No. 1 USC Hosts No. 8 Pepperdine, Wednesday

Sept. 2, 2003

Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

This Week
Wednesday, Sept. 3, vs. No. 8 Pepperdine
7 p.m. - Lyon Center
Listen on

The Facts
The top-ranked USC women's volleyball team (5-0) - the defending NCAA and Pac-10 champions - will host its fourth ranked opponent of the season when No. 8 Pepperdine (2-1) comes to the Lyon Center on Wednesday, Sept. 3, at 7 p.m. The 2002 national championship team will be honored prior to the start of the match and the Women of Troy's fifth championship banner will be hung in the Lyon Center. All USC matches can be heard live on the internet at

The Women of Troy captured the USC-Holiday Inns of the Greater L.A. Area Tournament title last week by sweeping Ball State, South Carolina and eighth-ranked Northern Iowa. Setter Toni Anderson and libero Nicole Davis were named to the all-tournament team, while April Ross was honored as tournament MVP.

This season, USC returned 10 letterwinners and all seven starters (including the libero) from last year's Pac-10 and NCAA Championship squad. Head coach Mick Haley enters his third season at the helm of the Women of Troy program.

The Rankings
After entering the season at No. 1, the Women of Troy are holding on to the top spot. USC earned all 65 first-place votes to remain No. 1 on this week's USA Today/AVCA Coaches Top 25 poll. The Women of Troy also hold the top spot in the Volleyball magazine preseason poll.

Knocking Down The Top 10
Just two weeks and five matches into the 2003 season, the Women of Troy have already faced three top 10 opponents and will face their fourth on Wednesday, Sept. 3, when they host No. 8 Pepperdine. With arguably the nation's toughest schedule, USC has not only defeated, but swept its ranked foes up to this point, beating No. 2 Hawai'i (Aug. 22), No. 3 Florida (Aug. 21) and No. 8 Northern Iowa (Aug. 30) all by 3-0 scores.

Holiday Inn Tournament Recap
The Trojans had little trouble getting past Ball State, South Carolina and even eighth-ranked Northern Iowa at the USC-Holiday Inns of the Greater L.A. Volleyball Tournament last week. In all three matches, the Women of Troy held the opponents to a .078 attack percentage, 11.22 kills and 1.11 blocks per game, while compiling an average of 17.44 kills and 3.89 blocks per game, and a .370 hitting mark of their own. Among the seven all-tournament selections, a top setter and libero were selected. Toni Anderson and Nicole Davis earned the honors, while April Ross was named tournament MVP. Ross hit .338, averaged 3.78 kills, 0.56 aces, 1.56 digs and 4.67 points per game. Anderson averaged 10.89 assists per game as she helped lead seven different hitters to outstanding performances in all three sweeps. Davis led all liberos with an average 3.62 digs per game.

NACWAA/State Farm Classic Recap
With 3-0 victories over Florida and Hawai'i at last week's NACWAA/State Farm Volleyball Classic, USC became the first team to ever sweep through the prestigious preseason event. The Trojans held the two ranked teams to a combined .142 attack percentage (Florida-.178, Hawai'i-.109) and outblocked the Gators and Wahine, 23.0 to 15.0. April Ross (MVP) and Keao Burdine were the only two USC players to earn all-tournament honors, but the Women of Troy also benefited from the outstanding play of setter Toni Anderson, libero Nicole Davis (18 digs against Hawai'i) and middle blockers Emily Adams (seven blocks against Hawai'i), Bibiana Candelas (career high 12 kills and five blocks against Hawai'i, career high four aces against Florida) and Katie Olsovsky (hit .375 in both matches). Olsovsky who played both in the middle and on the right side.

The championship match will be broadcast by ESPN2 on Tuesday, Sept. 2, at 2:30 p.m. EST.

Pepperdine Connections
* Freshman setter Alex Dunphy has a very close connection to Waves' volleyball, Dunphy's father, Marv, is the men's volleyball head coach at Pepperdine. In 20 seasons, Marv Dunphy has guided the Waves to three national titles.
* USC men's tennis head coach Peter Smith, women's tennis head coach Richard Gallien and men's golf head coach Kurt Schuette all were former Waves head coaches.
* Gallien, as well as women's tennis assistant coach Howard Joffe, also played tennis at Pepperdine.

Reaching New Heights
The 2003 squad boasts the tallest lineup of hitters and blockers in recent history at USC (and equals the average height of the 2002 squad). The Trojans' hitters and blockers average 6-foot-3 and as a team USC stands at 6-0.

