April 2017 Archives

Happy Anniversaries

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On Sunday, USC swimming & diving celebrates its 2016-17 season at its annual team banquet.

In addition to looking back on a season which saw the women's team finish ninth at NCAAs and the men sixth, USC will honor two Trojan teams from the past which are celebrating special anniversaries.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of USC's 1977 NCAA men's national championship team, coached by legendary Trojan Peter Daland. The team dominated the NCAA Tournament, winning eight events and finishing 181 points ahead of second-place Alabama, a record-setting margin that stood for 15 years.

The senior class of '77 went undefeated for four straight years, delivering a national title every time, including USC's most recent.

While 2017 marks the 40th anniversary of USC's last men's team title, it marks the 20th anniversary of USC's first women's team title.

For the first 15 years that the NCAA hosted Division I women's swimming and diving championships, only three different teams claimed the crown. But in 1997, USC broke in. Behind stellar performances by Olympians Kristine Quance Julian and Lindsay (Benko) Mintenko, the Women of Troy went from fifth place to second, then lunged into first on the last day of competition.

That team stands as the only women's team in program history to win a national title.

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Mark Trakh Returns To USC WBB

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trakh-wbb (1).jpgToday, USC Athletic Director Lynn Swann announced the hiring of Mark Trakh as head coach of USC women's basketball.

Click here for the full release!

"We are thrilled to welcome Mark back to USC," said Swann. "It was important for us to hire a coach who really wanted to be at USC, who truly cares about our student-athletes and who believes in the Trojan way of excelling. We found that coach in Mark Trakh. He has the experience and maturity to help our young team grow and develop."

This is Trakh's second stint at USC, having previously coached the Women of Troy from 2005-09. During those five seasons, Trakh's teams went 90-64, advanced to the NCAA Tournament twice and finished in the top half of the Pac-12 each year.

This season, Trakh replaces Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, who stepped down last month after four years at the helm of the program.

"I'm excited to once again be a part of the great tradition at USC," said Trakh. "I really want to reignite the tradition of excellence that we have at USC. It all starts with recruiting and coaching up the women and helping them succeed."

Trakh certainly had success in recruiting during his first go-around at Troy, signing four Top 10 classes, including the No. 1 class in 2006.

Trakh resigned from USC for personal reasons in 2009 and took nearly two years off from coaching before joining San Diego State's staff. For the past six years, he has served as head coach at New Mexico State, going 104-80 overall. In each of the last three seasons there, he was named the WAC Coach of of the Year for guiding his team to 20-plus victories, the regular season WAC title and the WAC Tournament title.

Overall, in his 22 years as a head coach at the collegiate level, Trakh boasts a 393-267 record, with eight NCAA Tournament trips, seven regular season championships and five conference Coach of the Year honors.

Follow USC women's basketball on Twitter for updates and use the hashtag #TrakhIsBack to welcome Trakh home.

Another Bruin Battle

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Along with beach volleyball, women's water polo and men's tennis, USC women's tennis will clash with UCLA to close out the regular season this weekend.

Click here for the full preview!

The No. 32 Women of Troy head to Westwood at noon tomorrow to take on the No. 22 Bruins. The Trojans are looking to avenge a tight 4-3 loss to UCLA earlier this season, which didn't count toward conference play. USC is also looking to get back to its winning ways after a 4-3 loss to Pepperdine on Wednesday snapped its four-match win streak.

UCLA boasts the highest-ranked player in tomorrow's matchup in No. 3 Ena Shibahara. The Bruins have one more ranked singles player, while USC has three, led by No. 27 Gabby Smith. Both teams have two ranked doubles teams.

Follow the Women of Troy on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on news and results!


Warriors In The Water

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In its regular season finale tomorrow, USC's second-ranked women's water polo team tangles with No. 1 UCLA.

Click here for the full preview!

The Trojans head to Westwood with their sights set on a share of the regular season MPSF title. With a 26-1 (4-1 MPSF) record, USC would need to beat UCLA (19-1, 5-0 MPSF) to earn it.

This is the second meeting of the season between these two teams, as USC eked out a 10-9 victory in the semifinals of the Barbara Kalbus Invitational in February.

UCLA jumped from No. 3 to No. 1 in the country last week after beating Stanford, the team that snapped USC's 52-game win streak earlier this month. The Bruins also hold an eight-goal scoring differential over the Trojans, so USC would need to beat them by eight to earn the top seed in the upcoming MPSF Tournament.

Tomorrow's 1 p.m. matchup will be a battle between USC's conference-leading offense (15.56 gpg) and UCLA's conference-leading defense (4.1 gpg). The battle will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Los Angeles and will be streamed on


Trojans Eye A Title

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USC men's tennis can clinch a share of the Pac-12 regular season title with a win at UCLA today.

Click here for the full match preview!

The No. 6 Trojans head to Westwood to take on No. 8 UCLA for the third time this season. The Bruins took the first battle, a 4-3 decision at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, but the Trojans pulled off a resounding 4-1 win when the teams met again last month.

Today's match, which begins at 3 p.m., will decide the top seed in the upcoming Pac-12 Tournament. USC enters the matchup at 22-4 (5-1 Pac-12), while UCLA is 16-4 with a 5-0 mark in conference play. Should the Trojans win, each team would have one Pac-12 loss and a share of the title. Should the Bruins come out on top, they'd win the conference outright.

Both the Trojans and Bruins boasts two ranked singles players, while USC also has two ranked doubles teams to UCLA's one.

USC freshman Riley Smith has the team's hottest hand right now, having won his last 12 singles matches. Sophomore Jack Jaede, meanwhile, has won six in a row.

The Trojans and Bruins clash today at 3 p.m. at UCLA.

Two To Go

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bvb-seniors.jpgAfter opening up the season 28-0, USC's top-ranked beach volleyball team closes out the regular season tomorrow with a double-header against Cal Poly and No. 2 UCLA.

Click here for the full preview!

Yesterday, the Women of Troy extended their winning streak to 58 consecutive duals with a 4-1 win over Long Beach State and a 5-0 sweep of Cal State Bakersfield.

USC's five seniors -- Sophie Bukovec, Nicolette Martin, Allie Wheeler, Sara Hughes and Kelly Claes -- will play the last home matches of their careers tomorrow at Merle Norman Stadium.

This remarkable senior class has posted a 113-5 record during its four years at Troy and has led the team to two national championships. Hughes and Martin are this year's captains, while Hughes and Claes have dominated throughout their careers.

Hughes is a three-time AVCA All-American who won the Pac-12 Pairs Championship in 2016 and the AVCA Pairs National Championship in 2015 alongside Claes. During their time at Troy, Claes and Hughes strung along a 103-match win streak as a pair, which stretched from the 2015 season until earlier this month.

Martin is a Pac-12 All-Academic First Teamer who boasts a 120-20 overall record during her four seasons. She played exclusively alongside Wheeler last season, but Wheeler has played primarily with Bukovec this year.

Bukovec, a Toronto native, was a Pac-12 First Teamer in 2016 and an AVCA All-American in 2015.

The Trojans will honor these five seniors for their remarkable accomplishments tomorrow. USC's match vs. Cal Poly begins at 1 p.m. and the match vs. No. 2 UCLA begins at 3 p.m.

Coming Home

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Yesterday, the NFL's 2017 schedule was released, and several Trojans learned they'd be back in the Coliseum this fall.

Nickell Robey-Coleman and Robert Woods, the Los Angeles Rams' newest Trojan representative, will play seven regular season home games at the Coliseum. The first fellow Trojan to come to town is Redskins safety Su'a Cravens, who visits his old stomping grounds in Week 2.

The Seahawks, led by former USC head coach Pete Carroll and featuring Trojans Tre Madden and George Farmer, will be in the Coliseum Week 5.

In Week 10, the Houston Texans and their all-time leading tackler, Brian Cushing, come to town. Cushing was an All-American, Rose Bowl Defensive MVP and team captain during his time at Troy.

