Top-Seeded Trojans face Georgia State On Friday

Nov. 30, 2000

The Facts
The 3rd-ranked USC women's volleyball team (25-2, 16-2 Pac-10) received its 10th consecutive bid to the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship. The 2000 Pac-10 Co-Champion Trojans will be making their 18th overall appearance at the NCAAs. USC has been selected to host the First and Second Rounds on Friday, Dec. 1, and Saturday, Nov. 2, at the USC Lyon Center. As the No. 1 seed in the Pacific Region, the Women of Troy will face first-time participant Georgia State (28-9) at 7 p.m. on Friday. The First Round will also feature Cal Poly SLO (16-11) and South Florida (28-5), who face each other on Friday at 5 p.m. The two winners advance to the Second Round and will meet on Saturday at 6 p.m. The winner of the Second Round advances to the Sweet Sixteen to be played Thursday, Dec. 7, and Friday, Dec. 8, at the campus site of the top seeded remaining team. Led by Pac-10 Co-Coach of the Year Jerritt Elliott, the Women of Troy defeated No. 19 Notre Dame 3-2 last Friday (Nov. 24) to complete the regular season.

2000 Team Highlights
* The Trojans won their first-ever share of the Pac-10 title (with Arizona) - their fourth overall conference title.
* Despite not receiving the NCAA automatic berth (Arizona won the tiebreaker), USC was selected as the top seed in the Pacific Region for the first time ever.
* Freshman April Ross was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year.
* Head Coach Jerritt Elliott was honored as the Pac-10 Co-Coach of the Year (along with Arizona head coach David Rubio) for the second consecutive year.
* USC had all six starters named to all-conference teams and two honored as Pac-10 all-academic.
* The Trojans began the season with a program-record 38-game win streak, sweeping their first 12 opponents.
* Troy held on to Volleyball magazine's No. 1 ranking for five weeks throughout the season.
* With a 16-2 Pac-10 record, USC tied its best-ever conference record in program history (The Trojans went 16-2 in 1998 but finished second in conference play).
* The 16-2 record is USC's 10th consecutive winning mark in the Pac-10.

The Women of Troy are making their 10th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and their 18th overall since the tournament's inception in 1981. USC has only missed the tournament twice, in 1986 and 1990, after posting its only two losing seasons in program history. With a 26-16 all-time NCAA tournament record, USC has won one NCAA national championship and advanced to the Final Four three times. Led by All-Americans Dana Smith and Cathy Stukel, the Trojans claimed the first-ever NCAA women's volleyball title in 1981. Entering the tournament as underdogs on a four-match losing streak, USC won when it counted, beating UCLA in the championship match after being down 2-1. The team ended the 1981 season with a 27-10 overall record.

USC maintained its ranking in this week's USA Today/AVCA coaches poll and Volleyball magazine poll. The Trojans enter the tournament ranked 3rd and 4th, while Arizona (No. 4/6), UCLA (No. 11/12) and Stanford (No. 20/17) are the only other Pac-10 teams currently ranked. Volleyball also ranked USC's freshman class as the nation's No. 1 recruiting class, and among Pac-10 coaches, USC was picked to finish 3rd in the conference race.

Against Ranked Opponents
Of the nine ranked opponents USC has faced, then-ranked No. 6 Arizona and No. 8 UCLA are the only teams to have claimed victories.

				Prior to match	After loss/win
Sep. 1 vs. Texas W, 3-0 No. 18 NR
Sep. 22 vs. Stanford W, 3-0 No. 11 No. 21
Oct. 6 vs. UCLA W, 3-1 No. 8 No. 10
Oct. 13 vs. Arizona L, 0-3 No. 6 No. 5
Oct. 20 vs. Stanford W, 3-2 No. 17 No. 17
Oct. 24 vs. UCSB W, 3-2 No. 14 No. 15
Nov. 3 vs. UCLA L, 0-3 No. 8 No. 7
Nov. 10 vs. Arizona W, 3-1 No. 3 No. 5
Nov. 24 vs. Notre Dame W, 3-2 No. 19 No. 19

