It's Pac-10 Time For No. 7 USC
Sept. 19, 2006
The No. 7 USC women's volleyball team (11-0) -- winners of six national championships -- begins the Pac-10 Conference portion of its 2006 schedule this week, opening on the road at Oregon State (3-6) on Thursday (Sept. 21) at 7 p.m. The Women of Troy will play at Oregon (10-0) the following night on Friday (Sept. 22) at 7 p.m.
Week In Review
USC registered two wins against Top 25 opponents with a 3-2 win at No. 20 Pepperdine and a 3-1 home win against No. 14 Purdue.
The Women of Troy took a 2-0 lead in Malibu with the match broadcast live on ESPNU. The host Waves answered to force a fifth game, but freshman setter Taylor Carico handled the pressure with two kills and two block assists. She had seven kills against no errors with 49 assists and nine digs.
In Friday's match at the Lyon Center against Purdue, Kaczor hit a team-high 21 kills and 17 digs as USC earned its fourth win of the season against a Top 25 opponent. Kaczor hit .500 in the match, one day prior to celebrating her 22nd birthday.
USC held Purdue to just 15 points in the third game as Jessica Gysin and Copenhagen had 14 kills each. Carico had 54 assists on the evening with 11 digs and six kills.
Over the weekend, senior All-America libero Debora Seilhamer continued her assault on the USC record books. She moved into second place for career digs and needs only 135 digs to tie Katie Haller for the school record.
Oregon State Notes
Oregon State is 3-6 on the season and did not play last weekend. Head coach Taras Liskevych is 14-19 in his second season at Oregon State. 10 letterwinners return from last year's team that finished 11-13 overall and seventh in the Pac-10 Conference. Freshman outside hitter Rachel Rourke leads the team with 151 kills (4.58 kpg). USC leads the all-time series with Oregon State by a 33-7 margin.
Oregon is 10-0 on the season after 3-0 sweeps last weekend against Gonzaga and at Boise State. Head coach Jim Moore is 22-18 in his second season at Oregon. The Ducks returned six letterwinners from last year's 12-18 squad. Sophomore middle blocker Mira Djuric leads the team with 129 kills (3.49 kpg) and 29 service aces with her 0.78 sapg average leading the Pac-10 Conference. USC leads the all-time series with Oregon by a 37-6 margin.
Court of Dreams
This will be USC's final year at the Lyon Center before the Women of Troy move to the brand-new Galen Center in October. The 10,258-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.
On Nov. 25, 2005, USC head coach Mick Haley recorded his 1,000th collegiate win in the Women of Troy's 3-0 win against California. He earned his 900th win as a women's coach on Nov. 4, 2005, at Oregon State. His 29-year career includes seven years (combined men's and women's) 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.
-- With the start of Pac-10 Conference play, USC was picked to finish fifth in the 2006 coaches' preseason poll behind Stanford, UCLA, Washington and California.-- USC has won the Pac-10 Conference title six times, including the 2002 and 2003 seasons.-- In the month of September, USC has beaten two undefeated teams with 9-0 records. The Women of Troy defeated St. John's on Sept. 9 in Columbia, S.C. and beat No. 14 Purdue on Sept. 15 at the Lyon Center.-- Eight former Women of Troy players made at least one appearance this season on the AVP Tour. Jennifer (Kessy) Boss had the most success with several Final Four appearances while Keao Burdine and April Ross teamed up for a successful rookie campaign. Burdine and Ross finished ninth at the Sacramento Open and earned a seed at latter tour stops.
USC has opened its season with an 11-0 record for the seventh time in school history. Four previous squads that started with an 11-0 record (1976, 1977, 2002 and 2003) have gone on to win the national championship.
The Power of the Pac-10
Five Pac-10 teams are ranked among the top 25 in the 2006 CSTV/AVCA current poll (the most among any other conference), including No. 3 UCLA, No. 4 Washington, No. 6 Stanford, No. 7 USC and No. 8 California.
6-4 junior opposite/outside hitter Asia Kaczor (pronounced AH-shuh KAHK-chor) has been one of USC's top players this season. The native of Wroclaw, Poland, was the 2005 NJCAA Player of the Year at the College of Southern Idaho last year after leading the team with 605 kills on the season (4.96 kpg) and a .456 percentage. She recorded 89 service aces (0.73 apg), 25 assists, 62 blocks (0.51 bpg) and 307 digs (2.52 dpg). Kaczor has been a member of the Polish National Team program since 2000.