In Week 14, USC All-American wide receiver Nelson Agholor will make his first return to the Coliseum.

In the Rams' regular season finale against the 49ers, two more Trojans will step foot on their old home field once again: QB Matt Barkley and LB Malcolm Smith.

Click here for the full Rams schedule!

If Trojan fans can't make it to the Coliseum this year, they can head just down the road to the StubHub Center, where Max Tuerk and the Los Angeles Chargers will host a number of Trojan football alumni as well. Kevon Seymour (Bills), Cody Kessler (Browns), Randall Telfer (Browns), Cravens and Agholor will all play just over 10 miles from USC this NFL season.

Click here for the full Chargers schedule!

Die-hard fans looking to spend a full weekend at the Coliseum will have two opportunities to do so this fall. On Sept. 9, USC hosts Stanford in its second home game of the season. The very next day, the Rams host their home opener against the Colts. On Sept. 16, USC hosts a marquee matchup with Texas, followed by a Rams game vs. the Redskins on Sunday.

Click here for an inside look at how the Coliseum staff flips the stadium from Trojans colors to Rams'!

With the 2017 NFL Draft just around the corner, a few more Trojans may get to return to the Coliseum sooner than they could have dreamed.


Good Luck Chuck

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Charles O'Bannon Jr., the No. 28 prospect on ESPN's Top 100, has joined USC men's basketball's incoming 2017 recruiting class.

Click here for the full release!

O'Bannon Jr. prepped at Bishop Gorman HS (Las Vegas, NV), averaging 21.4 PPG, 8.1 RPG and 4.0 APG his senior year, while leading his team to a 22-9 record. He scored 36 points and grabbed 11 boards in the 2017 4A state title game, which Bishop Gorman won for the sixth year in a row.

"Chuck is an excellent all-around basketball player who is a great fit for our system" said USC head coach Andy Enfield. "We are excited to add his offensive explosiveness and his size and length at the guard position. Chuck has a great passion for the game of basketball and Trojan fans will enjoy watching him play."

O'Bannon Jr. was a 2017 McDonald's All-American, posting a 10-point, three-rebound and two-assist effort in the McDonald's All-American Game last month. He is USC's first McDonald's All-American signee since DeMar DeRozan in 2008.

O'Bannon joins Jordan Usher and Victor Uyaelunmo in USC's Class of 2017. With Chimezie Metu returning and Derryck Thornton Jr. joining the team after sitting out a year due to NCAA transfer rules, the Trojans looked stocked for the upcoming season.

Meet Frank Martin II

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usc-spring-game-2017-mcgillen-2343.jpgName: Frank Martin II

Position: OL

Class: Redshirt Freshman

Size: 6-foot-5, 310 pounds

Age: 19

High School (Hometown): Mater Dei HS (West Covina, CA)

Game: Martin is a big body who currently projects as an offensive guard, but the Trojans like to train their linemen at several spots, so he worked at tackle as well last year. He is expected to start this season as a reserve, competing for playing time behind the veteran guards.

Prep Career: He made 2015 Prep Star All-American Dream Team, Tacoma News Tribune Western 100, USA Today All-California first team, Cal-Hi Sports All-State first team, All-CIF Pac 5 Division, Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket All-CIF, Los Angeles Times All-Area first team, Orange County Register All-Orange County first team and All-Trinity League first team as a senior offensive lineman at Mater Dei High in Santa Ana.

Martin on why he chose USC: "[I wanted a school with] prestigious academics and football tradition, and [the] opportunity to showcase my skills at the highest level no matter where they might be."

Fun Fact: Martin went to high school with three current USC teammates: CB Jonathan Lockett, DL Connor Rossow and LB Grant Moore.

Here is Martin on who has mentored him at USC, growing up watching Trojan football and more:

To Whom It May Concern

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USC_Football_Arizona_McGillen_DSC_2939110815 (1).jpgNext week, JuJu Smith-Schuster and group of fellow Trojans will learn their fate at the 2017 NFL Draft.

In preparation, Smith-Schuster penned a resume and a cover letter in The Players' Tribune to explain why he thinks teams should draft him. His cover letter focuses less on his stats -- though 3,092 career yards are certainly impressive -- and more on his passion for football and competition.

Twenty-year-old Smith-Schuster pointed to his performance in USC's 2015 game vs. Arizona as an example of his love for the game. The wideout hauled in eight balls for 138 yards and a touchdown,  all with a metal plate inserted into his right hand, having broken it in USC's game the week before.

"When you know something is going to hurt and you not only do it anyway, but you do it at full speed and don't miss a beat -- that's the definition of toughness, in my opinion," said Smith-Schuster of his mindset that night.

Read Smith-Schuster's full NFL Draft Cover Letter here.

Jones' and Sloan's

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USC track & field swept the Pac-12 Track & Field Men's and Women's Field Athlete of the Week awards, the conference announced yesterday.

Senior Eric Sloan repeated as men's field athlete of the week after winning the triple jump at this weekend's Beach Invitational in Long Beach, CA. He beat out an Olympian and a former U.S. triple jump champion in the event with a 53-10.50/16.42m (+1.7). His jump ranked second among all collegiate athletes this season and best in the Pac-12 by more than two feet.

Jones finished first among collegians and third overall in the long jump at the Beach Invitational. She posted a season-best and Pac-12 best 20-8.50/6.31m (+0.0) to finish behind only a 2015 Pan American Games gold medalist and a former Pac-12 champion.

USC has now earned seven Pac-12 weekly Track & Field awards this season heading into its next competition: the Triton Invitational at UCSD.

Meet Vavae Malepeai

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usc-football-spring-2017-mcgillen-6542.jpgName: Vavae Malepeai

Position: RB

Class: Redshirt Freshman

Size: 6-foot-0, 190 pounds

Age: 19

High School (Hometown): Mililani HS (Aiea, HI)

Game: Malepeai quickly opened eyes during Fall Camp before suffering a collarbone injury which ended his chances of playing as a true freshman. In year two, he is ready to compete for carries behind Ronald Jones II. He is a stocky, young tailback who runs with reckless abandon and could play an important role as the Trojans look to replace Justin Davis.

Prep Career: He made 2015 Prep Star All-West Region, Tacoma News Tribune Western 100, Gatorade Hawaii Player of the Year, KHON2/Cover2 Hawaii High School Weekly Marcus Mariota Award State Player of the Year, USA Today All-Hawaii Offensive Player of the Year and All-Oahu Interscholastic Association Blue Offensive Player of the Year as a senior running back at Mililani High. He ran for 1,952 yards on 234 carries (8.3 avg) with 29 TDs in 2015.

Malepeai on the veteran leaders at tailback: "Even though older guys like [Ronald Jones II] and [Aca'Cedric Ware] are injured right now, they take the time to actually watch what we're doing on the field. So when I come to the sideline, they do a great job of taking that leadership role and informing me what I did wrong, what I did great."

Fun Fact: Malepeai originally gave a verbal commitment to attend Oregon, where his uncles, Silila (1990-94), Pulou (1993-95) and Tasi (1994-96), played football. 

Here is Malepeai on why he chose USC, fighting through adversity and more:

More Metu on the Way

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USC men's basketball sophomore Chimezie Metu announced that he will return for his junior season after being named the Pac-12's Most Improved Player in 2016-17.

"We have a great opportunity to do something special next year," Metu told Trojans Live. "It honestly wouldn't feel right to leave at this stage. We're right on the cusp of becoming a great team."

Last season, Metu led USC in total points (14.8 ppg), rebounding (7.8 rpg) and blocks (1.5 bpg). He was immense in the NCAA Tournament, including 28 points against Baylor in the Second Round.

Metu will be joined by rising senior PG Jordan McLaughlin as the leadership core of next year's team. Bennie Boatwright and Elijah Stewart are still exploring their draft possibilities, but they could return as well.