Putting Up A Wall
USC's front line may be the most dominant in program history. By rotating Katie Olsovsky from middle blocker to right side hitter, head coach Mick Haley has found a way to have three blockers on the court at one time. With 6-foot-6 Emily Adams, 6-foot-5 Bibiana Candelas and the 6-foot-3 Olsovsky, the Trojans' opponents have had a hard time getting past the block. The trio is helping the Women of Troy average 1.67 blocks per game, while holding opponents to a .106 attack percentage.

2002 Recap
Last year's USC women's volleyball team, boasting five-of-six returning starters, clinched sole possession of the 2002 Pac-10 title with a 17-1 conference record. The Trojans got past the first four rounds of the NCAA Tournament with ease and took care of Florida in the NCAA Semifinal in four games. After splitting victories with Stanford during the regular season, USC captured a four-game win over the Cardinal in the final for its first NCAA Championship in more than 20 years. The Women of Troy were 31-1 overall. USC's efforts were led by April Ross (All-America, All-Pac-10), Emily Adams (All-America, All-Pac-10), Katie Olsovsky (All-Pac-10, NCAA All-Tournament) and Keao Burdine (All-Pac-10, NCAA Championship MVP).

Can They Do It Again?
That's the question for the Women of Troy as they embark on the 2003 season. It is a question they have not had to answer in more than 20 years after capturing their previous national championship in 1981 - the first-ever NCAA title awarded in the sport. Now, following one of the greatest seasons in the history of Trojan volleyball that culminated in the program's fifth national championship, the 2003 squad will try to duplicate the effort in hopes of a repeat. It would be the third time USC had back-to-back national crowns (also in 1976-77 and 1980-81).

Emily Adams: One Inch Taller, One Year Wiser
Junior co-captain Emily Adams was the biggest surprise on last year's national championship squad. After making limited appearances as a freshman, Adams burst onto the volleyball season in 2002 and dominated at middle blocker. She went from bench-warmer to an AVCA All-America first team selection. Last season she finished third nationally with a .423 attack percentage and was honored as a Honda Award volleyball finalist. Now she's one year older and one inch taller! Adams was recently measured at 6-6, making her the tallest player to ever play for the Women of Troy.

April Ross Enters Final Season Looking For Second Title
Senior team co-captain April Ross was one of five freshmen who joined the Women of Troy in 2000 and have since made a dramatic impact on the USC volleyball program. As newcomers, all five players said that they wanted to lead USC to a national championship, but Ross went one step further. In her freshman bio questionnaire she wrote that she wanted to 'win a couple of NCAA championships.'

Famous Fathers
This season, USC has two new additions to its roster of famous fathers. Joining Alvan Adams (Emily's father and 14-year veteran of the NBA) and Truck Robinson (Alicia's father and 10-year veteran of the NBA) is Mike Montgomery (father of freshman Anne Montgomery) and Marv Dunphy (father of freshman Alex Dunphy). Montgomery is the men's basketball head coach at Stanford, while Dunphy is the men's volleyball head coach at Pepperdine.

Bibiana Candelas No Longer A Secret Weapon
A 6-foot-5 standout on the Mexican National Team, sophomore Bibiana Candelas enters her second year at USC. Last season, many considered Candelas the 'secret weapon' on an already deep and talented USC squad. After missing the first two weeks of the season while competing with Mexico, Candelas was not cleared to start competing until late October, missing the majority of the regular season. But Candelas joined the squad in time to provide a much-needed spark for the Women of Troy as they headed into the NCAA Tournament. Candelas only played 15 matches, but averaged 2.0 kills, 0.43 blocks and 2.28 points per game, in addition to a .352 attack percentage. Though she's not a 'secret' anymore, look for her to make a dramatic impact this season.

The Latin Influence
Bibiana Candelas is no longer the only international player on the USC roster. This year she is joined by freshman defensive specialist/libero Debora Seilhamer, who hails from Ponce, Puerto Rico. Both players prepped at Colegio Ponce�o in Puerto Rico for one year (2001-02).

Time To Take Notice
It's time to take notice of senior setter Toni Anderson and junior outside hitter Keao Burdine - two players who have been overlooked the past two seasons, but whose contributions are noteworthy.

Anderson may be one of the best setters in collegiate volleyball, but many of her individual contributions have gone unnoticed due to the Trojans' 6-2 system. Sharing setting duties with former setter Tracy Lindquist for the past three years, Anderson has helped drive the Women of Troy to success but sacrificed individual accolades for the benefit of the team. The two setters finished second nationally with 16.29 assists per game in 2002, while Anderson averaged 8.42 assists per game and was named to the All-Pac-10 honorable mention team.