This season, Kaczor leads the Women of Troy with 173 kills and a 4.55 kpg average. She is third in the Pac-10 Conference in kills and points per game (5.21).
Kaczor earned most valuable player honors at the 2006 CenturyTel Premier Tournament in San Marcos, Texas, after recording 42 kills (15, 14 and 13 kills respectively) in three matches. She hit .370 on the weekend, adding five digs and seven block assists. Her second MVP award came at the Gamecock Invitational (Sept. 8-9) in Columbia, S.C., after she had 43 kills (4.78 kpg) in three matches. She led the Women of Troy in kills in the 3-0 sweeps against Florida State and South Carolina, hitting .385 for the weekend with six service aces, 12 digs and seven block assists.
After recording 37 kills in two matches against No. 20 Pepperdine (Sept. 14) and No. 14 Purdue (Sept. 15), Kaczor earned her first-ever Pac-10 Conference Player of the Week honors. She hit .351 in the two matches, adding 29 digs for a 3.22 dpg average with three service aces and four block assists. Against Purdue at the Lyon Center, she tallied team-highs with 21 kills and 17 digs in the 3-1 victory.
She ripped a season-high 24 kills in USC's 3-1 win over No. 11 Tennessee on Sept. 3 at the Lyon Center.
'Seil' The Deal
Senior libero Debora Seilhamer (Ponce, Puerto Rico/ Colegio Ponceño) has established herself as one of the top liberos in the nation. Seilhamer earned All-America second team status and All-Pac-10 honors last season after posting a school record 696 digs and 6.82 dpg average, surpassing both records she had set in her 2004 sophomore season.
Currently, she holds the school career record with a 4.77 dpg average (Katie Haller, 1990-93, is second with a 4.01 average) and is second all-time with 1,563 digs. She can tie Haller for the school record with a total of 135 in 2006. This season, she has 213 digs for a 5.61 dpg mark.
During the first weekend's opening matches in San Marcos, Texas, Seilhamer posted 67 digs for a 7.44 dpg clip. She has 175 digs on the season with a 6.03 dpg average, second in the Pac-10 Conference. On Sept. 8, she had an impressive streak of 54 straight matches with double figure digs snapped at South Carolina. At the Gamecock Invitational (Sept. 8-9), she was named most outstanding libero.
Seilhamer holds the school records for most digs in a three-game, four-game and five-game match. Her three-game record came on Dec. 3, 2005, with 30 against Pepperdine in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
She set a school record for most digs in a four-game match with 39 on Nov. 19, 2005, at Arizona State, surpassing a record she tied earlier in the season (Sept. 9 against Notre Dame) with 36.
Last year, 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 (which she later surpassed). She also recorded her 1,000th career dig in the match. She was perfect in 21 serving attempts against Arizona and did not record a reception error. On Nov. 12 against Washington State, Seilhamer set a new three-game school record with 29 digs against the Cougars.
She tied the school record on Sept. 9, 2005, 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.
Seilhamer earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention in 2004 and set a USC record (and five-game record) with 45 digs in the match on Nov. 12 against UCLA.
The Capital of Denmark
Junior outside hitter Diane Copenhagen (Saratoga/St. Francis HS) opened the season with 34 kills and 23 digs in three matches to earn all-tournament team honors at the CenturyTel Premier Tournament in San Marcos, Texas.
She is second on the team this season with 154 kills and a 4.05 kpg average. She has 77 digs (2.03 dpg) and leads the team with 15 solo blocks.
Copenhagen had 23 kills, one off her career best, on Sept. 2 in a 3-1 win against No. 24 Utah at the Lyon Center. She added another all-tournament team selection at the Gamecock Invitational (Sept. 8-9) in Columbia, S.C.
This season, she has recorded double figures in kills in 10 of USC's 11 matches.
She was third on the team last year with a 3.85 ppg average, along with 314 kills (3.27 kpg). She set a career-high with 24 kills in a five-game loss to No. 6 Florida on Sept. 10, 2005, 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 as Team USA finished in a tie for 11th place.
