Crosstown Volleyball Showdown On Friday

Nov. 9, 2004

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Battle for the Lexus Gauntlet

at. #16 UCLA
Friday, Nov. 12, 7 p.m. - Pauley Pavilion

The Facts
The sixth-ranked USC women's volleyball team (15-4, 10-3 Pac-10) -- the defending back-to-back NCAA and Pac-10 champion -- looks to collect the final five points towards the 2004-05 Lexus Gauntlet this week when it travels to crosstown rival UCLA (USC beat UCLA in the first meeting of the season, earning the first five-of-10 Lexus Gauntlet points possible in women's volleyball). The Women of Troy, who are coming off a split in the Bay Area last week, face the 16th-ranked Bruins (15-8, 8-5 Pac-10) at Pauley Pavilion on Friday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m. Fans can follow the match with Live Audio at

The Trojans defeated then-ranked No. 11 California, 3-1, on Nov. 4 in Berkeley, but suffered a 3-0 loss when they traveled across the Bay to then-No. 12 Stanford on Nov. 5. Staci Venski posted a career-high 18 kills and Keao Burdine collected a personal-best 19 digs against the Golden Bears. Sarah Florian led with 12 kills and 12 points against the Cardinal.

Battle For Fourth-Annual Lexus Gauntlet
The Women of Troy are looking to complete a sweep and wrap up all 10 women's volleyball points for the 2004-05 Lexus Gauntlet this Friday. The Lexus Gauntlet is a season-long competition between USC and UCLA in all sports. Points are awarded to the winner of each Bruin-Trojan head-to-head contest throughout the year and the Lexus Gauntlet trophy is awarded to the school with the most points at year's end. USC captured the inaugural trophy in 2001-02 and reclaimed the trophy last season. So far this season, UCLA owns a 12.5-7.5 lead after winning 1-of-2 men's water polo matches, both women's soccer meetings and posting a better finish at the Pac-10 Cross Country Championships.

With last week's loss to Stanford, USC dropped two spots to No. 6 in this week's USA Today/CSTV AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll. The Women of Troy also dropped to No. 7 in the Nov. 8 Volleyball magazine poll.

Polling Trends
The Women of Troy have spent 76 consecutive weeks ranked in the top 10 (dating back to the start of the 2000 season) in the AVCA Coaches Poll.

Trojans Collect 700th Victory
USC's win at California on Nov. 4 marked a milestone in Trojans volleyball history. The win marked the 700th for the program and improved the all-time record to 700-246 (.740).

Only The Best Competition
Thirteen of USC's 19 opponents this season have been ranked among the top 25. In comparison, current No. 16 UCLA (15-8) is next on the list having faced 12 ranked opponents.

Pac-10 Teams Remain at the Top
Six Pac-10 teams remain ranked among the top 25 in this week's poll (the most among any other conference), including No. 1 Washington, No. 6 USC, No. 11 Stanford, No. 14 California, No. 16 UCLA, and No. 21 Arizona. The Big 12 and Big Ten conferences are next on the list with four ranked schools apiece.

Second Half Of Conference Play
With only three weeks left to the 2004 Pac-10 season, Washington remains undefeated at 12-0, USC remains in sole possession of the No. 2 spot at 10-3, Stanford is third with a 9-3 mark and UCLA is fourth at 8-5. California rounds out the top 5 at 7-5.

Adams' Attack Most Effective
Middle blocker Emily Adams continues to top the Pac-10 in attack percentage with a .430 (222-37-430) average. As of No. 3, she ranked third nationally in the category. Adams also ranks third in the Pac-10 in blocks per game (1.54) and seventh in points per game (4.38).

USC actually has three players among the Pac-10's top 10 in attack percentage, including junior Bibiana Candelas who ranks fourth (.389) and Staci Venski who ranks 10th (.322).

Keeping Them Down
Stanford is the first opponent to have hit above .300 against the Women of Troy in 2004. Before the Nov. 5 match-up with the Cardinal, USC had held 13-of-18 foes under .200. Even in losses to Illinois (Sept. 11) and Washington (Sept. 25), the Illini and Huskies were held to a .126 and .196 attack percentage, respectively.

