Long Beach State will host the NCAA women's volleyball Final Four on the weekend of Dec. 16-18, and the California teams will need all the home-state advantage they can get. Two-time defending champ USC entered the season on a 47-game winning streak but went 19-5 and earned just an eighth seed in the tournament, highest among the 13 California schools that made the field of 64. This year's favorite is Nebraska, the last non-California school to take the title, in 2000. The Huskers feature a stifling D (their 4.05 blocks per game lead the nation) and a firebrand who's a Cali girl--junior Jennifer Saleaumua (inset), a national high school player of the year at Bonita Vista High in San Diego and the niece of former NFL lineman Dan Saleaumua. --B.S.