No. 12 USC Opens Pac-10 Schedule On The Road At No. 3 Stanford, No. 25 Cal

Sept. 20, 2005

Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

The Facts
The No. 12 USC women's volleyball team (4-4) -- winners of six national championships -- opens Pac-10 Conference play this weekend on the road at No. 3 Stanford (11-1) on Friday (Sept. 23) at 7 p.m. and No. 25 California (7-2) on Saturday (Sept. 24) at 7 p.m. Friday's game will be broadcast on a delayed basis on FOX Sports Net with Chris 'Geeter' McGee and Holly McPeak calling the action.

USC is ranked No. 12 in the latest AVCA/CSTV Coaches Poll and No. 13 by Volleyball Magazine. Stanford is No. 3 in both polls. California is ranked No. 25 in the AVCA/CSTV poll.

No. 3 Stanford Notes
Stanford is 11-1 on the season after three-game sweeps last weekend against No. 23 St. Mary's and Utah State, along with a 3-1 win over No. 24 UC Santa Barbara. Head coach John Dunning is 131-21 in his fifth season at Stanford. The Cardinal returned 11 letterwinners from last year's squad that won the national championship. Freshman middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo is putting up impressive numbers with 4.33 kills per game, a .427 hitting percentage and 1.08 blocks per game. Stanford leads the all-time series with USC by a 44-18-1 margin, but USC has won four of the last five meetings.

No. 25 California Notes
California is 7-2 on the season after a 3-2 loss to Nevada and 3-0 sweeps against Montana State and Akron last weekend. Head coach Rich Feller is 105-81 in his seventh season at Cal. Eleven letterwinners returned from last year's squad that reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Angie Pressey is leading the Golden Bears with 4.63 kpg and 2.23 dpg. USC leads the all-time series with California by a 37-7 margin.

Opponent Comparisons	Kpg	Pct.	Apg	SApg	Dpg	BpgUSC			16.45	.250	14.79	0.72	17.93	2.62Stanford		16.85	.286	15.93	1.92	17.00	2.44California		16.81	.302	15.06	2.16	14.19	2.71	

Last Week
The Women of Troy closed out the nonconference portion of their schedule with a 3-0 sweep at home against Pepperdine. Senior middle blocker Bibiana Candelas registered a career-high 23 kills, adding a team-high .465 hitting percentage. USC forced Pepperdine into 33 attacking errors as the Waves hit .000 in game one and .019 in game two. The Women of Troy also had 14 blocks, including 10 solo blocks (three from freshman Kelli Tennant).

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
On Sept. 12, the Women of Troy had its streak of consecutive Top 10 AVCA Coaches Poll rankings snapped at 84 weeks (dating back to the start of the 2000 season).

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. Notre Dame, which recently entered the Top 25 rankings, is also on this year's schedule.

With this weekend's action in the Bay Area, USC will have played seven of its 10 matches this season against Top 25 opponents.

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.

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 4.17 kills per game average this season, along with a 0.90 blocks per game average.

This season, Venski has three 20-kill performances which includes a career-high 22 kills against No. 5 Penn State on Aug. 31 at the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii. She registered 20 kills against No. 19 Notre Dame on Sept. 9 and No. 13 Texas A&M on Sept. 11 at the UTSA Dome Rally in San Antonio, Texas.

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.

Fire Woman
Senior middle blocker Bibiana Candelas (Torreòn, Mexico/Colegio Ponceño) is a two-time All-American for the Women of Troy. This season, Candelas has a 4.17 kills-per-game average with a .300 hitting percentage.

She tallied 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. On Sept. 11 in a four-game win over No. 13 Texas A&M, she tied a previous career high with 20 kills. She acheived a new career high with 23 kills on Sept. 16 in a 3-0 sweep against Pepperdine.

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.

The Capital of Denmark
Sophomore outside hitter Diane Copenhagen (Mountain View/St. Francis HS) has a 4.07 kills per game average this season for the Women of Troy, along with 3.03 digs per game. She led the team with 14 kills in the season opener on Aug. 27 against Cal Poly and 17 kills on Aug. 30 against No. 5 Penn State. Copenhagen set a career-high with 24 kills in a five-game loss to No. 6 Florida on Sept. 10 at the UTSA Dome Rally in San Antonio.

Copenhagen 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.

'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 168 digs this season for a 5.79 per-game average.

She tied a school record on Sept. 9 against No. 19 Notre Dame for most digs (36) in a four-game match, tying a mark held by Megan McAllister (10/21/89) and Katie Haller (10/24/92). Seilhamer had 82 digs in three matches against Top 25 teams (Notre Dame, No. 6 Florida and No. 13 Texas A&M) at the UTSA Dome Rally (Sept. 9-11) and was named to the all-tournament team.

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.

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.

Tennant has contributed in her 2005 freshman season, averaging 2.17 kills per game and 0.83 blocks per game. She leads the USC regulars with a .317 hitting percentage.

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.

Mick Haley needs nine wins to record his 900th overall victory as a head coach. His 29-year career includes seven years at Kellogg Community College in Michigan (1973-79), 17 years at Texas (1980-96) and five years at USC (2000-Present). He also served as head coach for the U.S. Women's National Team from 1997-2000, including the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

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.

Now on Pac-12 Network
6:00 AM PT

Airing on:

  • Pac-12 Network
Get Pac-12 Networks
Unable to get Pac-12 Network?
Contact your provider ▶
Pac-12 Networks Channel Finder