No. 5 USC Heads East For West Point Challenge

Sept. 16, 2008

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West Point Challenge - West Point, New York

Thursday, Sept. 18No. 5 USC (4-2) vs. Hartford (3-6) - 4 p.m.First meeting between both schools

Friday, Sept. 19USC vs. Dartmouth (2-2) - 11 a.m.First meeting between both schools

USC vs. Army (8-1) - 5 p.m. (ESPNU)First meeting between both schools

All times local to game site

No. Name Yr. Pos. Ht. kps pct. dps bps pps9 Taylor Carico Jr. S 5-11 0.65 .367 2.60 10.85 aps5 Jessica Gysin RJr. OH 6-1 3.25 .190 1.95 0.55 3.9032 Zoe Garrett So. MB 6-3 1.35 .309 0.55 0.75 1.933 Alli Hillgren Jr. L 5-8 --- --- 4.30 --- ---7 Alex Jupiter Fr. OH 6-3 4.20 .302 1.30 0.45 4.9521 Kimmee Roleder So. OPP 6-2 2.80 .199 1.85 0.55 3.658 Lauren Williams RFr. MB 6-4 1.25 .150 0.30 1.05 2.00

LOS ANGELES -- The No. 5 USC women's volleyball team (4-2) travels to West Point, New York, for the 2008 West Point Challenge, Thursday-Friday (Sept. 18 and 19). The Women of Troy will play their first matches ever against three opponents: Hartford (3-6) on Thursday at 4 p.m. Eastern, Dartmouth (2-2) on Friday at 11 a.m. and Army (8-1) at 5 p.m. The match against Army will be broadcast live on ESPNU.

Hartford Notes
Hartford is 3-6 on the season after splitting two matches on Saturday (3-0 loss to Iona and a 3-1 win over La Salle). Head coach Don Ferguson is 27-81 in his fourth season at Hartford. Junior middle blocker Erin Macro leads the Hawks with 98 kills (3.16 kps) and 21 blocks (0.68 bps). This is the first meeting between USC and Hartford.

Dartmouth Notes
Dartmouth is 2-2 on the season after going 1-2 over the weekend with a 3-0 loss to Long Beach State and American and a 3-2 win over Central Connecticut State. Head coach Ann Marie Larese is 176-195 in her 15th season at Dartmouth. Junior outside hitter Megan MacGregor leads the Big Green with 37 kills (2.64 kps) and 25 digs (1.79 dps). This is the first meeting between USC and Dartmouth.

Army Notes
Army is 8-1 on the season after winning the Big Orange Tournament with wins over host Syracuse, Siena and Northeastern. Head coach Alma Kovaci is 32-6 in her second season at Army. The Cadets are averaging 13.83 kps, 13.80 dps and 1.63 bps. Senior middle hitter/outside hitter Briana Stremick leads the Cadets with 98 kills (3.27 kps), a .303 hitting percentage, 39 digs (1.30 dps) and 17 blocks (0.57 bps). This is the first meeting between USC and Army.

On The Net
All USC home matches this season will be broadcast on, courtesy of TrojanTV All-Access. There is a monthly subscription fee in order to watch the webcast.

Stop Playing Games
The NCAA adopted new rule changes for the 2008 women's volleyball season. All games will now be referred to as sets to reflect the terminology used in international volleyball along with sets 1-4 changed from 30 points to 25 points.

The Power of the Pac-10
Six Pac-10 teams are ranked among the top 12 in the latest CSTV/AVCA preseason poll (the most among any other conference), including No. 4 UCLA, No. 5 USC, No. 6 Stanford, No. 9 California, No. 10 Washington and No. 12 Oregon.

All 10 Pac-10 teams currently have a winning record with a combined 71-17 (.806) mark.

Don't Jinx It!
Since USC's loss to Stanford in 2006 to open the Galen Center, the Women of Troy have won 30 straight matches in their home arena, which ties the school record for most consecutive home wins. The previous mark was set between Sept. 6, 2000 and Dec. 6, 2001. USC posted a perfect 19-0 record last season at the Galen Center. It was the fifth time in school history that USC went undefeated at home.

