Pac-10 Showdown Looms Ahead For No. 15 USC

Nov. 8, 2005

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The Facts
The No. 15 USC women's volleyball team (13-7, 9-3) -- winners of six national championships -- continues Pac-10 Conference play at home against No. 2 Washington (22-0, 13-0) on Friday (Nov. 11) at 7 p.m. and Washington State (8-18, 1-12) on Saturday (Nov. 12) at 6 p.m. USC has won a season-high five straight matches, as well as nine of its last 10.

USC is ranked No. 15 in the AVCA/CSTV Coaches Poll and by Volleyball Magazine. Washington is the consensus No. 2 team. Washington State is not ranked.

No. 2 Washington Notes
Washington has been perfect so far this season with a 22-0 overall mark and 13-0 in the Pac-10 Conference. Head coach Jim McLaughlin is 104-39 in his 5th season at Washington. Sanja Tomasevic has a 4.30 kpg average and hitting .364 on the season. She also has averaged 2.46 digs per game and 1.18 blocks per game this season. USC leads the all-time series with Washington by a 31-11 margin.

Washington State Notes
Washington State is 8-18 on the season and 1-12 in the Pac-10 Conference. Head coach Brian Heffernan is 13-44 in his second season at Washington State. Junior middle blocker Jen Barcus is leading the Cougars with 3.18 kpg and 1.27 bpg. USC leads the all-time series with Washington State by a 29-11 margin.

Opponent Comparisons	Kpg	Pct.	Apg	SApg	Dpg	BpgUSC			16.15	.240	14.81	1.07	18.60	2.81Washington		17.30	.355	15.84	1.90	15.33	3.18Washington State	12.75	.159	11.45	1.32	15.67	3.45 

Last Week
USC recorded two 3-1 road wins at Oregon and Oregon State. Senior middle blocker Bibiana Candelas had a game-high 21 kills in Thursday's win at Oregon. Junior libero Debora Seilhamer had 27 digs for the Women of Troy while sophomore Katelyn Bishop had a career-high 12 kills.

On Friday at Oregon State, Candelas tied a career-high with 26 kills as head coach Mick Haley earned his 900th career collegiate victory. Candelas hit .411 (26-3-56) for the match, adding 10 digs, two assists, two service aces and four block assists. Seilhamer had 28 digs while senior Staci Venski added 14 kills.

Running With The Pac(k)Debora Seilhamer leads the Pac-10 Conference with a 6.53 digs per game average (also leads the nation)...Bibiana Candelas is second in the conference with a 4.62 kills per game average...Candelas is second with a 5.36 points per game average...Nena Siljegovic is fifth with 11.85 assists per game.

A New Home
This will be USC's final year at the Lyon Center before the Women of Troy move to the brand-new Galen Center for the 2006 season. The 10,260-seat arena is being built on the corner of Figueroa St. and Jefferson Blvd., adjacent to the USC campus. The arena is named after Lou and Helene Galen, who generously donated $35 million towards the project that will house the USC men's and women's volleyball and basketball programs.

Mick Haley earned his 900th win in his collegiate career as a head coach on Nov. 4 at Oregon State. His 29-year career includes seven years at Kellogg Community College in Michigan (1973-79), 17 years at Texas (1980-96) and five years at USC (2000-Present). He also served as head coach for the U.S. Women's National Team from 1997-2000, including the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

The Power of the Pac-10
Six Pac-10 teams are ranked among the top 25 in the 2005 CSTV/AVCA current poll (the most among any other conference), including No. 2 Washington, No. 4 Stanford, No. 6 Arizona, No. 15 USC, No. 18 California and No. 21 UCLA.

Strength Of Schedule
USC is playing another difficult schedule based on teams ranked in the CSTV/AVCA preseason poll, including four of the nation's top five teams: No. 2 Washington, No. 3 Stanford, No. 4 Hawai'i and No. 5 Penn State. Six other Top 25 teams are also on the schedule: No. 8 Florida, No. 13 UCLA, No. 16 Texas A&M, No. 17 Arizona, No. 19 California and No. 25 Pepperdine. Notre Dame, which recently entered the Top 25 rankings, is also on this year's schedule.

USC has played 11 matches this season against Top 25 opponents.

'Seil' The Deal
Junior libero Debora Seilhamer (Ponce, Puerto Rico/ Colegio Ponceño) served as a freshman backup to former standout libero Nicole Davis and now has established herself as one the nation's top liberos. Seilhamer has 470 digs this season for a 6.53 per-game average. Her 1,124 career digs places her eighth on USC's all-time list and her 4.32 dpg career average is the best in school history (Katie Haller, 1990-93, had the previous record at 4.01 dpg).

She leads the nation in digs per game, as well as the Pac-10 Conference. In her last six matches, Seilhamer has a 7.50 dpg average (165 digs in 22 games).

On Oct. 28 against UCLA, she had 33 digs in a four-game win against the Bruins and did not have a serve receiving error in 31 attempts against her.

She earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors after recording 57 digs in two matches (8.14 dpg average) on Oct. 21 and 22 against Arizona State and No. 8 Arizona. With 27 digs against ASU, she set a school record for most digs in a three-game match and, in the process, recorded her 1,000th career dig. She was perfect in 21 serving attempts against Arizona and did not record a reception error.

