September 2, 1997
USC Women's Volleyball Opens Home Schedule vs. Villanova, Colorado
THIS WEEK -- The USC women's volleyball team (3-0 overall), fresh off of a standout performance at the GOFF/MSU Classic at Michigan State, opens its home schedule with a pair of non-conference matches against Villanova (3-0) on Fri. (Sept. 5) at 7 p.m. and against Colorado (1-0) on Sun. (Sept. 7) at 1 p.m. Both matches are at the North Gym. In addition to their USC matches, Colorado and Villanova will square off Sat. (Sept. 6) at the North Gym at 1 p.m.
RANKINGS -- USC is ranked No. 10 in the USA Today/AVCA Preseason Coaches Top 25 Poll. Colorado is ranked No. 22. Villanova is not ranked.
SERIES -- USC has never faced Villanova but owns a 2-0 record against Colorado. The Women of Troy last faced the Buffs in 1992, winning 13-15, 15-6, 17-15, 15-13 at the Conference Challenge at UCLA. USC's previous win over Colorado was a sweep in Boulder, Colo, in 1988.
LAST WEEK -- USC opened the season by winning the GOFF/MSU Classic (8/29-30) at Michigan State. After breezing by Xavier (Fri.) and Atlantic Coast power Duke (Sat. morning) in a pair of sweeps, the Women of Troy took on the No. 6 Spartans in front of a raucous crowd at the Jenison Field House over 2,000 strong. USC kept the place quiet all night with a 15-5, 12-15, 15-4, 15-7 upset. Junior outside hitter Jennifer Kessy had a tournament-high 25 kills en route to earning tournament MVP honors. Junior setter Janice Mounts (121 assists) and junior middle blocker Jasmina Marinkovic (41-4-77, .481) also earned All-Tournament honors as USC opened the season 3-0.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK -- USC junior outside hitter Jennifer Kessy was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for the first week of competition. It is her third such honor of her career and USC's 16th overall. She had back-to-back honors last year, the only player in Pac-10 history to do so.
COACH LISA LOVE -- One of the nation's most successful collegiate coaches and a program builder everywhere she has been, Lisa Love has added another title. She has been USC's women's volleyball head coach since 1989 and was named associate athletic director in June of 1991. But leave room on the resume for this: President of the American Volleyball Coaches Association. Her term runs through 1998. Meanwhile, Love, 40, continues her duties as one of the nation's top volleyball coaches as she begins her ninth year as head coach at USC. Love has posted an outstanding 161-81 (.665) record with the Women of Troy and an impressive 360-159 (.694) mark in 15-plus seasons as a collegiate head coach. Love's teams have been nationally ranked in the final Top 20 in 10 of those years and have made 8 NCAA regional appearances and 11 overall NCAA trips. In 1996, Love led USC to a 21-9 record (12-6 in the Pac-10, tied for third) and to the NCAA Regionals for the third consecutive year. USC got to the NCAA Pacific Regional Semifinal, where it fell to eventual NCAA champion Stanford. In 1995, Love led the Women of Troy to an 18-9 overall record, finishing fourth in the Pac-10, but fell to the same fate as in 1996, falling in the Pacific Regional semifinals to Stanford. Her 1994 squad finished 22-8 and ranked ninth nationally in the Volleyball Monthly final poll. The Women of Troy swept Top 20-ranked opponents in 4 consecutive matches before losing to eventual national champion Stanford in the NCAA West Regional Finals. In 1993, Love led the Women of Troy to a 22-9 record, a No. 13 final ranking and the team's third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. Love, who led USC to a 21-9 finish in 1992, was named AVCA District 8 Coach of the Year in 1991 after leading a young USC team, which finished 23-8 overall, to its first NCAA Regional appearance since 1985. Love began her career at USC in 1989 and collected her 200th career win with her first victory with the Women of Troy.
