No. 9 USC Hits National TV This Week At No. 20 Pepperdine

Sept. 12, 2006

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LOS ANGELES -- The No. 9 USC women's volleyball team (9-0) -- winners of six national championships -- plays two matches this week with a 7:30 p.m. match on Thursday (Sept. 14) at No. 20 Pepperdine and a home match on Friday (Sept. 15) against No. 14 Purdue (9-0) at 7 p.m. at the Lyon Center. Thursday's game in Malibu will be broadcast on ESPNU.

Week In Review
It was another perfect weekend for the Women of Troy, who won the Gamecock Invitational with 3-0 sweeps against Florida State, host South Carolina and St. John's.

Asia Kaczor earned tournament most valuable player honors with Diane Copenhagen, Jessica Gysin and Debora Seilhamer earning all-tournament team honors.

Kaczor led USC with 18 and 15 kills, respectively, in Friday's wins against Florida State and South Carolina. The Women of Troy hit .360 against South Carolina, including a .464 clip in the second game.

Gysin had 14 kills and hit .406 against St. John's, handing the Red Storm its first loss of the season.

No. 20 Pepperdine Notes
Pepperdine is 4-4 on the season after a 3-0 win this weekend against American, a 3-1 win against Colorado State and a 3-0 loss at No. 13 California. Head coach Nina Matthies is 444-267 in her 24th season at Pepperdine. The Waves returned nine letterwinners from last year's 19-12 squad that reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament and ended USC's season with a 3-0 win on Dec. 3 at the Lyon Center. Senior middle blocker Sophia Milo leads Pepperdine with a 3.50 kpg and 1.06 bpg average. USC leads the all-time series with Pepperdine by a 33-8 margin.

No. 14 Purdue Notes
Purdue is 9-0 on the season after a 3-2 in on Sept. 6 at Dayton and a 3-0 win at home against Western Michigan on Sept. 9. Head coach Dave Shondell is 65-41 in his fourth season at Purdue. The Boilermakers return 12 letterwinners from last year's 25-9 squad that reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament. Sophomore outside hitter Danita Merlau leads the team with a 3.88 kpg average. USC leads the all-time series with Purdue, 2-0.

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.

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.

Perfect Start
USC has opened its season with a 9-0 record for the eighth time in school history. Four previous squads that started with a 9-0 record (1976, 1977, 2002 and 2003) have gone on to win the national championship.

The Power of the Pac-10
Six Pac-10 teams are ranked among the top 25 in the 2006 CSTV/AVCA current poll (the most among any other conference), including No. 3 UCLA, No. 4 Washington, No. 7 Stanford, No. 9 USC, No. 10 California and No. 24-T 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 first weekend's opening matches in San Marcos, Texas, Seilhamer posted 67 digs for a 7.44 dpg clip. She has 175 digs on the season with a 6.03 dpg average, second in the Pac-10 Conference. On Sept. 8, she had an impressive streak of 54 straight matches with double figure digs snapped at South Carolina. At the Gamecock Invitational (Sept. 8-9), she was named most outstanding libero.

Currently, she holds the school career record with a 4.78 dpg average (Katie Haller, 1990-93, is second with a 4.01 average) and is third all-time with 1,484 digs. She needs 11 digs to tie Nancy Hillman (1985-88) for second and can tie Haller for the school record with a total of 177 in 2006.

Seilhamer holds the school records for most digs in a three-game, four-game and five-game match. Her three-game record came on Dec. 3, 2005, with 30 against Pepperdine in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

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 (which she later surpassed). She also recorded her 1,000th career dig in the match. 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 is second on the team this season with 121 kills and a 4.17 kpg average. Copenhagen had 23 kills, one off her career best, on Sept. 2 in a 3-1 win against No. 24 Utah at the Lyon Center. She added another all-tournament team selection at the Gamecock Invitational (Sept. 8-9) in Columbia, S.C.

This season, she has recorded double figures in kills in eight of USC's nine matches.

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.

Polish Power
6-4 junior opposite/outside hitter Asia Kaczor (pronounced AH-shuh KAHK-chor) has been one of USC's top players this season. The native of Wroclaw, Poland, was the 2005 NJCAA Player of the Year at the College of Southern Idaho last 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. Her second MVP award came at the Gamecock Invitational (Sept. 8-9) in Columbia, S.C., after she had 43 kills (4.78 kpg) in three matches. She led the Women of Troy in kills in the 3-0 sweeps against Florida State and South Carolina, hitting .385 for the weekend with six service aces, 12 digs and seven block assists.

This season, Kaczor leads the Women of Troy with 136 kills and a 4.69 kpg average. She leads the Pac-10 Conference in kills, kills-per-game average and points-per-game average (5.38).

She ripped a season-high 24 kills in USC's 3-1 win over No. 11 Tennessee on Sept. 3 at the Lyon Center.

6-1 junior middle blocker Marta Siemiatkowska (pronounced MAR-tuh shay-mee-uht-KOW-ska) was a teammate of Kaczor's at CSI and hails from Kalisz, Poland. Last season at CSI, she 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).

Family Gysin
It has taken two years, but USC fans 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. After leading USC with a team-high 14 kills on Sept. 9 against St. John's with a .406 hitting performance, she earned all-tournament team honors at the Gamecock Invitational.

She is third on the team with 99 kills and a 3.41 kpg average. She also has 64 digs (2.21 dpg) and has recorded three double-doubles for kills and digs this season, including 11 kills and 10 digs on Sept. 3 against No. 11 Tennessee.

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 has 363 assists (12.52 apg) this season with 25 kills (0.86 kpg), 63 digs (2.17 dpg) and 18 blocks (0.62 bpg). On Sept. 2 against No. 24 Utah, she collected a season-high 62 assists, three kills, eight digs and two block assists.

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.

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 .389 hitting percentage (62-13-126) and 35 total blocks (1.21 bpg).

On Sept. 3 against No. 11 Tennessee, she had a season-high 11 kills and added three block assists in USC's 3-1 victory. Against Fresno State on Sept. 1, she recorded a career-high eight blocks against the Bulldogs (1 solo, seven assists).

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.

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.

This season, she has 14 kills (0.74 kpg) and 19 blocks (1.00).

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.

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.

Famous Dads
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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