Opponent Profiles
Georgia State --
Georgia State (28-9, 8-1 TAAC - 1st place) received an automatic berth to the NCAAs after having won its first Trans America Athletic Conference Championship since 1991, and its first regular season championship since 1998. The team's 28 wins are the most in school history since it began playing a Division I schedule in 1985. The Lady Panthers are currently ranked seventh in the South Region and bring the TAAC's Player, Freshman, and Coach-of-the-Year into competition. Anna Popenko, a 6-3 outside hitter, earned Player-of-the-Year honors after totaling 526 kills for a 4.61 per game average. The junior became just the fourth player in TAAC history to earn three player-of-the-week honors in a season. Molly Sapp, a 6-1 outside hitter, garnered Freshman-of-the-Year honors with a 3.54 kills per game average. Dr. Richard Leonard is in his third season as head coach of Georgia State and boasts a 69-37 career record.

Cal Poly SLO -- The Mustangs (16-11, 9-7 Big West - 5th place) were selected to the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year and will make their eleventh overall appearance. With its last win coming in 1989, Cal Poly is 9-10 all-time in the NCAAs. Senior Melanie Hathaway leads the team this season with 4.55 kills, 0.41 aces and 3.37 digs per game, marks that rank her second, fourth and eighth among Big West standings. The outside hitter was honored as an All-Big West first team selection. As a team, Cal Poly leads the conference in blocking, averaging 3.42 stops per game thanks to the efforts of middle blocker Worthy Lien who ranks first in the Big West with 1.60 blocks per game. Lien and sophomore setter Carly O'Halloran were named to the all-conference second team, while Molly Duncan was an all-freshman selection. In his fifth season as head coach, Steve Schlick has guided the program to a 86-56 overall record and led the Mustangs to two appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

South Florida -- This is the sixth time South Florida (28-5, 15-1 C-USA - 1st Place National Div.) has earned a bid to the NCAA tournament, but no USF team has ever advanced past the second round. The Bulls have won 21 of their last 22 matches, breaking a 20-match win streak with a loss to Louisville on Nov. 19. With a 28-5 overall record and 15-1 mark in conference play, the 2000 squad owns one of the three best records in program history. The Bulls are led by Conference USA Player of the Year Michelle Collier who overcame reconstructive knee surgery in 1999 to lead USF to a division title, averaging 6.17 kills and 3.9 digs per game. This fall she has had four 30+ kill performances, including a school and C-USA record 41 kills against Louisville on Nov. 11. In the same match she set an NCAA record with 106 attempts. At the net, the team is led by Cristina Bush who has averaged 1.10 blocks per game. Head coach Nancy Mueller is currently in her second season at South Florida and owns a 43-23 overall record.

Series Records
Georgia State
-- The Women of Troy and Lady Panthers will meet for the first time on Friday (Dec. 1).

Cal Poly SLO -- Among the other tournament teams, USC and Cal Poly SLO are the most familiar. The two teams have met 15 times with a 10-5 all-time record in USC's favor. Their last meeting was the final regular season match of the 1995 season. The Trojans defeated the Mustangs 15-0, 15-10, 15-8.

South Florida -- USC and USF have faced each other only once in program history. Ironically, the meeting took place in the second round of the 1996 NCAA Tournament. After defeating Southeast Missouri State, 3-0, in the first round, USC swept South Florida, 15-8, 15-5, 15-6, to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. USC eventually fell to Stanford in the following round, 0-3.