-- Freshman outside hitter Alex Jupiter is second among Pac-10 Conference players in kills (4.20 kps) and points (4.95 pps). She is No. 24 in the nation for kills.
-- Jupiter is eighth in the Pac-10 for service aces (0.35 saps).
-- Jupiter has recorded double-digit kills in five matches this season.
-- Jupiter is on pace to become just the third freshman at USC since 1981 to lead the team in kills (Tracy Clark in 1982 and April Ross in 2000).
-- Junior setter Taylor Carico is third in the Pac-10 Conference for assists (10.85 aps) and 34th in the nation.
-- Junior outside hitter Jessica Gysin is eighth in the Pac-10 for points (3.90 pps).
-- Sophomore outside hitter Kimmee Roleder is third in the Pac-10 for service aces (0.55 saps) and 36th in the nation.
-- Junior libero Alli Hillgren is fourth in the Pac-10 for digs (4.30 dps).

USC has made four NCAA Final Four appearances in the last six years (note: UCLA has made only one Final Four appearance in the last six years).

Really Young Guns
USC does not have a senior on its roster for the first time since 1999.

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.

USC mourned the loss of Lou Galen, who passed away on Nov. 12, 2007, at the age of 82.

All-Time Great Night
The USC women's volleyball program honored two former players, Sue Woodstra and Debbie Landreth (Brown), on Sept. 4. A banner for each player will be permanently displayed at Galen Center.

Woodstra was one of USC's first All-Americans, leading USC to the 1977 national championship. She was inducted to the AVCA Hall of Fame in 2006 and was captain for the 1984 U.S. Olympic Team that earned the silver medal. As the current head coach at Humboldt State, she took a leave of absence to be an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic Women's Team that won the silver medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.

Brown, currently the head coach at Notre Dame, was a captain for USC's 1976 and 1977 national championship squads. She was a two-time winner of the Mikasa Award as the nation's best all-around player, along with being a two-time All-American. She served as co-captain for the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team and is currently in her 18th season at Notre Dame afte six seasons as the head coach at Arizona State.

Last year, USC had its first All-Time Great Night as the program honored Paula Weishoff and Debbie Green.

Taylor Made
Junior setter Taylor Carico (Manhattan Beach/Mira Costa HS) became USC's 29th All-American last year, earning 2007 AVCA All-America second team honors. She also earned Pac-10 All-Academic second team recognition. In her freshman season, she earned All-Pacific Region Freshman of the Year and Pac-10 Conference Freshman of the Year honors, as well as being named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team.

Carico needs 999 assists to break the USC career mark of 4,258 held by Janice Mounts (1995-98). Her 3,259 career assists place her fifth on USC's all-time list for career assists, behind Mounts, Toni Anderson (3,825), Christine Brightman (3,691) and Missy McCaw (3,319).

This season, she has 186 assists (10.85 aps) with 13 kills (0.65 kps), a .367 hitting percentage, 52 digs (2.60 dps) and 14 blocks (0.70 baps). On Sept. 12 against Ohio State, she had seven kills on a .636 hitting clip (7-0-11) with 31 assists and six digs in the 3-0 sweep of the Buckeyes. She had a season-high 53 assists on Sept. 4 in a 3-1 win over Oklahoma and recorded 34 assists in a 3-0 sweep of No. 21 San Diego on Sept. 6 at the Galen Center.

She set the USC single-season record for total assists (1,597) last season and broke the previous record of 1,490 held by Janice Mounts (1998). She had 135 kills (1.07 kps average) with a 12.67 aps average, 253 digs (2.01 dps) and 67 blocks (0.53 bps) with a .338 hitting percentage.

She earned all-tournament team honors at the 2007 Trojan Invitational and the USC Classic. She posted 63 assists with four kills in a 3-2 win on Sept. 14 at No. 20 Ohio State. She registered 10 kills while hitting .444 with 65 assists, six digs and three blocks on Oct. 26 in a 3-2 win over No. 9 Cal. Carico answered that the following night with nine kills (.533 hitting, 9-1-15) against No. 3 Stanford in a four-game victory with 56 assists and eight digs. Against No. 9 UCLA on Nov. 2, she had seven kills with 52 assists and 14 digs in the 3-1 victory. She recorded a career-high 13 kills on Nov. 16 against No. 5 Washington and a then-career high 69 assists. She did not record an error in the match, hitting .722 against the Huskies.

