USC Women of Troy 2003 Volleyball Outlook

Aug. 26, 2003

USC WOMEN OF TROY

TEAM PREVIEW
Is a repeat possible? All that returns for coach Mick Haley and the defending national champions is the entire starting lineup from a year ago. It's the same squad the blanked its opponent 24 times last season en route to a 31-1 record.

STRENGTHS

  • A veteran squad with two captains in senior April Ross (3.61 kpg/3.00 dpg) and junior Emily Adams (3.04 kpg). Both earned AVCA First Team All-America honors last season.
  • An outstanding corps of middle blockers. Adams ranked second in the league with a .423 hitting percentage, and third with 1.38 blocks per game. Senior Katie Olsovsky was fourth in the league in hitting (.358) and blocking (1.22 bpg). Sophomore Bibiana Candelas added a boost to the middle late last season and will provide USC with deep and talented play at the net.
  • Ross anchors the outside with juniors Keao Burdine (3.28 kpg) and Alicia Robinson (2.28 kpg). While Ross and Adams garnered AVCA All-America accolades, it was Burdine who picked up NCAA Championship MVP honors after collecting 31 kills (3.88 kpg) and 24 digs (3.00 dpg) in victories over Florida and Stanford at the Final Four.

    CONCERNS

  • While USC ran the 6-2 offense last season, it only returns one setter in senior Toni Anderson (8.42 assists per game). A decision will need to be made on whether to stay with the 6-2 and incorporate a freshman setter into the lineup, or use the 5-1 offense to utilize the veteran lineup.
  • USC will be challenged right from the start as it opens the season in Hawai'i against a top caliber field of Florida, Kansas State and Hawai'i in the NACWAA State Farm Volleyball Classic. Home matches with perennial powerhouses Northern Iowa and Pepperdine also dot the early portion of the schedule.

    ACCORDING TO COACH HALEY
    'Winning the national championship was a major turning point for our program because it got us over the hump and proved that SC could win again. The tradition and pride in our program right now is just oozing and rightfully so. There seems to be a sense of real pride in these women and their accomplishments.

    'We feel like we have a great team that will defend the title this season thanks to all of our returning seniors and their experience. If they meet the challenge this season , and if the seniors bring the juniors and sophomores along, then there is no reason why this team can't hang on to its success for a few years.'

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