Third-Ranked Volleyball Begins 2002 Season At Ball State Tournament

Aug. 26, 2002

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Upcoming Matches
Radisson Hotel Roberts/Nike Classic - Muncie, Ind.
Aug. 31 vs. Ball State, 6 p.m. CST
Listen to match live at
Sept. 1 vs. Pittsburgh, 4 p.m. CST
Sept. 2 vs. Nebraska, Noon CST
Listen to match live at

The Facts
The third-ranked USC women's volleyball team opens the 2002 season this week at the Radisson Hotel Roberts/Nike Classic in Muncie, Ind. The Women of Troy will face host Ball State (Aug. 31), Pittsburgh (Sept. 1) and No. 2/4 Nebraska (Sept. 2) during the three-day tournament. Friday and Monday's matches can be heard live on the internet at and, respectively.

The 2002 Trojans return 11 letterwinners and five starters from last year's squad which advanced to the NCAA Regional Final. Among the veterans, USC features the talent of All-Americans April Ross (Volleyball magazine third team) and Katie Olsovsky (AVCA second team), in addition to two other all-conference players (Keao Burdine, Alicia Robinson).

The Rankings
USC enters the 2002 season ranked No. 3 in both the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Poll and Volleyball Magazine preseason poll. The Women of Troy earned a No. 5 final ranking in 2001 by both publications.

2002 Team Captains
This year's team captain, as voted on by the players, is senior Lauren Killian. Teams must have a captain on the floor at all times, so junior April Ross will act as the floor captain when Killian is not present.

2001 Recap
In his first season at the helm of the USC program, Mick Haley led his squad to a 25-4 overall record, second-place Pac-10 finish (16-2) and No. 5 final ranking, but fell 'an ankle short' of the team's ultimate goal of returning to the NCAA Final Four. Behind the efforts of senior Jennifer Pahl (All-Pac-10) and then-juniors April Ross (All-Pac-10) and Katie Olsovsky (All-Pac-10), the Trojans dominated the regular season, but were eliminated in the NCAA Regional Final by Arizona, 3-2. Up 1-0 in the match, Ross went down with an ankle injury in game two and the Wildcats took advantage to gain the comeback win and advance.

Haley En Route To 800 Career Victories
With 798 collegiate career wins to date, head coach Mick Haley is just two wins shy of reaching the 800 mark. These career victories include the 251-51 record he garnered while at Kellogg Community College.

NCAA Women Adopt Libero Position
The libero (pronounced 'LEE-bah-ro) is a designated backrow player, intended to be used as a ball-control specialist. The libero is allowed to replace any player in the backrow without counting as a substitution and there is no limit to the number of libero replacements a team is allowed. The color of the libero's uniform must contrast from the color of her teammates' uniforms, but the libero's shorts must be the same as her teammates'. The libero plays only in the backrow but may not serve, block or attempt to block.

Haley: Ball State Hall of Fame Inductee
In addition to being the first-ever match between the USC Trojans and Ball State Cardinals, this week's trip to Muncie, Ind., is a 'coming home' of sorts for head coach Mick Haley. Haley graduated from Ball State is 1965 with a bachelor's degree in education. During his time in Muncie, he was a setter on the men's volleyball team (1962-65) and helped lead the Cardinals to the 1964 and 1965 Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association title. He was the MIVA's MVP in 1965 and made the All-MIVA second team in 1964. Haley was inducted into the Ball State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1984.

Alumni Reunion
Mick Haley will not be the only Ball State alum at this week's Radisson Hotel Roberts Nike Classic. The Cardinals' head coach Randy Litchfield is a 1984 graduate of BSU and Pittsburgh head coach Chris Beerman graduated from Ball State in 1991.

Reaching New Heights
The 2002 squad boasts the tallest lineup of hitters and blockers in recent history at USC. The Trojans' front line measures at a 6-foot-3 average height and as a team USC stands at 6-0.

A Trojan and a Bruin Get Together
Senior Tracy Lindquist and beach volleyball partner Chrissie Zartman (UCLA sophomore libero) represented the U.S. and captured the gold medal in late June at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World University Games in Guadeloupe of the French Antilles. At 5-7 and 5-5, respectively, Lindquist and Zartman were the shortest competitors in the tournament. In 1997, at ages 16 and 13, Lindquist and Zartman became the youngest players ever to receive an AAA beach rating.

Burdine Follows In Lindquists' footsteps
Sophomore Keao Burdine stepped in for Tracy Lindquist and paired with UCLA's Chrissie Zartman for the 2002 Under-21 World Beach Volleyball Championship in Catania, Italy, not long after Lindquist and Zartman captured the world title. Although Lindquist is Zartman's long-time partner, she was too old to qualify for the under-21 event. Representing the United States, the new team advanced to the quarterfinal round (fifth place), but was eliminated by third-place finisher Maria Salgado Rufino and Talita Rocha of Brazil, 21-13, 21-15.

