No. 8 USC Remembers The Alamo(Dome) This Weekend

Sept. 7, 2005

Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

The Facts
The No. 8 USC women's volleyball team (2-2) -- winners of six national championships -- travels this week to San Antonio, Texas, for the 2005 UTSA Dome Rally at the Alamodome. The Women of Troy will face three Top 25 teams: No. 19 Notre Dame on Friday (Sept. 9) at 7 p.m. Central time, No. 6 Florida on Saturday (Sept. 10) at 4:30 p.m. and No. 13 Texas A&M on Sunday (Sept. 11) at 1 p.m.

USC is ranked No. 8 in the latest CSTV/AVCA Coaches Poll. Florida is ranked No. 6, Texas A&M is ranked No. 13 and Notre Dame is ranked No. 19.

No. 19 Notre Dame Notes
Notre Dame is 3-0 on the season after five-game wins last weekend against No. 11 Texas and Arizona State. Head coach Debbie Brown is 347-118 (.746) in her 15th season at Notre Dame. Senior middle blocker Lauren Brewster earned national player of the week honors after being named most valuable player at last week's Shamrock Invitational. Brewster hit .381 against Texas in the nationally-televised match against the Longhorns. USC is 4-1 all-time against Notre Dame. The Women of Troy defeated the Fighting Irish in five games on Nov. 24, 2000, in Los Angeles.

No. 6 Florida Notes
Florida is 5-0 on the season after a 3-0 sweep at home against Eastern Washington on Monday and 3-0 sweep against No. 15 UC Santa Barbara on Saturday. The Gators have not lost a game this season. Head coach Mary Wise is 464-48 (.906) in her 16th season at Florida. Senior outside hitter Jane Collymore has 4.13 KPG and 3.20 DPG on the season. USC is 5-1 all-time against Florida with the last meeting taking place at the 2003 NCAA Championship match as the Women of Troy used a 3-1 win to earn the school's sixth national championship.

No. 13 Texas A&M Notes
No. 13 Texas A&M is 6-0 on the season after defeating Sam Houston State on the road, 3-1, on Tuesday. Head coach Laurie Corbelli is 284-104 (.732) in her 13th season at Texas A&M. Last season, the Aggies reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament as 10 letterwinners return this season. Senior outside hitter Laura Jones leads the team with 5.59 KPG to go with 3.59 DPG. The team is hitting .259 on the season and has lost only one game out of 18 in 2005. USC is 6-0 all-time against Texas A&M.

Opponent Comparisons	Kpg	Pct.	Apg	SApg	Dpg	Bpg
USC 16.08 .256 15.00 1.00 17.08 2.15Notre Dame 14.85 .233 13.62 1.38 18.00 3.38Florida 16.60 .304 15.60 1.80 17.53 2.93Texas A&M 16.26 .259 14.79 3.11 18.84 2.68

Notre Dame head coach Debbie (Landreth) Brown was the captain of USC's 1976 and 1977 national championship teams...Brown was a two-time Mikasa Award winner as the nation's top collegiate player and member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team...Notre Dame has two players from California: sophomore setter Ashley Tarutis from Long Beach (Los Alamitos HS) and freshman outside hitter Mallorie Croal from Villa Park (Mater Dei HS)...two head coaches for other teams competing at this week's UTSA Dome Rally (not playing against USC) played for Mick Haley at Texas: Laura Neugebauer Groff (UTSA) and Fran Flory (LSU)...Texas A&M players Meghan Kainz and Kelsey Bryant both played at the same high school as USC's Jessica Mimh (Westlake HS in Austin, Texas).

Last Week
The Women of Troy made their first road trip, traveling to Honolulu, Hawaii, for the 2005 Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic. USC dropped matches to No. 5 Penn State (3-1) and No. 4 Hawai'i (3-0) before sweeping Western Michigan (3-0).

Staci Venski registered a career-high 22 kills in the match against Penn hit .397 against Western Michigan...Bibiana Candelas had 19 kills against WMU with three blocks and a .545 hitting percentage.

A New Home
This will be USC's final year at the Lyon Center before the Women of Troy move to the brand-new Galen Center for the 2006 season. The 10,260-seat arena is being built on the corner of Figueroa St. and Jefferson Blvd., adjacent to the USC campus. The arena is named after Lou and Helene Galen, who generously donated $35 million towards the project that will house the USC men's and women's volleyball and basketball programs.

Polling Trends
The Women of Troy have spent 84 consecutive weeks ranked in the top 10 (dating back to the start of the 2000 season) in the AVCA Coaches Poll.

The Power of the Pac-10
Six Pac-10 teams were ranked among the top 25 in the 2005 CSTV/AVCA preseason poll (the most among any other conference), including No. 2 Washington, No. 3 Stanford, No. 7 USC, No. 13 UCLA, No. 17 Arizona and No. 19 California. The Big Ten and Big 12 Conferences have four teams each in the poll.

Strength Of Schedule
USC is playing another difficult schedule based on teams ranked in the CSTV/AVCA preseason poll, including four of the nation's top five teams: No. 2 Washington, No. 3 Stanford, No. 4 Hawai'i and No. 5 Penn State. Six other Top 25 teams are also on the schedule: No. 8 Florida, No. 13 UCLA, No. 16 Texas A&M, No. 17 Arizona, No. 19 California and No. 25 Pepperdine.

