Volleyball Makes Fifth-Straight Trip To NCAA Regionals
Dec. 7, 2004
2004 NCAA Tournament - Louisville Regional
The eighth-ranked USC women's volleyball team (21-5, 14-4 Pac-10) - selected as the tournament's No. 8 seed overall - received its 14th consecutive bid to the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship, and is making its 22nd overall appearance. After sweeping the first two rounds of play, USC - the two-time defending national champion -- travels to Louisville, Ky., for its fifth-straight NCAA Regional. The Women of Troy will face 11th-ranked San Diego (24-4) on Friday, Dec. 10, at 5 p.m. ET at the Kentucky International Convention Center. If USC advances, the Trojans will play Saturday, Dec. 11, at 6 p.m. ET against the winner of Friday's Louisville/Nebraska match-up. All of USC's matches can be heard live or followed with live stats at www.usctrojans.com.
The winner of the regional final advances to the NCAA Championship semifinal and final to be played Dec. 16 and 18 at the Long Beach (Calif.) Arena.
Led by fourth-year head coach Mick Haley, the Women of Troy are coming off two 3-0 victories over College of Charleston and No. 23 Kansas State in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
USC finished the regular season ranked No. 8 in the final USA Today/CSTV AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll. The Women of Troy ranked No. 6 in the final Volleyball magazine poll.
NCAA First Round Recap - def. College of Charleston, 3-0
Behind 16 kills from Bibiana Candelas, USC defeated College of Charleston, 3-0, in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Dec. 2. The Trojans took care of the visiting Cougars 30-22, 30-24, 30-23. USC got help from all three of its 2004 All-Pac-10 first team picks. Candelas led in kills on a .438 attack effort and contributed 18.5 points. Keao Burdine posted a double-double with 11 kills and 17 digs, in addition to a match-best four blocks. Emily Adams also added 11 kills and committed only one error for a .667 attack percentage.College of Charleston challenged the Women of Troy defensively throughout the match, out-digging the Trojans 63-to-60. USC won the battle at the night with 56 kills and 10 blocks to Cougars' 39 kills and nine team blocks.
NCAA Second Round Recap - def. Loyola Marymount, 3-0
Thanks to dominating offensive attack featuring four players who hit above .500, USC beat No. 23 Kansas State, 3-0 (30-19, 30-25, 30-19), in the NCAA Second Round on Dec. 3. The Women of Troy's powerful offense was guided by Keao Burdine. Burdine collected 19 kills and made only three errors in the match for a .533 attack percentage. She also added 11 digs, an ace and three blocks in the effort. Alicia Robinson and Emily Adams added 11 kills apiece and hit .588 and 500, respectively. Bibiana Candelas was the fourth to notch an above-.500 effort with seven kills and no errors for a .538 mark. The Women of Troy held Kansas State to a .178 attack effort in the sweep. The Trojans notched 63 kills, 48 digs and 11.0 blocks, while the Wildcats posted 40 kills, 36 digs and 3.0 blocks of their own. USC seemed to be in trouble at the very start of the match as Kansas State kicked things off with consecutive service aces and forced a USC attack error for a quick 3-0 lead. The Wildcats pushed their lead to 6-2 before the Trojans began to fight back. After three tie scores, USC took its first lead at 9-8 and never turned back. The Women of Troy never trailed for the remainder of the match.
2004 NCAA Tournament Notes
Sixteen winners advanced to this week's regional tournaments held at four predesignated sites, including Louisville, Ky., Minneapolis, Minn., Green Bay, Wisc. and Seattle, Wash. All regional finals will be televised live by CSTV.
The four regional winners advance to the national championship hosted by Long Beach State and the Long Beach Convention and Visitor's Bureau at the Long Beach (Calif.) Arena. The semifinal matches will be played on Dec. 16 and the championship match on Saturday, Dec. 18. Nebraska (Louisville Regional), Penn State (Seattle Regional), Hawai'i (Green Bay Regional) and Minnesota (Minneapolis Regional) were selected as the top seeds in each region.
