Another Week, Another Top 10 Match For No. 5 USC
Oct. 24, 2006
The No. 5 USC women's volleyball team (18-2, 7-2) -- winners of six national championships -- travels to No. 6 Washington (17-3, 7-2) on Thursday (Oct. 26) at 7 p.m. and Washington State (14-9, 2-7) on Friday (Oct. 27) at 7 p.m. in Pac-10 Conference action. USC and Washington are hoping to stay on the pace for the Pac-10 championship behind first place UCLA and Stanford at 8-1.
Week In Review
In the final match at the Lyon Center, No. 4 UCLA bounced back from an opening game loss for the 3-1 victory against the No. 5 Women of Troy. Nana Meriwether had 19 kills and 10 blocks for a .486 hitting night to lead the Bruins. Asia Kaczor had another solid night for USC, recording a match-high 23 kills and eight digs while Kelli Tennant had a season-high eight kills. Debora Seilhamer had 26 digs for the Women of Troy while freshman setter Taylor Carico added 58 assists and seven digs.
No. 6 Washington Notes
Washington is 17-3 on the season and 7-2 in Pac-10 play after a 3-0 win at Arizona State and 3-1 win at Arizona last weekend. Head coach Jim McLaughlin is 131-43 in his seventh season at Washington. Christal Morrison leads the defending national champions with 307 kills (4.72 kpg) and 188 digs (2.89 dpg) while setter Courtney Thompson leads the Pac-10 with a 14.75 apg average. USC defeated Washington, 3-1, on Sept. 29 at the Lyon Center and holds a 32-12 margin in the all-time series.
Washington State Notes
Washington State is 14-9 on the season and 2-7 in Pac-10 play after a 3-1 win at Arizona and 3-1 loss at Arizona State last weekend. Head coach Brian Heffernan is 28-57 in his third season at Washington State. Brittany Johnson leads the Cougars with 308 kills (4.00 kpg) while Kelly Rosin has 267 kills (3.56 kpg) and 186 digs (2.48 dpg). USC defeated WSU, 3-1, on Sept. 28 at the Lyon Center and leads the all-time series, 31-11.
Court of Dreams
The dream finally became reality on Oct. 12, 2006 as the brand-new Galen Center made its debut. The 10,258-seat arena is located 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 $50 million towards the project that will house the USC men's and women's volleyball and basketball programs.
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.
-- Taylor Carico's current 12.44 apg average is the highest by a USC setter since Janice Mounts' 15.05 apg mark in 1998.
-- Eight nonconference opponents that USC defeated this season now have a combined 126-51 record including two Top 25 teams: No. 9 Utah (19-2) and No. 13 Purdue (17-4). St. John's is 23-1 with its only loss to USC.
-- USC is 6-2 this season against ranked opponents.
-- In her eight matches this season against ranked opponents, junior opposite hitter/outside hitter Asia Kaczor has 159 kills (4.97 kpg) while hitting .294 with 68 digs (2.12 dpg) and 16 blocks (0.50 bpg).
-- In her eight matches this season against ranked opponents, freshman setter Taylor Carico has 40 kills (1.25 kpg) while hitting .322 with 411 assists (12.84 apg) and 73 digs (2.28 dpg).
-- In her eight matches this season against ranked opponents, senior libero Debora Seilhamer has 189 digs for a 5.91 dpg average.
-- USC was picked to finish fifth in the 2006 coaches' preseason poll behind Stanford, UCLA, Washington and California.
-- USC has won the Pac-10 Conference title six times, including the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
-- Six teams in the Pac-10 Conference (USC, UCLA, Stanford, Washington, Oregon and California) had a combined record of 64-2 in nonconference play this season.
-- In the month of September, USC beat two undefeated teams with 9-0 records. The Women of Troy defeated St. John's on Sept. 9 in Columbia, S.C. and beat No. 14 Purdue on Sept. 15 at the Lyon Center.
-- Eight former Women of Troy players made at least one appearance this season on the AVP Tour. Jennifer (Kessy) Boss had the most success with several Final Four appearances while Keao Burdine and April Ross teamed up for a successful rookie campaign. Burdine and Ross finished ninth at the Sacramento Open and earned a seed at latter tour stops.
The Call for the Hall
Two members of the USC women's volleyball program will be inducted on Dec. 13 into the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Hall of Fame in Omaha, Neb. Current USC head coach Mick Haley and former All-America player Sue Woodstra join former All-American and current Long Beach State women's assistant Debbie Green and former head coach Lisa Love in the AVCA Hall of Fame. Woodstra was a 1977 All-American at USC, leading the Women of Troy to the AIAW Championship. Currently, she is the head coach at Humboldt State.
The Power of the Pac-10
Five 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 Stanford, No. 4 UCLA, No. 5 USC, No. 6 Washington and No. 11 California.
6-4 junior opposite/outside hitter Asia Kaczor (pronounced AH-shuh KA-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.
This season, Kaczor leads the Women of Troy with 340 kills and a 4.66 kpg average. She is second in the Pac-10 Conference in kills, third in points per game (5.35) and seventh in service aces (0.32 sapg). She has double-figure kills in 19 of 20 matches this season, along with three double-doubles (kills and digs).
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.
After recording 37 kills in two matches against No. 20 Pepperdine (Sept. 14) and No. 14 Purdue (Sept. 15), Kaczor earned her first-ever Pac-10 Conference Player of the Week honors. She hit .351 in the two matches, adding 29 digs for a 3.22 dpg average with three service aces and four block assists. Against Purdue at the Lyon Center, she tallied team-highs with 21 kills and 17 digs in the 3-1 victory.