She tied a school record on Sept. 9 against No. 19 Notre Dame for most digs (36) in a four-game match, tying a mark held by Megan McAllister (10/21/89) and Katie Haller (10/24/92). Seilhamer had 82 digs in three matches against Top 25 teams (Notre Dame, No. 6 Florida and No. 13 Texas A&M) at the UTSA Dome Rally (Sept. 9-11) and was named to the all-tournament team.

Last season, she set a USC single season record with 571 digs on the season and averaged a school-record 5.39 digs per game, which ranked her third in the Pac-10 Conference. Seilhamer earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention and set a USC record (and five-game record) with 45 digs in the match on Nov. 12 against UCLA.

Fire Woman
Senior middle blocker Bibiana Candelas (Torreòn, Mexico/Colegio Ponceño) is a two-time All-American for the Women of Troy. This season, Candelas has a team-high 4.62 kills-per-game average with a .301 hitting percentage.

She tallied 19 kills on Sept. 2 against Western Michigan and earned All-Tournament honors at the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic with 45 kills in three matches. On Sept. 11 in a four-game win over No. 13 Texas A&M, she tied a previous career high with 20 kills. She added a new career high with 23 kills on Sept. 16 in a 3-0 sweep against Pepperdine.

On Sept. 30, she set new career-highs with 26 kills and 31.5 points in a 3-1 victory at UCLA. For her efforts, she was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for the first time in her career. She had another 26-kill performance on Nov. 4 at Oregon State in USC's 3-1 win.

Top Of The World
Bibiana Candelas is one of three USC players who played for teams that qualified for the 2006 World Championships. Candelas helped the Mexican National Team this summer by advancing at the NORCECA qualifier. Former setter Toni Anderson and libero Nicole Davis aided the United States National Team by winning the NORCECA qualifying tournament.

Valuable Venski
Senior outside hitter Staci Venski (California City/Mojave HS/Calabasas HS) has gelled into one of the team's key players for the 2005 season. She has a 4.29 kills per game average this season, along with a 0.79 blocks per game average.

This season, Venski has six 20-kill performances which includes a career-high 23 kills against No. 22 UCLA on Oct. 28 at the Lyon Center. Against the Bruins, she had only one attacking error against 55 attempts for a .400 hitting night.

She had a previous career-high 22 kills against No. 5 Penn State on Aug. 31 at the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii, and tied it again on Oct. 22 against No. 8 Arizona in USC's 3-1 win. She registered 20 kills against No. 19 Notre Dame on Sept. 9 and No. 13 Texas A&M on Sept. 11 at the UTSA Dome Rally in San Antonio, Texas.

She hit .384 for the weekend on Oct. 7 and 8 in three-game sweeps at home against Oregon State and Oregon. She had 17 kills against OSU without an attacking error.

After two years of waiting patiently, Venski earned a full-time starting role last year, starting in 28 of 29 matches. She averaged 2.70 kills, 0.61 digs, 0.66 blocks and 3.06 points per game.

The Capital of Denmark
Sophomore outside hitter Diane Copenhagen (Mountain View/St. Francis HS) has a 3.41 kills per game average this season for the Women of Troy, along with 3.03 digs per game. She led the team with 14 kills in the season opener on Aug. 27 against Cal Poly and 17 kills on Aug. 30 against No. 5 Penn State. Copenhagen set a career-high with 24 kills in a five-game loss to No. 6 Florida on Sept. 10 at the UTSA Dome Rally in San Antonio.

Copenhagen played at the 2005 U-20 FIVB World Championships in Ankara, Turkey, with the U.S. Junior National Team. Team USA finished in a tie for 11th place.

The Pahl Bearer
Freshman middle blocker/outside hitter Kelli Tennant (Temecula/Chaparral HS) lists former USC All-America middle blocker Jennifer Pahl (1998-2001) as her biggest sports hero. Tennant is wearing Pahl's number (26) as a tribute to her. Pahl grew up near Tennant in Murrieta, Calif.

Tennant has contributed in her 2005 freshman season, averaging 2.00 kills per game and 0.88 blocks per game.

A True Trojan Family
Freshman outside hitter Kathleen Gilmour (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) comes from a long line of Trojans - a list that far exceeds that of just former Trojan athletes. The Gilmours, including brothers J.T. and Marcus, who both played on the USC men's volleyball team, keep a detailed list of their own Trojan family history that includes 40 family members who have all attended USC. The lists dates back to Kathleen's great-great grandfather, Andrew Morrow ('23), and the first USC relative, her great-great uncle, Charles Morrow ('21).

Injury Report
Redshirt freshman Jessica Gysin tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee in July and will be out for the entire 2005 season...senior defensive specialist Jessica Mihm had surgery on her left elbow and is out for the rest of the season...redshirt freshman Kathleen Gilmour is listed as week-to-week due to a stress fracture in her right leg.

Team Co-Captains
For the 2005 season, senior outside hitter Staci Venski and junior setter Kimi Freeburg will serve as team co-captains.

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