College Sports TV (CSTV) will air the four regional finals live. ESPN2 will tape delay the Championship Semifinal and air the Championship match live. The first tournament semifinal will air on Thursday, Dec. 16, at 11 p.m. ET., and the second semifinal will air on Friday, Dec. 17, 3 p.m. ET. The national championship match will be broadcast live Dec. 18 at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
USC History In The NCAAs
The Women of Troy are making their 14th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and their 22nd overall since the tournament's inception in 1981. USC has only missed the tournament twice, in 1986 and 1990, after posting its only two losing seasons in program history. With a 47-18 (.723) all-time NCAA tournament record, USC has won three NCAA national championships (including the last two seasons) and advanced to the Final Four on six occasions (including the last three of four seasons).
It was a perfect ending to a perfect season for the Women of Troy who captured their second-consecutive title with an undefeated 35-0 record in 2003. USC became the first team to ever repeat without defeat and, en route, set an NCAA record by winning 47 consecutive matches dating back to Nov. 2, 2002 (streak ended at 52 matches on Sept. 4, 2004). USC's efforts were led by April Ross (Honda Award Winner, All-America, Pac-10 Player of the Year) and All-America picks Emily Adams, Bibiana Candelas and Keao Burdine (second team). Burdine was named NCAA Championship MVP for the second-straight year.
First team All-Americans April Ross and Emily Adams led the Women of Troy to the 2002 NCAA championship. With the talent of five-of-six returners, USC was more determined than ever to make it back to the NCAA semifinals (after advancing to the Final Four in 2000). 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 victory over the Cardinal for its first national championship in more than 20 years.
Led by All-Americans Dana Smith and Cathy Stukel, the Trojans claimed the first-ever NCAA women's volleyball title in 1981. Entering the tournament as underdogs on a four-match losing streak, USC won when it counted by beating UCLA in the championship match after being down 2-1. The team ended the 1981 season with a 27-10 overall record and the title in hand.
USC also won AIAW national titles in 1976, 1977 and 1980.
The Women of Troy have spent 80 consecutive weeks ranked in the top 10 (dating back to the start of the 2000 season) in the AVCA Coaches Poll.
USC Has Three Named To All-Conference First Team
Three USC players were named to the All-Pac-10 first team, including Emily Adams, Keao Burdine and Bibiana Candelas. Six total players earned all-conference honors. Debora Seilhamer was named All-Pac-10 honorable mention, Sarah Florian was picked to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team and Diane Copenhagen was named All-Freshman honorable mention.
Adams Earns Academic All-America Honors
Senior Emily Adams has been named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America first team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America and announced on Dec. 2. It is the first, first-team Academic All-America honor of her career. Adams, a two-time Academic All-District VIII first team pick, earned national second-team honors last season.
Adams, a 6-6 middle blocker who boasts a 3.65 cumulative grade point average as an international relations major, was also named to the 2004 Pac-10 All-Academic first team. It is Adams' third-straight Pac-10 academic honor (she was named first team in 2003 and second team in 2002). Alicia Robinson, Bibiana Candelas, Kimi Freeburg and Debora Seilhamer were also honored to the Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention team.
Only The Best Competition
Fifteen of USC's 26 opponents this season have been ranked among the top 25 - the most among all other top 25 schools. In comparison, current No. 13 UCLA is next on the list having faced 13 ranked opponents.
Keeping Them Down
Stanford is the only opponent to hit above .300 against the Women of Troy in 2004. Aside from the Nov. 5 match-up with the Cardinal, USC has held 20-of-25 foes under .200.
Pac-10 Boasts Six Ranked Teams, All Earn NCAA Bids, Four Advance To Regionals
Six Pac-10 teams were ranked among the top 25 in the final regular season poll (tied for the most among any other conference) and all six teams earned NCAA bids (second-most among conferences), including No. 5 Washington, No. 6 Stanford, No. 8 USC, No. 13 UCLA, No. 17 California and No. 21 Arizona. The Big 12 also boasts five ranked teams and the Big Ten Conferences is next on the list with four. Both the Big 12 and Big 10 garnered seven NCAA selections.
