Volleyball Hosts Rival UCLA, Friday
Oct. 12, 2004
Battle for the Lexus Gauntlet
*The match will be tape delayed on Fox College Sports Pacific.
Check your cable listings for availability, dates and times.
The sixth-ranked USC women's volleyball team (9-3, 4-2 Pac-10) -- the defending back-to-back NCAA and Pac-10 champion -- looks to put last week's loss behind, as it prepares for a traditionally important match-up. The Women of Troy host crosstown rival and 11th-ranked UCLA (11-4, 4-2 Pac-10) this Friday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m. at the Lyon Center, in the first of two Lexus Gauntlet match-ups in women's volleyball. The match will be televised on a tape delay basis by Fox College Sports Pacific (check cable listings for availability, dates and times). It can also be followed with Live Stats or an audio broadcast with the purchase of a 'School Pass' at www.usctrojans.com.
USC's outstanding 3-1 victory over then-No. 14 Stanford on Feb. 8, was clouded by a 3-0 loss at the hands of then-ranked No. 17 California on Feb. 9. With the loss, the Women of Troy dropped from No. 2 to No. 6 in the rankings, but remain third in the race for the 2004 conference title.
Battle For Fourth-Annual Lexus Gauntlet
The Women of Troy are looking to capture the first five of 10 women's volleyball points for the 2004-05 Lexus Gauntlet this Friday. The Lexus Gauntlet is a season-long competition between USC and UCLA in all sports. Points are awarded to the winner of each Bruin-Trojan head-to-head contest throughout the year and the Lexus Gauntlet trophy is awarded to the school with the most points at year's end. USC captured the inaugural trophy in 2001-02 and reclaimed the trophy last season. So far this season, UCLA owns a 2.5-0 lead after beating the Trojans in men's water polo.
USC dropped to No. 6 in this week's USA Today/CSTV AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll. The Women of Troy dropped to No. 4 in the Sept. 28 Volleyball magazine poll.
USC's drop to No. 6 this week in the USA Today/CSTV AVCA poll puts an end to the Trojans' 53-week stay in the top 5. The last time USC was ranked lower than fifth was on Sept. 3, 2001. The Women of Troy have spent 72 consecutive weeks ranked in the top 10 (dating back to the start of the 2000 season).
Only The Best Competition
Eight of USC's 12 opponents have been ranked and all have been among the top 17 this season. In comparison, current No. 2 Minnesota (16-2) and No. 11 UCLA (11-4) have each faced seven ranked opponents. No. 3 Hawai'i (14-0) is next on the list with six.
Pac-10 Teams Crowd Rankings
Six Pac-10 teams are ranked among the top 25 in this week's poll, including No. 1 Washington, No. 6 USC, No. 11 UCLA, No. 12 Stanford, No. 13 California and No. 22 Arizona. The Big 12 and Big Ten conferences are next on the list with four ranked schools apiece.
Haley Earns No. 100
Head coach Mick Haley earned his 100th victory at USC by leading his team to a 3-1 win over then-No. 14 Stanford on Friday, Oct. 8. Haley currently boasts a 100-8 (.926) record since arriving at Troy in 2001.
Candelas and Adams Prove Most Effective
Bibiana Candelas and Emily Adams continue to top the Pac-10 statistics in attack percentage, proving to be the most effective duo in the conference. Adams currently ranks No. 1 with a .431 hitting percentage, thanks to 139 kills off of 274 attacks and only 21 errors. Candelas follows at No. 3 with a .367 mark, 124 kills off of 264 attacks and only 27 errors.
Adams currently ranks fifth nationally and Candelas ranks ninth (as of Oct. 3) in attack percentage. Last season the pair finished among the top 5 nationally.
The Pac-10 Conference is proving to be even more competitive this season as some of the nation's best teams continue to beat each other in conference play. Washington remains undefeated at 5-0, but Stanford is close behind at 4-1. USC and UCLA are currently tied for third at 4-2, making the outcome of this week's match even more important as teams prepare for the second half of the Pac-10 season.
In addition to the fact that the two teams share the city, the local recruits, the fans and the media, USC and UCLA women's volleyball have its share of common connections.
The grandfather of UCLA senior Brynn Murphy both played football at USC. George Murphy played quarterback and lettered in 1944 and 1946-48.
Diane Copenhagen, Jessica Gysin and Anne Montgomery were prep teammates of UCLA sophomore outside hitter Colby Lyman at St. Francis High in Los Altos, Calif.
