Following Wednesday's date with the Slugs, USC opens MPSF play at UC San Diego.
Jan. 15, 2002
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The No.12-ranked USC men's volleyball team (1-3 overall, 1-3 NCAA, 0-0 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Pacific Division) will try to rebound from 3 losses at a tournament last week when it hosts NCAA Division III independent UC Santa Cruz (0-2) on Wednesday (Jan. 16) at 7 p.m. in the USC North Gym. The Trojans then begin 2002 MPSF play at UC San Diego (0-1) on Friday (Jan. 28), also at 7 p.m.
ON THE AIR
All of USC's home MPSF matches will be broadcast live over the internet on www.usctrojans.com.
USC is ranked 12th in this week's USA Today/AVCA coaches poll, but is not ranked by Volleyball. UC Santa Cruz and UC San Diego are not ranked.
USC has won all 7 of its matches against UC Santa Cruz. The Banana Slugs, an NCAA Division III independent, fell to Stanford and Pacific to open their season, then finished in 10th place at the UC Santa Barbara Invitational. UCSC is led by a quartet of senior returning starters: MBs Jonah Carson and Kirt Peterson and OHs Mike Rubin and Peter Butler. The Trojans are 21-1 all-time against UC San Diego and have won the past 7 meetings. The Tritons opened their season with a 3-0 loss to Cal Baptist. UCSD features 5 returning starters in senior S Jordan Hove, junior MB Eric Perrine, senior OH Griffin Cogorno, Sophomore MB Brian Foott and junior OH Chris Mortimer.
USC opened its 2002 season with a 30-27, 30-24, 30-25 non-conference home victory over La Verne. Brook Billings, who hit .478, had a match-high 15 kills and 3 aces. Josh Day added 7 kills while hitting .500. Phil Small had 9 kills and a match-best 6 blocks in his USC debut. USC outhit La Verne, .256 to .123, and had more team blocks, 9.5 to 4.0. Then, in the first match of the Wyndham Garden/West Coast Challenge at UC Irvine, Troy lost to Pepperdine, 30-24, 29-31, 30-24, 30-15. Billings had a match-high 18 kills and hit .355, but Pepperdine outblocked USC 17.0 to 3.0 and had a better hitting percentage (.449 to .118). USC next fell to UCLA, 30-20, 30-22, 25-30, 30-19, with Billings getting 20 kills (a match best) and 8 digs and Day adding a match-high 6 blocks. The Bruins outhit Troy, .336 to .136. Then, host UC Irvine also beat the Trojans, 27-30, 31-29, 31-29, 31-29. Billings contributed 22 kills and 7 digs, with Day adding 12 kills (hitting .400) and 5 blocks, and Small getting a match-best 7 blocks. USC fell despite outhitting UCI, .328 to .258.
In 2001, USC posted a 13-9 NCAA record (15-11 overall) and qualified for the MPSF tourney with a third place league finish at 10-7. The Trojans ended up ranked No. 10 nationally.
In all but one of the 32 years of the NCAA tourney, the national champ has come from the MPSF or its predecessor conferences.
TOUGH AT HOME
USC is 210-62 (.772) in home matches in its 26-year history. From 1999 to 2001, the Trojans had a school-record 19-match home winning streak in the quaint North Gym.
Besides the 4 NCAA crowns (1977-80-88-90) that USC's men have won, the Women of Troy have captured 4 national volleyball titles. USC's women won the AIAW trophy in 1976, 1977 and 1980, and the NCAA crown in 1981, all under coach Chuck Erbe. The 2001 Women of Troy advanced to the NCAA Final Four, but lost in the semifinals.
COACH PAT POWERS
Legendary Olympic gold medalist, collegiate All-American and pro beach star Pat Powers returned in 1997 to his alma mater--which he led to the 1980 NCAA title as a player--to become the USC men's volleyball head coach and help bring the Trojans back to national prominence. Now in his sixth year, his career mark is 101-63. In 1997, his first season, Powers put USC back on track, with its first winning season since 1994 at 18-14. In 1998, his Trojans went 17-17 and missed the MPSF Tournament by just one win. In 1999, the 24-12 Trojans advanced to the finals of the MPSF tourney and earned a No. 7 national ranking. In 2000, USC shared the MPSF Pacific Division title and went 26-6 with a No. 4 national ranking. In 2001, USC went 15-11 overall (No. 10 final ranking) and qualified for the MPSF tourney. The 6-foot-5 Powers is one of the greatest players in international volleyball history. He was a member of the U.S. National Team for nine years (1978-86) and started at outside hitter on a squad that won America's first-ever "Triple Crown": the 1984 Olympics, 1985 World Cup and 1986 World Championships.
