Jan. 15, 2003
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The USC men's volleyball team (1-2 overall, 0-0 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation), under new head coach Turhan Douglas, looks to bounce back from a disappointing 2002 season as it begins its 2003 MPSF slate with a home match against No. 8 Pepperdine (2-1, 0-0) on Friday (Jan. 17) at 7 p.m. in the Lyon Center.
ON THE AIR
All of USC's home MPSF matches are broadcast live over the internet on www.usctrojans.com.
USC is not ranked in the initial USA Today/AVCA coaches poll. Pepperdine is eighth.
Pepperdine holds a 43-31 lead in its series with USC. The Trojans have lost their last 3 matches with the Waves.
USC opened its 2003 season with a seventh place finish in the UC Santa Barbara Elephant Bar Invitational on Friday and Saturday (Jan. 10-11). The Trojans, seeded eighth in the eight-team tournament, opened play with a 30-25, 32-34, 30-27, 30-24 loss to top-seeded UCLA. Troy then lost to No. 4-seed Long Beach State, 30-19, 30-22, 30-26 before beating No. 3-seed Pacific, 30-26, 28-30, 30-24, 24-30, 15-12.
At 6-22 overall in 2002 under then head coach Pat Powers, USC had its most difficult season in program history. The 22 losses were a school season record. USC had a school-record 11-match losing streak. All 11 losses in that streak were MPSF contests, also a school mark for longest league losing streak. Troy lost 7 consecutive home matches, also a school record. Earlier in that season, the Trojans had an 8-match losing streak (all MPSF matches). In fact, USC won just 2 of its last 20 matches. During its 8-match losing streak earlier, the Trojans lost 16 consecutive games and won only 1 game out of 25. During the 11-match skid, USC won just 6 games. Of its 22 losses in 2002, 13 were 3-0 and 8 were 3-1.
TOUGH AT HOME
USC is 214-71 (.751) 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.
NORTH GYM/LYON CENTER
For the first time since the 1997 season, USC is returning to the Lyon Center on a regular basis for some of its 2003 home matches. The Trojans will play 8 of their home matches in the 1,300-seat Lyon Center, while the other 4 will be played in the quaint 1,000-seat North Gym (USC's home the past 5 years).
Besides the 4 NCAA crowns (1977-80-88-90) that USC's men have won, the Women of Troy have captured 5 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. Then, coach Mick Haley's 2002 Women of Troy squad captured the NCAA title this past December.
COACH TURHAN DOUGLAS
Turhan Douglas, an assistant coach the past 3 seasons at USC, was promoted to head coach in May of 2002. Being a head coach is nothing new to the 33-year-old Douglas. In fact, he already exhibited his head coaching ability at USC before this season. When Pat Powers--his predecessor at Troy--missed USC's home match against BYU in 2001 to be with his ill mother, Douglas stepped in and directed the Trojans to a 3-1 upset over the top-ranked, undefeated Cougars. Douglas was a successful junior college and club coach before he came to USC for the 2000 season. He was the men's head coach at Pierce Junior College in Woodland Hills (Calif.) for 2 seasons (1998-99) and guided his squad to the South Coast Conference title both years while going 43-9. His 1999 team was the state runner-up and he was named the conference's Coach of the Year. He also was the head coach of Pierce's women's team for 6 seasons (1993-98). He also spent 6 years (1996-2001) as the director and coach of the Santa Monica (Calif.) Beach Club. In 1998, his team won the USA Junior Olympics Boys 17-and-Under championship. He was an assistant with the Santa Monica Junior College men's team for 4 years (1992-95). Douglas was a reserve middle blocker on the 1991 Long Beach State team that won the NCAA title (defeating USC in the final). He also played 2 seasons at Pierce (1987-88). The 1987 Pierce squad won the state crown and the 1988 team was the state runner-up.
There's a familiar face among USC's 3 first-year assisant coaches. Donald Suxho, one of Troy's greatest players, returned to his alma mater after spending time playing with the USA national team (2000-01), professionally in Poland (2001-02) and on the AVP beach tour (2000 and 2002). The Albanian native was the AVCA National Player of the Year as a Trojan senior setter in 2000. The 2-time (1999-2000) All-American first teamer holds the USC career record for aces (164). Joining him on the 2003 staff are Nabil Mardini, a native of Lebanon who was the women's head coach at Pierce J.C. in Woodland Hills (Calif.) the past 4 seasons (1999-2002)--Pierce was the league champ the last 2 years--and the director and coach of the boys' and girls' teams for Santa Monica (Calif.) Beach Club the last 8 years (1995-2002), and Mark Cruz, a former player under Turhan Douglas at Pierce and then a high school and club coach in Southern California (most recently, guiding the girls' team at Hart High in Newhall).