UCLA's Chrissie Zartman and Keao Burdine paired for the 2002 Under-21 World Beach Volleyball Championship in Catania, Italy. Representing the United States, the 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.
UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski (974 career wins) and Mick Haley (873 career wins) are two of the most successful coaches in collegiate women's volleyball. Banachowski and Haley rank No. 1 and 2 among all college coaches in total career victories.
Alex Dunphy and UCLA freshman defensive specialist/libero Jessica Fine both prepped at Harvard-Westlake High in North Hollywood.
Seven USC coaches and assistant coaches have either attended or coached at UCLA, including men's basketball head coach Henry Bibby (played), water polo head coach Jovan Vavic (asst. coach), rowing head coaches Zenon and Kelly Babraj (both coached, Kelly also rowed for the Bruins), golf assistant coach Ted Gleason (played), football defensive assistant Ken Norton Jr. (linebacker) and assistant track coach John Henry Johnson (decathlete).
USC will add an additional 500 seats to the Lyon Center for this week's match in hopes of surpassing the attendance record of 2,115 set in 2002 against Stanford. Fans can purchase tickets ahead of time by calling (213) 740-GO SC.
The Last Time Outvs. #14 Stanford (Oct. 8) Keao Burdine led with 23 points and Sarah Florian hit .438 with 16 kills to lead USC to a 3-1 (30-16, 30-20, 27-30, 30-26) victory over No. 14 Stanford on Oct. 8. In front of 1, 058, the Women of Troy dominated in every category despite dropping game three. Burdine and Florian were assisted by Emily Adams (15 kills, .414) , Bibiana Candelas (14 kills, 4 blocks) and Staci Venski (11 kills, 3 blocks). Kimi Freeburg set a career-high with 17 digs. The match marked Florian's first start, as she replaced Alicia Robinson who's playing time was limited due to increased foot pain. The Women of Troy had little trouble against the Cardinal until game three when Stanford took its first lead at 8-7 then led by as much as six points at 22-16. USC fought back to within one at 28-27, but two Trojan errors stalled the comeback and gave Stanford the game victory. Stanford held a 16-13 lead in game four, but USC used a 7-2 run to pull ahead 20-18 en route to the 30-26 win.
vs. #17 California (Oct. 9) With a solid offensive effort and plenty of motivation, No. 17 California stunned USC, 3-0 (30-26, 30-27, 30-26), in front of 1,004 at the Lyon Center on Saturday night. The sweep marked the first for the Women of Troy since 2001 and the first at home since 1999. The Cal victory also marked its first over the Women of Troy since 1991, ending USC's 24-match win streak against the Bay Area conference opponent. USC never managed to gain an edge, gaining two and three-point leads only to watch the Bears fight their way back on top. Cal topped the Women of Troy in nearly every statistical category, including kills (59 to 50), hitting percentage (.286 to .176), assists (53 to 47), digs (57 to 45) and blocks (13.5 to 4.0). Staci Venski enjoyed the best outing for the Women of Troy, collecting 11 kills off of 26 attacks with no errors for a .346 attack effort. Keao Burdine led with 16 kills and Sarah Florian and Debora Seilhamer each added 13 digs.
Freshman outside hitter Jessica Gysin remains questionable for this week's match. She was sidelined for nearly six weeks at the start of the season due to a severely sprained left ankle she suffered in the first week of training camp (Aug. 12), and has yet to be cleared completely. Senior outside hitter Alicia Robinson will see limited playing time due to increased pain in her feet, which have been operated on over the last two seasons.
The loss to No. 3 Washington on Sept. 25 was the Trojans' first home loss and first conference loss since Nov. 21, 2002, putting an end to the 22-match home streak and 24-match Pac-10 win streak. On Sept. 11 at Illinois, USC's 52-match NCAA-record win streak also came to an end. That streak, which began on Nov. 8, 2002, is the longest in the history of NCAA volleyball. The loss to Illinois also put an end to the Trojans' 48-match road win streak, spanning the same amount of time.
**The 52 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.
Not only did the Women of Troy win an impressive 52 consecutive matches, but during that time the team collected a 156-14 single game record (winning 91.8 percent of its games).
Fox Sports West has announced that it will air two of USC's matches this season LIVE - Friday, Oct. 8, vs. Stanford and Thursday, Nov. 4, at California. The network has been airing its volleyball matches on a tape delay basis for the past three seasons. The two matches will also be shown tape delayed on other Fox Sports Net affiliates. The Trojans' Nov. 26 match at Washington will only be shown tape delayed.