USC returns 3 starters from 2001: outside hitter Brook Billings, middle blocker Josh Day and setter Miles McGann. Gone from last year are 4-year starting outside hitters Trevor Julian and Eli Fairfield, plus middle blocker Donny Killian (now a Trojan assistant coach).
"POINTS SCORED" PLAYER VALUES
With rally scoring being used in the men's collegiate game, a clear "points scored" value can be placed on each player. Add a player's kills, aces, solo blocks and half his block assists, then subtract hitting errors, blocking errors, serving errors, receive errors and ballhandling errors. Finally, divide that figure by his matches and games played. That will equal his "points scored" per match and game (plus or minus).
Hard-hitting Brook Billings, a 6-5 senior All-American, starts for his fourth season, this year at outside hitter to get more involved in the passing after being an opposite hitter the previous three seasons. He currently leads USC in kills (76) and is second in digs (22) and aces (6). He has been USC's kill leader in all 4 matches in 2002. He topped USC in kills each of the past three years (he has 1,631 in his career), including 390 last season while ranking eighth nationally in kill average (4.88). He also led USC in blocks (68) and was second in digs (118) in 2001. A team co-captain, he spent the past summer training with the USA National Team.
He had a match-high 16 kills and 3 aces while hitting .478 vs. La Verne (1-8).
He had a match-best 18 kills while hitting .355 vs. Pepperdine (1-12) at the Wyndham Garden/West Coast Challenge.
He had a match-high 20 kills, plus 8 digs, vs. UCLA (1-13) at the Wyndham Garden/West Coast Challenge.
He had a team-leading 22 kills, with 7 digs and 3 blocks, vs. host UC Irvine (1-13) at the Wyndham Garden/West Coast Challenge.
Second-year starter Josh Day, an effective 6-5 junior middle blocker, currently leads USC in hitting percentage (.383) and is second in kills (32) and blocks (11). He led USC's regulars in hitting percentage (.406) last spring and was second on the team in blocks (60) and fourth in kills (127).
He had 7 kills while hitting .500 vs. La Verne (1-8).
He had a match-high 6 blocks while hitting .385 vs. UCLA (1-13) at the Wyndham Garden/West Coast Challenge.
He had 12 kills (hitting .400), 5 blocks and 4 digs vs. host UC Irvine (1-13) at the Wyndham Garden/West Coast Challenge.
Steady second-year starter Miles McGann, a 6-5 junior setter, currently leads USC in assists (178) and aces (7). He had a team-high 990 assists in 2001 and was 12th nationally in assist average (12.69). He also had 31 kills (hitting .258), 22 aces, 62 digs and 23 blocks last season.
He had 40 assists vs. La Verne (1-8).
He had 34 assists and 3 aces vs. Pepperdine (1-12) at the Wyndham Garden/West Coast Challenge.
He had 43 assists and 3 blocks vs. UCLA (1-13) at the Wyndham Garden/West Coast Challenge.
He had 61 assists vs. host UC Irvine (1-13) at the Wyndham Garden/West Coast Challenge.
Beau Rawi, a 6-5 senior who has started 51 matches at middle blocker during the past three years, the starting opposite hitter job this season. He currently is second on USC in blocks (11) and third in digs (15). A .383 career hitter with 609 kills, 271 blocks, 143 digs and 56 aces, he appeared in only 13 matches in 2001 when had 59 kills, 14 aces, 11 digs and 20 blocks. His 8 aces versus UC Irvine last spring was a USC match record.
He had 4 blocks vs. La Verne (1-8).
He had 8 kills while hitting .417 vs. host UC Irvine (1-13) at the Wyndham Garden/West Coast Challenge.
Mark Dusharme, a 6-8 junior with 31 starts at middle blocker the last two seasons, is battling for a starting outside hitter spot in 2002. He is a .345 career hitter with 294 kills and 115 blocks. In 15 matches last year, he had 41 kills, 17 blocks and 16 aces.
He had 7 kills and 3 blocks vs. UCLA (1-13) at the Wyndham Garden/West Coast Challenge.
He had 8 kills while hitting .889 vs. host UC Irvine (1-13) at the Wyndham Garden/West Coast Challenge.
Ian Gallagher, a 6-6 sophomore, has switched from setter to outside hitter and is competing for the starting job there.
He had 3 kills vs. LaVerne (1-8) in his first action as a Trojan.
He had 8 kills, 6 digs and 4 blocks vs. host UC Irvine (1-13) at the Wyndham Garden/West Coast Challenge.
Prior to the start of teh 2002 season, Marcus Gilmour, a 6-9 redshirt sophomore opposite hitter, had yet to step onto the court for Troy while recovering from knee surgery. But he could be the X factor for USC in 2002 as he makes the move from outside hitter.