USC returned 4 starters from 2001: middle blockers Josh Day and Phil Small, setter Miles McGann and outside hitter Mark Dusharme. Gone from last year are prolific outside hitter/opposite hitter Brook Billings, a 2000 All-American first teamer who had 2,075 career kills while starting for four seasons, and opposite hitter/middle blocker Beau Rawi, who started 75 matches in his career (plus three-year starting libero Greg Burden).
USC might field the tallest roster in the country, with seven players at least 6-7, led by the inappropriately-named Phil Small (at 6-11, the tallest player in Trojan history).
Third-year starter Josh Day, an effective 6-5 senior middle blocker, led USC's regulars in hitting percentage (.329) and blocks (86) and was second in kills (194) in 2002.
Steady third-year starter Miles McGann, a 6-5 senior setter, led USC in assists (805) and was second in aces (21) in 2002.
Mark Dusharme, a 6-8 senior with 54 starts at middle blocker and opposite hitter the past 2 seasons, likely will start at outside hitter in 2003. He was third on USC in aces (20) in 2002 to rank ninth in the MPSF in ace average (.345).
IN THE MIDDLE
Competing for the other middle blocker spot are sophomores Phil Small, the tallest player (6-11) in USC history, 6-10 Chris McKniff and 6-8 Jeff Bailey. Each started some matches last season in the middle (20 by Small, 5 by McKniff and 2 by Bailey). Small had 62 blocks in 2002.
THE GILMOUR BROTHERS
Challenging Miles McGann at setter is 6-7 soph J.T. Gilmour, who started 11 times last spring and had 366 assists. J.T.'s older brother, 6-9 junior Marcus Gilmour, is fighting for time at an outside hitter spot. Marcus has tremendous potential, but he has been bothered by knee injuries in his Trojan career and has seen only limited action.
ALSO ON THE OUTSIDE
Also in the mix to start at outside hitter are 6-3 junior Peter Jordan, who started 13 times last year at libero, and 6-4 sophomore Blake Tippett, a member of the 2002 USA men's junior national team who started 4 times at opposite hitter and outside hitter for USC in 2002 and also saw action at libero.
The opposite hitter job could go to 6-6 junior Ian Gallagher, who started 13 matches at outside hitter last year (he came to USC as a setter).
The other returning squadmen have limited USC experience: 6-7 junior outside hitter Phil Peterson, 6-4 sophomore outside hitter Charley Witt, 6-2 sophomore opposite hitter Owen Hanson and 5-10 redshirt freshman libero Evan Burden. Peterson (a part-time starter at San Diego State in 2000) saw brief action last year, Witt has yet to play while slowed with a foot injury, Hanson also has not seen action yet at USC and Burden (Greg's younger brother) redshirted in 2002.
USC's three new freshmen could have an immediate impact: 6-4 outside hitter Derek Otte and a pair of Brazilians in 6-5 opposite hitter Thiago Barbosa and 6-2 libero-outside hitter Joao Grangeiro. Otte, a two-time All-CIF first teamer who made Volleyball magazine's Fab 50 list, joined Tippett on the 2002 USA men's junior national team. Grangeiro was a member of Brazil's junior national team that won the 2001 World Championship, while both he and Barbosa played on several Brazilian state championship club teams.
Miles McGann is a business major at USC with a team-best 3.83 GPA...Several USC players have Trojan relatives: Evan Burden's brother, Greg, was USC's libero for 3 seasons (2000-02). 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 Elmore, who lettered at fullback in 1914 for the Trojan football team) and grandfather are Trojan alums. Blake Tippett is a third generation Trojan (his uncle, Hunt Williams, played soccer at USC). Peter Jordan's grandparents and an aunt attended USC. Derek Otte's sister, Luzanne, is a USC grad...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...Joao Grangeiro's father, Joao, played volleyball for Brazil in the 1980 Olympics...Mark Dusharme's sister, Michelle, played softball at Doane.