JASMINA MARINKOVIC -- One of the nation's top blockers and most exciting players, junior middle blocker and All-American candidate Jasmina Marinkovic has become a major force for USC. The 1996 KAEPA/AVCA All-District 8 and All-Pac-10 first teamer opened 1997 in fine fashion. In USC's 3 wins at the GOFF/MSU Classic (8/29-30) at Michigan State, Marinkovic had 41 kills in 77 attacks with only 4 errors, good for a hitting percentage of .481, earning All-Tournament honors. Against Duke (8/30), she went 14-0-26 (.538). Last year, she led the Women of Troy in hitting percentage (.360 -- tied for third in the Pac-10), kills (433), kill average (4.16 -- seventh in the Pac-10), block solos (37) and block assists (106).
JENNIFER KESSY -- Another standout junior, All-American candidate Jennifer Kessy began her third season as a starting outside hitter with a bang, earning the Pac-10's first Player of the Week honor in 1997. It was the third for her career and USC's 16th. The 1996 All-Pac-10 honorable mention pick earned MVP honors at the GOFF/MSU Classic (8/29-30) with 54 kills in USC's 3 wins. Kessy had 12, 17 and 25 kills, respectively, at the tournament, saving the best for last against then-No. 6 Michigan State. She hit .361 on the weekend with 32 digs and 10 blocks. Last year, she became the first player to win consecutive Pac-10 Player of the Week honors in conference history when she earned the nods for the weeks ending 10/7 and 10/14. Kessy now has 3 such honors and is 1 of only 2 Women of Troy players to win the award 3 times. Former All-American Kelly Kuebler is the other.
JANICE MOUNTS -- A rising star in the Pac-10, junior All-American candidate Janice Mounts is starting at setter for the second consecutive season. In her first weekend of action, she garnered All-Tournament honors at the GOFF/MSU Classic (8/29-30) with 121 assists while helping lead USC to the tournament title. She averaged 13.44 assists per game and also had 21 digs and 8 blocks. An All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection as a 1996 sophomore, Mounts led the Women of Troy with 1,318 assists and a 13.31 assist average last year, both good for third all-time on USC's season record lists.
ALAINA KIPPS -- After growing as a reserve her freshman and sophomore years, middle blocker Alaina Kipps has stepped into the starting lineup quite smoothly as a 1997 junior. One of USC's steadiest players, she was a standout in USC's opening weekend with 20 blocks and 21 kills at the GOFF/MSU Classic (8/29-30). She posted a career high 11 blocks (10 assists) in USC's upset win over Michigan State (8/30) and she posted her first double-figure kill showing with 10 against Duke in a morning match before facing the Spartans.
ANTOINETTE POLK -- Starting as a redshirt freshman, outside hitter Antoinette Polk is already turning heads. Possibly the most athletic player and best leaper on the team (at 5-10, she can touch the rim on a regulation basketball hoop), Polk posted her first double-double in only her third career match. She had 11 kills and 14 digs against Michigan State in the finale of the GOFF/MSU Classic (8/29-30). Polk is a 2-sport star at USC and will join the basketball team when the volleyball season is over. Last year, she played in 9 games with the basketball team, averaging 2.1 points as a guard.
JEANNE VETTER -- The only senior on the team, Jeanne Vetter is a candidate to start at outside hitter in 1997. Hampered by a nagging shoulder injury, Vetter saw action in only 1 match in USC's opening weekend at the GOFF/MSU Classic (8/29-30), but she made it count. Getting in as a reserve against the Spartans in the title game, Vetter had 8 big digs in the upset win. Vetter is the team's vocal leader and can contribute in a variety of roles. Her presence on the court jump started the Women of Troy in more than one match last year.
SARA STEPHEN -- USC's shortest outside hitter at 5-8, junior Sara Stephen is one of the Women of Troy's hardest hitters. As a reserve, Stephen saw time in all 3 of USC's matches at the GOFF/MSU Classic (8/29-30), mainly as a defensive specialist. She had 25 digs in 3 matches (2.5 per game), including 13 vs. Duke and 10 against Michigan State.
