Volleyball Heads On 11-Day Road Trip
Aug. 28, 2000
The Long Way Home: The Washington volleyball team begins its 2000 season with an 11-day road trip, August 31-September 10. The Huskies kick off their 2000 campaign at a five-team tournament at the University of New Mexico. The team continues onto Texas for a mid-week match against Texas-San Antonio before ending the trip with a four-team tournament at the University of Texas at Austin.
The Huskies don't open their home season until September 22, nine-matches into their 27-match season.
Gillis Named Assistant Coach: Former Gonzaga Prep High School head coach Steve Gillis has been named an assistant volleyball coach at the University of Washington. Gillis replaces Diane Flick, who took over the head coaching position at Western Washington University.
Gillis, a native of Spokane, Wash., will be in charge of the team's defensive efforts on the court and will play a major role in the Huskies' recruiting efforts. In addition, he will assist UW head coach Bill Neville in all administrative aspects of the program.
"Steve is a very creative and innovative thinker," Neville said. "He sees the game very well, is an excellent teacher and is good with people. He takes all of those skills and is a person of extraordinary integrity who will be a great representative of this University."
A 1985 graduate of Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., Gillis most recently taught history and English at Gonzaga Prep in Spokane, Wash., and coached the girls' volleyball team, beginning in 1995.
Gillis also was an assistant coach with the U.S. men's national volleyball team in 1998, after serving as head women's volleyball coach at Whitworth College from 1992-94.
On the club level, Gillis was the head coach and founder of Club Valley from 1990-1996. His tenure with Club Valley included leading the 18-and-under team to the USA Volleyball Evergreen Region title in 1995.
Gillis, who was a setter and outside hitter during his undergraduate years at Westmont, is currently pursuing his Master's In Teaching from Whitworth College.
The New Arena: For the second straight season, the Huskies will play their home schedule at the Hec Edmundson Pavilion Addition, while the new 10,000-seat Bank of America Arena is completed. The new arena will not open until November 24, when the women's basketball team plays host to defending national champion Connecticut.
The Best Of The Best: The 2000 Husky schedule will once again include some of the best volleyball teams in the nation. Six of the UW opponents, including number one UCLA, have been ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation according to the preseason USA Today/American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll released August 14. Besides the Bruins, the Huskies also will face #3 Stanford, #7 USC, #10 Arizona, #18 Texas and #19 Texas A&M this season.
Pac-10 Pick: The Huskies been picked to finish ninth in the Pac-10 in the conference's preseason coaches poll released Monday, August 14. UCLA, which returns five of its six starters from last year, received nine of the 10 first-place votes, while Stanford, the NCAA runner-up in 1999, garnered one first-place vote. (See full poll on page 2 bar)
See Us On TV: If you're looking to see two Huskies road matches without leaving your home, Fox Sports Net and the Pac-10 has made it all possible. Both the road matches versus California (October 6) and Washington State (Oct. 27) will be televised live at 7:30 p.m. (PT). Washington's matches with Oregon State on November 10 and versus UCLA on November 17 also may be chosen as the "wildcard" selections as a specific match has yet to be picked for both of those dates.
Fox Sports Net will televise six other Pac-10 women's volleyball matches in 2000, all of which will air Fridays from September 15 through November 17 at 7:30 p.m. PT.
It's A Secret: The Huskies are currently three days removed from their "secret" annual preseason training trip, which took them to Winthrop, Wash., from August 18-25. Winthrop is located a little over 200 miles northeast of Seattle. Winthrop, which is in the Methow Valley, has a population of 350 and according to the city's chamber of commerce website, is still a place for cattle drives, medicine shows, pack trains and of course volleyball.
Details of the team's trip to Winthrop will be found at www.gohuskies.com in the first installment of weekly diary entries by the UW players.
Success on opening day: The Huskies have had great success in season-openers, posting a 17-8 record (excluding the 1974 season) overall and a 5-3 mark during the Bill Neville era. The Huskies have opened their season against Portland State once before in 1987, defeating the Vikings 2-0.
Scouting Portland State: The Vikings are coming off a 2-24 season in 1999, posting wins over Simon Fraser and Texas Christian University. Under head coach Chris Stanley, Portland State will be led by returning starters, outside hitter Stacy Ball, middle blocker Nicole Geils and setter Katie Kaysinger. Geils averaged a little over two kills per game, while also leading the team in blocks per game with a 0.86 mark. The Vikings begins the season with no seniors on its roster and just two juniors including transfer Jeannie Robison (Memphis).
The last time the two sides faced was in 1988 with the Huskies winning 3-1 to even the series at 13-13-1.
Scouting Drake: The Bulldogs will come to Albuquerque with five of six starters returning from last year's 10-20 team. Included among the starters for first-year head coach Ray Hansen are middle blocker/outside hitter Kim Bahr and outside hitter Stacie Kocourek, who both averaged over four kills a game last season. Setter Heather Harr (11.90 assists/game in 1999) returns to lead the Bulldog offense, while fellow returnee sophomore Lacey Corcoran ranked first on the team in digs per game with 2.82.
The September 2 meeting will be the first between Drake and UW.
Scouting New Mexico: The host Lobos, under former Olympian Laurel Brassey Iverson, return four of their six starters from a team that went 11-22 in 1999. Expect outside hitter Micaela Conley (3.31 kills per game in 1999), the team's lone senior, to see a lot of sets from starter Kelly Griffin, who served in a back-up role to graduate Janelle Torres last season. Middle blockers Vanessa Shields and Erika Sansoni along with outside Jessie Goffard should also be key figures in the New Mexico lineup.
Washington is 3-1 all-time against the Lobos, with the last meeting coming in 1996 - a 3-1 Husky win in Albuquerque.
Going Home: This weekend's tournament in Albuquerque will be a homecoming of sorts for UW junior swing hitter Malena Thompson (Santa Fe, N.M.). Thompson played high school volleyball at Santa Fe High School, leading her team to two state championships and earning player-of-the-year honors in 1996. Santa Fe is about a hour north of Albuquerque.
Sophomore Janelle Grovey (Old Ocean, Texas) also will be making her first career appearance in her home state of Texas when the Huskies play Texas-San Antonio, University of Texas and Texas A&M next week.
Other Connections: UW senior Emily Seacat (Ridgefield, Wash.) will face her former high school teammate Katie Kaysinger, when the Huskies play Portland State in the first match of 2000. Kaysinger and Seacat were both all-state selections at Central Catholic High School in Portland, Ore.
Around the Pac-10: The 2000 volleyball season kicked off with upsets at the opening State Farm Women's Classic in Gainesville, Fla. Top-ranked UCLA lost in the finals to Colorado State (3-2), as the 13th-ranked Rams won a close game five, 17-15. Colorado State advanced to the final by defeating host Florida (3-1), while UCLA defeated reigning NCAA champion Penn State (3-2) in the tournament's opening game.
Head Coach Bill Neville: UW head coach Bill Neville enters his 10th year with the Huskies, amassing a 118-117 record. Neville has coached two All-Americans in his time at the UW, including Makare Desilets (1997) and Angela Bransom (1996), while leading the team to three NCAA tournament berths and a Sweet 16 appearance in 1997.
A world-renowned figure in the national and international coaching circles, Neville was the head coach of the Canadian men's national team at the 1976 Olympics and was an assistant with the U.S. men's program at both the 1968 and 1984 Olympics.
Neville's career record of 255-232 includes seven seasons at Montana State.