play. Arizona advanced to the regional semifinals a season ago, defeating Virginia 3-0 and sweeping Texas on its home floor in the first and second rounds. The Wildcats held a 1-0 advantage over eventual NCAA runner-up Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif., before falling 3-1 to the Cardinal in the Sweet 16. Arizona returns five-of-six starters from the 1999 regional semifinal team and 11 letterwinners overall.

    Arizona Vs. NCAA Tournament Teams: The Wildcats faced 12 of the 64 tournament teams in the regular season, posting a 13-4 record against them. UA split with top seed USC and UCLA. Defeated Washington State, Stanford and Arizona State twice. Downed BYU, Utah, Santa Clara, San Jose State and Florida and lost to Colorado State and UC Santa Barbara.

    Pac-10 Honors: The Wildcats took home a large portion of the Pac-10 postseason honors. Setter Dana Burkholder became the first Arizona player in school history to be named Pac-10 Player of the Year. The junior was recognized by the conference coaches as an All-Pac-10 performer as well, her second straight selection. Joining Burkholder on the All-Conference team were seniors Marisa DaLee and Allison Napier. DaLee becomes just the second Arizona player to garner All-Pac-10 honors three times in a career and the first to be named such in three consecutive seasons (1998, 99, 2000; Barb Bell was All-Pac-10 in 1993, 95 and 96). It was the first such honor for Napier who was a Freshman All-Pac-10 selection in 1997. Junior Jill Talbot and sophomore Lisa Rutledge were honorable mention All-Pac-10 team members.

    Pac-10 Coach of the Year: The Arizona players weren't the only ones to be recognized for the successful Wildcat season. Ninth-year Arizona head coach David Rubio was tabbed as the Pac-10 Conference Co-Coach of the Year. Rubio has taken a team that went winless in the Pac-10 the season prior to his arrival and turned them into conference champions. The Wildcats are 171-91 (.653) overall under Rubio and a school-best 93-69 (.574) in the Pac-10. He shared the coaching honors with USC's Jerritt Elliott.

    Pac-10 History: Since Pac-10 volleyball play started in 1986 only two schools had won or shared the Pac-10 title. With its victory over Arizona State (11/18) Arizona changed all that, becoming the first school other than UCLA (seven titles) or Stanford (eight titles) to win at least a share of the title. The Wildcats finished the conference season 16-2, tied with USC for first place.

    Tie Breaker: With Arizona and USC even in the wins and losses column, the Pac-10 tie breaking rules were used to determine the school that would receive the Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Since neither team won the season series, splitting it 1-1, the deadlock was broken by games won. Arizona defeated USC in four games in the head-to-head match up to the Women of Troy's three, making Arizona the first of six Pac-10 teams to make the post season tournament.

    Non-Conference Competition: The Wildcats have faced a daunting non-conference schedule this season. UA has matched up with No. 6 Colorado State, No. 9 Florida, No. 10 BYU, No. 14 UC Santa Barbara, No. 14 Utah and No.19 Baylor. Arizona is 9-2 against non-conference teams.

    Ranked Opponents: The Wildcats are 8-4 this season against teams ranked in the top 25. UA has picked up victories over No. 4 USC, No.7 UCLA, No. 9 Florida, No. 10 BYU, No. 15 and No. 17 Stanford, No. 18 Utah and No. 19 Baylor. UA's win over No.4 USC was the highest ranked opponent the Wildcats had beaten since they upended top-ranked UCLA in 1993. Arizona's four loses this season have come at the hands of No. 6 USC, No. 6 Colorado State, No. 10 UCLA and No. 14 UC Santa Barbara. The Wildcats are 17-0 against non-ranked opponents.

    Thirty Something: Senior Allison Napier became just the eighth player in Arizona history to record a match with 30 or more kills. Her Senior Night performance of 34 kills against Arizona State (11/18) is tied for third-best on the list and the most for any UA player since 1991. Napier, who hit .329 in the match, is just the fourth player to accomplish the feat in four games. Kristi Colson owns the record for a four-game match with 38. The all-time high for kills is 41, set in five games in 1985 by Melissa McLinden. Napier has led Arizona in kills in 15 matches this season.

    West Wins: In a match between two of the top teams in the their respective regions, Arizona and No. 9 Florida battled it out in McKale Center with East-West bragging rights on the line. The five-game, hard fought match went in favor of the Wildcats, who rallied back from an early 2-0 deficit to quash the upset minded Gators, stopping UF's season-best win streak at 15 matches in the process. The match was Arizona's fourth five-game match of the season and just the first for Florida. Arizona now has victories over eight top 25 teams this season and own a 4-2 record against teams in the top 10, with UA's losses coming to then 10th-ranked UCLA and No. 6 USC.