Coliseum Video Boards

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Before this upcoming season, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will have two new video boards, and the Peristyle will be restored to its former glory.

Gussie The Great

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After shutting out Colorado in the second half to help her team pull off an upset win, USC women's lacrosse goalie Gussie Johns was named the MPSF Defensive Player of the Week.

Click here for the full story!

In Friday's battle against the Buffaloes at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, Johns posted nine saves and picked up three ground balls. With 289 career saves and 156 career ground balls, she sits atop USC lacrosse's all-time charts.

Johns also leads the nation this year in goals-against average (6.69 gaa) and ranks fourth in ground balls (4.0 gbpg).

Johns has now earned four MPSF Defensive Player of the Week awards in her career (two this season), in addition to one Rookie of the Week award in 2015. Plus, her excellence in the classroom has put her in good position to be selected as an Academic All-American.

The Washington, D.C. native has been so dominant during her college career that she was recently selected to the U.S. Women's National Lacrosse Team, which will compete at the 2017 FIL Women's Lacrosse World Cup in Surrey, England this summer. Johns is one of two collegians on the roster, and one of just two goalies. The other keeper: USC Associate Head Coach / Defensive Coordinator Devon Wills.

Johns, a team captain this year, has put her team in a position to take the top seed in the MPSF Tournament with a win at Stanford on Friday.


Home Soil Hero

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USC men's tennis legend Steve Johnson earned his second career ATP World Tour singles title at the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship in Houston yesterday.

Johnson, who won 72 consecutive singles matches and back-to-back NCAA Singles Championships during his time at USC, fought through jet lag and exhaustion to defeat Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(5).

Over the last few weeks, Johnson has been racking up miles, playing in an ATP event in Miami and a Davis Cup match in Australia before returning stateside for the Men's Clay Court title.

En route to the championship, fourth-seeded Johnson knocked off German Dustin Brown and Spaniard Fernando Verdasco before facing off against his countryman -- and bronze-medal-winning doubles partner at the Rio Olympics -- Jack Sock. Johnson toppled No. 1 seed Sock in three sets to set up the showdown with Bellucci.

Johnson's title was the fifth for an American man this ATP season, the most the U.S. can claim since 2012. It's also the second of his career, after winning the Nottingham Open last June.

Gaining Track-tion

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Over the weekend, Trojan tracksters took the Mt. SAC Relays and the Beach Invitational by storm.

Click here for the full recap!

Cameron Pettigrew continued her impressive season by winning the women's 400m at Mt. SAC, and freshman Anna Cockrell won the 100m hurdles. Dior Hall, Amalie Iuel (pictured) and Just'N Thymes all finished first in their events, but second overall. Deanna Hill PR-ed to take second in the 200m as well.

At the Beach Invitational in Long Beach, Randall Cunningham took home the high jump title by a two-inch margin over the runner-up. USC got another win in the men's triple jump, where Eric Sloan -- last week's Pac-12 Men's Track Athlete of the Week -- moved up to No. 5 in USC's all-time triple jump list. Margaux Jones took third in the long jump, but had the best mark of all collegians.

This weekend, the Trojans head south to the Triton Invitational at UCSD.


Trojans Live: 2017 Spring Game

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The annual USC Spring Game marked the end of another season of Trojans Live. The two-hour special from the floor of the Coliseum included a slew of great interviews, headlined by future NFL draftees Adoree' Jackson and JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Click here to watch Jackson on Trojans Live.

Click here to watch Smith-Schuster on Trojans Live.

The future of Trojan football was on full display at the Spring Game, so we sat down with offensive leaders Toa Lobendahn and Viane Talamaivao as well as defensive stalwart Porter Gustin to preview the upcoming season.

Click here to watch Lobendahn and Talamaivao on Trojans Live.

Click here to watch Gustin on Trojans Live.

As part of the Spring Game, USC men's basketball was honored on the field for its record-setting season. Team leaders Jordan McLaughlin and Chimezie Metu joined the show to talk about taking the March momentum into next year.

Click here to watch McLaughlin and Metu on Trojans Live.

Finally, the happiest man in the building was Nickell Robey-Coleman, the former USC corner, who just signed with the Los Angeles Rams. Here he is on his homecoming:

Four Score

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This weekend, USC women's tennis earned two road wins to improve its winning streak to four matches and bolster its NCAA Tournament resume.

On Friday, the No. 39 Trojans marched into Tempe and upset No. 29 Arizona State. The Sun Devils won a tightly contested doubles point, but the Women of Troy showed their Fight On spirit by battling back to win the match. The decision came down to Court 4, where senior Zoe Katz had dropped the first set in a tiebreaker and won the second, 7-5. Katz muscled through to a 7-5 win in the third set to clinch the match.

Against Arizona on Saturday, USC dominated in doubles, racking up two 6-0 wins on Courts 2 and 3. The Trojans then drummed up four wins in singles to earn a 5-2 victory.

The wins helped USC improve to 10-8 on the season with a 5-4 mark in Pac-12 play. The Trojans host their last home match of the season on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. against Pepperdine.


Out But Not Down

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USC's 10th-ranked men's volleyball team closed out its 2017 season with a loss to No. 1 Long Beach State in the quarterfinals of the MPSF Tournament.

Click here for the full recap!

The Trojans battled it out on Saturday night, but fell in four sets (25-22, 24-26, 25-18, 25-23) to finish the year with an even 14-14 mark.

In his final match in cardinal and gold, senior Lucas Yoder notched a match-high 23 kills. Fellow seniors Andy Benesh and Christopher Orenic finished with eight and seven kills, respectively, to keep the Trojans in it all the way until the end.

But the top-ranked 49ers outhit, outserved and outblocked the eighth-seeded Trojans to clinch a victory and end USC's season.

Despite the loss, the Trojans have much to be proud of this season. They doubled their win total from 2016 and earned a few crucial wins down the stretch to make the MPSF Tournament after missing out last year.

Click here to watch USC head coach Jeff Nygaard's season wrap-up!

Yoder, Benesh, Orenic and fellow seniors Vinnie Rios and Michael Mullahey, who played their last match on Saturday, helped get the team back on track to contend for MPSF and national titles in the years to come.

Lockdown D At The Coli

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On Friday evening, USC's ninth-ranked women's lacrosse team celebrated Senior Day by taking its talents to the L.A. Memorial Coliseum and upsetting No. 6 Colorado.

Click here for the full recap!

Prior to the showdown, USC honored its six seniors: Cynthia Del Core, Kylie Drexel, Drew Jackson, Nina Kelty and Michaela Michael -- all of whom were key in pulling off the 11-5 victory.

Drexel led all scorers with three goals (the 13th hat trick of her career), while Del Core and McMahon both scored braces and added one assist each. Michael dished out two assists and scored a goal of her own.

The Trojans trailed, 5-4, at the break, but Kelty and Jackson helped the Trojans shut out the Buffaloes in the second half (7-0) to charge ahead to victory.

The Trojans now sit atop the MPSF standings with two regular season games remaining.

Check out team photographer John McGillen's photos of the USC victory at the Coliseum:

Titans Outduel Trojans

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After upsetting No. 8 Cal State Fullerton in the first game of the series, USC baseball fell in the final two this weekend.

On Thursday, the Trojans and Titans went back and forth before USC utilized a six-run fifth inning to take a commanding lead. The Trojans turned their 17 hits into a 13-9 home victory.

USC headed to Fullerton for the final two games of the series. The Trojans outhit the Titans again in Game 2, but couldn't capitalize, falling 13-5. Game 3 featured a pitching battle in which Cal State Fullerton had a slight edge, taking the final game by a 2-1 margin.

The Trojans are now 17-16 on the season heading into tonight's makeup game at UC Irvine. The game was originally scheduled for March 21, but was rained out.


Sweeps For Seniors

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usc-mens-tennis-stanford-rachel-bennett_DSC0047.JPGUSC men's tennis swept both of its Pac-12 opponents this weekend, in its seniors' final matches at Marks Tennis Stadium.