In his first-ever action as a Trojan, he had 4 kills vs. Pepperdine (1-12) at the Wyndham Garden/West Coast Challenge.
Look for four new freshmen-each was named to the 2001 Volleyball Fab 50 team-to possibly contribute in 2002. At 6-11, middle blocker Phil Small is the tallest Trojan volleyballer ever. He currently leads USC in blocks (17). Last year, he was an All-State performer at North Penn High in Lansdale, Penn., and was a member of the 2001 USA Boys' Youth National Training Team. The 6-7 Jeff Bailey, who can play both middle blocker and outside hitter (and even libero), was a three-time All-CIF Division III honoree at Francis Parker High in San Diego, Calif. Chris McKniff, a 6-10 middle blocker, was a three-time All-Stater at Sabino High in Tucson, Ariz., whose mother was an Olympic high jumper and father played college basketball. J.T. Gilmour, a 6-7 setter and the brother of teammate Marcus Gilmour, was a three-time All-CIF first team pick at Santa Ynez (Calif.) Valley Union High. Another first year freshman, 6-9 middle blocker/outside hitter Dan Newman from Windward School in Los Angeles, Calif., will redshirt in 2002 while recuperating from knee surgery last fall. He participated in the 2000 and 2001 USA Youth Development Camps.
Small had 9 kills and a match-best 6 blocks vs. La Verne (1-8) in his USC debut.
Vs. Pepperdine (1-12) at the Wyndham Garden/West Coast Challenge, McKniff and Gilmour saw their first action as Trojans, with McKniff getting 2 blocks and an ace and Gilmour getting 6 assists.
Small had 9 kills and 3 blocks vs. UCLA (1-13) at the Wyndham Garden/West Coast Challenge.
Small had a match-high 7 blocks while hitting .462 vs. host UC Irvine (1-13) at the Wyndham Garden/West Coast Challenge.
There is even depth at the libero position in 2002. Team co-captain Greg Burden capably handled that role the past two seasons. The 6-0 senior had 102 digs in 2001 after getting 183 in 2000. But he is being pushed by 6-3 sophomore Peter Jordan, who saw brief action in seven matches in 2001 at outside hitter, 6-2 junior Dustin Avol, who has appeared in 35 matches during the past two years as a backup setter and serving specialist, and 6-4 first-year freshman Blake Tippett, a 2001 Volleyball Fab 50 and All-CIF Division III first team selection at Newport Harbor High in Newport Beach, Calif. (he can also play outside hitter). Jordan currently leads USC in digs (30).
Jordan had a match-best 6 digs vs. La Verne (1-8).
Jordan had a match-best 13 digs vs. Pepperdine (1-12) at the Wyndham Garden/West Coast Challenge.
Burden had 5 digs vs. UCLA (1-13) at the Wyndham Garden/West Coast Challenge.
Jordan had a match-high 11 digs vs. host UC Irvine (1-13) at the Wyndham Garden/West Coast Challenge.
OTHER OUTSIDE VETS
Also on the roster from last year are a pair of outside hitters who didn't see any action: 6-7 sophomore Phil Peterson and 6-4 sophomore Charley Witt. Peterson sat out the 2001 campaign after transferring from San Diego State (the school dropped the sport), where he hit .467 while starting part of the 2000 season. Witt, whose brothers played at Stanford, will be slowed this year following foot surgery in early January.
Several USC players have Trojan relatives: Beau Rawi's brother, Omar, started for USC's men's volleyball team in 1998 and 1999. Miles McGann's brother, Grant, played water polo at USC in 1997. Several dozen of Marcus and J.T. Gilmour's relatives attended USC, including his mother and father. Charley Witt is a fourth generation Trojan: his father, Bob, played water polo at USC and his great grandfather (John Elmroe, who lettered at fullback in 1914 for the Trojan football team) and grandfather are Trojan alums. Peter Jordan's grandparents attended USC...USC assistant coach Donny Killian comes from a family of Trojans: his father, Don, was a member of the 1977 USC NCAA championship men's volleyball team (he lettered in 1976 and 1977), his sister, Lauren, is a sophomore opposite hitter for the Women of Troy (they played in the 2000 NCAA Final Four and made it to the NCAA Pacific regional final in 2001) , his uncle, Doug, lettered at Troy in 1982 and 1983 (the 1982 team finished third in the NCAAs), and his mother, Chris, is a USC graduate, along with a grandmother, two grandfathers (both played basketball at USC), a great grandfather, 2 other uncles, an aunt and numerous cousins...Charley Witt's brothers, Andy and Larry, played volleyball at Stanford...Chris McKniff's parents were athletes: his father, John, played basketball at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, while his mother, Sharon (Callahan), placed ninth in the high jump for the U.S. at the 1968 Olympics as just a 16-year-old.