USC Takes Over USA Team
Head Coach Mick Haley has ensured himself one of the best trained teams in the country. For the second-consecutive summer, USC had six players (Katie Olsovsky, April Ross, Emily Adams, Tracy Lindquist, Keao Burdine and Alicia Robinson) train with the Women's National A2 Team in Colorado Springs, Colo. - this is by far more than any other school (next on the list is Stanford and Nebraska with two apiece).

Venski Forgoes High School Volleyball
Stacy Venski (California City, Calif.), a 6-3 middle blocker, did not play high school volleyball as a junior and senior. Instead, she chose to solely compete with her club volleyball team and during the summers she trained with the U.S. Youth and Junior National Teams. She was never eligible for most prep awards or accolades and made an early verbal commitment to USC.

Trojans Welcome First International Recruit in Seven Years
Bibiana Candelas, a 6-5 middle blocker from Torre�n, Mexico, is the Trojans' first international recruit since Jasmina Marinkovic was recruited in 1995 from Uzice, Serbia by former USC head coach Lisa Love. Marinkovic went on to become a two-time All-American with the Women of Troy before graduating in May, 1999.

Head Coach Mick Haley
Mick Haley is in his second season as head coach of the Women of Troy. Though hired in 1999 to replace former head coach Lisa Love, Haley completed his term as head coach of the U.S.A. Women's National Team before joining the Trojans in 2001. At the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, he led the United States to an unexpected fourth-place finish. Haley coached Texas for 17 seasons (1980-1996) and led the Longhorns to two national championships. He boasts a 798-192-1 (.806) overall record, 547-141 (.795) NCAA Division I record and a 166-12 (.932) conference mark.

Opponent Notes

Ball State -- Ball State posted a 21-9 overall record and second-place Mid-American Conference finish (14-4) in 2001. The team returns three starters and eight total letterwinners, but is without last season's kill (Megan Hammons, 4.05 kpg) and block (Julie Zylka, 1.24 bpg) leaders. The team will benefit from the return of setter Stacie Baldwin (11.02 apg), outside hitter Katie Butts (3.4 kpg, 0.34 sapg, 2.7 dpg) and libero Stephanie Keller (2.7 dpg). Head coach Randy Litchfield enters his 13th season at the helm of the Cardinals' program and boasts a 277-117 (.703) all-time record.

USC-Ball State Series Record -- Saturday's (Aug. 31) match will be the first-ever meeting between USC and Ball State.

Pittsburgh -- Pittsburgh returns three starters from the 2001 squad which finished with an 11-16 overall mark and 7-5 record (fifth) in the Big East. The team lost both starting middle blockers (Heather Haff and Dionne Hayden), who contributed 1.52 and 1.87 blocks per game, respectively, in 2001. Returning honorees include outside hitter Wendy Hatlestad (All-Big East first team, AVCA All-Region), who led the team with 5.19 kills and 0.40 service aces per game, and setter Carrie Norris (All-Big East honorable mention), who led the team in assists (10.46) and digs (2.31) per game. Head coach Chris Beerman enters his second season at Pittsburgh with a 123-62 (.665) career record.

USC-Pittsburgh Series Record -- Sunday's (Sept. 1) match will mark the third all-time meeting between USC and Pittsburgh, but the first match-up in over a decade. The Trojans and Panthers faced each other twice in 1989 with USC taking two wins, 3-0 and 3-1, respectively.

No. 2/4 Nebraska -- No. 2/4 Nebraska is aiming for its third all-time national championship this season after falling to eventual champion Stanford in the 2001 NCAA Semifinals, 3-0. With the loss, the Huskers finished the season with a 31-2 overall record, a 20-0 mark in the Big XII (first place) and a No. 3 final national ranking. The team returns four starters, including setter Greichaly Cepero, who led the Huskers to the 2000 NCAA Championship and was named the 2000 AVCA Player of the Year. Last season, Cepero averaged 12.43 assists, 1.30 kills and 1.29 blocks per game. Also returning are outside hitter Laura Pilakowski (3.4 kpg, 2.97 dpg, 2001 AVCA All-America first team), outside hitter Anna Schrad (2.35 kpg, 3.02 dpg) and middle blocker Amber Holmquist (2.58 kpg, 1.81 bpg, 2001 AVCA All-America first team). Head coach John Cook enters his third season at Nebraska and boasts a 65-2 (.970) record with the Huskers.

USC-Nebraska Series Record -- USC is 3-1 against Nebraska since their first meeting in 1977. Two of the meetings have come in the postseason, including the most recent when the Huskers beat the Women of Troy 3-2 in the 1997 NCAA Regional Semifinal.

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