No. 6 USC cruised to a 4-0 victory over Arizona in its penultimate home match of the season on Friday. Though the Trojans spent the weekend commemorating their seniors, it was freshman Riley Smith who clinched the win that day.

On Senior Day against Utah, USC's three outgoing players stepped up and delivered. Senior Rob Bellamy paired with sophomore Jack Jaede to get the Trojans off on the right foot in doubles, before seniors Nick Crystal (pictured) and David Laser clinched the doubles point on Court 3. Bellamy and Crystal were both victorious in singles as well, with Crystal serving as the match clincher in the final home appearance of his career. Crystal, Bellamy and Laser helped lift the Trojans to a 7-0 sweep.

USC closes out the regular season with a rubber match of sorts against UCLA. The Bruins eked out a 4-3 victory in the teams' first meeting of the year, but USC dominated UCLA, 4-1, in the more recent matchup. Should the Trojans win this Friday's battle, they would share the 2017 conference title with UCLA.

Friday's match begins at 3 p.m. at UCLA.

McGillen Gallery: 2017 Spring Game

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On Saturday, USC Football capped off a month of spring practice with its annual Spring Game at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. Trojans fans had the opportunity to see USC's younger players show their stuff, check out USC's Rose Bowl championship rings and more.

Check out team photographer John McGillen's photos:

Late Bloomers

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USC's second-ranked women's water polo team used a second-half surge to power past No. 5 Cal in Berkeley this weekend.

Click here for the full recap!

The Trojans were held scoreless in the first period but flipped the script and shut the Bears out in the second to head into halftime tied, 1-1.

In the third period, USC broke out to score four goals and take a lead they'd never relinquish, eventually winning by a 6-3 margin. Brigitta Games, Maud Megens (pictured) and Ioanna Haralabidis had two goals each to seal the deal for the Trojans.

With the win, the Trojans improved to 26-1 (4-1 MPSF) on the season with just one regular season game to go before the MPSF Tournament. That game takes place at No. 3 UCLA this Saturday at 1 p.m., and the winner earns the 2017 MPSF title and the top seed in the upcoming tournament.

The game will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network.


Spring Show

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Trojans Put On A Spring Show

2017 USC Spring Game Preview

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2017 USC Spring Game on Saturday

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at Noon PT on Pac-12 Network

USC-FOOTBALL-SPRING-BALL-040617-MCGILLEN-5290lr.JPGTrojans to Watch: Second-Year Wide Receivers

USC is forced to replace a lot of production at the receiver position after the departures of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Darreus Rogers, Isaac Whitney and De'Quan Hampton, who will all be in attendance on Saturday to collect their Rose Bowl rings. While the Trojans still have Rose Bowl hero Deontay Burnett and versatile veteran Jalen Greene, a new crop of pass catchers will be on full display, including sophomore Michael Pittman Jr. (pictured) and redshirt freshmen Tyler Vaughns, Velus Jones Jr., and Josh Imatorbhebhe. The exciting quartet has shown tremendous improvement over the five weeks of spring football, building chemistry with QB Sam Darnold. The Spring Game provides a nice showcase for the young receivers to put their talents on full display.

3 Keys

Last Men Standing

The USC roster has been ravaged by injuries this spring, so head coach Clay Helton explained that Saturday's exhibition will look more like a practice than a game. The Trojans simply don't have enough bodies to divide into two teams and go at it. However, there are several competitive portions on the schedule, providing the healthy players a chance to make an impression on their coaches and the fans. Keep an eye on several position battles as young Trojans like DL Marlon Tuipulotu, ILB John Houston Jr., CB Jack Jones, RB Vavae Malepeai, DB Jamel Cook, TE Cary Angeline, OL Roy Hemsley and others are making a strong push for playing time.

The Interludes

The crowd will be treated to three in-game ceremonies, headlined by the return of the NFL-bound seniors and juniors from last season's Rose Bowl champions. Along with a first look at the rosy rings, the Trojan Family will also be introduced to the 2017 recruiting class, which was ranked in the national top five. Plus, the record-setting USC men's basketball team will be saluted on the field. Finally, fans will get a chance to line up for autographs after the game as all Trojans will be signing at tables.

Just a Taste

This is your last chance to enjoy Trojan football for several months, so don't miss out. The new season kicks off on Saturday, September 2, when USC hosts Western Michigan. The 2017 home schedule is loaded with big games, including Texas, Stanford, Utah and UCLA. Click here for ticket information. The Trojans have high hopes for this season with the return of Rose Bowl MVP Sam Darnold, rushing leader Ronald Jones II, leading tackler Cam Smith, sack leader Rasheem Green and much more.



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all-mpsf mvb.jpgUSC men's volleyball senior Lucas Yoder earned a spot on the 2017 All-MPSF First Team, while senior captain Andy Benesh landed on the All-MPSF Second Team, the conference announced today.

Click here for the full release!

Yoder earned first team honors for leading not only the conference, but the nation in kills this season (4.80 per set). He also led the conference and ranked second in the nation in points (5.17 per set) this regular season. This is the third year that Yoder has received an MPSF award, after being named the MPSF Freshman of the Year and a second teamer in 2014 and earning honorable mention in 2016. Yoder is one of four members of this year's first team to have earned three MPSF awards in his career.

Benesh also picks up his third MPSF honor, after earning All-MPSF honorable mention in 2014 and 2015. The middle blocker ranks sixth in the nation in hitting percentage (.430) and 10th in blocks (1.09 per set). Only one other member of the second team has earned three MSPF honors in his career.

On Saturday, Yoder, Benesh and the Trojans take on MPSF Player of the Year TJ DeFalco and the Long Beach State 49ers in the first round of the MPSF Tournament. That match begins tomorrow at 7 p.m. at LBSU.

2017 Spring Practice #14: Notes

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The Trojans wrapped their final practice of the spring in anticipation of Saturday's Coliseum showcase.
  • In addition to the long term injuries, here are the rest of the players that will not participate in the USC Spring Game: DL Kenny Bigelow, DB Isaiah Langley, OLB Porter Gustin, OL Andrew Voorhees, TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe, TE Tyler Petite, WR Deontay Burnett, WR Keyshawn "Pie" Young and OL Chuma Edoga, per head coach Clay Helton.
  • Because of the limited numbers, the Spring Game will be more of a "situational practice," Helton explained. "No score will be kept."
  • Saturday will still be competitive as every practice is. Today, the defense exploded when CB Ajene Harris picked off QB Sam Darnold in the end zone to finish off the day. "It felt really good, the team is just finishing up the last practice, last period of the practice, so it just was a good win for our defense right there," said Harris who trotted the length of the end zone with the football until his teammates mobbed him.
  • Harris has a spot locked down after his impressive play at the end of last season. Sophomore CB Jack Jones is trying to do the same. Helton said that Jones has been "exceptional" and expanded, "He's always had confidence, but you can see him being very assignment sound now." While he will have a lot of competition for the spot opposite Iman Marshall, Jones appears to have the edge coming out of spring. "We're going to have to count on him next year."
  • As each year passes, the leaders change. Last year at this time, DL Rasheem Green was an unproven commodity, but now he returns as the team's sack leader. "I just try to lead by how hard I work, by playing well and not messing up on my plays," Green said. "It is important that we don't just play with effort and intensity for two or three plays, but all the plays that we're on the field for."
  • Helton has made mention of it many times, but staff continuity could play huge dividends this year. "I just think it's the communication," said Harris about the difference. "It's our second year with the same defense, the same defensive coordinator, the same DB coach. So, our confidence is pretty up with the play calls and just the players around us, we're all comfortable and we're all hungry. We all come out here with a swagger and we're just ready to play."
  • The Trojans have not shied away from playoff expectations this spring, but Helton explained that it will take more consistency for this group to reach those lofty heights. The team needs to "start fast and play clean football right [from] the get go," said the head coach. Last year, the Trojans looked like a playoff team by the end, but "September is equally as important," said Helton, and USC lost three games in the season's first month. USC will have a difficult opening schedule again with Western Michigan, Stanford, Texas, Cal and Washington State all before October.
  • Here is Helton's entire press conference:

Seniors' Last Sets

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usc-mens-tennis-etsu-012817-mcgillen-7051.jpgThis weekend, USC men's tennis hosts its two final home matches of the season.