Statistical Comparisons

W-L hit% kpg apg sapg dpg bpg

USC Team Stats 25-2 .311 17.18 15.70 1.60 16.25 2.94
Opponent Stats .177 15.10 13.48 0.95 13.78 1.79

Georgia State Team Stats 28-9 .253 14.70 13.20 2.00 14.70 2.50
Opponent Team Stats .182 15.00 13.00 1.50 14.80 1.80

Cal Poly SLO Team Stats 16-11 .221 14.54 13.00 1.53 14.77 3.42
Opponent Team Stats .176 15.11 13.70 1.07 16.81 1.90

South Florida Team Stats 28-5 .206 16.74 15.37 1.78 19.07 2.24
Opponent Team Stats .146 13.47 12.34 0.89 16.56 2.22

2000 NCAA Tournament Notes
Sixteen first and second round matches will be played December 1-4 on the campuses of participating institutions. Winners will advance to regional tournaments held on December 7-10, on the campus of the top-seeded qualifying teams. The four regional winners, including the central, pacific, mideast and west regions, will advance to the national championship hosted by the University of Virginia-Commonwealth in Richmond, Vir. The semifinal games will be played on December 14 and the championship game will take place on Saturday, December 16. Penn State, the defending national champion, will compete in the pacific region as the No. 3 seed. USC (pacific), Nebraska (central), Hawai'i (west) and Wisconsin (mideast) enter the tournament as No. 1 seeds.

Trojans Win First-Ever Pac-10 Championship
Before this season, UCLA and Stanford were the only two schools to ever win at least a share of the Pac-10 title. USC, though winning three conference titles (1976, 1977, 1980) in its 24-year program history, had never won the Pac-10 Championship since the conference's inception in 1986, but the 2000 Women of Troy made history by winning its first-ever share of the title. With a 16-2 school-best conference record, Arizona and USC split the season series (1-1) and the championship.

			Pac-10			Overall
Team W L Pct. W L Pct.

#3 USC (t1st)* 16 2 .889 25 2 .926
#4 Arizona (t1st)* 16 2 .889 25 4 .862
#11 UCLA* 14 4 .778 22 7 .759
#20 Stanford* 10 8 .556 18 11 .621
WSU* 9 9 .500 18 9 .667
Arizona State* 9 9 .500 17 11 .607
Oregon State 6 12 .333 16 16 .500
California 6 12 .333 13 15 .464
Oregon 2 16 .111 10 19 .345
Washington 2 16 .111 8 19 .296

2000 marks the ninth time the Pac-10 has sent at least six teams to the NCAA Tournament. Eight of the 19 NCAA titles awarded, including six of the last 10, have been won by a Pac-10 institution. The conference owns a 162-97 (.625) record in the postseason (which includes 38 matches where Pac-10 teams were pitted against each other).

Jerritt Named Co-Coach of the Year
Arizona coach David Rubio and USC interim coach Jerritt Elliott were tabbed the Pac-10 Co-Coaches of the Year after both guided their respective clubs to a share of the Pac-10 title and a top-five national ranking. The shared championship marks the first time a team other than UCLA or Stanford has won the Pac-10 title. Rubio led Arizona to a 24-3 record overall, 16-2 in Pac-10 play, while Elliott guided USC to a 24-2 mark overall, and a matching 16-2 Pac-10 record. Elliott brought in the nation's No.-1 ranked recruiting class and proceeded to guide the young squad to the championship. His career record stands at 45-11 (.804) and the Coach of the Year honor is his second-consecutive.

Ross Honored As Pac-10 Freshman of the Year
A 6-1 outside hitter from Newport Beach, Calif., April Ross was instrumental in USC's run for the Pac-10 title. She led the Women of Troy, and ranked ninth in the Pac-10, with 3.58 kills per game. Her 0.38 service aces per game ranked third in the Conference, while her 2.99 digs per game ranked ninth. Ross earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors and was named the AVCA National Player of the Week on Nov. 13 after hitting .417 with 37 kills (4.63 kpg) in wins over No. 3 Arizona and Arizona State, respectively. Ross becomes the third USC freshman in the last six years to receive the honor, joining current teammate Antoinette Polk (1997) and former Trojan Jasmina Marinkovic (1995).

