Volleyball Begins NCAA Tournament, Thursday

Dec. 1, 2004

2004 NCAA Tournament Bracket
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2004 NCAA Tournament - First and Second Rounds

First Round - Thursday, Dec. 2
5 p.m. - Cal State Northridge vs. #23 Kansas State
7 p.m. - College of Charleston vs. #8 USC

Second Round - Friday, Dec. 3
7 p.m. CSUN/KSU vs. CofC/USC

USC AUDIO: www.usctrojans.com
LIVE STATS: www.usctrojans.com

The Facts
The eighth-ranked USC women's volleyball team (19-5, 14-4 Pac-10) - selected as the tournament's No. 8 seed overall - received its 14th consecutive bid to the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship, and will be making its 22nd overall appearance. USC - the two-time defending national champion -- will host the first and second rounds on Thursday, Dec. 2, and Friday, Dec. 3, at the Lyon Center. The Women of Troy will face College of Charleston (26-5) in the first round on Thursday at 7 p.m. If USC advances, the Trojans will play Friday at 7 p.m. against the winner of Thursday's No. 23 Kansas State/Cal State Northridge match-up. All of USC's matches can be heard live or followed with Live Stats at www.usctrojans.com.

The winner of the second round advances to the NCAA Regional (Round of 16 and Elite Eight) to be played Dec. 10 and 11 at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville.

Led by fourth-year head coach Mick Haley, the Women of Troy are coming off a 3-2 upset victory over then-No. 3 Washington and a 2-3 loss at Washington State last week to complete the regular season.

USC fell to No. 8 in this week's final regular season USA Today/CSTV AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll. The Women of Troy remained at No. 6 in the final Volleyball magazine poll.

Polling Trends
The Women of Troy have spent 79 consecutive weeks ranked in the top 10 (dating back to the start of the 2000 season) in the AVCA Coaches Poll.

2004 NCAA Tournament Notes
Sixteen first and second round matches will played Dec. 2 through Dec. 4 on the campuses of participating institutions. Winners will advance to regional tournaments held Dec. 10-15 at four predesignated regional sites, including Louisville, Ky., Minneapolis, Minn., Green Bay, Wisc. and Seattle, Wash. All four regional finals will be televised live by CSTV.

The four regional winners advance to the national championship hosted by Long Beach State and the Long Beach Convention and Visitor's Bureau at the Long Beach (Calif.) Arena. The semifinal matches will be played on Dec. 16 and the championship match will take place on Saturday, Dec. 18. Nebraska (Louisville Regional), Penn State (Seattle Regional), Hawai'i (Green Bay Regional) and Minnesota (Minneapolis Regional) were selected as the top seeds in each region.

College Sports TV (CSTV) will air the four regional finals live. ESPN2 will tape delay the Championship Semifinal and air the Championship match live. The first tournament semifinal will air on Thursday, Dec. 16, at 11 p.m. ET., and the second semifinal will air on Friday, Dec. 17, 3 p.m. ET. The national championship match will be broadcast live Dec. 18 at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

USC History In The NCAAs
The Women of Troy are making their 14th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and their 22nd overall since the tournament's inception in 1981. USC has only missed the tournament twice, in 1986 and 1990, after posting its only two losing seasons in program history. With a 45-18 (.714) all-time NCAA tournament record, USC has won three NCAA national championships (including the last two seasons) and advanced to the Final Four on six occasions (including the last three of four seasons).

It was a perfect ending to a perfect season for the Women of Troy who captured their second-consecutive title with an undefeated 35-0 record in 2003. 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 (streak ended at 52 matches on Sept. 4, 2004). USC's efforts were led by April Ross (Honda Award Winner, All-America, Pac-10 Player of the Year) and All-America picks Emily Adams, Bibiana Candelas and Keao Burdine (second team). Burdine was named NCAA Championship MVP for the second-straight year.

First team All-Americans April Ross and Emily Adams led the Women of Troy to the 2002 NCAA championship. With the talent of five-of-six returners, USC was more determined than ever to make it back to the NCAA semifinals (after advancing to the Final Four in 2000). The Trojans got past the first four rounds of the NCAA Tournament with ease and took care of Florida in the NCAA Semifinal in four games. After splitting victories with Stanford during the regular season, USC captured a four-game victory over the Cardinal for its first national championship in more than 20 years.

Led by All-Americans Dana Smith and Cathy Stukel, the Trojans claimed the first-ever NCAA women's volleyball title in 1981. Entering the tournament as underdogs on a four-match losing streak, USC won when it counted by beating UCLA in the championship match after being down 2-1. The team ended the 1981 season with a 27-10 overall record and the title in hand.

USC also won AIAW national titles in 1976, 1977 and 1980.

USC Has Three Named To All-Conference First Team
Three USC players were named to the All-Pac-10 first team, including Emily Adams, Keao Burdine and Bibiana Candelas. Six total players earned all-conference honors. Debora Seilhamer was named All-Pac-10 honorable mention, Sarah Florian was picked to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team and Diane Copenhagen was named All-Freshman honorable mention.

