No. 14 USC Plays First Home Matches This Weekend

Aug. 30, 2006

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LOS ANGELES -- The No. 14 USC women's volleyball team (3-0) -- winners of six national championships -- will open the home portion of its 2006 home schedule by hosting the USC/LMU Classic this weekend (Sept. 1-3) at the Lyon Center. USC will face Fresno State on Friday (Sept. 1) at 7 p.m. before facing two Top 25 teams in No. 24 Utah on Saturday (Sept. 2) at 2 p.m. and No. 11 Tennessee (Sept. 3) at 4 p.m. Two other matches will take place with Utah playing North Carolina on Friday at 5 p.m. and Fresno State facing Utah on Sunday at 2 p.m. Loyola Marymount is also hosting matches this weekend as part of the tournament.

Week In Review
USC went 3-0 to open the 2006 season at the CenturyTel Premier Volleyball Tournament in San Marcos, Texas, hosted by Texas State. Junior opposite hitter/outside hitter Asia Kaczor earned most valuable player honors while junior outside hitter Diane Copenhagen was named to the all-tournament team after the Women of Troy swept all three matches against North Texas, UTPA and Texas State.

Kaczor led the team with 15 kills in the season opener against North Texas while Copenhagen and redshirt sophomore Jessica Gysin added 12 kills apiece. Gysin had a strong weekend after battling injuries her first two seasons which limited her to just one match played. Senior All-America libero Debora Seilhamer had 67 digs in three matches for the Women of Troy while freshman setter Taylor Carico got the nod as the team's No. 1 setter.

Junior middle blocker Bethany Johansen had 20 kills against two hitting errors on 39 attempts last weekend for the Women of Troy.

Fresno State Notes
Fresno State is 1-3 on the season after hosting the Fresno State Invitational last weekend. Head coach Ruben Nieves is 8-24 in his second season at Fresno State. The Bulldogs return six letterwinners from last year's squad that went 7-21. Junior middle blocker Alisha McKee leads the Bulldogs with a 4.00 kpg average. USC leads the all-time series with Fresno State by a 5-0 margin.

No. 24 Utah Notes
Utah is 1-1 on the season after splitting two matches last weekend in Gainesville, Fla. (3-0 win against Arkansas State and 3-1 loss to No. 5 Florida). Head coach Beth Launiere is 323-188 in her 17th season at Utah. The Utes return eight letterwinners from last year's squad that went 23-9, reaching the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Sophomore outside hitter Airial Salvo registered 37 kills in two matches last weekend for the Utes. USC leads the all-time series with Utah by a 5-1 margin.

No. 11 Tennessee Notes
Tennessee is 3-0 on the season after winning the Comcast Lady Vol Classic against Virginia, Miami (Ohio) and Centenary. Head coach Rob Patrick is 194-95 in his 10th season at Tennessee. The Lady Vols return nine letterwinners from last year's squad that went 25-9, reaching the NCAA Final Four for the first time ever in school history. Senior middle blocker Sarah Blum recorded 30 kills with a .472 hitting percentage in last weekend's tournament. USC leads the all-time series with Tennessee by a 2-0 margin.

Court of Dreams
This will be USC's final year at the Lyon Center before the Women of Troy move to the brand-new Galen Center in October. The 10,258-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.

2006 Preview
Eight letterwinners return from last year's squad that went 17-11 (12-6 in the Pac-10 for a fourth-place finish) and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Senior libero Debora Seilhamer returns, along with starters Diane Copenhagen, Katelyn Bishop and Kelli Tennant. The team's other three seniors are Alli Dillon, Kimi Freeburg and Annie Montgomery. Redshirt sophomore outside hitter Jessica Gysin has battled injuries in her first two seasons, but figures to be in the starting lineup. The six newcomers to the team are freshmen setter Taylor Carico, freshmen defensive specialists Alli Hillgren and Chelsea Wilson and junior transfers Bethany Johansen (UC Santa Barbara), Asia Kaczor (College of Southern Idaho) and Marta Siemiatkowska (College of Southern Idaho).

Grand Victory
On Nov. 25, 2005, USC head coach Mick Haley recorded his 1,000th collegiate win in the Women of Troy's 3-0 win against California. He earned his 900th win as a women's coach on Nov. 4, 2005, at Oregon State. His 29-year career includes seven years (combined men's and women's) 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 were ranked among the top 25 in the 2006 CSTV/AVCA preseason poll (the most among any other conference), including No. 3 Washington, No. 4 Stanford, No. 10 UCLA, No. 14 USC, No. 17 California and No. 18 Arizona.

'Seil' The Deal
Senior libero Debora Seilhamer (Ponce, Puerto Rico/ Colegio Ponceño) has established herself as one of the top liberos in the nation. Seilhamer earned All-America second team status and All-Pac-10 honors last season after posting a school record 696 digs and 6.82 dpg average, surpassing both records she had set in her 2004 sophomore season.

During the last weekend's opening matches in San Marcos, Texas, Seilhamer posted 67 digs for a 7.44 dpg clip.

