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Set for Senior Night

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No. 8 USC men's volleyball will celebrate its seniors on Saturday night before playing Cal Baptist at 7 p.m. inside the Galen Center. At the head of the class, setter Micah Christenson will take his final bow in a regular season home game, having already inked his name among the program's all-time greats.

Click here for the preview.

Christenson, who will be honored alongside fellow seniors Chris Lischke, Cristian Rivera, Tyler Cundiff and Robert Feathers, has been a mainstay in this program since arriving on campus as a freshman from Honolulu. As the starting center from day one, he was the 2012 AVCA and Volleyball Magazine National Newcomer of the Year, directing the Trojans to the NCAA Championship Final.

From there, Christenson has been the foundational piece of a rebuilding process in the program. After earning second team honors in 2012 and 2013, he was named an AVCA and Volleyball Magazine First Team All-American in 2014 as well as the winner of the inaugural 2014 Off The Block Lloy Ball Award presented to the nation's top men's collegiate setter.

While Christenson is in line for many more individual accolades after this season, he is focused on one final postseason run with the Trojans.  USC has shown flashes this year, climbing all the way to the No. 2 ranking early in the campaign by picking up marquee wins over current No. 1 Hawaii, No. 3 Pepperdine, No. 4 UC Irvine and No. 6 BYU.

Whatever happens in the MPSF and NCAA Tournaments, the Trojan Family should soak up every last opportunity to watch Christenson in the Cardinal and Gold. After this season, the gold on Christenson's mind will be earning a championship medal for Team USA at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

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No Time to Quack

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No. 10 USC baseball responded well to a tough week by defeating Pepperdine in 12 innings on Tuesday, and now the Trojans return home to face Oregon in a pivotal three-game series at Dedeaux Field. USC is tied in the loss column with UCLA and Arizona State at the top of the Pac-12 standings, so the Trojans must take care of business against the Ducks, sitting at just 4-8 in conference.

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Women's Tennis Survives, Trophy Does Not

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No. 2 USC women's tennis needed an epic comeback to best the Bruins and become the conference's lone survivor as the undefeated Pac-12 champions.

Click here for USC women's tennis' "Survivor" music video!!

However, after the match, the glass conference championship trophy was not as lucky, ending up shattered in pieces on the Marks Stadium courts. The national media enjoyed the humor of it all as the Women of Troy have been featured on the front page of Yahoo! as well as other major news outlets.

Here are the John McGillen photos including some hilarious shots at the back of the gallery of the trophy mishap:


Gunn Gone at 66

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USC All-American defensive end Jimmy Gunn, one of the members of the original "The Wild Bunch," died on April 11 of heart failure at the age of 66.

Click here for his complete obituary.

Gunn joined with end Charles Weaver, tackles Al Cowlings and Tody Smith and middle guards Willard "Bubba" Scott and Tony Terry to make up "The Wild Bunch." They were named after the hit 1969 Sam Peckinpah Western movie of that name.

Known for their reckless abandon and hard-nosed play, "The Wild Bunch" helped USC go 10-0-1 in 1969, including a Rose Bowl win over Michigan. In the 1969 UCLA game, they sacked Bruin quarterback Dennis Dummit 10 times for losses of 75 yards. Playing in an era of powerful running games, "The Wild Bunch" allowed just 2.3 yards per carry all season.

A service will be held on April 24 at 11 a.m. at Greater St. Luke Church of God in Christ (3195 L St., San Diego 92102).

Gunn (second from left) with "The Wild Bunch."
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Men's Tennis Makes It A Bruin Sweep

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While women's tennis was winning the conference at the expense of the Bruins yesterday, No. 9 USC men's tennis took out No. 19 UCLA in Westwood to sweep the season series. After dropping the doubles' point, the Trojans won four of the first five singles matches in straight sets, capped by Nick Crystal clinching the victory on court No. 6.

Click here for the recap.

The defending national champions are in good shape going into postseason play, which begins with the Pac-12 Championships (April 22-25 in Ojai). USC finished the regular season 20-4 and 6-1 in conference, placing the Trojans second behind Stanford.

Here is the Pac-12 Networks recap of the rivalry win over UCLA:


Photo Gallery: 2015 Tommy Awards

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USC athletics celebrated its version of the ESPY's on Wednesday night as the Trojans honored their own best performances, accomplishments and athletes from 2014.

Here are the award winners followed by Pierson Clair's photo gallery of the event:

Best Single Competition Performance - Cristian Quintero, Men's Swimming

Male Athlete of the Year - Kostas Genidounias, Men's Water Polo

Female Athlete of the Year - Haley Ishimatsu, Women's Diving

Record-Breaking Performance - Cristian Quintero, Men's Swimming

Male Trojan of the Year - Micah Christenson, Men's Volleyball

Female Trojan of the Tear - Zoe Scandalis, Women's Tennis

Team of the Year - Men's Tennis

Male Rising Star - Max de Vroome, Men's Tennis

Female Rising Star - Alexa Strange, Sand Volleyball

Male Rookie of the Year - Adoree' Jackson, Football

Female Rookie of the Year - Sara Hughes, Sand Volleyball

Head Coach of the Year - Peter Smith, Men's Tennis

Assistant Coach of the Year - Krzystof Kwinta, Men's Tennis

Staff Member of the Year - Kelly Dormandy, Strength & Conditioning


Wrestling the Crown Away

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No. 2 USC women's tennis fought out of a 3-0 hole to overcome No. 5 UCLA and win the Pac-12 regular season title with a perfect 10-0 record.  The Women of Troy won four consecutive singles matches, capped by freshman Madison Westby, who sent her teammates into a frenzy after clinching the conference.