Adams Earns All-Academic Honors
For the second straight year, Emily Adams has been named to the 2004 Academic All-District VIII first team. In 2003, Adams was also selected to the all-region first team and went on to earn national Academic All-American second-team honors. This season, Adams is one of seven athletes (6-of-7 are from the Pac-10) selected from District VIII. All first team selections will be included on the national women's volleyball Academic All-American ballot and first, second and third team national winners will be announced on Dec. 3. Adams is an international relations major with a 3.65 cumulative grade point average.

Adams was also named to the Pac-10 All-Academic first team, the conference announced on Monday, Nov. 22. This is Adams' third-straight Pac-10 academic honor (she was named first team in 2003 and second team in 2002). Alicia Robinson, Bibiana Candelas, Kimi Freeburg and Debora Seilhamer were also honored to the Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention team.

Only The Best Competition
Fourteen of USC's 24 opponents this season have been ranked among the top 25 - the most among all other top 25 schools. In comparison, current No. 15 UCLA is next on the list having faced 13 ranked opponents.

Pac-10 Boasts Six Ranked Teams, All Earn NCAA Bids
Six Pac-10 teams were ranked among the top 25 in the final regular season poll (tied for the most among any other conference) and all six teams earned NCAA bids (second-most among conferences), including No. 5 Washington, No. 6 Stanford, No. 8 USC, No. 15 UCLA, No. 17 California and No. 21 Arizona. The Big 12 also boasts five ranked teams and the Big Ten Conferences is next on the list with four. Both the Big 12 and Big 10 garnered seven NCAA selections.

Keeping Them Down
Stanford is the only opponent to hit above .300 against the Women of Troy in 2004. Aside from the Nov. 5 match-up with the Cardinal, USC has held 18-of-23 foes under .200.

Adams And Candelas - The Pac-10's Most Effective Duo
Middle blockers Emily Adams and Bibiana Candelas once again finished the conference season at the top of the Pac-10 charts in attack percentage. Adams topped the list with a .410 hitting percentage for the year and Candelas finished No. 2 with a .404 average. The pair currently rank seventh and ninth nationally.

USC actually has three players among the Pac-10's top 10 in attack percentage, including junior Staci Venski who ranks ninth (.317).

Senior Salute
This is the final NCAA Tournament appearances for USC's three seniors - Emily Adams, Keao Burdine and Alicia Robinson. In their four-year career at Troy, these players have guided the Women of Troy to a 108-10 (.915) overall record and 65-7 (.903) conference mark. They have won two NCAA and Pac-10 Championships (2002, 2003) and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight as freshmen. To top off their long list of accolades, Adams, Burdine and Robinson also became the first four-year letterwinners to never lose to crosstown rival UCLA when USC collected its ninth-straight win over the Bruins on Nov. 12.

Recent Matches
at No. 3 Washington (Nov. 26)
-- USC upset third-ranked Washington, 3-2, in a thrilling five-game match-up in Seattle on Nov. 26. The Women of Troy managed to hold the Huskies at match point in game five and took advantage of a pair of errors for the final 17-15 victory. Game scores were 30-28, 30-20, 25-30, 22-30, 17-15. Keao Burdine led with 25.5 points thanks to a match-high 22 kills. She and Debora Seilhamer led with 29 digs apiece - a career-high for Burdine. Emily Adams posted a team-best eight blocks. USC out hit Washington .221 to .214 and held advantages in kills (83-80), digs (106-101) and blocks (18-13.5).

at Washington State (Nov. 27) -- Just one night after upsetting No. 3 Washington in five games, USC watched unranked Washington State do the same. The Women of Troy fell 3-2 (32-34, 25-30, 30-18, 30-22, 15-17) to the Cougars in the final regular season match of 2004 in Pullman. After dropping games one and two, the Women of Troy rallied to take games three and four and send the match to a decisive fifth game. USC held an 11-7 lead in the final set when WSU used a 5-1 run to tie the score at 12 and 14. Keao Burdine put USC ahead 15-14 with a kill, but the Cougars came back, using a kill and a block for the victory. Burdine led with a career-high 35 kills - a mark which ranks fourth among USC's all-time records. Bibiana Candelas led with eight blocks and Debora Seilhamer had 20 digs. WSU out-blocked the Trojans 17 to 12.

Burdine Starts Late-Season Climb
Keao Burdine seems to be right on track for her signature last-season surge. The 2002 and 2003 NCAA Championship MVP, she has been known to peak in the latter half of the season. In 2003, she averaged 3.24 kills, 2.66 digs and 3.69 points per game in the first two months, then improved to 3.76 kpg, 3.46 dpg and 4.36 ppg in November and December. This season she averaged 3.89 kills, 2.97 digs and 4.59 points per game in the first half, and improved to 4.50 kpg, 3.77 dpg and 5.09 ppg in November.

