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Friday, January 5, 2007

From Men's Volleyball Head Coach Bill Ferguson

Thundering Herd,

Since we last spoke, much has been going on with the MVB team in regards of training, recruiting, fundraising and moving our operation to the Galen Center. We are also a day away from beginning our campaign to restore this program to its proper place among the nation’s elite athletic programs.

After a long lay-off from the preseason (we were still able to train & practice outside of our preseason, but just on a limited basis per NCAA rules), we got back at it, full throttle December 27. We are now practicing and lifting in the Galen Center and it is a dream. Three courts with tons of room and a floor that is quite soft and springy. The team had its first practice on the main floor of the arena this morning as we begin preparations for the Elephant Bar Tournament (Santa Barbara) this weekend, Pepperdine next week and our home opener on January 17 vs. Long Beach State. We hope you come and see us.

On the recruiting front, you might have read that we signed three players in the early signing period in November. The NCAA only allows for me to discuss players that have signed a National Letter of Intent. I am not able to discuss players who have verbally committed or are walking on. We got the best setter in the country, the best outside hitting prospect in the country and unquestionably, the best middle blocker in the country.

Our first NLI came from somewhat within the Trojan family…Riley McKibbin. Riley is a 6-3 setter who comes to us from Punahou in Honolulu, HI. If you recognize the last name, it’s because he is Owen Mikibbin and Claudia McKibbin’s nephew. Riley just finished setting Punahou to his third-consecutive Hawaii State Championship. He is also the setter for his Outrigger Canoe Club team that has won a Junior Olympic National Championship and numerous other medals in USAV championships. Riley is a winner on the court and off the court. I have told some people that he reminds me of Tom Brady (New England Patriots). Thank goodness that Riley doesn’t play football…Pete would’ve had him.

Our second NLI came from Murphy Troy…yes, “Troy”. Can it get any better?! Tessalone is already all over that one! Murphy is a 6-7 outside hitter from St. Louis, MO. Murphy was a starter on the USA Youth National Team that defeated Cuba and won a silver medal this summer at the NORCECA Youth World Championship Qualifier. Murphy is also a National Merit Scholar. Murphy is bigger, stronger, hits higher and harder and has more upside than any other outside hitter in this class. Murphy is a big boy that can hammer the high-ball. We feel like we got the best outside hitter in the country.

Lastly, we signed Austin Zahn from Redondo Union High School. Austin is a 6-8, middle blocker. He is the best middle recruit in the country…period. Austin was a starter on the USA Junior National Team last summer that qualified for the Junior World Championships this coming summer. Austin was high school teammates with current Trojan freshmen, Joey Dykstra and Chris Roche. His build and jumping ability reminds us of a former 6-8 Trojan middle that came from the south bay area in ’88 and had a “successful” career, here – Bryan Ivie…no pressure, Austin!

Speaking of Bryan, he and the other Trojan Players of the Year, Adam Johnson (1986), Tom Duke (1988) and Donald Suxho (2000) will have their larger-than-life photos in the team room by the end of the month thanks to our newly formed Founder’s Committee. Along with those guys, our 19 All American first team honorees will have their likenesses on a separate wall as well as our Olympians Final Four teams and National Championship teams. Lastly, there will be a timeline (complete with photos) that notes important moments in Trojan volleyball history. We are being told by the company executing the project that there is a good chance the rooms can be done by our home opener on January 17 against Long Beach State. We are looking to see all of you at the home opener on the 17th !

You will begin to receive email updates regularly during the season.

*Upcoming Matches:*

Elephant Bar Tournament @ UCSB (January 5 & 6)

Friday, January 5 1pm UCSB Rob Gym

7pm TBA Rob Gym or Events Center

Saturday, January 6 TBA TBA

Friday, January 11 @ Pepperdine 7pm Firestone Fieldhouse

Wednesday, January 17 Long Beach State 7pm Galen Center

Friday, January 13 UC San Diego 7pm Galen Center

We look forward to seeing you at a match soon. Off to Santa Barbara!

Fight On!

Bill Ferguson
Head Coach - Men's Volleyball
University of Southern California

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