FRESHMEN -- Coach Lisa Love welcomed 7 freshmen to this year's squad, headlined by a trio of players that should see playing time all year. Outside hitters Janae Henry and Kashi Cormier will both compete for time at outside hitter. Henry was the 1996 Volleyball Magazine Player of the Year and Cormier was a 2-time USA Youth National team member (1996-97). Setter Heidi Munneke, a 2-time All-CIF Southern Section Division IV first team selection in 1995-96, will be Mounts' primary back-up. The other 4 freshmen, all walk-ons, are defensive specialist Cynthia Corpuz, outside hitters Christine Bohle and Shannon Redfern and middle blocker Sara Peterson. Cormier saw the most action in USC's season-opening tournament at the GOFF/MSU Classic at Michigan State (8/29-30). She started all 3 matches at opposite hitter, coming up with 25 digs, including 11 in USC's upset of then-No. 6 Michigan State. Bohle saw action in 8 games as a backrow specialist and Henry (2 games), Munneke and Redfern (1 game each) all got a taste of the college game.
AMBER OLIVER -- Sophomore Amber Oliver, expected to be a major contributor at middle blocker in 1997, will miss the season because of a shoulder injury suffered this spring. She is scheduled to have surgery in early September.
TOUGH SCHEDULE -- As usual, USC faces one of the toughest schedules in the nation, featuring 7 schools in the USA Today/AVCA Preseason Top 25: Stanford, Michigan State, Washington State, Washington, Arizona, UCLA and Colorado. USC also faces 5 teams that received votes in the preseason poll: Duke, San Diego State, Oregon State, Pepperdine and Arizona State.
VILLANOVA -- Second-year Coach M.J. Engstrom brings the Wildcats to California with a 3-0 record with early wins over Rice, George Mason and Temple. Villanova is led by returning senior starting middle blockers Stacy Evans and Marisa Davidson. Evans finished fourth last year in the Big East in kills and led the Wildcats in most categories.
COLORADO -- The Buffs (1-0) opened their season with a sweep of Utah in their only match so far. Junior middle blocker Melissa Schutz had a match-high 16 kills. Longtime assistant coach Pi'i Aiu has taken over as head coach for Colorado. The Buffs return 5 starters, including All-Big 12 selection Kelly Campbell at setter.
PRESEASON POLLS -- USC was ranked No. 15 in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Poll and No. 14 in Volleyball Magazine.
PAC-10 PRESEASON COACHES POLL -- 1. Stanford, 2. USC, 3. UCLA, 4. Washington State, 5. Washington, 6. Arizona, 7. Oregon State, 8. California, 9. Oregon, 10. Arizona State.
LOVE NOTES: "I liked the way we played in Michigan. We played steady throughout, regardless of the circumstances of the matches. We worked through mistakes and played very fast volleyball. We're a young team and still gaining experience. We're headed in a good direction and beginning to see what our potential is. Villanova and Colorado will both present challenges to us this weekend but it will be nice to get a chance to play at home."
USC Women's Volleyball Season Highs
Christine Bohle -- #32
Kashi Cormier -- #21
Cynthia Corpuz -- #4
Janae Henry -- #22
Jennifer Kessy -- #15
Alaina Kipps -- #12
Jasmina Marinkovic -- #10
Janice Mounts -- #9
Heidi Munneke -- #7
Sara Peterson -- #8
Antoinette Polk -- #3
Shannon Redfern -- #14
Sara Stephen -- #11
Jeanne Vetter -- #17
USC Team Highs
USC Team Lows
USC Individual Highs
Opponent Team Highs
Opponent Team Lows
Individual Opponent Highs
Team Pac-10 Overall Wash. St. 0-0 4-0 USC 0-0 3-0 Arizona St. 0-0 3-0 Washington 0-0 3-0 Arizona 0-0 2-0 California 0-0 2-1 Oregon 0-0 2-1 Stanford 0-0 2-1 UCLA 0-0 0-0 Oregon St. 0-0 1-3
USA Today/AVCA Coaches Poll1. Penn State
4. Long Beach State
6. Washington State
9. UC Santa Barbara
12. Michigan State
13. Brigham Young
15. Loyola Marymount
16. Texas A&M
17. Ohio State
20. Notre Dame
24. Colorado State