Volleyball Captures 2003 NACWAA Championship With Win Over Hawai'i

Aug. 23, 2003

HONOLULU, HAWAI'I - The top-ranked USC women's volleyball team captured the 2003 NACWAA State Farm Volleyball Championship by defeating second-ranked Hawai'i, 3-0 (30-22, 30-26, 31-29), on Saturday in Honolulu. The Trojans swept both tournament matches to start the year 2-0.

USC's 3-0 wins over both Florida and Hawai'i marked the first-ever NACWAA Tournament sweep.

A multitude of players contributed to the Trojans' efforts, but senior April Ross and junior Keao Burdine were honored to the all-tournament team in front of a near-sellout crowd. Ross was named MVP after averaging 3.3 kills, 4.2 digs and 4.0 points per game in the two-day tourney.

'So many of our players contributed to these wins and I was very impressed with the way they maintained their composure till the end,' said head coach Mick Haley. 'April and Keao did an excellent job all around. I'm proud of the way our team performed.'

Hawai'i opened with a brief lead in game one, but the Women of Troy knotted the score at 7-7 and set the tone for a competitive match-up. The two teams alternated with the lead until a four-point rally put the Trojans ahead 19-15 and helped them break away. USC held on to win game one, 30-22.

Game two started close, but at 12-12 the Rainbows managed to gain a slight edge, but led by no more than four points. Down 23-21, the Women of Troy caught up and pulled ahead with a six-point rally that featured kills by Burdine, Katie Olsovsky, two kills by Ross and a block by Bibiana Candelas. USC finished the game with a block for a 30-26 win.

The Trojans led for nearly all of game three and were just three points away from a match victory, when Hawai'i fought its way back and captured its first lead at 28-27. Despite a boisterous crowd, USC maintained control. The Wahine reached match point at 29-28, but the Trojans put down three consecutive kills - one by Ross and two by Candelas - to capture the tournament championship.

Candelas had an excellent outing, surpassing career highs with 12 kills and five blocks, while hitting at a .524 clip. Burdine led with 13 kills, Nicole Davis tallied a team-high 18 digs and Emily Adams added seven blocks in the effort.

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