USC 'School Pass'
Audio broadcasts of all USC home volleyball matches are now available on the internet with the USC 'School Pass.' Subscriptions are $4.95 per month and can be ordered online at either www.usctrojans.com or sports.yahoo.com. The package includes all radio broadcasts of Trojan football, men's and women's basketball, women's and men's volleyball and baseball contests.
If you don't have a School Pass, then you can follow all home Women of Troy matches with Live Stats now available on www.usctrojans.com.
Team News N' Notes
The Women of Troy dropped No. 6 in the Oct. 11 AVCA Coaches poll, putting an end to a 53-week stay in the top 5.
USC's 3-0 loss to California on Oct. 9 marked its first sweep since 2001 (3-0 loss at Arizona) and its first sweep at home since 1999 (a 3-0 loss to Stanford in the North Gym).
As a team, USC collected 38 block assists on Sept. 25 against Washington - the most ever at the Lyon Center.
The loss to then-No. 3 Washington on Sept. 25 put an end to the Trojans' 22-match home win streak and 24-match conference win streak. Both streaks dated back to Nov. 21, 2002.
USC's drop to No. 2 on Sept. 13 ended the Trojans' 23-week stay at the top of the AVCA poll.
Hurrican Ivan kept USC from participating in the Gamecock Invitational in Columbia, S.C., Sept. 17-19, due to safety issues and travel difficulties.
The loss to then-ranked No. 16 Illinois on Sept. 11 put an end to the Trojans' NCAA-record 52-match win streak. USC had not lost a match in nearly two years. It marked only the second loss since the start of the 2002 season. It also marked the first road loss after 48-straight victories.
USC finished in second place at the State Farm Illini Volleyball Classic, marking the first time since 2001 that the Women of Troy did not win a nonconference tournament.
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
Emily Adams was named Pac-10 Player of the Week on Oct. 4 for her performances at Arizona State and then-No. 17 Arizona, Oct. 2 and 3.
Emily Adams set a career-high and entered the record books with 18.0 total blocks, 16 block assists and 30.0 points against Washington (Sept. 25). The marks tie for third among USC match records for blocks, fifth for block assists and second for points.
Staci Venski set a career-high with 14 kills against Washington (Sept. 25).
Emily Adams and Keao Burdine were named to the State Farm Illini Volleyball Classic all-tournament team.
Numerous career-highs were set at the Illini Classic, including Staci Venski's nine blocks, Kimi Freeburg's two kills and two aces, Bibiana Candelas' eight blocks (ties), Alicia Robinson's 19 digs and Keao Burdine's four aces (ties).
For the first time in her USC career, Keao Burdine exhibited her powerful jump serve against Pepperdine on Sept. 5. She collected three aces for the match.
Emily Adams was named MVP of the Marriott Beach Classic - Pepperdine's three-day tournament, in which the USC match was included. Junior Bibiana Candelas earned all-tournament honors.
Bibiana Candelas earned her first MVP honor as a Trojan at the NACWAA Classic. Staci Venski collected her first all-tournament honor at the event and Keao Burdine was also honored to the team.
Debora Seilhamer set a NACWAA Tournament record with a career-high 19 digs in a three-game match against Georgia Tech (Aug. 27).
No. 11 UCLA -- The Bruins enter this week with an 11-4 overall record and 4-1 mark in the Pac-10. UCLA split last week - defeating Cal, 3-0, but falling to Stanford, 3-1. The team is led by middle blocker Brynn Murphy (3.04 kpg), senior libero Chrissie Zartman (5.30 dpg), middle blocker Nana Meriwether (1.76 bpg), who also owns the team's best attack percentage at .324, and senior setter Krystal McFarland (12.28 apg). Head coach Andy Banakowski is in 38th season at the helm of the Bruin program. Last season, UCLA posted a 24-9 overall record, finished tied for third in the Pac-10 with a 12-6 mark, advanced to the NCAA Regional Final (before falling to USC) and was ranked No. 5 at the end of the year. The team returned six-of-seven starters and 12 letterwinners from last year's squad.
USC-UCLA Series Record -- The rivalry continues as the Bruins and Trojans meet for the 83rd time in program history this Friday. USC defeated UCLA three times last season - 3-1 at Pauley Pavilion, 3-0 at home and 3-1 in the NCAA Regional Final in Lincoln, Neb. The Women of Troy now have a 43-39 (.524) edge in the all-time series and have won the last seven straight match-ups.
Opponent Comparisons Kpg Pct. Apg SApg Dpg BpgUCLA 15.72 .223 14.57 1.46 16.26 2.91USC 16.69 .303 15.40 1.02 16.00 2.80