September 9, 1997
USC Women's Volleyball Hosts Northridge, Travels to San Diego State
THIS WEEK -- The USC women's volleyball team (5-0 overall), off to its best start since 1993, hosts Cal State Northridge (6-1) tonight at the North Gym before heading south to face San Diego State (5-1) on Thursday (Sept. 11). Both matches are at 7 p.m.
RANKINGS -- USC is ranked No. 9 in the USA Today/AVCA Preseason Coaches Top 25 Poll. Neither Cal State Northridge nor San Diego State are ranked.
SERIES -- USC has dominated Cal State Northridge since first meeting in 1976, owning a 19-1 advantage, including last year's 15-12, 15-10, 15-10 win on the road. USC has won 12 in a row in the series. The Women of Troy have had almost as much success against San Diego State, possessing a 26-9 lead, also dating back to 1976. USC has won 4 in a row against the Aztecs, including last year's home-opener win, 15-5, 15-6, 15-8.
LAST WEEK -- USC opened its home season with a pair of matches against Villanova (Sept. 5) and Colorado (Sept. 7). Both were wins but the similarities ended there. The Women of Troy dominated Villanova, 15-8, 15-2, 15-2, disposing of the overmatched Wildcats in little more than an hour. Junior outside hitter Jennifer Kessy had a match-high 14 kills as USC enjoyed leads of 9-0 and 13-0 in Games 2 and 3, respectively. Colorado took USC to 5 games in a grueling affair that the Women of Troy won, 13-15, 15-12, 8-15, 15-5, 15-13. Junior middle blocker Jasmina Marinkovic had a season-high 22 kills and 3 other players had at least 11 kills in USC's first come-from-behind win of the season. The rally-scored fifth game was tied at 13-13 when a Kessy kill put USC up 14-13. On the following point, freshman outside hitter Antoinette Polk, who posted a career-high 12 kills, made a standout dig to keep the rally going and USC won the match moments later on a hitting error.
NOTES, MILESTONES, ETC. -- USC has won its first 5 matches for the first time since 1993, when it also won 5. The long before that to open the season was 11 wins in 1991. . . with her 46 attacks against Colorado, outside hitter Jennifer Kessy moved into the 10th spot on USC's all-time attacks list with 2,225 . . . middle blocker Jasmina Marinkovic has moved into the 9th spot all-time on USC's career blocking list with 292.
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 163-81 (.668) record with the Women of Troy and an impressive 362-159 (.695) 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.
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 has opened 1997 in fine fashion, hitting .500 (63-6-114) in 4 matches. 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). After sitting out the Villanova match to rest a sore back, she continued her torrid play against Colorado (9/7) with a line of 22-2-37 (.541). In 1996, she led the Women of Troy in hitting percentage, kills, kill average, block solos and block assists.
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. She leads USC in kills (86), kills per game (4.78) and digs (49). 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. She had a match-high 14 kills against Villanova (9/5) and posted 18 kills and 14 digs in the win over Colorado (9/7). She has 3 double-doubles in 5 matches. Kessy is 1 of only 2 Women of Troy players to win the Player of the Week 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. She leads USC with 184 assists and an average of 13.14 per game. 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. She leads USC with 33 blocks, averaging 1.83 per game. 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. She had a career-high 11 kills and 9 blocks against Colorado (9/7) in the 5-game win. On Saturday (9/13) at the USC-Washington State football game at the Coliseum, Kipps will be honored during the Academic Salute.
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 dunk 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). She had 12 kills and hit .321 against Colorado (9/7). 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. She played again against Colorado (9/7), providing a spark off the bench with 3 kills and 6 digs, jumpstarting the Women of Troy like she has so often in her career.
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. She is third on the team in digs with 39 and posted 4 aces against Villanova (9/5).
KASHI CORMIER -- True freshman Kashi Cormier, a 2-time USA Youth National team member (1996-97), has seen the most action thus far of any of USC's 7 newcomers, starting all 5 USC matches at opposite hitter. She leads the team with 7 aces, has 14 blocks and is fourth with 35 digs. At the GOFF/MSU Classic (8/29-30), she came up with 25 digs, including 11 in USC's upset of then-No. 6 Michigan State.
FRESHMEN -- Including Cormier, Coach Lisa Love welcomed 7 freshmen to this year's squad. Outside hitters Janae Henry, the 1996 Volleyball Magazine Player of the Year, and Cormier will both compete for time throughout the season. Setter Heidi Munneke, a 2-time All-CIF Southern Section Division IV first team selection in 1995-96, will be Mounts' 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. Redfern recently started her first match of her career against Villanova (9/5), filling in at middle blocker for Jasmina Marinkovic. She came through with 6 kills in 13 attempts. Bohle has seen action in 10 games as a backrow specialist. Henry has 9 kills and 8 digs in 6 games as a reserve and Munneke has 44 assists in 5 games. Corpuz and Peterson both played for the first time against Villanova, each seeing action in the final 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.
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. USC is 2-0 against ranked teams so far with wins over Michigan State and Colorado.
USC IN THE PAC-10 -- Jasmina Marinkovic is second in the Pac-10 in hitting percentage (.500) and seventh in kill average (4.20). Alaina Kipps is third in block average (1.83) and 10th in hitting percentage (.368). Jennifer Kessy is third in kill average (4.78). Janice Mounts is fourth in assist average (13.14). As a team, USC is second in hitting percentage (.296).
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE -- The Matadors (6-1), coached by Dr. Lian Lu, opened the season with 6 consecutive wins before falling to Eastern Washington in the finale of the UNLV Volleyball Classic. Junior outside hitter Nancy Ma leads the team with 99 kills (4.95 per game), a hitting percentage of .291 and 12.55 attempts per game. Junior middle blocker Crystal Newquist is Northridge's leading blocker with 31.
SAN DIEGO STATE -- Third-year Coach Mark Warner and the Aztecs (5-1) have run off 5 consecutive wins since a season-opening loss. Senior outside hitter Martina Vitkova leads the team with 95 kills and 11 aces, sophomore middle blocker Nicole Curtis has a team-high 38 blocks and junior outside hitter Romana Vitkova leads San Diego State with 67 digs.
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: "The Colorado match was a great challenge for us and I like the way we responded. We weren't at the top of our game, but we kept plugging away and improved as the match wore on. I liked the way we came back after going down a game. We've got 2 more matches before the Pac-10 season starts against Northridge and San Diego State and both should prove to be good tests."
1997 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 7-0 Arizona St. 0-0 7-0 USC 0-0 5-0 Arizona 0-0 4-0 UCLA 0-0 3-0 California 0-0 5-1 Stanford 0-0 5-2 Oregon 0-0 4-2 Washington 0-0 4-2 Oregon St. 0-0 3-4
USA Today/AVCA Coaches Pollas of 9/9/97
1. Penn State (59)
3. Long Beach State (1)
6. Washington State
7. UC Santa Barbara
11. Michigan State
15. Loyola Marymount
16. Texas A&M
17. Ohio State
21. Notre Dame
25. Colorado State