Six Trojans Named To All-Conference Teams
All six starters for the Women of Troy were honored to all-conference teams. Freshman April Ross was named All-Pac-10 first team, along with junior Jennifer Pahl who earned her second first team selection. Senior Janae Henry earned her second honorable mention accolade and outside hitter Antoinette Polk completed her final season with her fourth consecutive honor. As a freshman (1997), Polk was named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and has since been named to the All-Pac-10 honorable mention list as a sophomore (1998), junior (1999) and senior (2000). Freshmen Toni Anderson and Katie Olsovsky each earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention accolades, and were each named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team.

First Team
Player, Team Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown
Elisabeth Bachman, UCLA MB 6-3 Sr. Lakeville, Minn.
Amanda Burbridge, ASU OH 6-2 Sr. Scottsdale, Ariz.
Dana Burkholder, ARIZ S 5-8 Jr. Bakersfield, Calif.
Marisa DaLee, ARIZ MB 6-3 Sr. Phoenix, Ariz.
Jennifer Detmer, STAN MB 6-3 Sr. Thousand Oaks, Calif.
LaToya Harris, WSU OH 5-9 So. Portland, Ore.
Allison Napier, ARIZ OH 6-2 Sr. Santa Ana, Calif.
Jennifer Pahl, USC MB 6-1 Jr. Murrieta, Calif.
Kristee Porter, UCLA OH 5-11 Jr. Tyler, Texas
April Ross, USC OH 6-1 Fr. Newport Beach, Calif.
Gina Schmidt, OSU OH 5-11 Jr. Beaverlodge, Alberta, Can.
Logan Tom, STAN OH 6-1 So. Salt Lake City, Utah

Honorable Mention
Toni Anderson, USC, Ashley Bowles, UCLA, Lauren Fendrick, UCLA, Janae Henry, USC, Michelle Mortensen, ASU, Katie Olsovsky, USC, Alicia Perry, CAL, Antoinette Polk, USC, Lisa Rutledge, ARIZ, Chelsie Schafer, WSU, Erika Selsor, UCLA, Kali Surplus, WSU, Jill Talbot, ARIZ, Monique Tobbagi, ORE, Lisa Underhill, WASH.

All-Freshman Team
Player, Team Pos. Ht. Hometown
Toni Anderson, USC S 5-10 Anaheim, Calif.
Cheryl Anglin, ASU S 5-9 Queen Creek, Ariz.
Zanda Bautre, WSU MH 5-11 Riga, Latvia
Sara McGee, STAN MB 6-1 Davis, Calif.
April Ross, USC OH 6-1 Newport Beach, Calif.
Katie Olsovsky, USC MB 6-3 Torrance, Calif.

Honorable Mention
Gabrielle Abernathy, CAL, Ella Harley, UCLA, Kimberly Mehlhorn, ASU.

Two Named Pac-10 All-Academic
Sophomores Lauren Killian and Tracy Lindquist were named to the Pac-10 all-academic honorable mention team, announced Commissioner Tom Hansen on Tuesday, Nov. 21. Killian is a Business major with a 3.21 cumulative GPA. Lindquist owns a 3.18 cumulative GPA as a General Studies/Education major. To be eligible for selection to the all-academic team, a student-athlete must have a minimum 3.0 overall grade point average and be either a starter or significant contributor.

Recent Results - USC vs. Notre Dame
Behind a career-high 26 kills from Janae Henry, USC outlasted No. 19 Notre Dame, 15-5, 15-17, 15-17, 7-15, 15-11, in the final regular season match on Friday, Nov. 24. Henry led a multifaceted attack for USC, which had five players reach double figures in kills, including April Ross (21), Jennifer Pahl (17), Antoinette Polk (14) and Katie Olsovsky (13). The Trojans breezed through Game 1 and rallied from a 10-14 deficit in Game 2 to take a 15-14 lead. But the Irish responded with three straight points to even the match at a game apiece. The Women of Troy once again trailed early in Game 3 at 3-8, but stormed back and held leads of 11-9, 13-11 and 14-13. Notre Dame, however, repeated its previous performance and came back to score the next three points and take a 2-1 lead in the match. USC's defense came alive in Game 4 and held the Irish to a .043 hitting percentage en route to an easy win to tie the match. Game 5 was tight throughout, but USC pulled away near the end and won the game on sophomore Lauren Killian's kill.

