Oct. 21, 1997
No. 5 USC Hosts Pair of Northwest Powers
THIS WEEK -- The USC women's volleyball team (15-2 overall, 7-2 in the Pacific-10 Conference, in second place), winner of five consecutive matches, begins the second half of the conference schedule by hosting Washington State (18-3, 6-3) on Thursday (Oct. 23) at 7 p.m. at the North Gym and Washington (11-7, 6-3) on Friday (Oct. 24) at 7:30 p.m. at the Lyon Center. Both visiting teams are tied for third place with Arizona in the Pac-10.
RANKINGS -- USC is ranked No. 5 in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll. Washington State is No. 10 and Washington is No. 21. USC, which was ranked No. 15 in the preseason USA Today/AVCA Coaches Poll, has moved up in 6 of the 8 weekly polls.
TELEVISION -- The USC-Washington match on Friday (Oct. 24) at the Lyon Center will be broadcast live on FOX Sports Net at 7:30 p.m. Jim Watson and Heather Cox will call the action.
PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK -- Junior middle blocker Jasmina Marinkovic was named Pac-10 Player of the Week this past week for her efforts in USC's wins over No. 14 Pepperdine and No. 22 UCLA. Marinkovic had a combined 45 kills and 6 errors in 88 swings, hitting .443. She averaged 5.0 kills per game in 9 games. It is her second Player of the Week honor this year and the second of her career. It is USC's third this year and 18th overall.
WASHINGTON STATE -- The Cougars (18-3, 6-3) beat USC in the first meeting this year in Pullman, 14-16, 11-15, 15-3, 15-12, 10-15, on Sept. 26. Jasmina Marinkovic led USC with 26 kills while Washington State had 5 players post double-figures in kills. Since defeating the Women of Troy, the Cougars have gone 3-3 with losses to Arizona, Washington and Stanford. Junior outside hitter Jennifer Stinson is the Cougars' go-to player, posting team highs with 256 kills and 123 blocks. Senior middle hitter Keren Oigman has 179 kills and senior outside hitter Shannon Wyckoff has 174. Senior setter Stephanie Papke is averaging 12.28 assists per game. USC leads the series, 15-9.
WASHINGTON -- The Women of Troy beat the Huskies, 15-10, 10-15, 15-11, 17-15, in Seattle in the first meeting this season on Sept. 27. Jennifer Kessy had a match-high 21 kills and Marinkovic had 17 kills and 11 blocks. Washington (11-7, 6-3) was led by 20 kills from senior quick hitter Makare Desilets. The Huskies, led by Desilets' team-high 279 kills and 129 blocks, have gone 3-2 since losing to USC. Quick hitter Leslie Tuiasosopo has 241 kills and 109 blocks. Senior Michelle Patton handles most of the setting chores and has 603 assists. USC leads the series, 18-8.
LAST WEEK -- USC posted hard-fought wins over No. 14 Pepperdine and No. 22 UCLA. Against the Waves, USC was led by junior outside hitter Jennifer Kessy's match-high 22 kills, winning 15-8, 15-5, 10-15, 15-12, in a non-conference match at USC. Junior middle blocker Jasmina Marinkovic had 14 kills and 11 blocks, freshman outside hitter Antoinette Polk had 12 kills and 12 digs and junior setter Janice Mounts had 53 assists and a career-high 12 blocks. Two days later, USC went to Westwood and beat UCLA, 15-6, 4-15, 15-11, 14-16, 15-11. In the win, Marinkovic had a career-high 31 kills, Kessy posted a double-double with 19 kills and 16 digs and junior middle blocker Alaina Kipps had a career-high 14 blocks.
NOTES, MILESTONES, ETC. -- USC's 15-2 record is Lisa Love's best mark through 17 matches in her 9-year career at USC . . . Juniors Jennifer Kessy and Jasmina Marinkovic became the eighth and ninth USC players, respectively, to surpass 1,000 kills last week. Kessy, an outside hitter, was the first, getting 22 kills against Pepperdine (10/15). She now has 1,036. Marinkovic did it against UCLA (10/17) with 31 kills and now has 1,017. Kessy is seventh on USC's career attacks list with 2,640 and is ninth in digs with 791. Marinkovic (2,071 career attacks) is fifth in solo blocks with 95 and is seventh on both USC's career total blocking list (365) and on the career block assists list (270) . . . Junior setter Janice Mounts recently became only the fifth Trojan ever to reach 2,000 career assists and she now has 2,169 . . . USC's win over UCLA last Friday and its win last year in the series finale gives the Women of Troy 2 consecutive wins over the Bruins for the first time since 1987. USC has also won 3 straight at Pauley Pavilion . . . USC allowed only a combined 19 points in its sweeps of Arizona State (15-4, 15-3, 15-4) and Arizona (15-1, 15-4, 15-3) on Sept. 19-20, its lowest point total allowed in back-to-back 3-game matches since 1977. The 1977 USC team, which went 38-0 and won the AIAW national championship, gave up a combined 14 points in back-to-back matches . . . USC's 10-1 start was its best since 1991 when it opened 14-1 . . . USC freshman outside hitter Janae Henry made her network television debut recently in a dubious manner. Playing at San Diego State in the final game of a sweep on Sept. 11, Henry ripped a ball that looked like a sure kill. Aztec junior outside hitter Michaela Paz had other ideas, however. Covering the deep right court, Paz stabbed at the ball with her foot (a legal play) and sent the ball into USC's backcourt where it landed safely for a kill. The play made numerous highlight reels, including CNN's, where it was Play of the Day. USC had the last laugh, though, beating the Aztecs in 3 games.