Click here for the full preview!

The No. 6 Trojans are 20-4 (3-1 Pac-12) heading into this weekend's matches. When they face Arizona at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow, they will aim for their 100th all-time win over the Wildcats, as their current series record stands at 99-2.

On Saturday at 1 p.m., senior captains Rob Bellamy and Nick Crystal (pictured) along with redshirt junior David Laser will play their last match at USC's Marks Stadium when the Trojans host Utah.

Bellamy, who hails from Pacific Palisades, CA, is 59-24 (.711) in his four years as a Trojan, while Crystal, a Waccabuc, NY native, is 77-34 (.694). Laser has gone 6-15 in his three years of competition.

Crystal and his doubles partner, Laurens Verboven, are ranked No. 76 in the nation together this season. USC's freshman duo of Brandon Holt and Riley Smith is the squad's highest ranked doubles team, at No. 11, and Logan Smith and Thibault Forget rank No. 80 in the nation as a pair. Holt and Logan Smith come in at No. 23 and 72 in the nation, respectively, in singles.

Neither Arizona nor Utah boasts a ranked player in singles or doubles.

At Friday's match against Arizona, the first 150 fans in attendance will receive a free poke bowl. After Saturday's match, the Trojans will hold a reception for the seniors, alumni and donors.

Meet Velus Jones Jr.

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usc-football-spring-BALL-04012017-mcgillen-3430.jpgName: Velus Jones Jr.

Position: WR

Class: Redshirt Freshman

Size: 6-foot-0, 185 pounds

Age: 19

High School (Hometown): Saraland HS (Saraland, AL)

Game: Jones is an explosive athlete who is at his best with the ball in his hands. Instead of lining up on the outside every time like a traditional wide receiver, Jones is a flexible weapon who could be utilized as a downfield pass catcher, but also as a runner from the backfield.

Prep Career: Jones made 2015 Prep Star All-Southeast Region, USA Today All-Alabama first team, Super All-State first team, Alabama Sportswriters Association All-State Class 6A first team and All-Coastal Alabama first team as a senior wide receiver at Saraland High. He had 48 receptions for 945 yards (19.7 avg) with 10 TDs in 2015, plus 172 rushing yards with 2 TDs and 2 touchdowns on special teams.

Helton on Jones: "He's kind of that Percy Harvin-type, the ability to run great routes, explosive plays in the pass game, but then be able to hand him the ball on the outside perimeter and do some special things. He's a guy that I think a redshirt year really helped."

Fun Fact: From 1880 to 2015, fewer than five people per year have been born with the first name Velus.

Here is Jones on Alabama's love of football, his passion for science-fiction movies and more:

Photo Gallery: USC MBB Awards Dinner

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Last night, USC men's basketball celebrated its record-setting 26-win season at its annual Awards Dinner.

USC photographer Pierson Clair was on hand to capture every moment of the night:

Clash At The Coliseum

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USC_lacrosse_stanford_coliseum_mcgillen_HR-1437.jpgTomorrow evening, USC's ninth-ranked women's lacrosse team heads to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to host No. 6 Colorado in its last home game of the season.

Click here for the full preview!

USC heads into the conference clash riding a 15-game MPSF win streak and a 22-game win streak at home (including two games at the Coliseum). USC's seniors, who will be honored ahead of the game, have played a huge role in those streaks.

Senior attacker Michaela Michael has won MPSF Offensive Player of the Week four weeks in a row for her goal-scoring prowess recently. Michael is USC's all-time leading goal-scorer and needs just seven more points to become USC's all-time leader in points scored.

Fellow seniors Kylie Drexel and Cynthia Del Core rank fourth and fifth in all-time goals, respectively, while Nina Kelty ranks fifth in USC history in ground balls. Michael, Drexel, Del Core and Kelty, along with fellow seniors Drew Jackson and Gabby McMahon, will all be honored ahead of the game.

The matchup will also be significant for USC head coach Lindsey Munday, who played alongside Colorado head coach Ann Elliott at Northwestern for three years.

The Trojans are 11-3 on the season with a 5-0 mark in MPSF play, positioning them at the top of the conference standings. Colorado sits just behind USC, with a 4-0 conference mark and a 12-1 overall record.

Tomorrow's tough matchup kicks off at 5 p.m. at the Coliseum. Admission is free and open to the public. For those unable to attend, the game will be broadcast on Pac-12 LA and Pac-12 Mountain.

Crock Of Gold

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USC men's golf junior Sean Crocker was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Ben Hogan Award, the Colonial Country Club, the Friends of Golf (FOG) and the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) announced yesterday.

Click here for the full release!

The Ben Hogan Award is given annually to the top men's NCAA Division I, II or III, NAIA or NJCAA college golfer for his achievements in collegiate and amateur competitions over 12 months.

Past winners include Hunter Mahan (2003), Bill Haas (2004) and Rickie Fowler (2008).

Crocker, who was born in Zimbabwe but prepped at Westlake High in Westlake Village, CA, leads No. 1 USC in stroke average this year (70.15) and has finished under par in eight straight tournaments (combined 26-under par in those events).

Crocker is one of five golfers from the Pac-12 to make the cut. The list of semifinalists will be cut down to three finalists on May 3, making this month's Pac-12 Championships crucial for Crocker. The Pac-12 Championships run from April 28-30 in Boulder, CO.

Check out USC's top-ranked men's golf team on Twitter and Instagram to follow Crocker's quest.


Stevens Center Academic Spotlight: Dashiell Enos

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USC's student-athletes are more than just champions on the field, court, diamond and pool --- they're champions in the classroom as well. Each week, we will get to know one of these scholarly Trojans a bit better in our academic spotlight.

dash.jpgName: Dashiell Enos
Class: Junior
Sport: Men's Diving
Major: Cinema and Media Studies
Minor: Entertainment Industry
GPA: 3.12

Aubrey Kragen (AK): Can you tell me a little bit about your major and what makes it different from other majors within the film school?

Dashiell Enos (DE): I would describe Cinema and Media Studies as studying and getting to know the importance and impact of film. Really how the content on screen impacts society, how it has had a role in society in the past and also how society plays a role in what's being created. There are a lot of classes like history of American cinema, I took a comedy class. Things like gender in film and TV. It's different from others like production or writing, where there are more projects where you're actually creating things. This is more studying and analyzing.

AK: What do most people do with a Cinema and Media Studies degree post-graduation?

DE: It can be very helpful. You can definitely be a film or TV critic. But you can definitely still direct, you can be in production, because you can take those classes along with this major. That's what I plan to do. I took this major because it's more flexible with my diving schedule, whereas the other more project-based majors, you can't be away. I plan to start doing more production classes because I want to be in editing.

AK: How did you decide that you were interested in film?

DE: I just remember when I was looking into colleges, I wasn't really sure exactly what I wanted to do when I was older. I knew I liked writing and I also loved playing with cameras. Me and my brother when we were younger, we would always play around and make videos and I loved to hold the camera and record stuff. But I got recommended to take this major through a teammate of mine who's graduated now, but his name is Jordan Gear. He talked to my mom and said the film school is great and that if I were to be in the film school, this major would probably be the best.

AK: What have been some of your favorite classes in the film school and why?

DE: One that I really enjoyed was a class all about Hitchcock, which was taught by Prof. Drew Casper -- he's a pretty well-known professor in the cinema school. I liked that one a lot because I'm into the thrillers and kind of horror genres of film, so studying Hitchcock -- he's at the top for that genre. It was great to learn about his films and about him personally. From beginning to end, we just learned a lot about him.

