Nov. 5, 1997
No. 7 USC Women's Volleyball Returns Home to Host Oregon, Oregon State
THIS WEEK -- The USC women's volleyball team (17-4 overall, 9-4 in the Pacific-10 Conference, tied for second place), hosts Oregon (8-16, 0-12, last place) on Friday (Nov. 7) and Oregon State (13-11, 5-7, sixth place) on Saturday (Nov. 8). Both matches are at 7 p.m. in the North Gym.
RANKINGS -- USC is No. 7 in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll. Oregon and Oregon State are not ranked.
LAST WEEK -- USC took a split away from its Bay Area trip, beating California and falling to Stanford. The Women of Troy defeated the Bears, 15-7, 17-15, 15-5, on Oct. 31. Junior outside hitter Jennifer Kessy and junior middle blocker Jasmina Marinkovic each had 12 kills and Marinkovic added 7 blocks in the win. USC fell to Stanford on Nov. 2, 3-15, 7-15, 15-11, 2-15. Redshirt freshman Antoinette Polk had a career-high 15 kills, Kessy and Marinkovic had 13 kills apiece and junior middle blocker Alaina Kipps had 8 blocks. A note of silver lining: USC's Game 3 win was only the second game Stanford has lost in the Pac-10 season this year.
OREGON -- USC defeated third-year coach Cathy Nelson's Ducks, 15-3, 15-8, 15-8, in the first meeting this year in Eugene on Oct. 9. Jasmina Marinkovic led USC with 12 kills and Madeline Ernst led Oregon with 11 kills. The Ducks have lost 6 of 7 since the first match, their only win coming over Portland. Ernst, a junior outside hitter, leads Oregon with 272 kills, senior middle blocker Tia Stewart has a team-high 81 blocks and 179 kills and senior outside hitter Alison Pepe has a team-high 182 digs. USC has defeated the Ducks 14 consecutive times.
OREGON STATE -- USC defeated the Beavers, 15-11, 15-5, 15-8, in the first meeting this year in Corvallis on Oct. 10, snapping a 2-match losing streak to Oregon State. Jennifer Kessy had 18 kills and Marinkovic had 15 to lead the Women of Troy while Heather Lowe paced the Beavers with 14 kills. Oregon State, under fifth-year coach Jeff Mozzochi, have gone 3-3 since the last meeting. Lowe has a team-high 390 kills, senior outside hitter Pia Ahlengard has 287 kills and a team-high 231 digs and senior middle blocker/outside hitter Magan Prieto has 258 kills and a team-high 98 blocks. Senior setter Miya Malauulu has handled most of the setting chores and has a team-high 872 assists.
NOTES, MILESTONES, ETC. -- USC's 16-2 start was Lisa Love's best mark through 18 matches in her 9-year career at USC and the Women of Troy's 10-1 start was its best since 1991 when it opened 14-1 . . . . . . Juniors Jennifer Kessy and Jasmina Marinkovic became the eighth and ninth players, respectively, to surpass 1,000 kills at USC this year. Kessy, an outside hitter, was the first, getting 22 kills against Pepperdine (10/15). She now has 1,113. Marinkovic did it against UCLA (10/17) with 31 kills and now has 1,081. Kessy is seventh on USC's career attacks list with 2,824 and is tied for seventh in digs with 856. Marinkovic (2,235 career attacks) is fifth on the solo blocks (104) and total blocking (393) career lists and is sixth on the block assists career list (289) . . . Junior setter Janice Mounts became only the fifth Trojan ever to reach 2,000 career assists this year and she now has 2,388 . . . USC's win over UCLA on Oct. 17 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 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 175-85 (.673) record with the Women of Troy and an impressive 374-163 (.696) 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 .413 (318-63-618). She led the nation in overall hitting percentage for 6 consecutive weeks (through Oct. 19). 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 (her first such honors of her career). 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). 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). Against Washington State (10/23), Marinkovic posted her first career triple-double with 21 kills, 12 digs and 10 blocks. 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 (4.44) and blocks per game (1.58). 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). Against California (10/31), she hit .500 (12-2-20).