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 173-83 (.676) record with the Women of Troy and an impressive 372-161 (.698) mark in 14-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 Semifinals, 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 is a major force for USC. The 1996 KAEPA/AVCA All-District 8 and All-Pac-10 first teamer has been on fire all season, hitting a team-high .469 (254-41-454). She has led the nation in overall hitting percentage for 5 consecutive weeks (through Oct. 12). She is a 2-time Pac-10 Player of the week honoree (Sept. 22 and Oct. 20) and was named AVCA National Player of the Week on Sept. 22. She was honored in September for her flawless performance in USC's sweeps against Arizona State (9/19) and Arizona (9/20). In the 2 matches, she had 23 kills in 30 attempts without an error, good for a hitting percentage of .767. She also had 9 blocks. For the second award, Marinkovic had a combined 45 kills and 6 errors in 88 swings, hitting .443 against No. 14 Pepperdine (Oct. 15) and No. 22 UCLA. (Oct. 17). She has won the Pac-10 award twice in her career and the AVCA award once (USC has won the Pac-10 award 18 times). Against the Sun Devils, Marinkovic went 13-0-17 for a percentage of .765, the second-highest match hitting percentage in school history (min. 15 attempts). Most recently, she had a career-high 31 kills (tied for the seventh-best match effort ever at USC) and hit .500 (31-3-56) at UCLA (10/17). On the year for USC, Marinkovic is second in kills per game (4.38) and blocks per game (1.50). In the loss to Washington State (9/26), Marinkovic had 26 kills and she followed it up with 17 kills and 11 blocks at Washington (9/27). She had 14 kills and tied a season high with 11 blocks vs. Pepperdine (10/15). 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. In USC's road sweep of the Oregon schools (10/9-10), she hit .480 (27-3-50).
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 of her career and is among 18 that USC has won. Her 22 kills against Pepperdine (10/15) made her only the eighth player ever at USC to reach 1,000 kills. This season, she leads USC in kills (268), kills per game (4.47), digs (171) and aces (16). 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. Kessy had back-to-back double-doubles at Washington State (9/26) and at Washington (9/27) with 22 kills and 17 digs and 21 kills and 14 digs, respectively. She posted 18 kills and 14 digs in the win over Colorado (9/7) and had a match-high 16 kills against Arizona State (9/19), hitting a career-high .591 in the match. Her 19 kills and 16 digs at UCLA (10/17) marked her ninth double-double this season and the 30th for her career. She had 18 kills and 15 digs at Oregon State (10/10) and had 16 kills and 11 digs against California (10/4). Kessy is 1 of only 2 USC players to win the Pac-10 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 728 assists and an average of 13.00 per game. She has also proved effective at the net and is third on the team with 62 blocks. She recently notched her 2,000th career assist against Oregon (10/9), becoming only the fifth player in USC history to do so. In her first weekend of action this season, 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 had 52 assists against Michigan State (8/30) and also had 21 digs and 8 blocks overall for the tournament. Mounts put together her 2 highest assist totals of the season back-to-back at Washington State (9/26) and at Washington (9/27) with 74 and 71, respectively. The 74 assists against the Cougars was the 10th-highest total in USC history. She had 59 assists and 12 digs at UCLA (10/17) and had 55 assists against Oregon State (10/10). Mounts had 53 assists and a career-high 12 blocks against Pepperdine (10/15). 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 blossomed as a 1997 junior. She leads USC with 104 blocks, averaging 1.70 per game. One of USC's steadiest players, Kipps is the only member of the team who has appeared in all 61 games. She posted a career-high 14 blocks at UCLA (10/17), joining a tie for the sixth-best single-match blocking performance in school history. She hit a career-high .667 (10-0-15) at Oregon State (10/10) and also added 7 blocks. She had a career-high 12 kills and 6 blocks at Washington (9/27), had 11 kills and 9 blocks against Colorado (9/7) in the 5-game win, had 8 blocks vs. Stanford (10/3) and had 9 kills and 6 blocks at San Diego State (9/11). Kipps was a standout in USC's season-opening weekend with 20 blocks and 21 kills at the GOFF/MSU Classic (8/29-30). She posted 11 blocks 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. Kipps, who carries a 4.0 GPA, was honored during the Academic Salute at the USC-Washington State football game at the Coliseum (9/13).