AK: What are a few of your favorite films and directors?

DE: Definitely Alfred Hitchcock. And some of my favorite films: when I was younger, I saw Moonrise Kingdom. I think that was one of the first films where I was like, 'Wow, I really liked that. I want to watch that again.' I always say that that's one of my favorites. I also like the film Prisoners and Lights Out. Those are more of the horror genre.

AK: How has going to USC and being a student-athlete at USC helped you network and make connections in the entertainment industry?

DE: There are definitely a lot of opportunities in the film school. They send out emails to students inviting us to screenings, maybe of a film that an alum made, or a pre-screening of something that's going to be released. So I've gone to a couple of those. It's just watching the film but you also get to meet the people there. There are workshops, Q&As -- I went to one Q&A where it was all about editing and that's what helped me kind of decide that editing is where I want to be. And through athletics, there were three teammates of mine who had the same major.

AK: Did they offer much advice on balancing your major with your athletics schedule?

DE: Yeah, I've asked them quite a few questions. When I was applying, I actually had to apply three times to get in. And it was on the third time that I was accepted. After the first time I was denied, I asked Jordan Gear, 'Man, this is hard. Should I try something else? Is it really worth it?' He told me I should really try again. He said, 'Usually getting in on the first time is pretty rare.' So he kind of comforted me with that. I told another one of my teammates how I'm into horror and thrillers and he told me he had a classmate who interned with Blumhouse, which is a production company known for horror films. And he gave me her contact info and now I can ask her questions that I have.

AK: Lastly, what goals or aspirations do you have during your time at USC and in the future?

DE: I'm a junior, so I have one year left, and it's kind of snuck up on me. I'd like to get to know more people, make more connections and so far I haven't done many production classes, but now that I've covered most of my major's requirements, I'm going more into production. I'd like to get more practice in editing and start working with cameras to kind of build up those skills for myself before I'm done with school here.

Final Chapter

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IMG_8900.JPGUSC men's basketball celebrated its record-setting 2016-17 season tonight at its annual Awards Dinner.

While there was no MVP Award given out this year, sophomore Chimezie Metu earned three personal awards. He received the Bob Boyd Award (Top Rebounder), the Harold Jones Memorial Award (Most Improved) and the Ryan Francis Scholarship for the second straight year.

Fellow sophomore Bennie Boatwright earned the Bill Sharman Award for best free throw percentage, a statistic near and dear to head coach Andy Enfield's heart.

Boatwright's co-captain, Jordan McLaughlin, was given the Ernie Holbrook Memorial Award for Most Inspirational Player.

Senior walk-on Sam Dhillon, who owns his own wealth management firm, boasts the highest GPA on the team, earning himself the Dr. James H. Zumberge Academic Award for the fourth year in a row. He becomes the second Trojan in program history to win the award in each of his four seasons.

USC's freshmen picked up the remaining awards, as Jonah Mathews was awarded the John Rudometkin Award for 110% Effort, while De'Anthony Melton received the Forrest F. Twogood Memorial Award for Best Defensive Player.

Broadcast Boot Camp

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USC All-American OT Zach Banner is preparing for two professional careers. The big man has the personality to match, so while he awaits his NFL future in the upcoming draft, he is taking some reps as a broadcaster.

Here is Banner going through "broadcast boot camp" with Fox Sports WEST at a recent Los Angeles Clippers game:

Meet Kerrigan Miller

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New Jersey native Lindsey Munday has built USC women's lacrosse into the sport's first western power by recruiting coast-to-coast to find the country's best talent. To that end, the Women of Troy's scoring leaders are Michaela Michael from Hillsborough, CA, and New Yorkers Cynthia Del Core and Kerrigan Miller.

Miller, a freshman from Bayport, NY, is the new name on the list. She has made an immediate impact for the No. 9 Trojans, scoring 26 goals in 14 games and earning MPSF Rookie of the Week honors twice this season.

Before USC takes on Colorado at the Coliseum on Friday night (5 p.m.), get to know Kerrigan Miller:

Tom Terrific

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Tomorrow evening, USC baseball kicks off a three-game series against No. 8 Cal State Fullerton.

The Trojans are 12-7 at home this season heading into the Thursday night matchup, which will mark a Throwback Thursday event. The first 500 fans to arrive at Dedeaux Field for the game will receive a free snapback hat with USC alum Tom Seaver's name and number emblazoned on the side.

Seaver lettered at USC in 1965 before enjoying a 20-year career in the major leagues, during which he earned three Cy Young Awards, a Rookie of the Year Award and a World Series ring. Seaver was inducted into the USC Athletics Hall of Fame in 1995 and the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992.

Click here to purchase tickets to USC's Thursday night game!

2017 Spring Practice #13: Notes

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USC football hit the field for its penultimate practice of Spring Ball on Tuesday.
  • usc-football-spring-2017-030717-mcgillen-7411.jpgHead coach Clay Helton mentioned that DB Isaiah Langley, WR Jackson Boyer and TE Tyler Petite were all nursing hamstring injuries today.
  • Helton confirmed that the Spring Game on Saturday will be "very practice-like" rather than "a real live game" due to injuries depleting the roster this spring. "Injury-wise, we're just not able to put two teams together right now," he said.
  • The injury bug has hit the offensive line and running backs corps the hardest this spring, and Helton singled out "finding the best five" up front as the biggest challenge of fall camp.
  • Behind USC's shifting offensive line on Tuesday, QB Sam Darnold (pictured) threw darts to Michael Pittman, Tyler Vaughns and a stable of tight ends. "Those two guys are going at it," Darnold said of Pittman and Vaughns. "They've been going at it the past few weeks and it's been awesome to see. Tyler's really improved route running and just learning the whole playbook. Pitt has really improved as well."
  • Helton praised Pittman, Vaughns, Velus Jones Jr. and one more redshirt freshman pass catcher after practice. "The other guy that's really stood out to me and had a really good spring has been Cary Angeline. After a redshirt season, what he's been able to accomplish this spring -- I think he's stepped his game up a level."
  • Darnold will be slinging passes to these teammates under much less pressure than he felt last Spring Game. A year ago, he was in a tense battle with Max Browne for the starting gig, and the spring finale was a huge piece of the audition. This year, with his spot atop the depth chart solidified, Darnold plans to go out and have fun on Saturday. "Every time I come out to play I try to impress people, but also I just play to have fun," Darnold said. "I'm always going to play at a high level, or try to at least, whether that's throwing interceptions or throwing a bunch of touchdowns I'm just going to continue to just play my game."
  • This year, the only quarterback battle is for the No. 2 spot. Redshirt freshman Matt Fink and early enrollee Jack Sears have competed throughout camp for the backup role, and QBs coach Tyson Helton says he likes what he's seen from both players, both on and off the field. "Every time I come off the practice field [Sears is] in the meeting room watching film by himself, he'll come up and ask questions -- same thing with Matt Fink. He's doing the exact same thing as well, so really happy with those guys."
  • Here is Helton's full press conference:

USC MVB - Nygaard at the Net: Week 15

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With USC's MPSF Tournament game against Long Beach State on the horizon, men's volleyball head coach Jeff Nygaard sat down to discuss his team's health and mindset heading into the playoffs.

The No. 10 Trojans head to No. 1 Long Beach State for an MPSF quarterfinal matchup at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Meet Matt Fink

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Position: QB

Class: Redshirt Freshman

Size: 6-foot-3, 195 pounds

Age: 19

High School (Hometown): Glendora HS (Rancho Cucamonga, CA)

Game: Fink worked mostly with the scout team as a true freshman, learning behind Sam Darnold and Max Browne. Now, he is competing with early enrollee Jack Sears for the backup job behind Darnold. Fink has noticeably improved his arm strength and accuracy in his short time as a Trojan. He fits the mold of the new USC signal-caller in that he has the arm talent to sling it from the pocket but the legs to extend the play.