Of the six teams, four are advancing to this week's NCAA Regionals, including Washington, UCLA, Stanford and USC. The Big 10 Conference also has four teams (Ohio State, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Penn State) competing this week.
Adams And Candelas - The Pac-10's Most Effective Duo
Middle blockers Emily Adams and Bibiana Candelas once again top of the Pac-10 charts in attack percentage. Adams ranks first with a .421 hitting percentage for the season and Candelas ranks No. 2 with a .409 average. The pair currently rank seventh and ninth nationally.
This is the final NCAA Tournament appearance for USC's three seniors - Emily Adams, Keao Burdine and Alicia Robinson. In their four-year career at Troy, these players have guided the Women of Troy to a 110-10 (.917) overall record and 65-7 (.903) conference mark. They have won two NCAA and Pac-10 Championships (2002, 2003) and also advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight as freshmen. To top off their long list of accolades, Adams, Burdine and Robinson became the first four-year letterwinners to never lose to crosstown rival UCLA when USC collected its ninth-straight win over the Bruins on Nov. 12.
Burdine Starts Late-Season Climb
Keao Burdine seems to be right on track for her signature last-season surge. The 2002 and 2003 NCAA Championship MVP, she has been known to peak in the latter half of the season. In 2003, she averaged 3.24 kills, 2.66 digs and 3.69 points per game in the first two months, then improved to 3.76 kpg, 3.46 dpg and 4.36 ppg in November and December. This season she averaged 3.89 kills, 2.97 digs and 4.59 points per game in the first half, and has improved to 4.61 kpg, 3.96 dpg and 5.27 ppg in November and December.
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
Keao Burdine had a career-high 35 kills at Washington State on Nov. 27 - a mark that ranks fourth among USC's all-time records.
Emily Adams, Keao Burdine and Alicia Robinson became the first four-year letterwinners to never lose to UCLA when they posted a ninth-straight win over the Bruins on Nov. 12.
Debora Seilhamer set a USC record with 45 digs against UCLA on Nov. 12. The mark also ranks second all-time in the Pac-10 and gave her, her first Pac-10 Player of the Week honor.
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).
No. 11 San Diego
(24-4, 14-0 for first place in West Coast Conference)
Led by WCC Coach of the Year Jennifer Petrie and WCC Player of the Year Devon Forster, San Diego is making its first-ever trip to the NCAA Regionals. The Toreros, who had never advanced past the second round, defeated New Mexico State, 3-0, and Arizona, 3-2, last week book its trip to Louisville. USD won the West Coast Conference Championship, posting a perfect 14-0 conference record for the first time in school history. It is the first WCC Championship for USD since winning back-to-back titles in 1997 and 1998. San Diego has not dropped a match this season since falling to Long Beach State, 3-1, before the start of conference play. Forster, a senior outside hitter, leads the team with 5.35 kills per game. Middle blocker Emily Haas averages a team-best 0.73 blocks per game and Jackie Bernardin leads with 4.75 digs per outing.
USC-San Diego Series Record
USC is 4-0 all-time against San Diego, including a 2-0 record in postseason play. The team's have never met at a neutral site, with all four match-ups having been played in Los Angeles. The last meeting took place in the first round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament. The Women of Troy swept the Toreros en route to the NCAA Championship. In 1997, USC defeated San Diego, 3-0, in the NCAA Second Round.
USC-San Diego Common Connections
USC is facing San Diego in more than one sport this week. The women's basketball teams will meet on Tuesday, Dec. 7, in San Diego.
USD freshman middle hitter Moira McCarthy and USC's Katelyn Bishop and Kimi Freeburg all grew up not too far from each other. McCarthy hails from Indianapolis, Ind., Bishop is a native of Terre Haute and Freeburg hails from New Castle (Terre Haute is an hour east of Indianapolis and New Castle is an hour west of Indianapolis).