ANTOINETTE POLK -- Starting as a redshirt freshman, outside hitter Antoinette Polk is turning heads despite her inexperience. 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 (8/30). She had her second double-double at Washington State (9/26) with career highs in kills (13) and digs (18). She had her third against Pepperdine (10/15) with 12 kills and 12 digs. Polk is second on the team in digs (137) and third in kills (131). She hit a career-high .429 with 8 kills against Arizona (9/20). She had 12 kills and hit .321 against Colorado (9/7), had 10 kills and 8 digs against Cal State Northridge (9/9) and had 9 kills and 10 digs at Oregon (10/9). Polk also played basketball last year, seeing time in 9 games and averaging 2.1 points as a guard. She has since decided to concentrate on volleyball.
JEANNE VETTER -- The only senior on the team, Jeanne Vetter has started 6 matches, but a recent knee injury will keep her out indefinitely. She posted season highs with 14 kills and 20 digs at Washington (9/27) for her first double-double of the season. She also had 10 digs at Washington State (9/26). Vetter started her first match of the year against Arizona State (9/19) and had 6 kills in 7 attempts without an error. She also had 3 aces and 4 assists. 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, jump starting the Women of Troy like she has so often in her career. She had 7 kills in 8 attempts against Cal State Northridge (9/9), hitting .750.
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. Recently, Stephen had 12 digs at Oregon (10/9). She is tied for second in service aces with 14, including 4 against Villanova (9/5). She is fourth on the team in digs with 86.
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 9 matches at opposite hitter. She had 13 and 11 kills, respectively, at Washington State (9/26) and Washington (9/27), hitting .407 against the Cougars. She had 9 kills and hit .333 at Oregon (10/9). She has 9 aces, 78 digs and 34 blocks. 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 have competed for time throughout the season. Setter Heidi Munneke, a 2-time All-CIF Southern Section Division IV first team selection in 1995-96, is 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 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 and often works her way into Coach Love's rotation. She also started at UCLA (10/17) and played a solid match. Against Arizona, Redfern had a USC season-high 7 aces, 1 short of tying USC's 3-game match record. She had 10 digs vs. Pepperdine (10/15). Bohle has seen action in 12 games as a back-row specialist. Henry has 15 kills and 24 digs in 14 games as a reserve and Munneke has 75 assists in 12 games. Corpuz has played in 4 games, Peterson in 1.
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 8 schools that have been ranked in the USA Today/AVCA Top 25: Stanford, Michigan State, Washington State, Washington, Arizona, UCLA, Pepperdine and Colorado. USC also faces 4 teams that received votes in the preseason poll: Duke, San Diego State, Oregon State and Arizona State. USC is 5-2 against ranked teams so far with wins over No. 6 Michigan State, No. 22 Colorado, No. 15 Arizona, No. 14 Pepperdine and No. 22 UCLA and losses to No. 6 Washington State and No. 4 Stanford (rankings at the time of the match).
IN THE PAC-10 -- Jasmina Marinkovic leads the Pac-10 in hitting percentage (.469), is sixth in kill average (4.38) and fifth in block average (1.50). Janice Mounts is second in assist average (13.00) and Alaina Kipps is second in block average (1.70). Jennifer Kessy is fourth in kill average (4.47) and eighth in digs (2.85). Shannon Redfern is fourth in aces (0.33). As a team, USC is second in the conference in service aces (1.67) and hitting percentage (.270) and fourth in blocks (3.41). The Women of Troy are first in the following opponent categories: service aces (1.00), digs (11.23), kills (12.80) and assists (11.52). USC is second in opponent hitting percentage (.140) and fourth in blocks by opponents (2.23). Redfern's 7 aces are a high for the Pac-10, as are Kipps' 14 total blocks and 12 block assists (tied).
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 -- "It wasn't pretty this week, but I like the way we battled back from adversity against 2 good teams like Pepperdine and UCLA. With the Bruins, it's always a brawl and it was no different this time. It was a tough match and I liked the way we responded, especially in the fifth game. It doesn't get any easier this week with Washington State and Washington. We'll be looking for a little revenge against the Cougars after losing in 5 up in Pullman, and I'm sure the Huskies are saying the same thing about us after we beat them in Seattle. Both are excellent teams that will fight us tooth and nail."USA Today/AVCA Coaches Poll
as of 10/21/97
1. Penn State (60)
2. Long Beach State
7. UC Santa Barbara
10. Washington State
12. Texas A&M
18. Colorado State
19. Loyola Marymount
22. U. San Diego
25. Michigan State
Team Pac-10 Overall Stanford 9-0 18-2 USC 7-2 15-2 Wash. St. 6-3 18-3 Washington 6-3 11-7 Arizona 6-3 14-3 UCLA 4-5 9-7 Arizona St. 3-6 12-8 Oregon St. 3-6 11-10 California 1-8 6-12 Oregon 0-9 7-13