During the 2007 NCAA Tournament, she had 45 assists, eight digs and one ace in a 3-0 sweep against Pepperdine and 60 assists with seven kills, 10 digs, four blocks and one ace against No. 25 Long Beach State. She recorded a career-high 71 assists with two kills, four digs and six block assists on Dec. 7 against No. 13 St. John's in the NCAA regional semifinal. In the 3-0 sweep over No. 4 seed Texas in the regional final, she had 41 assists, four kills, five digs and two blocks and in the five-set loss to No. 1 Stanford in the NCAA Semifinal, she had 56 assists with 11 digs while recording five kills and no errors for a .417 night (5-0-12).

As a freshman in 2006, she finished second on USC's single-season list for total assists (most ever by a freshman) and sixth for assists per set average. On Sept. 2 against No. 24 Utah, she collected 62 assists, three kills, eight digs and two block assists.

Carico 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. On Nov. 4 against Arizona State, she had a season-high eight kills (.500 hitting night) with 47 assists and 10 digs in the 3-0 sweep of the Sun Devils. In a 3-0 sweep on Nov. 10 at No. 2 Stanford, Carico had 47 assists with four kills, 10 digs and five block assists. In the second round of the NCAA Tournament against No. 22 BYU, she had five kills (with no errors for a .714 hitting night) with 44 assists, three digs and four blocks.

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

Out Of This World
Freshman outside hitter Alex Jupiter (Hermosa Beach, Calif./Redondo Union HS) had her coming-out party at the Runza/AVCA Showcase against No. 4 Texas and No. 7 Nebraska. Jupiter, who was a 2008 Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 selection, led the Trojans in kills for both matches with 17 against the Longhorns and 12 against the Huskers. She also had 13 digs and four service aces on the weekend.

This season, she has 84 kills (4.20 kps) with seven service aces (0.35 saps), 26 digs (1.30 dps), nine blocks (0.45 bps) and 99.0 points (4.95 pps). She has been the Trojans' leading kill producer in five of six matches this season, recording double-digit kills every time.

As of Sept. 15, she is second in the Pac-10 Conference for kills and points and eighth for service aces. She ranks 24th nationally in kills.

She was named most valuable player at the Holiday Inn LA City Center Trojan Invitational (Sept. 4-6) after totaling 48 kills in 10 sets (4.80 kps) while hitting .367 for the tournament (48-12-98). She had one assist, three service aces, 10 digs, seven blocks (five solo, two assisted) and 57 points (5.70 pps).

Family Gysin
It took two years before USC fans could witness the exploits of redshirt junior outside hitter Jessica Gysin (Los Gatos/St. Francis HS). Hailed as one of the top high school players in 2004, Gysin battled injuries in her first two seasons. She sprained her ankle in 2004 and suffered a left knee injury in 2005. In the summer of 2008, Gysin received a sixth year of eligiblity and has two years available to play.

This season, she has 65 kills (3.25 kps) with 39 digs (1.95 dps) and 11 blocks (0.55 bps), including seven solo blocks.

She led the team in kills (12) in a 3-0 sweep of Ohio State on Sept. 12 at the Galen Center. She was named to the Holiday Inn LA City Center Trojan Invitational all-tournament team (Sept. 4-6) after posting double digit kills in all three matches, including 16 kills in a 3-1 win against Oklahoma.

She was second on the team last year with 327 kills (3.00 kps) with 219 digs (2.01 dpg) and 54 blocks (0.50 bps). She recorded eight double-doubles during her sophomore season.

She was named to the Gainesville (Fla.) All-Regional Team during the 2007 NCAA Tournament after hitting .368 in matches against No. 13 St. John's and No. 3 Texas. She had 16 kills with three digs, three solo blocks and hit .359 (16-2-39) against St. John's and had 15 kills with two digs while hitting .379 (15-4-29) against Texas.

In her 2006 freshman season, she finished third on the team with 342 kills (3.03 kps) and 401 points (3.59 pps). She was second on the team with 293 digs (2.59 dps).

