Trojan Libero Debora Seilhamer Leads Puerto Rico to Olympic Berth|
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July 5, 2016
LOS ANGELES -- USC women's volleyball All-American libero Debora Seilhamer (Ponce, Puerto Rico/Colegio Ponceño) will represent her native Puerto Rico in the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug. 3-21.
Seilhamer is the starting libero for the Puerto Rican women's national team. Her squad secured its first-ever Olympic appearance and the final available berth into the 12-team Olympic tournament with a three-set victory over Kenya in the World Olympic Qualification Tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Sunday, May 22. Puerto Rico will join host Brazil, the United States, China, Serbia, Russia, Cameroon, Argentina, Japan, Italy, Netherlands, and South Korea when play begins on Aug. 6.
The women's volleyball team's qualification for the Olympics makes it the fifth Puerto Rican sports team to earn Olympic classification. Previous teams to earn such classification include men's basketball (Rome, 1960), baseball (Seoul, 1988), softball (Atlanta, 1996), and beach volleyball (Athens, 2004). Puerto Rico is currently competing in the NORCECA Pan-American Cup in the Dominican Republic (June 30-July 11).
While at USC, Seilhamer became the first Trojan to collect 2,000 career digs and set a school record (2,071) that stood for seven years (Natalie Hagglund, 2013; 2,362 digs). She was a two-time All-Pac-12 selection (2005-06) and was named to the AVCA All-America and Volleyball Magazine All-America second teams in both 2005 and 2006. She appeared in 122 career matches and is still USC's career-record holder for digs per set (5.13 dps). She holds single-season school records for digs (721 in 2006), digs per set (6.82 dps in 2005), and the school record for digs in a single match (45 at UCLA, Nov. 12, 2004). While she was on the team, the Trojans won the Pac-10 and NCAA championships in 2003 and advanced to the national semifinal (2004) and a regional semifinal (2006).
USC has had a long history of sending players and coaches to the Olympics. Since the 1964 Tokyo Games, a USC player or coach has competed in each Olympic Games in all but three years (1972, 1976, and 2004). A total of 19 USC Olympians have competed in women's volleyball and beach volleyball combined. In 2012, USC was represented by three athletes at the London Games: Nicole Davis (indoor volleyball) and Jennifer Kessy and April Ross (beach volleyball). All three won silver medals for the United States. That same year, former USC and Olympic athlete Paula Weishoff served as an assistant coach for the U.S. women's indoor team.
Last season, the USC women's volleyball team claimed a share of the Pac-12 title with an 18-2 mark in league matches and received the No. 1 overall seed in the 2015 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship. Head coach Mick Haley was named the Volleyball Magazine National Coach of the Year for the first time in his career and added the award to his Pac-12 and AVCA Pacific South Region Coach of the Year selections. He led the Trojans to a 33-3 overall record with a fifth appearance in the NCAA Regional Championship match in six years.
For more information on the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, please visit Rio2016.com or Pac-12.com/Rio. For more information on the USC women's volleyball team and a complete schedule and results, please visit USCTrojans.com. To purchase season and single-match tickets, please visit USCTrojans.com/tickets today. Fans of the Women of Troy can follow @USCWomensVolley on Periscope, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.