No. 6 USC Set To Host Trojan Invitational Starting Tomorrow
Aug. 23, 2007
Trojan Invitational - Galen CenterAug. 24 Loyola Marymount vs. St. John's 5 p.m. USC vs. Michigan State 7 p.m.Aug. 25 Michigan State vs. Loyola Marymount 10 a.m. USC vs. St. John's Noon St. John's vs. Michigan State 5 p.m. Loyola Marymount vs. USC 7 p.m.
All USC matches on TrojanTV All-Access/USCTrojans.com
The No. 6 USC women's volleyball team -- winners of six national championships -- begins the 2007 regular season by hosting the Trojan Invitational at the Galen Center, featuring Michigan State, Loyola Marymount and St. John's. The two-day tournament begins on Friday (Aug. 24) with Loyola Marymount and St. John's playing at 5 p.m. with USC taking on Michigan State at 7 p.m. On Saturday (Aug. 25), four matches are on tap with Michigan State vs. Loyola Marymount at 10 a.m., USC against St. John's at noon, St. John's vs. Michigan State at 5 p.m. and USC against Loyola Marymount at 7 p.m.
On The Net
All USC home matches this season will be broadcast on usctrojans.com, courtesy of TrojanTV All-Access. There is a monthly subscription fee in order to watch the webcast.
Michigan State Notes
Michigan State returns nine letterwinners from last year's squad that went 19-12 and reached the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Cathy George is 31-30 in her third season at Michigan State. Senior outside hitter Katie Johnson led the Spartans with 487 kills (4.68 kpg) last season. USC leads the all-time series with Michigan State by a 5-0 margin. Current USC assistant head coach Todd Dagenais coached at Michigan State from 1999-2003 while former USC head coach Chuck Erbe, who led the Trojans to four national titles, also was a head coach at Michigan State.
St. John's Notes
St. John's returns nine letterwinners from last year's team that went 31-5 overall and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Joanne Persico-Smith is 259-160 in her 14th season at St. John's. Hui Ping Huang led the Red Storm with 404 kills last season. USC is 1-0 against St. John's after beating the Red Storm last year in Columbia, S.C.
Loyola Marymount Notes
Loyola Marymount returns 11 letterwinners from last year's squad that finished 19-12 overall and reached the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Steve Stratos is 343-165 in his 18th season at LMU. All-WCC Heather Hughes recorded a 3.94 kpg and 3.00 dpg average last season for the Lions. USC leads the all-time series with LMU by a 6-0 margin.
Court of Dreams
The dream finally became reality on Oct. 12, 2006 as the brand-new Galen Center made its debut. The 10,258-seat arena is located 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 $50 million towards the project.
The Power of the Pac-10
Five Pac-10 teams are ranked among the top 25 in the 2007 CSTV/AVCA current poll (the most among any other conference), including No. 2 Stanford, No. 5 UCLA, No. 6 USC, No. 8 Washington and No. 12 California.
The Fab (50) Four
Volleyball Magazine rated USC's 2007 recruiting class as the third-best in the nation with four Fab 50 players comprising the group of eight players. The four players are 6-3 middle blocker Zoe Garrett (Laguna Beach/Laguna Beach HS), 6-2 outside hitter Kimmee Roleder (Pasadena/Pasadena HS), 5-10 outside hitter/libero Geena Urango (Los Alamitos/Los Alamitos HS) and 6-4 middle blocker Lauren Williams (Houston, Texas/Stratford HS).
Serving The Nation
Sophomore Taylor Carico and freshmen Zoe Garrett and Kimmee Roleder played for the 2007 U.S. Junior National Team as the squad finished fourth at the Junior World Championship in Thailand. Garrett finished second in blocking overall among all players while Roleder finished fifth in spiking and seventh with 78 points.
Junior middle blocker Kelli Tennant will be week-to-week with a lower back injury.
6-4 senior opposite/outside hitter Asia Kaczor (pronounced AH-shuh KA-chor) became USC's 28th All-American by earning AVCA and Volleyball Magazine All-America second team honors after a dominating season last year. She earned All-Pac-10 honors after setting a school single-season record with 563 kills, surpassing the old record of 554 held by Jennifer Kessy in 1998. She finished with a 4.94 kills-per-game average and hit .300 on the season (563-181-1,272). In the process, she set school single-season records in addition for attempts (1,272), points (642.5) and tied the mark for points per game (5.64, tied with Bibiana Candelas in 2005).
Kaczor led the Pac-10 Conference in kills, kills per game, points and points per game, as well as tying for fourth in the Pac-10 for service aces per game and eighth in hitting percentage. She passed the previous single-season points record held by Bibiana Candelas (575.0 in 2005) on Nov. 25 against Oregon State. She had double-figure kills in 31 of 32 matches, along with three double-doubles (kills and digs) and recorded 20 or more kills in a match 11 times. Her numbers were just as impressive with a 5.20 kpg and 5.88 ppg average in Pac-10 matches, as well as a 5.19 kpg average and 5.67 ppg average in 14 matches last season against ranked opponents.
She 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, hitting .370 on the weekend, adding five digs and seven block assists. Her second most valuable player 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 also 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. On Sept. 21 at Oregon State, she hit .593 (18-2-27) with six digs, three service aces and three block assists and on Oct. 6 at Arizona State in a five-game win, she recorded season-highs with 27 kills and 31.5 points. She earned her second Pac-10 Player of the Week honor on Nov. 13 after recording 49 kills for an amazing 8.17 kpg average in two 3-0 sweeps on the road at No. 2 Stanford and No. 12 California. She recorded 26 kills and hit .500 against the Cardinal.
