Women Of Troy To Play Four Matches in Five Days
Aug. 31, 2004
The No. 1-ranked USC women's volleyball team (2-0) -- the defending back-to-back NCAA and Pac-10 champion -- enters its second week of competition just as the rest of Division I prepares to begin its season. Coming off victories over No. 12 Georgia Tech and No. 5 Minnesota last week to win a second-straight NACWAA Championship, the Women of Troy have a busy schedule ahead as they prepare for four matches in five days. USC hosts an Alumni Match on Wednesday, Sept. 1, at 7 p.m., then faces
British Columbia in an exhibition on Friday, Sept. 3, at 7 p.m., and Georgia on Saturday, Sept. 4, at 3 p.m. All three matches will be played at the Lyon Center. The British Columbia and Georgia matches will be broadcast live at www.usctrojans.com. On Sunday, Sept. 5, USC travels to Malibu, Calif., to face No. 9 Pepperdine at 3 p.m. at Firestone Fieldhouse. The match will air live on College Sports Television (CSTV) and can be heard at www.pepperdinesports.com. USC returns eight letterwinners and three starters from last year's Pac-10 and NCAA Championship squad. The team also welcomes eight newcomers, including four Volleyball magazine Fab 50 selections (Katelyn Bishop, Diane Copenhagen, Sarah Florian and Jessica Gysin). Head coach Mick Haley, the 2003 AVCA Division I National Coach of the Year, enters his fourth season at the helm of the Women of Troy program. Banner Night
USC will officially hang the 2003 NCAA Championship banner prior to the start of the Alumni match on Wednesday, Sept. 1, at the Lyon Center. Members of last year's undefeated title squad will be present. USC First To Repeat As NACWAA Champions
It was a quick start to the 2004 season for the Women of Troy, who faced two highly-ranked opponents in just the first week of play at the NACWAA Volleyball Classic in Fort Collins, Colo., Sept. 27-28. With four new starters in the lineup, the Trojans managed to get past No. 12 Georgia Tech, 3-0, and No. 4 Minnesota, 3-2, to capture their second-straight NACWAA Volleyball Championship - the first team to ever accomplish the feat. After sweeping the Yellow Jackets on Friday (Sept. 27), USC had to rally from a 2-1 game deficit against the Golden Gophers on Saturday (Sept. 28). The Women of Troy were out-dug, out-hit and out-blocked by Minnesota and its outstanding passing game, but in the end USC out lasted the Gophers for the five-game victory. The Women of Troy had not been pushed to five games since defeating California 3-2 on the road on Oct. 18, 2003. It was the only five-game match USC played last season. Junior opposite hitter Staci Venski and senior outside hitter Keao Burdine earned all-tournament honors, while junior middle blocker Bibiana Candelas was named tournament MVP. Candelas had a .423 attack percentage for the tournament, and added 3.12 kills and 0.88 blocks per game. Venski provided a steady 2.25 kills per game, including a career-high 12 kills in the final. Burdine, who averaged 3.88 kills in the two matches, led with a match-high 21 kills against Minnesota. The Rankings
USC pulled in 56 of the possible 65 first-place votes to out-distance No. 2 Nebraska and earn the top ranking in the USA Today/CSTV AVCA Coaches Top 25 Preseason Poll and the top spot in the Volleyball magazine poll. USC also entered last season at No. 1. The next coaches poll and Volleyball will be released on Sept. 6. Sitting At The Top
USC has spent 22-straight weeks ranked No. 1 in the AVCA poll. The Trojans have spent 48 weeks ranked in the top 5 and 66 weeks ranked in the top 10 (dating back to the start of the 2000 season). Charting the Streaks
USC has won its last 49 consecutive matches** (dating back to 11/2/02 when they lost 3-2 to Stanford at home), 20 consecutive home matches and 46 consecutive road matches. The Trojans have not dropped a match on the road since the 2001 season (a 3-1 loss at Stanford, 11/10/01). **The 49 straight wins is an NCAA record, but not a USC record. The Women of Troy won 56 straight matches from Nov. 27, 1976, through Sept. 27, 1978, as a part of the AIAW. During The Streak
Not only have the Women of Troy won an impressive 49 consecutive matches, but during that time the team has collected a 147-12 single game record (winning 92.5 percent of its games). Team Co-Captains
This year's team co-captains, as voted on by the players, are seniors Emily Adams and Alicia Robinson. The is the first year Robinson has held the role and the second-consecutive year for Adams. Injury Report Freshman outside hitter Jessica Gysin suffered a severe sprained left ankle in the first week of training camp. She will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks. Team News N' Notes
USC became the first-ever team to win a second-straight NACWAA Volleyball Championship with wins over Georgia Tech and Minnesota on Sept. 27 and 28. Player News N' Notes
Junior Bibiana Candelas earned her first MVP honor as a Trojan at the NACWAA Classic. Fellow junior Staci Venski collected her first all-tournament honor at the event and senior Keao Burdine was also honored to the team.
