Wednesday, Dec. 4, 1996

    USC Opens NCAA Tournament With 3-0 Win Over SE Missouri State

    Los Angeles -- The No. 13 USC women's volleyball team opened the NCAA Tournament with a decisive 15-2, 15-5, 15-1, first-round victory over Southeast Missouri State at the Lyon Center Wednesday night in front of 221.

    Senior Outside hitter Vesna Dragicevic had a match-high 13 kills to go with a .407 hitting percentage for USC. Sophomore outside hitter Jennifer Kessy had 10 kills. Sophomore setter Janice Mounts had 27 assists and 10 digs.

    SE Missouri St. was led by senior middle blocker Theresa Sebacher's five kills. This was the first NCAA Tournament appearance for the Otahkians.

    USC improves to 20-8, while SE Missouri St. ends its season at 28-8.

    The Trojans outhit the Otahkians .387 to a minus-.030 and had an 11-1 blocking advantage.

    "Our thing was to take care of our side of the net," USC head coach Lisa Love said. "We started faster than usual. We had a blocking advantage at the net, and played solid defense. We did exactly what we needed to do. I was pleased with the way our team followed our game plan.

    "There was a huge difference, obviously," SE Missouri St. head coach Cindy Gannon said. "USC has a great program. We knew we had a challenge ahead of us. Now, hopefully, we've broken ground for our future teams to get into the tournament."

    USC, the No. 5 seed in the Pacific Region, now moves on to the second round and a matchup against South Florida in Tampa, Fla. on Saturday at 3 p.m. (EST). The Bulls (27-4) were the champions of Conference USA.