King Of The Hill
Junior libero Alli Hillgren (Rancho Santa Fe/Francis Parker HS) recorded 508 digs (4.38 dpg) last season as a sophomore for the Women of Troy, playing in every match. She also earned Pac-10 Conference All-Academic second team honors.

This season, she has 86 digs (4.30 dps) and ranks fourth among Pac-10 Conference players for digs.

She was named to the Holiday Inn LA City Center Trojan Invitational all-tournament team (Sept. 4-6) after recording 50 digs in three matches (5.00 dps). She had 17 digs in a 3-0 sweep of No. 21 San Diego on Sept. 6.

She had a career-high 36 digs (7.20 dps) on Oct. 26, 2007, against No. 9 Cal and followed it with 26 digs (6.50 dps) against No. 3 Stanford. She had 31 digs in a four-game win against No. 9 UCLA on Nov. 2 at the Galen Center. Against No. 5 Washington on Nov. 16, she posted 26 digs in the five-game victory.

In the first round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament against Pepperdine, she had 20 digs in a three-set sweep. She had one ace and 26 digs in last night's five-game win over St. John's. In the five-set loss to Stanford in the NCAA Final Four, she tied a season high with two service aces and added 34 digs.

As a defensive specialist in her 2006 freshman season, Hillgren played in 24 matches. She recorded four service aces (0.11 sapg) and 18 digs (0.47 dpg) overall and registered a season-high five digs on Aug. 25, 2006, against North Texas.

You're Like Butter...'Cause You're On A Roll
Sophomore outside hitter Kimmee Roleder (Pasadena/Pasadena HS) made 10 starts in 26 matches last season for the Women of Troy, recording 195 kills (2.71 kps) with 118 digs (1.64 dps) and 40 blocks (0.56 bps).

For the 2008 season, Roleder has 56 kills (2.80 kps) with 11 service aces (0.55 saps), 37 digs (1.85 dps) and 11 blocks (0.55 bps).

She hit .474 on Sept. 12 against Ohio State (9-0-19) with two assists, to aces and four digs in the 3-0 sweep. On Sept. 4 against Oklahoma, she had 14 kills with six digs and two aces. On the next night against Hofstra, she posted 10 kills with three aces and six digs.

She recorded her first collegiate double-double on Sept. 1, 2007, with 17 kills and 14 digs in a 3-0 sweep of Mercer. In her first career Pac-10 match, Roleder had a season-high 18 kills and hit .469 (18-3-32) in a 3-0 sweep of Arizona State. She hit .316 on Sept. 28 at No. 10 Cal, recording 18 kills with seven digs and two solo blocks.

Roleder played last summer on the 2008 Women's A2 National Team and was a member of the 2007 U.S. Junior National Team that finished fourth at the Junior World Championship. She was the fifth-best spiker, recording 60 kills and a .389 hitting percentage and finished seventh overall among all players in scoring with 76 points.

Where There's A Will, There's A Way
Redshirt freshman middle blocker Lauren Williams (Houston, Texas/Stratford HS) recorded 11 blocks (two solo, nine assisted) in her first two collegiate matches at the Runza/AVCA Showcase against No. 4 Texas and No. 7 Nebraska.

She has 25 kills this season (1.25 kps) and a team-leading 21 blocks (1.05 bps) with five solo blocks and 16 block assists. She had seven kills along with four blocks (two solo, two assisted) in a 3-1 win against Oklahoma on Sept. 4.

She played on the 2008 U.S. Women's A2 National Team and played on the 2007 Junior National Training Team.

It's Greek To Me
Sophomore middle blocker Zoe Garrett (Laguna Beach/Laguna Beach HS), whose first name is derived from a Greek word meaning 'life', enters the 2008 season as the lead middle blocker for the Women of Troy.

This season, she has 27 kills (1.35 kps) with 15 blocks (0.75 bps).

Garrett received All-Pac-10 Freshman Team honorable mention honors last season after recording 210 kills (1.81 kps average) and 118 blocks (1.02 bps avg) while hitting .262.

A 10-kill performance came on Oct. 18 at Washington State where she also registered a season-high nine blocks (one solo, eight assisted).

Garrett had six blocks in back-to-back wins against No. 5 Washington and Washington State on Nov. 16 and 17 at the Galen Center. She recorded six block assists and one solo block on Nov. 23 at Arizona.

