USC Gets Past San Diego, 3-1, In NCAA Sweet 16

Dec. 10, 2004

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Thanks to Bibiana Candelas' 16 kills and six blocks, the eighth-ranked USC women's volleyball defeated 11th-ranked and ninth-seeded San Diego, 3-1, in an NCAA Regional Semifinal match at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville on Friday.

With the win the Women of Troy (22-5) advance to the Elite Eight, marking their fifth-straight appearance in the regional final. The Trojans will face top-seeded Nebraska on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET. The Huskers defeated Louisville 3-0 in tonight's second semifinal.

San Diego, the West Coast Conference regular season champion, completes its season at 24-5.

Four Trojans finished the match in double figures, including Candelas, Keao Burdine (14 kills, 12 digs), Emily Adams (14 kills) and freshman Sarah Florian (10 kills). Senior Alicia Robinson also contributed six blocks, while libero Debora Seilhamer led with 27 digs.

USD's Devon Forster posted a match-leading 19 kills, in addition to 13 digs.

USC used a 9-1 run to build a nine point lead at the start of game one. San Diego slowly chipped away and managed to come within one at 21-20 and 25-24 using short runs its own, but the Women of Troy hung on to take the first set 30-26.

In similar fashion, the Trojans quickly pulled ahead to start game two then distanced themselves with a 9-0 run. With setter Kimi Freeburg at the service line, USC led by as much as 11 points, 23-12, at the end of the scoring spree. The Toreros were unable to mount a comeback as the Women of Troy took a 2-0 lead in the match with the 30-20 win.

Ensuring that the match was not over, San Diego returned from the break to gain its first lead of the night at 11-10 in game three. Scoring three and four points at a time, the Toreros extended their lead to as much as four points and maintained the advantage en route to a five-point win that forced a game four.

Though the teams started off close in the final set, the Women of Troy eventually regained control. Thanks to back-to-back solo blocks by Burdine which sparked a 5-0 USC run, the Trojans led by as much as 13 points on three occasions. USC clinched the win 30-20.

Saturday's NCAA Regional Final will be aired live by College Sports Television (CSTV). Fans can also follow with an audio broadcast or live stats at www.usctrojans.com.

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NCAA Regional Semifinal Quotes
Dec. 10, 2004 - Louisville, Ky.

USC Quotes

Head Coach Mick Haley

'I was very proud of our team tonight. I think we did extremely well with what we tried to do. I think San Diego is a very good team. We had some mismatches in some areas that I thought really helped us.'

'The biggest thing for us was reducing our errors. If we don't give the opponents a lot of points, we're pretty tough to deal with. San Diego didn't get a lot of second chances tonight except in game three when we had nine hitting errors. That's just something that happens. They played inspired in the third game and you have to give them credit for that. But I think when if finally came down to the wire, our overall balance just kind of wore them down.

Emily Adams on six of team's 14 blocks being in the fourth game'I think we were able to get into a rhythm. They had been making certain shots and we took those away. I think we also tried to go into the game pretend we were two down.'

San Diego Quotes

Head Coach Jennifer Petrie

'I thought USC played a very tough match tonight. They are very tough competitors and a well-rounded team. I thought they did an excellent job this evening. I'm very proud of my girls I thought they played well. It's been a very rewarding season for us. My seniors especially have taken this team to new heights, have set new goals for us and have raised the level of our program.'

On senior Devon Forster
'I think Devon played excellent tonight. I've looked at the stats and she was the kill leader for both teams. She has been for the past four years one of our go-to hitters and she did a great job tonight putting the ball away deserves a lot of recognition for her accomplishments. She broke a lot of records in our program and she's come a long way.'

On the key to the game
'I think their middle did a very nice job tonight. We hard time slowing them down offensively. They had a lot of size. Too many times we let them go on runs of points. If we could have just tried to stick with them and tried to get side outs at key times, maybe it would have been a different story at the end of the game.'

Devon Forster
'We started off a little weak. We didn't really start playing our game until we were well into the game and we started feeling out how the game was going. And started to really able to play with them.'

On whether they were intimidated by the fact that USC is two-time defending national champion.
'Every year is a different year so I don't think we were looking at what they did in the past. They weren't ranked much higher than we were, so we were pretty much even at that point. Obviously they had a lot of height advantage, but I don't know that we were that intimidated.'

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