She ripped 24 kills in USC's 3-1 win over No. 11 Tennessee on Sept. 3 at the Lyon Center. On Sept. 21 at Oregon State, she hit .593 (18-2-27) with six digs, three service aces and three block assists.
On Oct. 6 at Arizona State in a five-game win, she recorded season-highs with 27 kills and 31.5 points (as of Oct. 9, both marks are the highest so far of any player in the Pac-10 Conference this season). Against No. 7 California on Oct. 13 at Galen Center, she had a team-high 24 kills and hit .302 on the evening. She followed that performance with a team-high 23 against No. 4 UCLA in a 3-1 loss on Oct. 20 at the Lyon Center.
'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.
She holds two school career records with 1,790 digs and a 4.93 dpg average (Katie Haller, 1990-93, is second with a 4.01 average) She passed Haller for the overall digs record on Oct. 6 at Arizona State with her 18th dig on the evening and finished with 28 for the match. Seilhamer is third all-time in the Pac-10 Conference behind UCLA's Chrissie Zartman (2,064) and Washington's Candace Lee (2,038).
This season, she has 440 digs for a 6.03 dpg mark, which is second-best in the Pac-10.
During the first weekend's opening matches in San Marcos, Texas, Seilhamer posted 67 digs for a 7.44 dpg clip. 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.
On Sept. 21 in a 3-0 sweep at Oregon State, she had 24 digs in three games, followed by a 39-dig effort in a five-game win on Sept. 22 at Oregon. She posted 36 digs (9.00 dpg) in a 3-1 win against No. 4 Washington on Sept. 29 at the Lyon Center.
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.
Last year, 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 (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 285 kills and a 3.90 kpg average. She has 168 digs (2.30 dpg) and leads the team with 26 solo blocks.
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. She also had 34 kills in two matches (Sept. 28-29) against Washington State and No. 4 Washington with a 16 kill, 15 dig performance against the Huskies.
This season, she has recorded double figures in kills in 18 of USC's 20 matches and has five double-doubles (kills and digs).
She had 18 kills and 17 digs on Oct. 6 in a five-game win at Arizona State, followed by a team-high 17 digs in a 3-0 sweep the next night at Arizona.
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.
Freshman setter Taylor Carico (Manhattan Beach/Mira Costa HS) has held the reins since day one as the team's No. 1 setter and improved with every match. She has 908 assists (12.44 apg) this season with 73 kills (1.00 kpg), 168 digs (2.30 dpg) and 53 blocks (0.73 bpg).
On Sept. 2 against No. 24 Utah, she collected 62 assists, three kills, eight digs and two block assists. On Sept. 14 at No. 20 Pepperdine, Carico came up big for the Women of Troy in a pressure-filled, five-game victory over the host Waves with two block assists and two kills.
Against No. 4 Washington on Sept. 29, she had 51 assists in the four-game victory with six kills (no errors for a .400 night), 11 digs, two service aces and two blocks (one solo, one assist).
She recorded a season-high 67 assists and 20 digs in a five-game win on Oct. 6 at Arizona State. She had 58 assists and seven digs in a 3-1 loss to No. 4 UCLA on Oct. 20 at the Lyon Center.
Carico won the 2005 Andi Collins Award as the nation's top senior high school setter according to PrepVolleyball.com. She was named 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.
It has taken two years, but USC fans finally get 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.
She is third on the team with 218 kills and a 2.99 kpg average. She also has 178 digs (2.44 dpg) and has recorded six double-doubles for kills and digs this season, including 11 kills and 10 digs on Sept. 3 against No. 11 Tennessee and a 14 kill, 13 dig match on Sept. 15 against No. 14 Purdue.
On Sept. 29 against No. 4 Washington, Gysin had a career-high 20 kills (20-6-48, .292) with five digs and one solo block.
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.
Bethany's Block Party
Junior middle blocker/opposite hitter transfer Bethany Johansen (San Jose/UC Santa Barbara) added an experienced player to USC's lineup this season and she has steadily improved at the season has progressed. She has a .316 hitting percentage (161-43-373) and 90 total blocks (1.23 bpg).
As of Oct. 23, Johansen is seventh in the Pac-10 Conference for hitting percentage and ninth in blocking.
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 then career-high eight blocks against the Bulldogs (1 solo, seven assists). She had another eight-block performance (four solo, four assists) on Sept. 15 against No. 14 Purdue.
At Oregon State on Sept. 21, she hit .526 (10-0-19) and responded the next evening at Oregon with a career-high 13 blocks (three solo, 10 assists) and 11 kills.
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 38 kills (0.95 kpg) and 41 blocks (1.02). In a 3-1 win over No. 7 California on Oct. 13, she had a career-high four service aces and had a season-high eight kills against No. 4 UCLA on Oct. 20.
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.
Bishop in the Middle
Junior middle blocker Katelyn Bishop (Terre Haute, Ind./Terre Haute South HS) is another key player in the middle for the Women of Troy. She led the team last year with a 0.97 blocks-per-game average.
This season, she has 47 total blocks for a 0.92 bpg average to go with 46 digs (0.90 dpg).
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 played in 87 matches during her first three seasons (she transferred to USC after her 2003 freshman season at San Jose State) while Freeburg appeared in 78 matches for the Women of Troy.
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.