Aiming For The Four-Peat
The Women of Troy are looking for a school-record fourth straight NCAA Final Four appearance this year. Since 1981, USC has made a total of six Final Four appearances, including four in the last five years.

Fire Woman
Senior middle blocker Bibiana Candelas (Torreòn, Mexico/Colegio Ponceño) is a two-time All-American for the Women of Troy. In four matches this season, Candelas has a 4.31 kills-per-game average with a .338 hitting percentage.

She tallied a season-high 19 kills on Sept. 2 against Western Michigan and earned All-Tournament honors at the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic with 45 kills in three matches.

Top Of The World
Bibiana Candelas is one of three USC players who played for teams that qualified for the 2006 World Championships. Candelas helped the Mexican National Team this summer by advancing at the NORCECA qualifier. Former setter Toni Anderson and libero Nicole Davis aided the United States National Team by winning the NORCECA qualifying tournament.

How I Spent My Summer
Sophomore outside hitter Diane Copenhagen (Mountain View/St. Francis HS) played at the 2005 U-20 FIVB World Championships in Ankara, Turkey, with the U.S. Junior National Team. Team USA finished in a tie for 11th place.

The Capital of Denmark
Diane Copenhagen has a 4.31 kills per game average this season for the Women of Troy, along with 3.23 digs per game. She led the team with a career-high 14 kills in the season opener on Aug. 27 against Cal Poly and broke that mark on Aug. 30 with 17 kills against No. 5 Penn State.

'Seil' The Deal
Junior libero Debora Seilhamer (Ponce, Puerto Rico/ Colegio Ponceño) served as a freshman backup to former standout libero Nicole Davis and now has established herself as one the nation's top liberos. Seilhamer has 66 digs this season for a 5.08 average.

Last season, she set a USC single season record with 571 digs on the season and averaged a school-record 5.39 digs per game, which ranked her third in the Pac-10 Conference. Seilhamer earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention and set a USC record (and five-game record) with 45 digs in the match on Nov. 12 against UCLA.

Valuable Venski
Senior outside hitter Staci Venski (California City/Mojave HS/Calabasas HS) has gelled into one of the team's key players for the 2005 season. She has a 4.08 kills per game average this season, along with a 0.85 blocks per game average.

After two years of waiting patiently, Venski earned a full-time starting role last year, starting in 28 of 29 matches. She averaged 2.70 kills, 0.61 digs, 0.66 blocks and 3.06 points per game.

The Pahl Bearer
Freshman middle blocker/outside hitter Kelli Tennant (Temecula/Chaparral HS) lists former USC All-America middle blocker Jennifer Pahl (1998-2001) as her biggest sports hero. Tennant is wearing Pahl's number (26) as a tribute to her. Pahl grew up near Tennant in Murrieta, Calif.

A True Trojan Family
Freshman outside hitter Kathleen Gilmour (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) comes from a long line of Trojans - a list that far exceeds that of just former Trojan athletes. The Gilmours, including brothers J.T. and Marcus, who both played on the USC men's volleyball team, keep a detailed list of their own Trojan family history that includes 40 family members who have all attended USC. The lists dates back to Kathleen's great-great grandfather, Andrew Morrow ('23), and the first USC relative, her great-great uncle, Charles Morrow ('21).

Injury Report
Redshirt freshman Jessica Gysin tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee in July and will be out for the entire 2005 season...senior defensive specialist Jessica Mihm is out indefinitely with a left elbow injury.

Team Co-Captains
For the 2005 season, senior outside hitter Staci Venski and junior setter Kimi Freeburg will serve as team co-captains.

Getting New Assistance
This season, the USC program has two new assistant coaches, Todd Dagenais and Cookie Stevens, as well as a new volunteer assistant coach, John Xie.

Dagenais served a one-year stint with USA Volleyball after spending five seasons at Michigan State (1999-2003). During his tenure at MSU, he was the recruiting and scouting coordinator, as well as assisting with all other aspects of the program. He played four seasons for Central Michigan's men's club team.

Stevens was the head coach at Florida International (1999-2004), leading the Golden Panthers to an appearance in the 2001 NCAA Tournament. She recorded two national championships during her 18-year career at Miami-Dade Community College (1979-96) and was honored twice as the junior college national coach of the year. She played two seasons at San Diego State (1977-78).

Xie spent the last four seasons with the Impact Volleyball Club, including head coaching duties last year for the 15-2 girls' team. He played on the 1999 Ohio State men's club team.

2004 Recap
USC narrowily missed winning three consecutive national championships after an NCAA semifinal loss to Minnesota in 2004. The Women of Troy went 23-6 on the season and finished third in the Pac-10 Conference with a 14-4 mark. Seniors Emily Adams and Keao Burdine earned All-America first team honors while Bibiana Candelas received All-America third team recognition. On Sept. 11, the team had its NCAA-record streak of 52 consecutive wins snapped by Illinois, eight more than the previous mark held by Penn State.