In the Trojans' five-game win on Dec. 1 against No. 25 Long Beach State in the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament, she had 12 kills with five assists, eight blocks and three digs while hitting .526 in the match (12-2-19). She posted seven kills and seven blocks on Dec. 7 in the Gainesville (Fla.) Regional against No. 13 St. John's and four kills (no errors) and two blocks the following night against No. 3 Texas.

Sophomore libero/outside hitter Geena Urango (Los Alamitos/Los Alamitos HS) received All-Pac-10 Freshman Team honorable mention honors last season for the Women of Troy.

Urango recorded 112 kills (0.90 kps) and 347 digs (2.80 dpg) in her freshman season.

She finished in a tie for sixth place in the Pac-10 Conference with 40 service aces (0.32 saps) and recorded four aces in a match twice (Sept. 1 vs. Mercer and Sept. 15 vs. Purdue).

She recorded 21 digs on Sept. 7 at Utah in a four-game victory and posted a season-high 31 digs in a five-game win on Sept. 14 at No. 20 Ohio State. She had three aces and 10 digs on Sept. 28 at No. 10 Cal. On Oct. 11 against Oregon State, she tallied a season-high 10 kills, hitting .304 in the match and adding nine digs. She posted nine kills in back-to-back matches on Oct. 18 at Washington State and Oct. 19 at No. 5 Washington, recording 19 digs against the Cougars and 10 digs against the Huskies. She recorded a season-high 21 kills, taking 47 swings against No. 9 Cal in a 3-2 win on Oct. 26 at the Galen Center. Urango posted her first collegiate double-double on Nov. 2 against No. 9 UCLA with 17 kills and 12 digs in the 3-1 victory.

She was on the 2008 U.S. Beach Volleyball Training Team for the SWATCH FIVB World Championship. She also played two years for the U.S. Youth National Team (2005-06) and also played on the Junior National Team.

New Kids On The Block
Volleyball Magazine rated USC's 2008 recruiting class as the third-best in the nation with two Fab 50 players comprising the group of six players. 5-11 setter Kendall Bateman (Manhattan Beach/Mira Costa HS) and 6-3 outside hitter Alex Jupiter (Hermosa Beach/Redondo Union HS) are the freshman Fab 50 selections. Also joining the team this season are 5-8 defensive specialist Paige Obradovich (Laguna Beach/Laguna Beach HS) and 5-11 libero/outside hitter Kati Cattaneo (Santa Barbara/Dos Pueblos HS).

USC picked up two transfers: 6-0 junior outside hitter Emilie Stewart (Seal Beach/Los Alamitos HS) and 6-2 middle blocker Audrey Eichler (Pacific Palisades/Harvard-Westlake HS). Stewart played two seasons at Fordham, recording 141 kills (1.96 kps) with 172 digs (2.39 dps) and 35 blocks (0.49 bps) while Eichler spent one season at Boston College, where she was second on the team with 308 kills (2.68 kps) and recording 97 blocks (0.84 bps).

Returning to the Family
Assistant coach Tim Nollan is making his second tour of duty with the USC women's volleyball program after four seasons as an assistant at Pepperdine. He replaces Todd Dagenais, who was named head coach at Central Florida last summer.

Nollan was a volunteer assistant for the 2003 national championship squad at Troy and graduated from USC with a bachelor's degree in 2000 before earning his master's degree at Pepperdine in 2007.

As a lead recruiter, Nollan helped in landing three Top 10 recruiting classes while at Pepperdine.

Whiting Out The Buckeyes
The Ohio State match on Sept. 12 drew a crowd of 4,062 to the Galen Center, one day prior to the big USC-Ohio State football game at the Coliseum. It was the second-largest crowd at the Galen Center for a women's volleyball match, behind the attendance of 5,000 at the arena opening in Oct. 2006.

Olympic Pride
Four former USC women's volleyball players were present at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. Former libero Nicole Davis played for the United States team that won the silver medal while two-time All-American Asia Kaczor played for her native Poland team. Former All-American Bibiana Candelas represented her native Mexico in the beach volleyball competition. Former All-American Sue Woodstra was an assistant coach for the United States indoor women's volleyball team.

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