The Last Time Out
at #11 California (Nov. 4) -- Staci Venski posted a career-high 18 kills and Keao Burdine added a career-best 19 digs as USC defeated California, 3-1 (30-24, 31-33, 30-25, 30-24), on Nov. 4 in Berkeley. The two-hour contest proved to be a hard-fought battle between these two highly-ranked teams. After taking game one 30-24, the Women of Troy found themselves at a nine-point deficit, 21-12, late in game two. Using a 4-0 run, USC attempted a steep climb to get back in the game. The Trojans tied the game at 28-28 but were unable to pull ahead. The Women of Troy held Cal at match point four times but two errors eventually cost them the game, 33-31. Despite the loss, the Women of Troy bounced back after the break and captured games three and four, 30-25 and 30-24.

at #12 Stanford (Nov. 5) -- With a powerful offensive attack, No. 12 Stanford defeated USC, 3-0 (30-18, 30-24, 30-27), in front of a sold-out crowd at Burnham Pavilion, the Cardinal's temporary home. The three-game loss marked the Women of Troy's first at Stanford since 1999. USC was outdone in nearly every category, including kills (61 to 54), digs (39 to 44) and blocks (12.0 to 6.0). The Women of Troy did post a .306 attack percentage, but it was not enough as the Cardinal hit at a .460 clip. Stanford used the energy of the crowd to ease past the Women of Troy 30-18 in game one. USC hung on for the start of game two, reaching an 11-11 tie. Although the Women of Troy collected a few powerful kills and blocks along the way, the team could never get it going and fell 30-24 in the second set. Game three was a more competitive match-up as the Trojans tied the score at 26 and 27, but were still unable to overcome the Cardinal who scored the final three points to complete the sweep.

Team News N' Notes
• With a win at Cal on Nov. 4, USC notched the 700th victory in program history.
• USC held Oregon to a .008 attack percentage on Oct. 22, marking the lowest total for a USC opponent this season.
• The Women of Troy dropped No. 6 in the Oct. 11 AVCA Coaches poll, putting an end to a 53-week stay in the top 5.
• USC's 3-0 loss to California on Oct. 9 marked its first sweep since 2001 (3-0 loss at Arizona) and its first sweep at home since 1999 (a 3-0 loss to Stanford in the North Gym).
• As a team, USC collected 38 block assists on Sept. 25 against Washington - the most ever at the Lyon Center.
• The loss to then-No. 3 Washington on Sept. 25 put an end to the Trojans' 22-match home win streak and 24-match conference win streak. Both streaks dated back to Nov. 21, 2002.
• USC's drop to No. 2 on Sept. 13 ended the Trojans' 23-week stay at the top of the AVCA poll.
• Hurricane Ivan kept USC from participating in the Gamecock Invitational in Columbia, S.C., Sept. 17-19, due to safety issues and travel difficulties.
• The loss to then-ranked No. 16 Illinois on Sept. 11 put an end to USC's NCAA-record 52-match win streak. USC had not lost a match in nearly two years. It marked only the second loss since the start of the 2002 season. It also marked the first road loss after 48-straight wins.
• USC finished in second place at the State Farm Illini Volleyball Classic, marking the first time since 2001 that the Women of Troy did not win a nonconference tournament.
• USC became the first-ever team to win a second-straight NACWAA Volleyball Championship with wins over Georgia Tech and Minnesota on Sept. 27 and 28.