Click here for the Rapid Reaction.

The scoreboard was against the Trojans all afternoon, dropping the doubles point before three-plus hours of grinding singles play. Despite bravely battling into the third set, Sabrina Santamaria and Gabby Smith succumbed to their Bruin opponents, leaving the Women of Troy in four do-or-die matches.

To make matters worse, Giuliana Olmos, Madison Westby and Meredith Xepoleas all dropped the first set. The climb started there. Senior captain Zoe Scandalis led the way with the only straight set win for either team. Then, Xepoleas, Olmos and finally Westby turned around their matches, leaving the Bruins crushed under a raucous Trojan crowd at Marks Stadium.

USC finished the regular season 22-2 and 10-0 in the Pac-12, winning the conference for the first time since 2013. The Women of Troy will carry an 11-match win streak into the Pac-12 Championships (April 21-25), and they demonstrated the heart it will take to win the program's first national championship since 1985.

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Make Way For Michaela

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Written by Grace DeWitt, USC blog contributor

Only in its third season, the USC women's lacrosse team has already garnered national attention, with star players like sophomore attacker Michaela Michael putting the new squad on the map and placing the Trojans in position to contend for the conference title. Michael's unique combination of talent and heart has been instrumental in securing the Trojans a 10-3 record on the 2015 season.

Head coach Lindsey Munday said she's seen Michael's confidence grow tremendously from last season, and with good reason. Michael leads the team in goals, draw controls, and shots this year, and earned the title of MPSF Offensive Player of the Week and Epoch/Lacrosse Magazine National Player of the Week after her nine goals in two games against Colorado and Denver.  

"We saw this potential in her from a young age when we were recruiting her," said Munday. "We knew she was a special player."

Michael thinks her increased confidence has been the biggest difference USC_Lacrosse_Cal031415_MCG6064.JPGbetween her freshman and sophomore seasons. "Having a year under my belt has been really big," she said, joking that she played "too much like a freshman" last season.

Michael's success with the Trojans is owed to her year-round dedication to lacrosse. "I'm that person that really wants to be playing all year," she said, adding that she practiced her shots every day over the summer and is already planning to get the team together to practice during the fall. This season, Michael logged lots of reps and long hours with offensive coordinator Alyssa Leonard, developing her strength and attacking skills. Combine that dedication with her 5'11'' frame, and you get what Munday calls "a pretty deadly combination."

Her greatest contributions to the team, however, are not just athleticism and ability. What really sets Michael apart is her selflessness and passion for the game. "She wants to be the best for the team, which is really special," said Munday.

Even in her brightest moments, Michael shares the spotlight. "It doesn't happen without the rest of the team," she said of earning her 'player of the week' honors.

"Michaela's one of those people that's really passionate," said teammate Kylie Drexel, who has known Michael since the 8th grade. "She knows how much her coaches put into her and how hard her teammates are working, and she wants to prove to everybody that it's worth it. She wants the team to win and she wants the coaches to be proud, to know their hard work paid off."

Looking forward, Michael's coaches and teammates are excited about her future. "The sky's the limit for her," said Munday, who remarked that Michael continues to get better with every practice.

Drexel agrees, and said that she can "see her leading us really far."

Not surprisingly, Michael's more excited about her team's future success than her own. "It's going to be huge -- these next couple years -- I think we can do really big things."

This weekend, the Women of Troy head to Northern California to play two of their last three regular season games against UC Davis and Stanford, the only other team undefeated in MPSF play besides USC. "We grew up watching Stanford's games," said Drexel of her and Michael, who grew up in the Bay Area together. "Finally playing in their stadium is gonna be really neat for us."

Even better, with two wins this weekend, the Trojans all but guarantee their first ever conference title. USC first faces UC Davis on Friday at 4 p.m. PT and finishes the weekend on Sunday against Stanford at 3 p.m. PT. The matchup against the Cardinal will be live on Pac-12 Networks.

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Rivalry Battle for the Pac

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No. 2 USC women's tennis will play No. 5 UCLA for the Pac-12 regular season title on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. at Marks Stadium on campus. The Women of Troy are in search of their first conference crown since an equally perfect 2013.

The Women of Troy are 9-0 in conference play, while UCLA and Cal are tied for second at 8-1. However, USC lost to the Bruins in a non-conference clash on March 4, one of only two defeats this season.

Click here for the complete preview.

If you cannot make it to Marks, the dual match will be carried live on Pac-12 Networks, starting with singles play at 1 p.m. The first 100 students in attendance will be treated to free Tommy's Burgers.

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Refer a Trojan

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The Trojan Athletic Fund's Signing Period runs from now until June, and head coach Steve Sarkisian wants your help recruiting the next generation of athletic support group members.

Click here for more!

Anyone who refers a Trojan to join the Trojan Athletic Fund (Cardinal and Gold/Women of Troy or higher) will receive an exclusive USC football team-issued executive travel bag. In addition, for every person you refer that signs up, you will receive an entry in a drawing for various prizes over the next few months, including field passes, a spot on the team plane and much more.