Like Anderson, Burdine is the type of player who has flown under the radar, but her contributions are unmatched. Next to Ross, she is the most powerful force for the Women of Troy at the outside hitter position. Last season, the 6-foot-1 Burdine finished second on the team in kills (3.28 kpg) and service aces (0.28 sapg), and finished third in digs (2.98 dpg) and points (3.81 ppg). She earned her first All-Pac-10 first team honor and was selected to the AVCA All-Pacific Region honorable mention team. Burdine made her presence known when she combined for 3.9 kills, 0.5 aces, 3.0 digs and 4.6 points per game in the final two rounds of the NCAA Tournament and was named NCAA Championship MVP.

USC Represents U.S.A.
For the third consecutive year, USC was well represented on the national volleyball scene. Nine of the Trojans' 10 returning players were all selected for various national team programs in the summer of 2003. April Ross, Emily Adams and Katie Olsovsky competed with the U.S.A. Women's National team. All three trained in Colorado Springs, Colo., while Olsovsky continued competing with the team at the Pan American Games. Toni Anderson, Nicole Davis, Keao Burdine, Alicia Robinson (who did not accept an invitation due to injuries) and Staci Venski were invited to train with the U.S.A. A2 Women's National Team coached by USC assistant coach Paula Weishoff in Lake Placid, N.Y. Bibiana Candelas rejoined Mexico's National Team for the summer and competed at the Pan American Games.

2003 Team Co-Captains
This year's team co-captain, as voted on by the players, are senior April Ross and junior Emily Adams. The is the first year Ross has held the role, but the fourth-year starter has served as a floor captain for the team since her freshman year.

Head Coach Mick Haley
Mick Haley is in his third season as head coach of the Women of Troy. In 2002, he collected his fifth career national title (three NCAA Division I titles, two JC titles) just two years after arriving at Troy. Haley guided the Women of Troy to the program's first NCAA championship in more than 20 years and became just the second coach in NCAA history to win a national title at two universities (John Dunning is the other). Though hired in 1999 to replace former head coach Lisa Love, Haley completed his term as head coach of the U.S.A. Women's National Team before joining the Trojans in 2001. At the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, he led the United States to an unexpected fourth-place finish. Haley coached Texas for 17 seasons (1980-1996) and led the Longhorns to two national championships. He boasts a 834-193-1 (.812) overall record, 583-142 (.804) NCAA Division I record and a 183-13 (.934) career conference mark.

Opponent Notes

No. 8 Pepperdine -- Under head coach Nina Matthies, who enters her 21st season at the helm of the Waves' program, Pepperdine (2-1) began the 2003 season ranked No. 5 in the AVCA poll, but has since dropped to No. 8. The team returned 10 letterwinners and five starters from last year's squad which advanced the NCAA Regional Final but was eliminated by the Women of Troy. The 2002 squad compiled a 26-7 overall record and 14-0 conference mark to claim the West Coast Conference title. Pepperdine opened the 2003 season last week by hosting the Four Points Sheraton Hotel Classic. The Waves defeated Eastern Washington, 3-0, and Notre Dame, 3-1, but fell to Arizona, 3-1. Senior outside hitter Katie Wilkins (4.82 kpg) and sophomore outside hitter/middle blocker Breegan Mulligan (1.50 bpg) are currently leading the Waves.

USC-Pepperdine Series Record -- Wednesday's match will mark the 38th all-time meeting between these two teams. USC owns a 30-7 (.811) advantage in the series that began in 1976. The Women of Troy defeated the Waves twice last season, both by 3-0 scores. The first was a regular season match-up in Malibu, which USC won 33-31, 30-26, 30-28. The second meeting was in Santa Barbara, Calif., at the NCAA Regional Final when USC defeated Pepperdine 30-24, 30-20, 30-17 to advance to the Final Four. The Trojans are currently riding a 10-match win streak against the Waves, whose last victory came in 1990.

Opponent Comparisons	Kpg	Pct.	Apg	SApg	Dpg	BpgPepperdine		15.82	2.59	14.18	2.09	11.64	1.82USC			17.13	.324	15.87	1.60	14.67	3.87

Player Profiles

#1 Kimi Freeburg Setter * Freshman
This Season (5 matches played): vs. Florida (8/22): 11 assists, 3 digs... at Hawai'i (8/23): 4 assists, 3 digs... vs. Ball St. (8/29): 14 assists, 3 digs... vs. S. Carolina (8/30): 12 assists, 1 dig... vs. N. Iowa (8/30): 12 assists, 3digs...