Libero Debora Seilhamer set a NACWAA Tournament record with a career-high 19 digs in a three-game match against Georgia Tech (Aug. 27). Chasing History
After capturing back-to-back national titles in 2002 and 2003, this year's USC women's volleyball squad is looking to do what no other team has done - win a third straight. There have been seven repeat champions in the history of collegiate women's volleyball (USC 1976-77, USC 1980-81, Hawai'i 1982-83, Pacific 1985-86, UCLA 1990-91, Stanford 1996-97, USC 2002-03), but no one has claimed the three-peat. The Advantage of Height
The 2004 squad boasts one of the tallest lineups of hitters and blockers across the country, but they fall a half inch shorter than the 2002 and 2003 USC team average. The Trojans' hitters and blockers average 6-foot-2-and-a-half. As a team USC stands just over 6-0. Twin Towers Return
Two of the most dominating players in Division I volleyball are back for another season. At 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-5, senior middle blocker Emily Adams (Phoenix, Ariz.) and junior middle blocker Bibiana Candelas (Torreón, Mexico) return to the net for the Women of Troy. These two players, the tallest duo at the net in Division I, each earned AVCA All-American first team accolades in 2003. Adams and Candelas led the nation with .431 and .434 attack percentages, respectively, in addition to ranking among the nation's top five with 1.39 and 1.24 blocks apiece. Adams contributed 3.36 kills per game, while Candelas added an average of 3.05. Burdine Deserves A Closer Look
Every coach across the country knows her name, but she has never been named to a All-America first team. She has been the driving force behind USC's last two championship efforts, but she only has one all-region first team selection to her name. This is senior outside hitter Keao Burdine (Pico Rivera, Calif.) - the only player to ever be named the sole NCAA Championship MVP twice. She has been one player on a team of all-stars, but you'll never hear her complain. After all, she has two NCAA championships to her name. A Tale Of Five Setters
Thanks to the addition of two transfer players, USC will not lack depth at the setting position this season. In addition to sophomore Kimi Freeburg, redshirt freshman Alex Dunphy and walk-on freshman setter/opposite hitter Kathleen Gilmour (who may likely redshirt this season), the Women of Troy welcome 5-foot-10 Nena Siljegovic of Simi Valley, Calif., and 5-foot-7 Alli Dillon of Long Beach, Calif. Siljegovic is a junior transfer from Moorpark (Calif.) Community College, while Dillon enters her sophomore year after spending the 2003 season at San Jose State. What would be a problem for most teams is not for the Trojans, whose 6-2 offense allows the team to utilize the talent of at least two setters. A Story Worth Reading About
Junior transfer Nena Siljegovic's background is unlike many collegiate student-athletes. Though she spent the last two years playing at Moorpark Community College (where she was named the AVCA's 2003 Two-Year College Player of the Year) and the previous two years at Royal High in Simi Valley, Calif., that's where the similarities end. Siljegovic is a native of the former Yugoslavia (Serbia). She and her family were forced to leave their country in 1998 due to the ever-present danger and collapse of the economy during the breakup of Yugoslavia. The family fled to Austria for one year before moving to the U.S. Siljegovic's volleyball career took a strange turn as a result of the move. She never wanted to play the position of setter, but it was the only position her prep coach at Royal High understood in her self-admitted broken English. So he immediately cast her in the role. Flashback to 2000
The freshmen of 2004 have drawn many comparisons to the freshmen of 2000 (April Ross, Katie Olsovsky, Toni Anderson, Nicole Davis), who completed their USC careers last season. Even though the Women of Troy may have lost one of the best classes in program history, the coaching staff did a pretty good job in finding comparable replacements. Considered by most as the No. 1 recruiting class in the country (USC's third in the last five years), this set of newcomers includes four Volleyball magazine Fab 50 selections, including 6-foot-2 middle blocker Katelyn Bishop (Terre Haute, Ind.), 6-foot-2 middle blocker/opposite hitter Diane Copenhagen (Mountain View, Calif.) and a pair of 6-foot-1 outside hitters Sarah Florian (Toledo, Ohio) and Jessica Gysin (Mountain View, Calif.). A True Trojan Family
Freshman setter/opposite hitter Kathleen Gilmour (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) comes from a long line of Trojans - a list that far exceeds that of just former Trojan athletes. The Gilmours, including brothers J.T., who plays on the USC men's volleyball team, and Marcus, who was on the USC team, keep a detailed list of their own Trojan family history that includes 40 family members who have all attended USC. The lists dates back to Kathleen's great-great grandfather, Andrew Morrow ('23), and the first USC relative, her great-great uncle, Charles Morrow ('21). 2003 Recap