The Capital of Denmark
Senior outside hitter Diane Copenhagen (Saratoga/St. Francis HS) is a co-captain this season, coming off a junior year where she earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention recognition in the process. She recorded 455 kills on the year with a .233 hitting percentage and led the team with 42 solo blocks.
She recorded double figures in kills in 29 of 32 matches and had nine double-doubles (kills and digs). Copenhagen 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 recorded 23 kills, one off her career best, on Sept. 2 in a 3-1 win against No. 24 Utah at the Lyon Center. She later added another all-tournament team selection at the Gamecock Invitational (Sept. 8-9) in Columbia, S.C. and also had 34 kills in two matches (Sept. 28-29) against Washington State and No. 4 Washington with a 16 kill, 15 dig performance against the Huskies.
Her eighth double-double of the season came on Nov. 10 in a 3-0 sweep at No. 2 Stanford as she had 14 kills with 14 digs, hitting .306 in the match. She had 30 kills in six games during the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament at Galen Center, leading the Women of Troy with a team-high 16 kills on Dec. 1 against BYU. In those two matches, she hit .393 against Ole Miss and .325 against BYU.
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.
Sophomore setter Taylor Carico (Manhattan Beach/Mira Costa HS) will look to build on her success from last year after garnering All-Pacific Region Freshman of the Year and Pac-10 Conference Freshman of the Year honors, as well as being named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team. She recorded 1,445 assists for a 12.68 apg average to go with 123 kills (1.08 kpg), a .339 hitting percentage, 26 service aces (0.23 sapg), 255 digs (2.24 dpg) and 83 blocks (0.73 bpg) last season.
She finished second on USC's single-season list for total assists (most ever by a freshman) and sixth for assists per game average. On Sept. 2 against No. 24 Utah, she collected 62 assists, three kills, eight digs and two block assists. At No. 20 Pepperdine on Sept. 14, 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. Against No. 4 Washington on Sept. 29, she had 51 assists in the four-game victory with six kills (no errors for a .400 night), 11 digs, two service aces and two blocks (one solo, one assist).
Carico recorded a season-high 67 assists and 20 digs in a five-game win on Oct. 6 at Arizona State. She had 58 assists and seven digs in a 3-1 loss to No. 4 UCLA on Oct. 20 at the Lyon Center. On Nov. 4 against Arizona State, she had a season-high eight kills (.500 hitting night) with 47 assists and 10 digs in the 3-0 sweep of the Sun Devils. In a 3-0 sweep on Nov. 10 at No. 2 Stanford, Carico had 47 assists with four kills, 10 digs and five block assists. In the second round of the NCAA Tournament against No. 22 BYU, she had five kills (with no errors for a .714 hitting night) with 44 assists, three digs and four blocks.
Carico won the 2005 Andi Collins Award as the nation's top senior high school setter according to PrepVolleyball.com. She was named CIF Co-Player of the Year and state most valuable player in her senior season.
It took two years before USC fans could witness the exploits of redshirt junior outside hitter Jessica Gysin (Los Gatos/St. Francis HS). Hailed as one of the top high school players in 2004, Gysin battled injuries in her first two seasons. She sprained her ankle in 2004 and suffered a left knee injury in 2005.
Last year, she finished third on the team with 342 kills (3.03 kpg) and 401 points (3.59 ppg). She was second on the team with 293 digs (2.59 dpg).
Bethany's Block Party
Senior middle blocker/opposite hitter Bethany Johansen (San Jose/UC Santa Barbara) led the Trojans in blocks last year after spending the first two years of her career at UC Santa Barbara. Johansen recorded 126 blocks for a 1.11 bpg average. She was fourth on the team with 220 kills for a 1.93 kpg average and her .286 hitting percentage on the season placed her ninth among Pac-10 Conference players
She recorded double figures in kills eight times during the season. On Sept. 1 against Fresno State, she hadd eight blocks (one solo, seven assists) against Fresno State. She registered a season-high 12 kills while hitting .478 (12-1-23) and adding eight blocks (four solo, four assists).
She had 10 kills without recording an error for a .526 performance (10-0-19) on Sept. 21 at Oregon State and on the following evening at Oregon, registered a career-high 13 blocks (three solo, 10 assists) and 11 kills.
Bishop in the Middle
Senior middle blocker Katelyn Bishop (Terre Haute, Ind./Terre Haute South HS) is another key player in the middle for the Women of Troy. Last year, she recorded 93 kills (1.15 kpg) with 79 blocks (0.98 bpg) and 66 digs (0.81 dpg).
King Of The Hill
Sophomore Alli Hillgren (Rancho Santa Fe/Francis Parker HS) gets her first chance at libero, replacing two-time All-American Debora Seilhamer, who set the USC and Pac-10 Conference career mark for digs. As a defensive specialist in her 2006 freshman season, Hillgren played in 24 matches. She recorded four service aces (0.11 sapg) and 18 digs (0.47 dpg) overall. She registered a season-high five digs on Aug. 25 against North Texas.
Sophomore defensive specialist/setter Chelsea Wilson's dad, Doug, is executive vice president and general manager for the NHL's San Jose Sharks.