Volleyball Ties NCAA Record With Sweep Of Texas A&M

Dec. 12, 2003

LINCOLN, Neb. -- The top-seeded USC women's volleyball team (32-0) collected its 44th consecutive victory by defeating Texas A&M 3-0 (30-26, 30-25, 30-27) in the NCAA Regional Semifinal on Friday afternoon at the University of Nebraska Coliseum.

With the win, the Women of Troy tie Penn State's NCAA record of consecutive matches won and will have the opportunity to break the streak when they face UCLA in the Regional Final on Saturday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m. The winner of Saturday's regional final advances to the NCAA Final Four next week in Dallas, Texas.

Having already faced and fallen to the Trojans this season, the Aggies (23-10) were energized for the match as a supportive Big 12 crowd stood behind them. The enthusiasm kept them in the match, never allowing USC to lead by more than seven points in the three games.

But despite Texas A&M's efforts, the Women of Troy possessed too many weapons for the Aggies to combat. It was Bibiana Candelas' and Keao Burdine's night to shine as the two lead the Trojans with 14 and 13 kills apiece. Candelas hit a team-best .393 in the effort (14-3-28), in addition to four blocks and two service aces. Burdine also posted a pair of aces in addition to two blocks and six digs.

Libero Nicole Davis led the team with 16 digs and setter Toni Anderson guided USC with 24 assists.

Texas A&M was led by outside hitters Laura Jones and Beth Skypala, who added 14 and 11 kills, respectively.

Despite remaining close, Texas A&M never threatened USC in game one as the Women of Troy rolled to a 30-26 win with an impressive .378 attack performance.

The two teams battled through much of game two in a stalemate with five ties. Neither team took command until a 5-0 USC run gave it an 18-14 lead. The Aggies again came back to tie the game at 24. Burdine, who had five kills in game two, gave USC the lead for good at 25-24 as the Trojans closed game two on a 6-1 run, capitalizing on three Aggie miscues.

In game three, the score was tied nine times before USC forged ahead late. With the score knotted at 20, Candelas recorded consecutive kills and a block assist with April Ross to give USC a 23-20 lead. The Aggies closed to with 24-23 on a kill by Felder, but they could not regain the lead. Burdine finished the match with her 13th kill.

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