NO. 17 USC Renews Rivalry With No. 22 UCLA On Friday

Oct. 25, 2005

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The Facts
The No. 17 USC women's volleyball team (10-7, 6-3) -- winners of six national championships -- continues Pac-10 Conference play this week at home against No. 22 UCLA (11-7, 4-5) on Friday (Oct. 28) in a 7 p.m. match at the Lyon Center. The match will be televised on a delayed basis by Fox Sports Net. USC has won six of its last seven matches.

There will also be five points up for grabs in Friday's match towards the Lexus Gauntlet standings. USC won the first five points after a 3-1 win (25-30, 30-15, 30-20, 30-26) on Sept. 30 at UCLA.

USC is ranked No. 17 in the AVCA/CSTV Coaches Poll and No. 16 by Volleyball Magazine. UCLA is ranked No. 22 by AVCA/CSTV.

No. 22 UCLA Notes
UCLA is 11-7 on the season and 4-5 in Pac-10 play. Head coach Andy Banachowski is 995-262 in his 39th season at UCLA. Junior middle blocker Nana Meriwether has a 3.22 kpg average this season with a .377 hitting percentage. USC leads the all-time series with UCLA by a 46-39 margin. The Women of Troy have won 10 straight matches against the Bruins.

Opponent Comparisons	Kpg	Pct.	Apg	SApg	Dpg	BpgUSC			15.82	.236	14.48	0.97	17.88	2.86UCLA			15.69	.220	14.62	1.45	16.15	2.77 

Last Week
USC registered two wins at home against Arizona State and No. 8 Arizona. Debora Seilhamer earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors after 57 digs in two matches. In the 3-0 sweep over ASU, Seilhamer recorded her 1,000th career dig and set a school record for most digs (27) in a three-game match. Staci Venski had 22 kills in the upset 3-1 win over Arizona.

Running With The Pac(k)
Debora Seilhamer leads the Pac-10 Conference with a 6.37 digs per game average...Bibiana Candelas is fourth in the conference with a 4.42 kills per game average...Candelas is fourth with a 5.14 points per game average...Nena Siljegovic is fifth with 11.52 assists per game.

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.

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 had 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.

USC has played 10 matches this season against Top 25 opponents.

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 team-high 4.42 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 added a new career high with 23 kills on Sept. 16 in a 3-0 sweep against Pepperdine.

On Sept. 30, she set new career-highs with 26 kills and 31.5 points in a 3-1 victory at UCLA. For her efforts, she was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for the first time in her career.

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.

'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 382 digs this season for a 6.37 per-game average, good for second in the Pac-10 Conference.

She earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors after recording 57 digs in two matches (8.14 dpg average) on Oct. 21 and 22 against Arizona State and No. 8 Arizona. With 27 digs against ASU, she set a school record for most digs in a three-game match and, in the process, recorded her 1,000th career dig. She was perfect in 21 serving attempts against Arizona and did not record a reception error.

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.

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 4.30 kills per game average this season, along with a 0.80 blocks per game average.

This season, Venski has five 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.

She hit .384 for the weekend on Oct. 7 and 8 in three-game sweeps at home against Oregon State and Oregon. She had 17 kills against OSU without an attacking error.

She tied her career high again on Oct. 22 with 22 kills against No. 8 Arizona in USC's 3-1 win.

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 Capital of Denmark
Sophomore outside hitter Diane Copenhagen (Mountain View/St. Francis HS) has a 3.50 kills per game average this season for the Women of Troy, along with 2.98 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.

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 2.03 kills per game and 0.93 blocks per game.

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 had surgery on her left elbow and be out for the rest of the season...redshirt freshman Kathleen Gilmour is listed as week-to-week due to a stress fracture in her right leg.

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 three 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.

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