Team News N' Notes
• With a win at Cal on Nov. 4, USC notched the 700th victory in program history.
• USC held Oregon to a .008 attack percentage on Oct. 22, marking the lowest total for a USC opponent this season.
• 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.
• Hurricane 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 USC's 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 wins.
• 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
• Keao Burdine had a career-high 35 kills at Washington State on Nov. 27 - a mark that ranks fourth among USC's all-time records.
• Emily Adams, Keao Burdine and Alicia Robinson became the first four-year letterwinners to never lose to UCLA when they posted a ninth-straight win over the Bruins on Nov. 12.
• Debora Seilhamer set a USC record with 45 digs against UCLA on Nov. 12. The mark also ranks second all-time in the Pac-10 and gave her, her first Pac-10 Player of the Week honor.
• Staci Venski had a career-high 18 kills and Keao Burdine accounted for a career-high 19 digs against California on Nov. 4.
• Head coach Mick Haley earned his 100th victory at USC with the team's 3-1 win over then-No. 14 Stanford on Oct. 8.
• 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.
• 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).


College of Charleston
(26-5, 15-1 for first place in Southern Conference)
College of Charleston is making its second-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Its first was in 2002, when the Cougars became the first Southern Conference team to ever win a postseason game in a 3-1 loss to Notre Dame. Charleston earned this year's SoCon automatic bid by winning the conference tournament. The team is riding a 19-match win streak and has not dropped a match since the conference season opener on Sept. 22. USC will be the first ranked team College of Charleston has faced this season. Behind second-year head coach Sherry Dunbar, the team is led by All-SoCon first team selection setter Kaycie Carr, who leads the conference with 12.58 assists per game. Second team picks Amanda Timmers and Tiffany Blum average a team-best 3.82 kills and 1.38 blocks per game, respectively. Libero Marie Dobrenx guides the team with 5.32 digs per outing.

USC-CofC Series Record - Thursday's match will be the first-ever meeting.

Opponent Comparisons	Kpg	Pct.	Apg	SApg	Dpg	BpgCollege of Charleston	16.54	.262	14.32	1.77	17.05	2.63USC			17.21	.292	15.93	1.02	17.44	2.90

No. 23 Kansas State
(19-10, 13-7 for fourth place in Big XII Conference)

Under the leadership of fourth-year head coach Suzie Fritz, Kansas State finished fourth in the Big 12 Conference this season and earned an at-large bid. The Wildcats are making their ninth-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. The team wrapped up the regular season last week with a 3-0 victory over then-ranked No. 24 Missouri, but fell 1-3 at then-No. 18 Texas A&M. The team is guided by All-Big 12 first team selections setter Gabby Guerre and outside hitter Vali Hejjas. Guerre averages 11.41 assists per game, while Hejjas contributes a team-best 3.86 kills per outing. Middle blockers Lisa Martin, a second team selection, and Joy Hamlin lead with 1.42 and 1.38 blocks, respectively. Libero Angie Lastra, the Big 12's Libero of the Year, averages 4.31 digs per game.

USC-Kansas State Series Record - USC and Kansas State have met only once - and it's been 27 years since the meeting took place. The Women of Troy defeated the Wildcats 2-0 at the 1977 AIAW Championships held in Provo, Utah. USC went on to win their second-straight national championship with a perfect 38-0 record that season.

Opponent Comparisons	Kpg	Pct.	Apg	SApg	Dpg	BpgKansas State		14.98	.251	13.84	1.94	14.34	3.05USC			17.21	.292	15.93	1.02	17.44	2.90

Cal State Northridge
(16-12, 12-6 for second place tie in Big West Conference)

Cal State Northridge earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament for the second-straight season. This is also the second-straight season the Matadors travel to USC for the first two rounds. Last season, the team fell to Loyola Marymount in the NCAA opener. CSUN did get a little revenge just last week when they defeated LMU, 3-2, on the road in a final nonconference regular season match-up. In his third season at Northridge, head coach Jeff Stork guided the team to a tie for second place in the Big West Conference, which has six teams in this year's tournament. Outside hitter Jen Ryan was named to the All-Big West first team by averaging 5.18 kills, in addition to 3.20 digs per game this season. Setter Nadine Nickel earned second-team honors with a 12.40 assists per game average. Middle blocker Becky Moores leads the team with 1.15 blocks per game and libero Jessika Hammerich averages a team-best 4.58 digs per outing.

USC-CSUN Series Record - USC is 21-1 (.955) all-time against CS Northridge. The teams met last season when the Trojans beat the Matadors 3-1 in Northridge in the final week of regular season play. The only match the Trojans have lost was a 2-1 loss at the Titan Invitational in Fullerton, Calif., in 1983. The teams have twice met in the postseason, including the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 1992.

Opponent Comparisons	Kpg	Pct.	Apg	SApg	Dpg	BpgCS Northridge		15.86	.223	14.73	1.25	17.25	2.01USC			17.21	.292	15.93	1.02	17.44	2.90
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