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

#2 Debora Seilhamer Defensive Specialist * Freshmen
This Season (5 matches played):
vs. Florida (8/22): played two games... at Hawai'i (8/23): 1 ace... vs. Ball St. (8/29): 4 digs... vs. S. Carolina (8/30): 3 digs... vs. N. Iowa (8/30): 1 dig...

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

#3 Toni Anderson Setter * Senior
Did You Know?
Toni Anderson currently ranks sixth on USC's career record list with 2,612 career assists.
This Season (5 matches played, 5 starts): vs. Florida (8/22): 29 assists, 1 ace, 1 dig, 1 block... at Hawai'i (8/23): 38 assists, 6 digs, 1 block... vs. Ball St. (8/29): 30 assists, 4 digs... vs. S. Carolina (8/30): tied career high with 3 kills and 1.000 attack pct., 35 assists, 3 digs... vs. N. Iowa (8/30): 33 assists, 2 aces, 9 digs, 1 block... Named to USC-Holiday Inns All-Tournament team...

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

#4 Nicole Davis Libero * Senior
Did You Know?
A black-belt in karate, Nicole Davis will always be known as the first women's player to ever play the position of libero at USC.
This Season (5 matches played, 5 starts): vs. Florida (8/22): 6 digs... at Hawai'i (8/23): 18 digs, 3 assists... vs. Ball St. (8/29): 4 digs... vs. S. Carolina (8/30): 2 assists, 17 digs... vs. N. Iowa (8/30): 8 digs... Named to USC-Holiday Inns All-Tournament team...

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

#5 Anne Montgomery Defensive Specialist * Freshman
Did You Know?
Anne Montgomery's father, Mike Montgomery, is the men's basketball head coach at Stanford
This Season (2 matches played): vs. Florida (8/22): DNP... at Hawai'i (8/23): DNP... vs. Ball St. (8/29): 2 digs... vs. S. Carolina (8/30): played 1 game... vs. N. Iowa (8/30): DNP...

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

#7 Bibiana Candelas Middle Blocker * Sophomore
Did You Know?
A standout and seven-year member of the Mexican National Team, Bibiana Candelas is the tallest and regarded as the most-dominant player in Mexico.
This Season (5 matches played, 5 starts):
vs. Florida (8/22): 6 kills, .455 (6-1-11), 2 assists, career-high 4 aces, 3 blocks, 12.5 points... at Hawai'i (8/23): career-high 12 kills, .524 (12-1-21), 2 assists, 1 dig, career-high 5 blocks, 15.0 points... vs. Ball St. (8/29): 9 kills (.615), 5 blocks, 12.0 points... vs. S. Carolina (8/30): 9 kills (.471), 1 ace, 1 dig, 4 blocks, 12.5 points ... vs. N. Iowa (8/30): 6 kills (.462), 2 assists, 5 blocks, 9.0 points...

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

#8 Keao Burdine Outside Hitter * Junior
Did You Know?
Keao Burdine made her presence known last season when she combined for 3.9 kills, 0.5 aces, 3.0 digs and 4.6 points per game in the final two rounds of the NCAA Tournament to be named NCAA Championship MVP - the third USC player to ever earn the honor, along with Tracy Clark in 1982 and Cathy Stukel in 1981).
This Season (4 matches played, 4 starts):
vs. Florida (8/22): 12 kills, .200 (12-6-30), 2 assists, 1 ace, 7 digs, 1 block, 13.5 points... at Hawai'i (8/23): 13 kills, .163 (13-6-43), 1 ace, 8 digs, 2 blocks, 15.5 points... Named NACWAA/State Farm Volleyball Classic All-Tournament... vs. Ball St. (8/29): did not play, resting sore elbow... vs. S. Carolina (8/30): 6 kills (.130), 2 aces, 6 digs, 8.0 points... vs. N. Iowa (8/30): 18 kills (.289), 9 digs, 4 blocks, 20.5 points...

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

#9 Emily Adams Middle Blocker * Junior
Did You Know?
At 6-foot-6, Emily Adams is the tallest player to ever play for the Women of Troy.
This Season (5 matches played, 5 starts):
vs. Florida (8/22): 7 kills, .400 (7-1-15), 4 digs, 5 blocks, 9.5 points... at Hawai'i (8/23): 9 kills, .148 (9-5-27), 3 digs, 7 blocks, 13.5 points... vs. Ball St. (8/29): 15 kills with no error for a career-high .500 attack percentage - a mark which ties for fourth place among USC's all-time individual match records, 1 dig, 6 blocks, 18.0 points... vs. S. Carolina (8/30): 12 kills (.524), 2 aces, 4 digs, 5 blocks, 18.0 points... vs. N. Iowa (8/30): 6 kills (.200), 1 ace, 3 digs, 5 blocks, 10.0 points...