Currently, she holds the school career record with a 4.74 dpg average (Katie Haller, 1990-93, is second with a 4.01 average) and is fourth all-time with 1,417 digs. She needs 54 digs to tie Kelly Kuebler (1992-95) for third and can tie Haller for the school record with a total of 285 in 2006.

She set a school record for most digs in a four-game match with 39 on Nov. 19, 2005, at Arizona State, surpassing a record she tied earlier in the season (Sept. 9 against Notre Dame) with 36.

She earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors last year 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. On Nov. 12 against Washington State, Seilhamer set a new three-game school record with 29 digs against the Cougars.

She tied the school record on Sept. 9, 2005, 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.

Seilhamer earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention in 2004 and set a USC record (and five-game record) with 45 digs in the match on Nov. 12 against UCLA.

The Capital of Denmark
Junior outside hitter Diane Copenhagen (Saratoga/St. Francis HS) opened the season with 34 kills and 23 digs in three matches to earn all-tournament team honors at the CenturyTel Premier Tournament in San Marcos, Texas.

She was third on the team last year with a 3.85 ppg average, along with 314 kills (3.27 kpg). She set a career-high with 24 kills in a five-game loss to No. 6 Florida on Sept. 10, 2005, 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 as Team USA finished in a tie for 11th place.

Family Gysin
It has taken two years, but USC fans will finally get a chance to see the exploits of redshirt sophomore outside hitter Jessica Gysin (Los Gatos/St. Francis HS). Hailed as one of the top high school players in 2004, Gysin has battled injuries in her first two seasons. She sprained her ankle in 2004 and suffered a left knee injury in 2005.

Gysin started out of the blocks in fine fashion with 13 kills, seven digs and two solo blocks in USC's 3-0 win on Aug. 26 at Texas State.

Taylor Made
Freshman setter Taylor Carico (Manhattan Beach/Mira Costa HS) takes center stage on the NCAA Division I level this season as the Women of Troy's No. 1 setter. She recorded 94 assists (10.44 apg) in the first three matches this season.

Carico won the 2005 Andi Collins Award as the nation's top senior high school setter according to She was also CIF Co-Player of the Year and state most valuable player in her senior season.

On the club level, she won most valuable player honors for the 18 Open Division this summer at the Junior Olympics and was a member of the 2004 and 2005 Youth National Team.

The Pahl Bearer
Sophomore 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 earned 2005 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team honors after recording 188 kills (1.84 kpg) and 84 blocks (0.82 bpg). She finished fourth on the squad with a 2.52 ppg average.

CSI: Los Angeles
This season, USC welcomes to two junior transfers from last year's junior college national champions at the College of Southern Idaho. Both players are also from Poland.

6-4 opposite/outside hitter Asia Kaczor (pronounced AH-shuh KAHK-chor) will be counted on to generate points for the Women of Troy this season. She was the 2005 NJCAA Player of the Year after leading the team with 605 kills on the season (4.96 kpg) and a .456 percentage. She recorded 89 service aces (0.73 apg), 25 assists, 62 blocks (0.51 bpg) and 307 digs (2.52 dpg). Kaczor has been a member of the Polish National Team program since 2000.

Kaczor earned most valuable player honors at the 2006 CenturyTel Premier Tournament in San Marcos, Texas, after recording 42 kills (15, 14 and 13 kills respectively) in three matches. She hit .370 on the weekend, adding five digs and seven block assists.

6-1 middle blocker Marta Siemiatkowska (pronounced MAR-tuh shay-mee-uht-KOW-ska) recorded 267 kills (2.12 kpg) for a .416 hitting percentage last season with 58 service aces (0.46 sapg), 154 digs (1.22 dpg) and led the team in blocks with 192 (1.52 bpg). In her 2004 freshman season, she registered 209 kills (2.65 kpg) with 36 service aces (0.46 sapg), 188 digs (2.38 dpg) and 103 blocks (1.41 bpg).

Bethany's Block Party
Junior middle blocker/opposite hitter transfer Bethany Johansen (San Jose/UC Santa Barbara) adds an experienced player to USC's lineup. She leads the team with a .462 hitting percentage (20-2-39).

Last season with the Gauchos, she led the team with a .375 hitting percentage, posting 137 kills (1.40 kpg) with 66 blocks (0.67 bpg) and 24 digs (0.24). She was named to the 2005 Big West Conference All-Academic team.

Team Co-Captains
For the 2006 season, seniors Alli Dillon (Long Beach/Wilson HS) and Kimi Freeburg (New Castle, Ind./New Castle Chrysler HS) will serve as team co-captains. Both Dillon and Freeburg are setters with Dillon getting additional play as a defensive specialist. Dillon has played in 87 matches during her first three seasons (she transferred to USC after her 2003 freshman season at San Jose State) while Freeburg has appeared in 78 matches for the Women of Troy.

Dads In The Pros
Two USC players this season have fathers with high-profile careers. Senior Annie Montgomery's dad, Mike, is the former head coach for the NBA's Golden State Warriors and longtime head coach at Stanford while freshman Chelsea Wilson's dad, Doug, is executive vice president and general manager for the NHL's San Jose Sharks.

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