    Arizona in the Pac-10: The Wildcats remain atop the conference in a number of statistical categories. With a .320 team hitting percentage, a conference best, the Wildcats are the top hitting school in the Pac-10. Individually, Arizona holds three of the top six spots in hitting. Marisa DaLee and Stefani Saragosa rank first and fifth, respectively, with percentages of .422 and .358. Jill Talbot is sixth at .349. Arizona slipped to second behind UCLA in kills per game with 17.94. Senior Allison Napier is sixth individually, with 4.07 kills per game. The Cats are second, behind UCLA, with a 15.91 assist per game and are also second with 3.14 blocks per game. Setter Dana Burkholder is second in the Pac-10 with 13.69 apg, while Saragosa is top-Cat in blocks, the sophomore is third in the Pac with 1.23 bpg, DaLee is fifth with 1.09 bpg.

    Match by Match: Previous to this season, the Arizona volleyball team's record had never reached above .500 in the Pac-10. Arizona's Pac-10 final record of 16-2 this season has brought the all-time conference record to 136-134, two matches over .500.

    On the Mark: Arizona has been deadly accurate so far this season. UA has hit over .300 as a team in 23 of its 31 matches this season. Six players have hit .500 or better in 20 matches thus far, including 13 by senior Marisa DaLee alone.

    And Make It Snappy: Arizona's 55-minute victory over Oregon (11/3) was the fifth shortest match in school history. The 3-0 victory trails only UA's matches against College of Santa Fe (1984, 45 minutes), Northern Arizona (1984, 50 minutes), Bowling Green (1988, 50 minutes) and Texas Tech (1993, 52 minutes).

    You're in Good Hands: Setter Dana Burkholder is now second on Arizona's all-time assists list. Her ninth assist against California (10/27) gave her 3,518 for her career and moved her past Heather McCormack for second at Arizona. Burkholder, who has 3,972 assists in her three seasons at Arizona, now trails only Laura Bartsch and the 4,024 assists she dished out from 1992-95. She has 1,466 assists in 2000, 12 away from the single season record of 1,478 by Heather McCormack in 1990.

    1000 Kill Club: Senior Marisa DaLee's second kill in game two of Arizona's 3-0 win over Stanford (9/29) made her just the ninth player in Arizona history with 1,000 kills. Classmate Allison Napier needs 23 more kills to join the club.
    Arizona's 1000 Kill Club
    1. Barb Bell (1993-96) 1,859
    2. Terry Lauchner (1987-90) 1,636
    3. Melissa Ferris (1991-94) 1,273
    4. Marisa DaLee (1997-Current) 1,220
    5. Melissa McLinden (1982-85) 1,213
    6. Charita Johnson (1991-94) 1,134
    7. Kristi Colson (1988-91) 1,044
    8. Anita Moss (1980-83) 1,036
    9. Kiyomi Morino (1984-87) 1,016

    Through the Turnstiles: The Wildcats are 11th in the nation in average attendance this season. 24,545 fans (1,635 per match) entered the doors of McKale Center this season to watch the Wildcats. Arizona also holds the top two single match attendance figures in the Pac-10 this season. The Arizona-USC match brought the largest amount of spectators ever for an Arizona home volleyball match. The 7,298 fans on hand was also a Pac-10 record. Arizona's final regular season match, against Arizona State, had 3,550 fans attend, the second largest non-midnight madness gathering for volleyball in McKale in school history.

    20/20 vision: Allison Napier recorded just the 17th 20 kill-20 dig match in Arizona history against UCLA (10/12). The senior outside hitter had 29 kills against the Bruins and 21 digs. The 20-20 match was the first for an Arizona player since Keisha Johnson Demps tallied 21 kills and 20 digs against Arizona State in 1998.

    Making a Case For Deja Vu: Senior Marisa DaLee tied her own school hitting percentage record against Washington Oct. 20. Her 13 kills and one error on 16 attempts, a .750 hitting percentage, against the Huskies were the exact same numbers she put up in Arizona's 3-0 win vs. UTEP last November. DaLee shares the record with three other players Beth Grupenhoff (1982), Tamika Denis (1994) and Michelle Fanger (1997).

    Making a Case For Deja Vu II: Junior setter Dana Burkholder collected her third career triple-double in Arizona's five-game loss to UCLA Oct. 12. Her 15 kill, 67 assist, 22 dig performance came almost exactly one year to the day that she recorded her first career triple-double. In what appears to be a strange twist of fate, the Bakersfield, Calif., native posted 11 kills, 70 assists and 14 digs Oct. 11, 1999, in a five game loss to..... UCLA. This season's triple-double was the second of the year for Burkholder, having recorded 10 kills, 54 assists and 10 digs Sept. 2, against San Diego.

    Streakin' to the School Record: Arizona won a school record 14 matches in-a-row from Sept.1 to Oct.10. After it's opening five-game loss to UC Santa Barbara on Sept. 1, Arizona reeled off 11 three-game wins (including the last seven straight), two four-game victories and a five-game defeat of Arizona State to break the previous best 10 in-a-row the 1998 squad started the season with. Impressively, the Cats were able to accomplish much of their success away from the confines of McKale Center, eight of the 12 matches were played on the road and one in a neutral site. Arizona knocked off four nationally ranked schools during the streak (No.10 BYU, No. 15 Stanford, No. 18 Utah and No. 19 Baylor), of which, only one match went more than three games. As a team, Arizona outscored its opponents 676-371 and hit .354 with 879 kills on 1778 attempts, meanwhile Wildcat opponents were limited to a .169 attack percentage. Senior middle blocker Marisa DaLee was impressive during the winning streak, hitting an outstanding .462 with a team-leading 185 kills. She failed to hit over .300 in a match only twice during the streak. Junior setter Dana Burkholder tallied 668 assists, a 14.52 assist per game average.

