Women of Troy Win Second-Straight NACWAA Championship

Aug. 29, 2004

FORT COLLINS, Colo. - The top-ranked USC women's volleyball team came back from a 2-1 game deficit to defeat fifth-ranked Minnesota, 3-2 (25-30, 32-30, 26-30, 30-28, 15-12) in the championship match of the NACWAA Volleyball Classic in Fort Collins, Colo. The Women of Troy become the first-ever team to repeat as tournament champions.With the win, USC extends its NCAA-record win streak to 49 matches and starts the 2004 season at 2-0.The Women of Troy had not been pushed to five games since defeating California 3-2 on the road on Oct. 18, 2003. It was the only five-game match USC played last season.Junior opposite hitter Staci Venski and senior outside hitter Keao Burdine earned all-tournament honors, while teammate Bibiana Candelas was named tournament MVP. Candelas averaged a .423 attack percentage for the tournament, and added 3.12 kills and 0.88 blocks per game. Venski provided a steady 2.25 kills per game, including a career-high 12 kills in tonight's final. Burdine, who averaged 3.88 kills in the two matches, led with a match-high 21 kills against Minnesota.USC managed to get past one of the nation's toughest opponents and best defensive efforts on Saturday night in front of a crowd of 3,986. Thanks to its outstanding passing game, Minnesota controlled most of the match, out-digging (92 digs to 81), out-hitting (96 kills to 78) and even out-blocking (11.0 blocks to 9.0) the Women of Troy. But the Trojans out-lasted the Gophers in the end.The Women of Troy took advantage of Minnesota errors at critical times throughout the two-hour, 22-minute match. The Gophers finished with 30 attack errors, 10 service errors and four ball handling errors.In the deciding game, the Trojans responded to each Minnesota point with two points of their own, which proved to be the deciding factor in the short 15-point set. It gave USC just enough cushion to withstand a late Minnesota three-point rally that brought the Gophers within one at 12-11. Venski then added two kills and Alicia Robinson added the match-winning kill to complete game five, 15-12.Once again, Kimi Freeburg and Alli Dillon shared setting duties. Dillon had 36 assists and Freeburg contributed 32. Libero Debora Seilhamer surpassed last night's career best with 30 digs for the night. Five USC players finished with double figure kills and Burdine posted the year's first double-double with 13 digs.The Women of Troy return home for the busiest week of the season. USC will host an alumni match on Wednesday, Sept. 1, then face British Columbia in an exhibition match on Friday, Sept. 3. On Saturday, Sept. 4, the Trojans host Georgia at the Lyon Center and finish the week at Pepperdine on Sunday, Sept. 5. The USC-Pepperdine match will be televised on College Sports Television (CSTV).

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