Prep Career: He made 2015 Prep Star All-American, Tacoma News Tribune Western 100, Cal-Hi Sports All-State Medium Schools first team, All-CIF Central Division, San Gabriel Valley Tribune All-Area first team and All-Palomares League Player of the Year as a senior dual-threat quarterback at Glendora High. He completed 87-of-174 passes (50.0%) for 1,258 yards with 15 TDs and 5 interceptions in 2015, and rushed for 1,106 yards on 180 carries (6.1 avg) with 17 TDs.

Helton on Fink's performance during the spring scrimmage: "Matt Fink came along. I thought he did some good things today. He's really progressed. I was proud for him today."

Fun Fact: Fink was also the punter in high school, averaging 36.8 yards on 37 punts as a senior.

Here is Fink on his relationship with Darnold, his musical interests and more:


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pac-12player-michael4.jpgFor the fourth week in a row and the ninth time in her career, USC women's lacrosse captain Michaela Michael has been named the MPSF Offensive Player of the Week.

Click here for the full release!

The Bay Area native scored six goals against Oregon last week and tied a career high with seven against San Diego State to earn the award.

Michael has come on strong down the stretch, scoring at least four goals in each of USC's last five games. Her impressive performances of late have helped her maintain the top spot in the MPSF in scoring, points and draw controls this season. Her 53 goals also rank second in the nation.

After scoring 13 goals this week, Michael moved up to second place in the MPSF's all-time scoring charts and fourth in all-time points.

The two-time All-American and 2017 Tewaaraton Award nominee has a few more chances to rewrite the record books in USC's three remaining regular season games. The Trojans' last home game of the regular season comes this Friday at 5 p.m. at the LA Memorial Coliseum against No. 5 Colorado. After that, No. 9 USC has two road games before returning home for the MPSF Tournament, then potentially traveling to the NCAA Championships.

Follow the Women of Troy on Twitter to stay up-to-date!

Beasts Of The Bayou

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USC track & field won 10 events in an impressive showing at the Battle on the Bayou in Baton Rouge, LA this weekend.

Click here for the full recap!

The Trojans competed against LSU, Purdue and Penn State as well as unaffiliated athletes.

Senior Amalie Iuel and freshman Anna Cockrell went 1-2 in the women's 110 meter hurdles. Iuel's time ranked third-best in USC history and Cockrell's set USC's freshman record.

USC also went 1-2 in the women's 400 meter dash. Kendall Ellis posted the second-fastest time in USC history to win the event, while Cameron Pettigrew notched USC's eighth-best time to place second.

USC won the 400 meter dash on the men's side as well, as Ricky Morgan Jr. posted the sixth-best time in the NCAA this season.

A national champion in the event last year, USC's Randall Cunningham (pictured) topped the field again at this weekend's event.

This week, the Trojans split up for the Mt. SAC Relays in Cerritos, CA nad the Beach Invitational in Long Beach, CA.

lr_USC_track_field_Ncaa_day_3_mcgillen_4371 copy.jpg

Helton at the Races

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USC head coach Clay Helton enjoyed a special day as the Grand Marshal of the Long Beach Grand Prix on Sunday, including riding along with racing legend Mario Andretti.

Click here to watch a video of Helton at the Grand Prix.

The Texan looked right at home on the track with his wife, Angela. And, he was able to rub elbows with celebrity attendees like Patriots WR Julian Edelman, entertainer Rob Zombie and more.

Here are the John McGillen photos:

Cover The Bases

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USC baseball won its first game, but dropped the series against No. 21 Stanford last week.

USC's two home runs proved to be the difference in Thursday's 7-5 win over the Cardinal. The next night, the teams headed to extra innings knotted at 3. In the top of the 10th, Stanford's bats lit up, and they charged ahead to an 8-3 win. Despite outhitting the Cardinal on Saturday, the Trojans dropped the rubber match, 6-3.

USC is now 16-14 (5-7 Pac-12) on the season heading into this week's series at Cal State Fullerton.

Check out team photographer John McGillen's photos of Game 3 in the series:

Top 10 And Tourney Bound

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mvb-ranking-10.jpgUSC men's volleyball moved up to No. 10 in the nation after winning its regular season finale.

Click here for the full recap!

The Trojans topped Cal Baptist, 3-1, in Riverside on Saturday, to take a three-match win streak into the MPSF Tournament.

The match was USC's second in a row against the Lancers, as the two teams had just faced off two days prior. The Trojans won in four sets in both matches.

USC closes out the regular season at 14-13 (8-10 MPSF). The team's first MPSF Tournament matchup comes Saturday at 7 p.m. at Long Beach State.

Finish Strong

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USC men's golf closed out the regular season with a win at the Western Intercollegiate at Pasatiempo G.C. (Santa Cruz, CA).

Click here for the full recap!

Sophomore Justin Suh led the way, winning the tournament with a 5-under 205 (68-67-70). It marked Suh's third Top 3 finish this season and first win of his collegiate career.

Suh and junior Sean Crocker, who tied for second in the field, helped the No. 1 Trojans finish even at 1050 (347-348-355), 18 strokes ahead of second-place Stanford.

The win is USC's third of the season, and sixth straight Top 2 finish.

The top-ranked Trojans now head to Boulder, CO for the Pac-12 Championships at the end of the month.


Start Fresh

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On Saturday, No. 1 USC women's water polo saw its record-setting 52-game win streak come to an end at the hands of No. 2 Stanford.

Click here for the full recap.

The Trojans started their winning streak in the 2015 NCAA third place game, after falling to Stanford in the semifinals. They went undefeated and won the national title in 2016, and opened up the 2017 season 25-0 before Saturday's showdown with the Cardinal.

Stanford netted the first two goals of the game, and took a 7-5 advantage into halftime at USC's Uytengsu Aquatics Center. The Trojans notched the first goal of the second half to make it a one-point game, but Stanford answered and took control as the game went on, to secure a 12-8 win and end USC's impressive streak.

The Trojans are now 25-1 (3-1 MPSF) on the season with two more regular season matchups to go. They travel to Cal this weekend before finishing up at UCLA on April 22.

Check out team photographer John McGillen's photos of the epic battle:

McGillen Gallery: USC Rowing vs. LMU

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USC's 12th-ranked women's rowing team won each of seven races in a scrimmage against LMU this weekend in Marina Del Rey, CA.

Check out USC team photographer John McGillen's photos of the meet:

One Streak Ends, Another Survives

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USC's top-ranked beach volleyball squad won five matches this weekend to extend its winning streak to 55 in a row.

On Friday, the Trojans beat Washington, 4-1, and Arizona State, 5-0, in a double header. The win over the Huskies was monumental for USC's top duo of Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes, as it represented their 100th consecutive win as a pair.

After two more wins against LMU and ASU in Manhattan Beach on Saturday, Claes and Hughes had their remarkable 103-match win streak snapped. The duo fell to St. Mary's' top team in three sets, marking their first loss since April 2, 2015.

Despite Claes and Hughes' loss, the Trojans notched a team victory to improve to 25-0 (4-0 Pac-12) on the season.

USC team photographer John McGillen kicked off the weekend's action by capturing the best moments against Washington.

Michael's Monster Games

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USC_lacrosse_stanford_coliseum_mcgillen_HR-2271.jpgLed by senior captain Michaela Michael, USC women's lacrosse won both games of a zigzagging road trip this weekend to improve its season record to 11-3 (5-0 MPSF).

On Friday, the No. 9 Trojans traveled north to Eugene, OR to face the Ducks. Michael notched six goals in the win for the sixth time in her career, lifting USC to a dominant 17-7 win.

The two-time IWLCA All-American managed to top that stat line in the very next game. At San Diego State on Saturday, she tied a career high with seven goals, including six in the first half. USC beat the Aztecs, 15-3.