The Last Time...
With the Women of Troy's 20th win of the season against Arizona State on Nov. 9, USC has now won 20+ matches in 19-of-25 seasons *** The last time the Trojans won less than 20 matches in a season was in 1995 *** With one more victory, USC will post its first 25-win season since 1985 *** In USC's history, there have only been three seasons (1976, 1977, 1980) with four or less losses *** The last time was in 1980 when the team finished with a 46-4 overall record (USC won a national championship in each of these seasons).

USC broke Stanford's 45-match home win streak with a 3-0 win on Sept. 22, then completed the university's first-ever regular season sweep of the Cardinal with a 3-2 win on Oct. 20 *** The 2000 squad set a program record with a .556 team attack percentage against Oregon on Sept. 30 *** A freshman has led in kills, digs and/or blocks in all but three matches this season (24-of-27) *** The UC Santa Barbara match was USC's longest of the season, lasting two-hours, 30 minutes *** The shortest match of the season lasted one-hour, three minutes against Texas-San Antonio (Sept. 7) *** USC recorded the season's highest attendance figure with 1,093 fans in attendance against Arizona (Nov. 10).

Game Win Streak Ends At 38
USC put an end to a 23-year old record by surpassing a 28-game win streak previously set over the 1976 and 1977 championship seasons. The 2000 USC volleyball team extended its single game win streak to 38 before dropping its first game of the season to UCLA in a 3-1 victory on Friday (Oct. 6). Ironically, the previous record was also broken by UCLA on Oct. 26, 1977 in a USC 3-2 win.

Freshmen Bring Reminders Of The Past
The nation's No. 1 (according to Volleyball magazine) freshman class has made a definite impact on USC women's volleyball this season. Not only are three of the six (April Ross, Katie Olsovsky and Toni Anderson) starters for the Women of Troy, but their contributions have been significant. Ross leads the team in kills per game (3.58), Anderson is splitting time and assists at setter, and Olsovsky is averaging 1.18 blocks per game. As a group (which also includes Kelli Lantz, Nicole Davis and Jamie Carroll), the freshmen have been compared to the class of newcomers that joined USC in 1976 under head coach Chuck Erbe. With Terry Place, Paula Dittmer-Goodwin, Debbie Green and Debbie Landreth, the '76 Trojans went on to win the AIAW National Championship.

Stopping The Attack
After holding Washington (Nov. 18) to a sub .100 attack performance, the Huskies became the eighth opponent this season to be held below .100 hitting against USC. In 27 matches, the Trojans have held 15 opponents below a .200 attack percentage.

Not On Our Turf
USC's record on its own territory remains unblemished this season. The Trojans are 14-0 at home while playing 1 match in the Lyon Center and 13 at North Gym. USC's North Gym is a campus P.E. building built in 1933 that has been regarded as one of the most intimidating home court advantages in the Pac-10. The classic quarters have been home to all four national championship volleyball teams.

Splitting Sets
Uncommon for most teams, the 2000 squad has found great success by splitting sets. Setters Toni Anderson (Fr.) and Tracy Lindquist (So.) have seen equal time on the court in every match and head coach Jerritt Elliott keeps them in constant rotation. The duo has combined for 15.70 assists per game while each averaging 7.85 and 6.84, respectively.

Polk Reaches Mark
Senior Antoinette Polk reached a historic mark on Oct. 20 with her first of two digs in the final game against Stanford. With 1,141 career kills and 1,114 career digs to date, Polk became just the 35th player in Pac-10 history and the sixth player at USC to surpass 1,000 in both categories. The last USC athlete to reach this mark was OH Jennifer Kessy (1995-98) who collected 1,799 kills and 1,311 digs in her four-year career.

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