Opponent Comparisons Kpg Pct. Apg SApg Dpg BpgSan Diego 17.90 .270 16.22 1.70 17.48 2.08USC 17.38 .294 16.08 1.00 17.47 2.94
No. 1 Nebraska
(29-1, 20-0 for first place in Big 12 Conference)
As the tournament's No. 1 overall seed, Nebraska earned top billing in the final week of the regular season, edging out unbeaten Hawai'i and formerly top-ranked Washington. The Huskers only loss this season was to Florida A&M, 3-1, on Sept. 10. Since then, Nebraska has won its last 26 consecutive matches and completed the Big 12 season in first place with a perfect 20-0 record. In the first two rounds of tournament play, the Huskers swept both Iona and Wichita State. Freshman opposite hitter Sarah Pavan, the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, guides the team with 4.46 kills per game. Junior middle blocker Melissa Elmer leads the nation with 1.91 blocks per game as the Huskers also top national statistics in team blocking average. Sophomore libero Amanda McCormick guides the team with 4.50 digs per game and sophomore setter averages 13.12 assists per outing. Head coach John Cook is in his fourth season at the helm of the Husker program.
USC-Nebraska Series Record
USC owns a 4-1 (.800) all-time record against the Cornhuskers. Two of the five meetings have come in the postseason. In 1985, the Women of Troy defeated Nebraska 3-2 in the NCAA Regional Final (USC was then defeated by Stanford in the semifinals) and in 1997, the Cornhuskers earned their only victory with a 3-2 win to eliminate USC in the Pacific Regional Semifinals. The two teams last met in 2002 at the Radisson Hotel/Nike Classic in Muncie, Ind., where USC defeated Nebraska 3-0.
USC and Nebraska both advanced to last season's NCAA Central Regional in Lincoln, Neb., but the teams never met. The Huskers fell to the Bruins in the Regional Semifinal and USC eventually defeated UCLA in the regional final en route to the championship.
USC-Nebraska Common Connections
USC head coach Mick Haley ('65) and Nebraska assistant coach Craig Skinner ('93) are both graduates of Ball State.
Nebraska sophomore libero Amanda McCormick hails from Muncie, Ind., not far from USC sophomore setter Kimi Freeburg's hometown of New Castle, Ind. Both played for Munciana Juniors club volleyball team.
Nebraska senior outside hitter Ally Rebholz and USC's Katelyn Bishop and Kimi Freeburg all grew up not too far from each other. McCarthy hails from Indianapolis, Ind., Bishop is a native of Terre Haute and Freeburg hails from New Castle (Terre Haute is an hour east of Indianapolis and New Castle is an hour west of Indianapolis).
Opponent Comparisons Kpg Pct. Apg SApg Dpg BpgNebraska 17.16 .288 15.57 1.61 17.28 4.08USC 17.38 .294 16.08 1.00 17.47 2.94
No. 15 Louisville
(29-2, 14-0 for first place in Conference USA)
Louisville, who received Conference USA's automatic NCAA Tournament bid by winning the conference tournament, swept both Illinois and Missouri to advance to this week's regional. This is the Cardinal's third appearance in the Sweet 16 in program history and its first since 1998. Louisville has not lost a match since falling 3-1 to Tennessee on Sept. 22, and has not dropped a single game since beating DePaul 3-1 on Oct. 1. The team's No. 15 ranking is also the highest ever in program history. Under ninth-year head coach Leonid Yelin, Louisville is led by junior middle blocker/outside hitter Lena Ustymenko, who is averaging 4.07 kills per game, and junior middle blocker Jennifer Hoffman, who is averaging 1.69 blocks per game. Five players average more than 2.0 digs per outing and two setters split the setting duties - freshman Elena Pilnikova (6.01 apg) and junior Jennifer Craven (7.79 apg).
USC-Louisville Series Record
If both USC and Louisville advance to the regional final it will mark the first-ever meeting between these two teams.
Opponent Comparisons Kpg Pct. Apg SApg Dpg BpgLouisville 16.90 .316 15.30 1.50 15.20 3.40USC 17.38 .294 16.08 1.00 17.47 2.94