Women's Volleyball Earns No. 4 Seed For NCAA Tournament

LOS ANGELES -- The USC women's volleyball team (22-3) will travel across the country to face Liberty (21-10) this Friday (Nov. 30) at 5:30 p.m. (EST) in the first round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament in Durham, N.C., on the campus of Duke.

The Women of Troy, who finished second in the Pacific-10 Conference with a 16-2 record (one game behind Stanford), earned a No. 4 seed for the NCAA tournament.

The winner of the USC-Liberty match will face the winner of Friday's 7:30 p.m. (EST) Duke (22-4) versus William and Mary (21-4) match in second round action on Saturday (Dec. 1) at 7:30 p.m. (EST) in Durham.

USC is making its 19th appearance in the NCAA Tournament on the heels of the Trojans reaching the Final Four last year for the first time since 1985. Ten players returned from that 2000 team. The Women of Troy have won four national championships (1976, 1977, 1980 and 1981).

'This could be a good bracket for us, but I'm surprised we're not hosting,' said USC head coach Mick Haley. 'We had planned on hosting, but instead we're going across the country. That's tough, but it could be tougher. I suppose the trade-off is we could host a regional next week if we can pull off wins in the first and second rounds.

'The key for us is to just play our game and not be affected by the travel. I don't know much yet about the other teams that will be in Durham. That's always the most difficult thing about playing teams from so far away.

'I do know that Liberty is hot right now, having won 17 of their last 20 and their last 5 in a row, including an upset sweep to capture the Big South tourney. Duke won the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season title and got to the ACC tourney semifinal match, while William and Mary won both the Colonial Athletic Association regular season championship and conference tourney.'

The Women of Troy are led by senior middle blocker Jennifer Pahl (207 kills, .397, 100 blocks), a three-time All-Pac-10 first team pick, and sophomore outside hitter April Ross (team-high 346 kills, .282, team-best 17 aces, team-high 246 digs), a 2-time All-Pac-10 first teamer, plus soph middle blocker Katie Olsovsky (205 kills, .380, 171 digs, team-high 107 blocks). Two Trojans--outside hitter Keao Burdine (286 kills, .291, 16 aces, 220 digs) and Alicia Robinson (206 kills, .245)--were named to the 2001 Pac-10 All-Freshman first team (Burdine also made All-Pac-10 honorable mention).

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