It was a perfect ending to a perfect season as the 2003 Women of Troy captured their second-consecutive title (sixth overall) with an undefeated 35-0 record. USC became the first team to ever repeat without defeat and, en route, set an NCAA record by winning 47 consecutive matches dating back to Nov. 2, 2002. Led by five seniors, the Women of Troy went 18-0 in Pac-10 play for their third conference title in the last four years. The Trojans were pushed past three games a mere six times during the season, and only once were they pushed to a fifth (at Cal on Oct. 18). USC's efforts were led by April Ross (Honda Award Winner, All-America, Pac-10 Player of the Year), Emily Adams (All-America, All-Pac-10), Bibiana Candelas (All-America, All-Pac-10) and Keao Burdine (All-America, All-Pac-10). Burdine was named NCAA Championship MVP for the second-straight year. Head Coach Mick Haley
Just when it seemed like he had accomplished it all throughout his 27-year career, USC head coach Mick Haley found a way to top it. In just his third season at the helm of the USC women's volleyball program, Haley led the Women of Troy to a second-consecutive NCAA Championship - the program's sixth title overall and third NCAA title. In 2003 Haley, 61, guided the nation's most talented team to a perfect 35-0 record (only the fourth team to ever accomplish the feat) and an NCAA record 47 consecutive victories, dating back to the 2002 season. For these accomplishments, he earned the most prestigious honor among collegiate coaches and something that had eluded him in previous years of his collegiate coaching career - he was honored as the 2003 AVCA Division I Coach of the Year. In three short years, Haley has made certain that a new era has truly been established at USC. Haley now embarks on his fourth year at Troy and a pursuit for a seventh national title and an unprecedented third straight. As a two-time national championship head coach at Texas and four-year United States National Team coach (who led the USA to an unexpected fourth-place finish at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney), Haley took the helm of the Trojan program at the start of the 2001 season. He brought with him a tradition of excellence as one of the elite coaches in the game to a University with a rich tradition of its own. In his 27 years as a collegiate head coach, Haley boasts a 866-193-1 (.818) career record and a 615-142 (.812) mark in 20 years at the Division I level. He ranks sixth among the NCAA's winningest active coaches according to win percentage (.812) and eighth among all active coaches by victories (615). Most impressive is Haley's dominant history against conference opponents. He owns a 201-13 (.939) career record against conference opponents while competing in the Southwest, Big 12 and Pac-10 conferences. After winning the Pac-10 title the last two seasons, he now boasts 16 career conference titles. Opponent Notes Georgia -- The Georgia Bulldogs return 10 letterwinners and five starters from 2003. Last season, the team finished the year with a 18-13 overall record and 10-6 mark in the Big East to tie for second place. Head coach Mary Buczek enters her fifth season at UGA with a 64-57 record during that time. The top returners include junior outside hitter Julia Petruschke, who averaged 4.31 kills per game in 2003, and senior setter Margot Wallace, who averaged 12.13 assists per game. USC-Georgia Series Record -- This will be the first meeting between USC and Georgia. USC-Georgia Common Connections
UGA freshman defensive specialist/libero Katy Bird hails from Muncie, Ind., not far from USC setter Kimi Freeburg's hometown of New Castle, Ind.
Georgia has three California natives on its roster - Andrea Fisher (Poway), Margot Wallace (Tarzana) and Chelsea Young (Fountain Valley).
Georgia middle blocker Alexandra Oquendo and USC libero Debora Seilhamer are both natives of Puerto Rico. #9 Pepperdine -- Ranked ninth in the 2004 preseason poll, the Waves are deep at every position this year, having only lost one starter in 2003 All-American outside hitter Katie Wilkins. The team returns 10 letterwinners, including five starters from last year's squad which advanced to the NCAA Regional Final and put together a 27-3 overall record and a 14-0 mark in conference play for a first-place finish in the WCC. The team finished ranked sixth. Head coach Nina Matthies enters her 22nd season at the helm of the Waves' program. USC-Pepperdine Series Record -- Sunday's match will mark the 39th all-time meeting between these two teams. USC owns a 31-7 (.816) advantage in the series that began in 1976. The Women of Troy defeated the Waves last season, 3-0, at the Lyon Center. The Trojans are currently riding an 11-match win streak against the Waves, whose last victory came in 1990. USC-Pepperdine Common Connections
Redshirt freshman setter Alex Dunphy has a very close connection to Waves' volleyball. Dunphy's father, Marv, is the men's volleyball head coach at Pepperdine. In 21 seasons, Marv Dunphy has guided the Waves to three national titles.
Pepperdine sophomore middle blocker Kristin McClune attended the same high school as USC's recently departed three-time All-American April Ross.
Pepperdine freshman setter Chevon Krum and USC seniors Emily Adams and Alicia Robinson all hail from Phoenix, Ariz.
Pepperdine assistant coach Tim Nollan was a volunteer coach for the Women of Troy in 2003.
USC men's tennis head coach Peter Smith, women's tennis head coach Richard Gallien and men's golf head coach Kurt Schuette all were former Waves head coaches.
Gallien, as well as women's tennis assistant coach Howard Joffe, also played tennis at Pepperdine.