It has taken two years, but USC fans finally get a chance to see the exploits of redshirt sophomore outside hitter Jessica Gysin (Los Gatos/St. Francis HS). Hailed as one of the top high school players in 2004, Gysin has battled injuries in her first two seasons. She sprained her ankle in 2004 and suffered a left knee injury in 2005.
She is third on the team with 121 kills and a 3.18 kpg average. She also has 93 digs (2.45 dpg) and has recorded four double-doubles for kills and digs this season, including 11 kills and 10 digs on Sept. 3 against No. 11 Tennessee and a 14 kill, 13 dig match on Sept. 15 against No. 14 Purdue.
Gysin started out of the blocks in fine fashion with 13 kills, seven digs and two solo blocks in USC's 3-0 win on Aug. 26 at Texas State. After leading USC with a team-high 14 kills on Sept. 9 against St. John's with a .406 hitting performance, she earned all-tournament team honors at the Gamecock Invitational.
Freshman setter Taylor Carico (Manhattan Beach/Mira Costa HS) has held the reins since day one as the team's No. 1 setter and improving with every match. She has 466 assists (12.26 apg) this season with 38 kills (1.00 kpg), 83 digs (2.18 dpg) and 23 blocks (0.61 bpg). On Sept. 2 against No. 24 Utah, she collected a season-high 62 assists, three kills, eight digs and two block assists.
On Sept. 14 at No. 20 Pepperdine, Carico came up big for the Women of Troy in a pressure-filled, five-game victory over the host Waves with two block assists and two kills.
Carico won the 2005 Andi Collins Award as the nation's top senior high school setter according to PrepVolleyball.com. She was also CIF Co-Player of the Year and state most valuable player in her senior season.
On the club level, she won most valuable player honors for the 18 Open Division this summer at the Junior Olympics and was a member of the 2004 and 2005 Youth National Team.
Bethany's Block Party
Junior middle blocker/opposite hitter transfer Bethany Johansen (San Jose/UC Santa Barbara) adds an experienced player to USC's lineup. She leads the team with a .396 hitting percentage (84-17-169) and 48 total blocks (1.26 bpg).
As of Sept. 18, Johansen is sixth in the Pac-10 Conference for hitting percentage.
On Sept. 3 against No. 11 Tennessee, she had a season-high 11 kills and added three block assists in USC's 3-1 victory. Against Fresno State on Sept. 1, she recorded a career-high eight blocks against the Bulldogs (1 solo, seven assists). She tied her career mark with eight (four solo, four assists) on Sept. 15 against No. 14 Purdue.
Last season with the Gauchos, she led the team with a .375 hitting percentage, posting 137 kills (1.40 kpg) with 66 blocks (0.67 bpg) and 24 digs (0.24). She was named to the 2005 Big West Conference All-Academic team.
Bishop in the Middle
Junior middle blocker Katelyn Bishop (Terre Haute, Ind./Terre Haute South HS) is another key player in the middle for the Women of Troy. She led the team last year with a 0.97 blocks-per-game average.
This season, she has 24 total blocks for a 0.92 bpg average to go with 23 digs (0.88 dpg).
The Pahl Bearer
Sophomore 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.
This season, she has 15 kills (0.68 kpg) and 19 blocks (0.86).
Tennant earned 2005 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team honors after recording 188 kills (1.84 kpg) and 84 blocks (0.82 bpg). She finished fourth on the squad with a 2.52 ppg average.
For the 2006 season, seniors Alli Dillon (Long Beach/Wilson HS) and Kimi Freeburg (New Castle, Ind./New Castle Chrysler HS) will serve as team co-captains. Both Dillon and Freeburg are setters with Dillon getting additional play as a defensive specialist. Dillon has played in 87 matches during her first three seasons (she transferred to USC after her 2003 freshman season at San Jose State) while Freeburg has appeared in 78 matches for the Women of Troy.
Two USC players this season have fathers with high-profile careers. Senior Annie Montgomery's dad, Mike, is the former head coach for the NBA's Golden State Warriors and longtime head coach at Stanford while freshman Chelsea Wilson's dad, Doug, is executive vice president and general manager for the NHL's San Jose Sharks.
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