Volleyball Knocks Off Top-Seeded Nebraska, 3-2

Dec. 11, 2004

Box Score

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - In a match that lasted nearly three hours, the eighth-ranked USC women's volleyball defeated top-seeded Nebraska in a thrilling five games (33-35, 30-27, 30-21, 34-36, 15-12) at the NCAA Regional Final on Saturday night in Louisville, Ky. Led by tournament MVP Keao Burdine, the Women of Troy now advance to their third-straight Final Four.

The Huskers, the Big 12 regular season champions, complete their season at 30-2. USC improves to 23-5.

The Trojans had four players named to the all-tournament team, including Burdine (MVP), junior middle blocker Bibiana Candelas, junior outside hitter Staci Venski and sophomore libero Debora Seilhamer. Burdine led USC with 30 kills and 30 digs, while Seilhamer provided a match-best 37 digs. Venski and Candelas were both integral in USC's two regional victories.

The match was a battle from the start. The Women of Troy grabbed the first lead, 4-1, in game one, but the Huskers eventually knotted the score at 8-8. From that point on the two teams alternated points reaching 21 tie scores and making 12 lead changes. At 33-33 Nebraska notched a kill and took advantage of a USC hitting error to finish the game 35-33.

The second game featured very little in the way of runs or momentum swings. The two teams battled back and forth, with neither team able to break away until the Trojans eventually broke away by scoring four of the game's last five points to win 30-27.

Upon returning from the break, the Women of Troy jumped out to an early lead in game three. It proved to be the only lopsided game of the night as USC extended its lead to 16-9 before Nebraska was forced to call timeout. The Trojans led by as much as nine points before taking the game 30-21 thanks to a .300 attack percentage, while holding the Huskers to .075.

The Women of Troy trailed by as much as six points at the start of game four, then used runs of 6-1 and 3-0 to climb back in the game and reach a 26-26 tie score. From that point on, the two teams traded scores. USC had four shots at match-point, but allowed Nebraska to take the lead at 34-33 and eventually earn the game win 36-34.

USC scored the first five-of-six points in the deciding game. The Huskers recovered to knot the score at 11 and 12, but made critical errors down the stretch. With two service errors in the following three rotations, Nebraska gave USC the breathing room it need. Ahead 13-12, the Women of Troy took the final set on a block assist by Emily Adams and Sarah Florian and Florian's final kill on a Husker overpass.

The Women of Troy will face the winner of the Ohio State-Minnesota match-up in the NCAA Semifinal on Thursday, Dec. 16, at the Long Beach Arena. For tickets, please call (213) 740-GO SC. Please visit http://www.longbeachchampionships.com/ for more Championship information.

2004 NCAA Volleyball Tournament
Louisville Regional All-Tournament Team

Keao Burdine, USC * Most Outstanding Player
Bibiana Candelas, USC
Devon Forster, San Diego
Jennifer Hoffman, Louisville
Sarah Pavan, Nebraska
Deborah Seilhammer, USC
Staci Venski, USC

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