    Other School Records: Arizona's 16 conference wins were the most ever for a Wildcat team.
    Arizona broke a 16-year old school record with its .441 hitting percentage against the Bruins on Nov. 11. Arizona collected 64 kills on 118 attempts while committing 12 errors against UCLA. The Wildcats marksmanship bettered the school record for attack percentage in a four-game match. The previous record, set in 1984, was .421 (63-15-114) against Pittsburgh.
    In Arizona's victory over Arizona State on Sept. 13, the Wildcats had 101 kills, breaking the previous school best for a five game match of 96 set in 1986 against Oklahoma. The 91 assists in that same match tied Arizona's best team effort set in 1987, again, against Oklahoma. Junior Dana Burkholder had 84 of the 91 assists to take over the top spot in the record book, breaking Heather McCormack's 1991 mark of 77.
    Arizona's team hitting percentage of .483 in its win at San Diego State, Sept. 2, set a school record for accuracy in a three game match. The Cats had 52 kills on 89 attempts while committing only nine errors. The previous mark was held by the 1994 squad who hit .461 against California.

    Career Records: Senior Marisa DaLee's ongoing streak of 332 games played is the third-best run in Arizona history. She trails Barb Bell's 383 and current Arizona Associate Head Coach Charita Johnson's 348. DaLee has played in 116 matches in her Arizona career, tied for 4th-best all-time. Junior Dana Burkholder has started 85 career matches, 10th-best at Arizona and tops among current team members. Her 12.94 career assist per game average is the best all-time at Arizona.

    Wildcat Pac-10 Players of the Week: Junior setter Dana Burkholder was named the Sept. 11 Pac-10 Player of the Week by the conference for her performance at the Wildcat Classic Sept. 8-9. The Classic MVP had an impressive tournament, posting 126 assists, 22 digs and seven block assists in the Wildcats' three match sweep of New Mexico State, No. 19 Baylor and Santa Clara. She chipped in with 22 kills, including a then-career-high 13 against Santa Clara, and hit an impressive .606 for the weekend. It was Burkholder's second Player of the Week honor in her Arizona career, having garnered the award last season for her efforts against the Washington schools in November.
    A week later, fifth-year senior Marisa DaLee garnered the award. The Phoenix, Ariz., native had 47 kills on 79 attempts with only 10 errors against Arizona State, 10th-ranked Brigham Young and 18th-ranked Utah. Her .468 hitting percentage helped Arizona go 3-0 for the week and extend its win streak to eight matches. She also led UA with 17 total blocks for the week. She tallied four block solos and 13 block assists. In the Wildcats' five game victory at Arizona State on Sept. 13, she tallied 20 kills on 37 attempts with only five errors. She also collected six blocks and four digs. At 10th-ranked BYU, DaLee hit a game-high .462 with 16 kills on 26 attempts and three errors. She led both teams with six blocks. At Utah, she hit a season-high .625. She rapped home 11 kills on 16 attempts with only a single error.
    Allison Napier was the third Arizona player to earn the Player of the Week (Oct. 2) honor this season. The senior from Santa Ana, Calif., led the Wildcats to two, 3-0 sweeps over 15th-ranked Stanford and California Sept. 29-30. She recorded a team-high 37 total kills (6.17 KPG) on 73 attempts with eight errors (a .397 hitting percentage) in the Wildcat wins. Against Stanford she had a match-high 16 kills, a .419 hitting percentage, four digs and four blocks. A night later, she posted a career-high tying 21 kills while hitting .381 against the Golden Bears. She chipped in with four more digs and three more blocks. It is Napier's first conference honor in her career.
    In an encore performance, senior middle blocker Marisa DaLee was named the Oct. 30 Pac-10 Player of the Week. Her second weekly honor this season made her just the second Wildcat to earn the honor twice in a season. Barb Bell won the award twice during the 1993 season. DaLee also becomes the first Arizona player to be named four times in a career to the honor (she won the award once in 1998 and 99). The Phoenix, Ariz., native hit .556 in Arizona's first road sweep of Stanford and California. She had 27 kills (4.50 kpg) with only two errors on 45 attempts and three blocks. Against 17th-ranked Stanford on Oct. 26, DaLee had 15 kills on 24 attempts and one error for a team-high .583 hitting percentage. She also added two blocks in the Wildcats' first season sweep over the Cardinal. One night later, DaLee had 12 kills on 21 attempts, again with only one error for a match-high .524 hitting percentage in a victory over California.

    Talbot's Tally: Junior Jill Talbot's .737 hitting percentage (15-1-19) against Stanford ranks as the second best single match performance for a Wildcat player ever (five attempts per game min.). Her tally trails only the .750 percentage put up by Beth Grupenhoff (1982), Tamika Denis (1994), Michelle Fanger (1997) and Marisa DaLee (1999 and 2000).

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