Player News N' Notes
• Staci Venski had a career-high 18 kills and Keao Burdine accounted for a career-high 19 digs against California on Nov. 4.
• Head coach Mick Haley earned his 100th victory at USC with the team's 3-1 win over then-No. 14 Stanford on Oct. 8.
• Emily Adams was named Pac-10 Player of the Week on Oct. 4 for her performances at Arizona State and then-No. 17 Arizona, Oct. 2 and 3.
• Emily Adams set a career-high and entered the record books with 18.0 total blocks, 16 block assists and 30.0 points against Washington (Sept. 25). The marks tie for third among USC match records for blocks, fifth for block assists and second for points.
• Emily Adams and Keao Burdine were named to the State Farm Illini Volleyball Classic all-tournament team.
• Numerous career-highs were set at the Illini Classic, including Staci Venski's nine blocks, Kimi Freeburg's two kills and two aces, Bibiana Candelas' eight blocks (ties), Alicia Robinson's 19 digs and Keao Burdine's four aces (ties).
• For the first time in her USC career, Keao Burdine exhibited her powerful jump serve against Pepperdine on Sept. 5. She collected three aces for the match.
• Emily Adams was named MVP of the Marriott Beach Classic - Pepperdine's three-day tournament, in which the USC match was included. Junior Bibiana Candelas earned all-tournament honors.
• Bibiana Candelas earned her first MVP honor as a Trojan at the NACWAA Classic. Staci Venski collected her first all-tournament honor at the event and Keao Burdine was also honored to the team.
• Debora Seilhamer set a NACWAA Tournament record with a career-high 19 digs in a three-game match against Georgia Tech (Aug. 27).

Opponent Notes

No. 16 UCLA -- The Bruins enter this week with an 15-8 overall record and 8-5 mark in the Pac-10 for fourth place. UCLA split last week - falling to Stanford, 3-2, but defeating Cal, 3-2. The team is led by middle blocker Brynn Murphy (3.08 kpg), senior libero Chrissie Zartman (5.42 dpg), middle blocker Nana Meriwether (1.62 bpg), who also owns the team's best attack percentage at .310, and senior setter Krystal McFarland (11.85 apg). Head coach Andy Banakowski is in 38th season at the helm of the Bruin program. Last season, UCLA posted a 24-9 overall record, finished tied for third in the Pac-10 with a 12-6 mark, advanced to the NCAA Regional Final (before falling to USC) and was ranked No. 5 at the end of the year. The team returned six-of-seven starters and 12 letterwinners from last year's squad.

USC-UCLA Series Record -- The rivalry continues as the Bruins and Trojans meet for the 84th time in program history this Friday. USC defeated UCLA three times last season - 3-1 at Pauley Pavilion, 3-0 at home and 3-1 in the NCAA Regional Final in Lincoln, Neb. This season, the Women of Troy won the first match-up at the Lyon Center, 3-0, on Oct. 15. USC owns a 44-39 (.530) edge in the all-time series and has won the last eight-straight match-ups.

Opponent Comparisons	Kpg	Pct.	Apg	SApg	Dpg	BpgUCLA			15.48	.220	14.37	1.37	16.66	2.75USC			17.31	.305	15.87	1.07	16.81	2.86

UCLA Connections
• The grandfather of UCLA senior Brynn Murphy played football at USC. George Murphy played quarterback and lettered in 1944 and 1946-48.
• Diane Copenhagen, Jessica Gysin and Anne Montgomery were prep teammates of UCLA sophomore outside hitter Colby Lyman at St. Francis High in Los Altos, Calif.
• UCLA's Chrissie Zartman and Keao Burdine paired for the 2002 Under-21 World Beach Volleyball Championship in Catania, Italy. Representing the United States, the team advanced to the quarterfinal round (fifth place), but was eliminated by third-place finisher Maria Salgado Rufino and Talita Rocha of Brazil, 21-13, 21-15.
• UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski (978 career wins) and Mick Haley (879 career wins) are two of the most successful coaches in collegiate women's volleyball. Banachowski and Haley rank No. 1 and 2 among all college coaches in total career victories.
• Alex Dunphy and UCLA freshman defensive specialist/libero Jessica Fine both prepped at Harvard-Westlake High in North Hollywood.
• Eight USC coaches and assistant coaches have either attended or coached at UCLA, including men's basketball head coach Henry Bibby (played), men's basketball assistant coach Jim Saia (asst. coach), water polo head coach Jovan Vavic (asst. coach), rowing head coaches Zenon and Kelly Babraj (both coached, Kelly also rowed for the Bruins), golf assistant coach Ted Gleason (played), football defensive assistant Ken Norton Jr. (linebacker) and assistant track coach John Henry Johnson (decathlete).