Athletics News

    Nov. 4, 1996

    The Week in Review/Preview

    Women's Cross Country
    The Women of Troy had their best showing ever at the Pac-10 Championships, finishing sixth on Saturday at Stanford. The Cardinal won the title. Senior Emebet Shiferaw continued her impressive season, finishing third in a time of 17:07. Freshmen Grazyna Penc and Kristie Johnston took eighth and 23rd, respectively.

    "It was a great meet," USC Coach Tom Walsh said. "All 7 of our runners overacheived. All of our training and all of our races were geared toward this meet, so it's real pleasing to see everyone come through. We came close to passing Oregon, a traditional power, so this should give the program a lot of respect.

    "Emebet's time was even faster than I thought she would run. Grazyna stayed with the pack, then outkicked a bunch of runners to place eighth. Kristie gutted it out and broke 18 minutes for the first time ever. This was the first time that USC had ever had 3 runners break 18 minutes in 1 race."

    The Women of Troy are next at the District 8 Meet on Nov. 16, where they will try to qualify runners for the NCAAs.

    USC's hopes for playing in a top postseason bowl were dashed as No. 21 Washington used a strong running attack and a stingy defense to defeat the Trojans, 21-10, at the Coliseum in the Homecoming game. USC's offense was almost non-existent, managing just 124 total yards (the fewest since getting 123 at Iowa in 1962), including -14 on the ground, the least in Trojan history.

    Senior linebacker Sammy Knight and freshman linebacker Chris Claiborne had 12 tackles each, and Knight added an interception. USC blocked 3 Washington kicks: a punt in the first quarter by sophomore Prentice Hill, a field goal in the second quarter by senior Willie Lowery and a PAT in the third quarter by junior Grant Pearsall.

    Men's Golf
    Senior Chad Wright won the Savane College All-America Golf Classic, an individual tournament for returning All-Americans, in El Paso, Texas, last week. Wright won on the third playoff hole after tying with Tag Ridings of Arkansas at 212 strokes. Senior Brian Hull also participated and finished in a tie for 14th.

    USC is at the Golf World Intercollegiate in Hilton Head, S.C., this week.

    Women's Golf
    USC won the San Diego Fall Classic with a total of 939 strokes, 11 less than second-place Purdue. Freshman Linda Ishii was Troy's top finisher, tying for second place with 231 strokes. Junior Ida Danielsson was fourth, senior Leanne Wong tied for eighth and sophomore Johanna Josefsson tied for 22nd.

    "Before going down to the tournament I let everybody know that I thought we could win," USC Coach Andrea Gaston said. "I didn't really want to put too much pressure on them or have them go in too confident, but they handled it well. I was impressed with everyone's play, especially in the second round under tough conditions. Linda Ishii and Ida Danielsson have both been very consistent."

    Women's Soccer
    The Women of Troy went 1-1 on the week, but saw their slim hopes for a Pacific-10 Conference title and their 6-game winning streak end with a 1-0 loss to Stanford on Friday at East Los Angeles College. They rebounded on Sunday to beat Utah, 2-0, at the Coliseum.

    The Cardinal scored with 12 minutes left in the game for its win. Against the Utes, freshman midfielder Kim Clark scored in the 64th minute and then assisted on freshman forward Kaylee Whitfield's goal in the 79th minute.

    USC is at Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday and hosts Pepperdine on Sunday at the Coliseum in the regular season finale.

    "We need to win these last 2 to have a chance of getting into the NCAA Tournament," USC Coach Jim Millinder said. "We didn't finish our chances against Stanford. But we battled hard and I told the girls not to hang their heads because they had a lot to be proud of. Against Utah, Kim Clark was the best player on the field. We played great in the second half."

    Women's Volleyball
    USC completed its first season sweeps of both Arizona and Arizona State in the same season since 1985 with weekend wins over the Wildcats and Sun Devils. The Women of Troy defeated Arizona on Friday at the Lyon Center, 15-13, 13-15, 15-13, 16-14, and beat Arizona State on Saturday at the North Gym, 15-7, 15-4, 15-8.

    The win over the Wildcats was a grueling affair, lasting 2 hours and 50 minutes. It was USC Coach Lisa Love's 350th career win. USC was led by sophomore middle blocker Jasmina Marinkovic's career-high 26 kills and 7 blocks and senior outside hitter Vesna Dragicevic's 24 kills and 18 digs. Senior middle blocker Kilee Hughes provided a spark off the bench, getting 11 kills and 5 blocks. USC had an easier time against the Sun Devils, as Dragicevic had 22 kills and sophomore outside hitter Jennifer Kessy had 20.

    The Women of Troy travel to the Washington schools this weekend.

    "It was really good to go 2-0 over the weekend," Love said. "Friday night against Arizona was a particularly hard-fought match. It wasn't our best performance, but it's important for us to win even if we're not playing our best. This upcoming road trip against Washington and Washington State will be our most challenging thus far. All 3 of us are locked in a logjam, fighting for second place and a shot at first."

    Men's Water Polo
    The Trojans maintained their No. 1 ranking with 3 wins last week: 16-8 at No. 11 Long Beach State on Tuesday, 15-7 against No. 14 UC Santa Barbara on Saturday and 6-5 against No. 3 Stanford on Sunday. The first 2 contests were MPSF games, the Stanford game was not. USC stands atop the MPSF with a 6-0 record, but games with the Cardinal (this Saturday in Palo Alto) and No. 2 UCLA remain.

    Senior driver Marko Zagar scored 9 points in the 3 games, including a 5-goal, 6-point game against the Gauchos. Senior 2-meter man Hrvoje Cizmic scored 7 points over the week. Senior goalkeeper Brendan Grubbs had 23 saves.

    "I was pleased with this week," USC co-head coach Jovan Vavic said. "The guys were really focused and ready to play when we needed it most against Stanford. Stanford was by far the best game that we played this week. This week's Stanford game and next week's against UCLA are our 2 most important games of the season. If we win those 2, we win the conference and are in good shape for the tournament. We should have a tough game up at Stanford, but if we execute our game plan, we should be OK."

    Athletes of the Week

    Vesna Dragicevic, Women's Volleyball
    Dragicevic, a senior outside hitter, had 46 kills, 24 digs and a hitting percentage of .315 in the 2 wins against the Arizona schools.

    Linda Ishii, Women's Golf
    Ishii, a freshman, tied for second at the SDSU Fall Classic last week, helping the Women of Troy to a victory.

    Chad Wright, Men's Golf
    Wright, a senior, won the Savane College All-America Golf Classic last week. Wright won the tournament in a playoff after shooting a 212.