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

#10 Alex Dunphy Setter * Freshman
Did You Know?
Alex Dunphy's father, Marv Dunphy, is the men's volleyball head coach at Pepperdine and a Volleyball Hall of Fame inductee who has guided the Waves to three national titles in 20 seasons. He was also the former head coach of the U.S. Men's Volleyball National Team (1985-88). His U.S. team captured the gold medal at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea.
This Season:
Did not travel to NACWAA/State Farm Tourney while nursing injuries... vs. Ball St. (8/29): DNP... vs. S. Carolina (8/30): DNP... vs. N. Iowa (8/30): DNP...

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

#12 Kelli Lantz Middle Blocker * Senior
This Season:
Did not travel to NACWAA/State Farm Tourney while nursing injuries... vs. Ball St. (8/29): DNP... vs. S. Carolina (8/30): DNP... vs. N. Iowa (8/30): DNP...

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

#13 Alicia Robinson Outside Hitter * Junior
This Season (5 matches played):
vs. Florida (8/22): 2 kills, -.222 (2-4-9), 1 dig, 2.0 points... at Hawai'i (8/23): 1 kill, -.182 (1-3-11), 2 blocks, 2.0 points... vs. Ball St. (8/29): 9 kills, career-high .818 attack percentage (9-0-11), 1 ace, 7 digs, 4 blocks, 12.5 points ... vs. S. Carolina (8/30): 4 kills (.083), 3 blocks, 6.0 points... vs. N. Iowa (8/30): 2 kills (-.111), 1 dig, 2 blocks, 3.0 points...

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

#14 April Ross Outside Hitter * Senior
Did You Know?
April Ross currently ranks among USC's top 10 career leaders in kills per game (3.75), attacks (2855), service aces (102), service aces per game (0.25), digs (940) and digs per game (3.03). As a three-year starter, Ross will leave USC as one of its all-time greatest players. Last season she earned her first AVCA All-America first team honor and third consecutive All-Pac-10 first team honor.
This Season (5 matches played, 5 starts):
vs. Florida (8/22): 10 kills, .364 (10-2-22), 1 ace, 9 digs, 2 blocks, 12.0 points... at Hawai'i (8/23): 10 kills, .308 (10-2-26), 16 digs, 3 blocks, 12.0 points... Named NACWAA/State Farm Volleyball Classic MVP... vs. Ball St. (8/29): 9 kills (.381), 3 aces, 3 digs, 1 block, 12.5 points... vs. S. Carolina (8/30): 15 kills (.400), 1 assist,k 4 digs, 1 block, 16.5 points... vs. N. Iowa (8/30): 10 kills (.231), 1 ace, 7 digs, 2 blocks 13.0 points... Named USC-Holiday Inns Tournament MVP...

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

#21 Staci Venski Middle Blocker * Sophomore
This Season (4 matches played):
vs. Florida (8/22): 4 kills, career-high .800 (4-0-5), 4.0 points... at Hawai'i (8/23): DNP... vs. Ball St. (8/29): 3 kills (.600), 1 assist, 3.0 points... vs. S. Carolina (8/30): 4 kills (.429), 1 dig, 2 blocks... vs. N. Iowa (8/30): 1 kill (-.167), 1 point...

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

#33 Katie Olsovsky Outside Hitter * Senior
Did You Know?
Katie Olsovsky is currently among USC's career leaders in attack percentage (first, .367), solo blocks (eighth, 83), block assists (seventh, 292), total blocks (seventh, 375) and blocks per game (1.26, tied with teammate Emily Adams for fifth).
This Season (5 matches played, 5 starts): vs. Florida (8/22): 7 kills, .375 (7-1-16), 10 digs, 4 blocks, 9.0 points... vs. Hawai'i (8/23): 7 kills, .375 (7-1-16), 1 dig, 3 blocks, 8.5 points... vs. Ball St. (8/29): 6 kills (.400), 5 digs, 4 blocks, 8.0 points... vs. S. Carolina (8/30): did not play games 2 and 3 after twisting left ankle, 2 kills, 1 assist, 1 ace, 3 digs, 3.0 points... vs. N. Iowa (8/30): 8 kills (.500), 1 assist, 4 digs, 2 blocks, 9 points...

Now on Pac-12 Network
7:30 PM PT

Airing on:

  • Pac-12 Network