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 the eighth player ever at USC to reach 1,000 kills. This season, she leads USC in kills (345), kills per game (4.60), digs (236) and aces (18). Against Washington (10/24), Kessy had career highs with 27 kills and 28 digs. Overall, she has 12 double-doubles on the season and 33 for her career. Against Washington State (10/23), she had 25 kills, adding 13 digs. 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. She had 19 kills and 16 digs at UCLA (10/17). She had 18 kills and 15 digs at Oregon State (10/10) and had 16 kills and 11 digs against California (10/4). 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 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 947 assists and an average of 13.34 per game. She has also proved effective at the net and is third on the team with 74 blocks. Mounts, who earlier this year became only the fifth player in USC history to surpass 2,000 assists, had a career-high 79 vs. Washington (10/24). It was the fourth-highest assist total in USC history. Mounts put together a huge weekend at Washington State (9/26) and at Washington (9/27) with 74 and 71 assists, respectively. She had 63 assists in the rematch vs. Washington State (10/23) to go along with 16 digs. 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). 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. 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 123 blocks, averaging 1.62 per game. One of USC's steadiest players, Kipps is the only member of the team who has appeared in all 76 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) and tied the mark in the rematch vs. the Huskies (10/24). She 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 13 kills and a career-high 18 digs. She had her third against Pepperdine (10/15) with 12 kills and 12 digs. Polk is third on the team in digs (159) and kills (167). She hit a career-high .429 with 8 kills against Arizona (9/20) and had a career-high 15 kills at Stanford (11/2). She had 14 kills vs. Washington State (10/23). Polk 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 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 8 matches. She missed some action in October because of a knee injury but has resumed playing. Against Washington (10/24), she tied a career-high with 18 kills and added 23 digs, nursing a sore knee the entire match. She had 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). On the Bay Area trip, Vetter had 17 kills and hit .353. 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. Against Colorado (9/7), she provided 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. Stephen had 12 digs at Oregon (10/9) and 11 digs vs. Washington (10/24). She is tied for second in service aces with 16, including 4 against Villanova (9/5). She is fourth on the team in digs with 107.
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, playing in 62 games 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 10 kills vs. the Cougars at home and had 9 kills and hit .333 at Oregon (10/9). She has 9 aces, 94 kills, 91 digs and 40 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). Henry saw her most significant action of the year vs. Washington (10/24), getting 7 kills in 32 attacks to go along with 12 digs, all career highs. On the year, she has 23 kills and 41 digs in 21 games as a reserve and Munneke has 75 assists in 13 games. Bohle has seen action in 12 games as a back-row specialist. Corpuz has played in 5 games (she has 4 digs), 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 6-4 against ranked teams so far with wins over No. 6 Michigan State, No. 22 Colorado, No. 15 Arizona, No. 14 Pepperdine, No. 22 UCLA and No. 10 Washington State (second meeting). Losses are to No. 6 Washington State (first meeting), No. 4 Stanford (twice) and No. 21 Washington (second meeting). Rankings are at the time of the match.
IN THE PAC-10 -- Jasmina Marinkovic leads the Pac-10 in hitting percentage (.413), is fifth in block average (1.58) and seventh in kill average (4.36). Janice Mounts is third in assist average (13.34) and Alaina Kipps is third in block average (1.62). Jennifer Kessy is third in kill average (4.60) and third in digs (3.15). Shannon Redfern is sixth in aces (0.30). As a team, USC is second in service aces (1.61) and third in blocks (3.43). Redfern's 7 aces are a high for the Pac-10, as are Kipps' 14 total blocks and 12 block assists (tied). USC's 269 attacks vs. Washington (10/24) are also a Pac-10 high.
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 -- "We're getting down to that time of year where every match is important and every match is tough. Coming off a split in the Bay Area, we've got 5 matches left in the Pac-10 and each match is a challenge. We've literally got to take one match at a time, starting with Oregon on Friday and Oregon State on Saturday. You can't look past anyone in the conference and we are certainly aware that we'll have our hands full this weekend."
1997 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