Volleyball Notebook

· Sep 6, 2001 Tweet

As a result of solid all-around play at the UC-Irvine Tournament last week, UW jumped up a spot to third place on the USA Today/AVCA Top 25 poll. The Badgers replace Big Ten rival Penn State as the third-ranked team, while the Nittany Lions move down to fourth.

On Tuesday, Penn State lost to a non-conference opponent for the first time since 1993. The 3-1 loss to No. 9 Stanford also marks the first time in six years that the Nittany Lions have lost at home in back-to-back seasons. Stanford (4-0) outhit Penn State (3-1) .211 to .69.

Nebraska remains in the top spot nationally, despite losing to then-eighth-ranked Long Beach State 3-1 over the weekend. The loss ended the Cornhuskers’ 36-game winning streak — the fifth longest in NCAA history. Nebraska beat Wisconsin in the final match of the NCAA championships last season.

Long Beach State jumped from eighth place to second place in the poll, and received more first place votes than Nebraska. Cornhusker head coach John Cook reflected on his team’s first loss in 36 games.

“The streak means nothing to us,” Cook said. “We weren’t trying to break any records, or we wouldn’t have scheduled Long Beach State.”

Ashanti Taylor led the 49ers with a career-best 12 kills.

As unthinkable as the victory over the seemingly unbeatable Cornhuskers was, this victory was not a surprise to those in the volleyball community. Nebraska and Long Beach State have combined to win two out of the past three NCAA National Championships.

Fitzgerald honored: Adding to the Wisconsin volleyball team’s early list of successes, UW senior setter Lizzy Fitzgerald was named the American Volleyball Coaches’ Association/Sports Imports National Player of the Week as well as the Big Ten Conference Player of the Week.

Fitzgerald’s honors came after her outstanding play in the UC-Irvine Invitational, in which the tournament-undefeated Badgers beat the second-ranked USC Trojans. Wisconsin’s win over USC was a repeat of their semifinal win over the Trojans at last year’s NCAA championship.

Fitzgerald averaged 13.67 assists, 1.42 blocks, 2.17 digs, and 1.33 kills for the week. Against USC she tallied 55 assists, 15 digs, and six blocks.

This is the second time in her career at UW that Fitzgerald has been named the national player of the week, with the first coming in September of 2000.

Fitzgerald spent her summer working out with the US National Volleyball Program in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The month long training no doubt prepared the 6-foot-0 setter for the competition UW will face coming off their most successful season in program history.

Scoring changes: Joining the ranks of International, Olympic, and Junior levels of volleyball, college competitions will no longer be using the ‘side-out’ form of score keeping.

In the past NCAA volleyball had been scored in this traditional form. In side-out scoring only the team serving can score, and teams play up to 15 — with the victorious team having to win by two points.

Effective this season, college games will be played in the rally-scoring format. In this system each play results in a point. The first four games in best-of-five matches will go to 30 points, and the winner must hold at least a two-point lead.
If the match is pushed to the fifth game, the teams will play to 15, again decided by a two- point margin.

The proposal for the new scoring format came from the sport’s official rule-making body, the National Association for Girls and Women in Sports. The rule change was approved by the College Coaches’ Association, and after a spirited debate, and has already gone into effect for this season.


This article was published Sep 6, 2001 at 12:00 am and last updated Sep 6, 2001 at 12:00 am


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