Michael, who has won MPSF Offensive Player of the Week three times in a row, has scored at least six goals in each of USC's last five games.

The senior now has 53 goals on the season -- 13 more than the next highest scorer in the MPSF. With three regular season games to go before the MPSF Tournament and potential NCAA Championships, Michael has the potential to rewrite USC's record books yet again.

She already holds USC's top two single-season scoring marks (with 68 goals in 2016 and 63 in 2015) and set records in points, shots, shots on goal and free-position goals last year.

Michael and the Trojans return home for their last regular season game of 2016 this Friday night. No. 9 USC takes on No. 5 Colorado in a showdown at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Low Am High Point

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USC men's golf alum Stewart Hagestad made the most out of his first appearance at the Masters, taking the low amateur crown, a longstanding tradition at golf's first major. He tallied four consistent rounds, posting 74-73-74-73 en route to finishing tied for 36th at 6-over.

"It's a dream come true," Hagestad said about being low amateur. "It's something I've long thought about and to have it come to fruition is an absolute dream come true."

Hagestad, who works as a financial analyst by day in New York, earned his way into the field by winning the U.S. Mid-Amateur. He became the first U.S. Mid-Amateur champion to make the cut since 1989.

On the day before his 26th birthday, Hagestad ended up winning the low amateur title by three strokes over Curtis Luck. He needed a strong back nine on Sunday to close it out.

"I just kind of said, 'Hey, we're playing Augusta National on Sunday afternoon, the day before my birthday, and it's a perfect day. It doesn't get much better than this,'" Hagestad told Golfweek. "Obviously, low amateur was important to me and it was a huge goal, but I think one part of getting older is that there's so much more to it than that."

2017 Spring Practice #12: Clay Helton

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Written by Grace DeWitt, USC blog contributor 

The Trojans held one last Saturday scrimmage with just one week until the 2017 Spring Game. 
Watch head coach Clay Helton's full press conference here:

Clash Of The Titans

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USC women's water polo's final home match of the season is a big one, as the No. 1 Trojans host No.  2 Stanford tomorrow at 5 p.m.

Click here for the full preview!

Stanford has been USC's toughest opponent in recent history. The Cardinal were the last opponents to beat USC, back on May 9, 2015. Since then, the Trojans have won an NCAA women's record 52 straight games -- five of which have come against the Cardinal.

USC topped Stanford in last year's national championship and beat the Cardinal again in an overtime thriller this February to usurp the nation's No. 1 ranking and keep the win streak alive.

USC's win two months ago marks Stanford's only loss of the season (16-1, 3-0 MPSF). While USC's Stephania Haralabidis leads the conference in scoring (2.88 goals per game), Stanford's Maggie Steffens, who won gold with Team USA at the Rio Olympics, ranks second.

Haralabidis is one of seven seniors who will be honored ahead of Saturday's showdown. She will be joined by her twin sister Ioanna as well as Melanie Slater, Nikki Stansfield, Cassidy Feltenberger, Brigitta Games and Avery Peterson, who will all play their final game at USC's Uytengsu Aquatics Center.

Tomorrow's match begins at 5 p.m. and will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network.


Haralabidis Pop Quiz

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No. 1 USC women's water polo's Haralabidis twins have combined to score 420 goals in their college careers. Ioanna and Stephania are always in sync in the pool, but how much do the sisters know about each other outside of the water?

Ahead of their final home game, Saturday's showdown with No. 2 Stanford (5 p.m. at Uytengsu Aquatics Center), we quizzed them to find out more.

McGillen Gallery: Spring Practice At The Coliseum

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For the first time this spring, USC football made its way to the Coliseum for practice.

Check out team photographer John McGillen's photos from yesterday's session:

Anytime, Anywhere

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USC men's golf is the top-ranked team in the nation, and has finished first or second in each of its last six events.

After falling in last season's NCAA semifinals, the Trojans have their eyes on the NCAA title this year.

We caught up with two of USC's standouts, Sean Crocker and Rico Hoey, practicing their craft on the team's simulator on campus.

Meet Deland McCullough

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Following the departure of Tommie Robinson, USC football hired Deland McCullough as running backs coach/run game coordinator.

McCullough spent the past six years in the same position at Indiana, developing three future NFL RBs in Stephen Houston, Tevin Coleman and Jordan Howard, with another potentially heading to the league this year.

The Ohio native inherits a strong running game at Troy, led by junior RB Ronald Jones II, who rushed for 1,082 yards and 12 TD last season.

Meet Deland McCullough:

Locked Up

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USC men's volleyball earned a crucial win last night to secure the final spot in next week's MPSF Tournament.

Click here for the full recap!

On Senior Night, the Trojans topped Cal Baptist in four sets (25-18, 25-21, 23-25, 25-22), improving to 13-13 on the season and 7-10 in MPSF action.

Seniors Lucas Yoder and Andy Benesh shined in their final match in the Galen Center. Yoder led the Trojans with 17 kills, while Benesh (pictured) notched 13 kills and six blocks. Yoder's 4.76 kills per set is tops in the MPSF this year, while Benesh, the team captain, ranks eighth in the nation in blocks and hitting percentage.

Senior Vinnie Rios, meanwhile, led the way with seven digs on the night.

With the win, the 11th-ranked Trojans cemented a Top 8 finish in the MPSF and a spot in the conference tournament, as only eight of 12 teams can compete. Before the tourney, though, they face Cal Baptist one more time. Tomorrow, the Trojans close out the regular season in Riverside, CA with another battle against the Lancers.

Follow the Trojans on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat as they gear up for the MPSF Tournament, which begins on April 15.

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2017 Spring Practice #11: Notes

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The Trojans practiced in the Coliseum for the first time this spring.
  • Here is the injury report per head coach Clay Helton: WR Deontay Burnett (dinged his head), OL Viane Talamaivao (elbow surgery went well), OL Andrew Voorhees (back) and CB Iman Marshall (shoulder sprain).
  • Coliseum-Spring.jpegHelton picked up the dirt from the Coliseum floor and reminded his team about the history of the stadium, and they rewarded him with one of the most energetic practices of the spring. "The competitive nature that our kids played with today makes you a happy football coach," he said afterward. "Every time that we walk into this special, special place, there's an attitude that we bring with it. I'm so happy that they brought that today."
  • Practice really heated up during the red zone drills with wide receivers and defensive backs going one-on-one. Michael Pittman Jr. did an "absolutely tremendous job" in his battle with CB Jack Jones during that session, said Helton.
  • The pass rush drills were equally competitive as the defensive front is "getting honed in with their pressures," according to Helton, who was "impressed with the aggressiveness." But, the head coach also complimented his quarterback, Sam Darnold, for getting the ball out quickly under duress.
  • OLB Oluwole Betiku picked up at least one sack in practice. He is a "hard man to block," Helton said, because he is now adding fundamentals and technique to his tremendous athleticism and physique. "At first when I came, I didn't really embrace [learning the playbook] or like it. But now I love it," Betiku said.
  • The USC defense emphasizes individual film study now more than ever because of the influence of Michael Hutchings, last year's senior captain, Helton said. "You have to know your opponent," said OLB Uchenna Nwosu. "You have to study your opponent. You have to know what type of sets he's going to give you."
  • Nwosu could end up being a senior captain this season as he's emerged as a respected voice in the locker room. "Of course, that is my ultimate goal to become an All-American who wouldn't want that, but the guys see me as a leader, trying to play hard for them and if I come off like an All-American to them then that's what I am looking for," he said.
  • Betiku uses his free time to study film and be around his position coach Johnny Nansen. "Whenever I have a little break in classes, I'll go meet [Nansen]," he said. "Sometimes I'll go alone and he just teaches me about life, teaches me about football, shares experiences, shows me NFL film, and guys that play my position."
  • The Coliseum (pictured) is under construction as the two video boards on the Peristyle come down. Two new video boards will soon go up in the upper corners of the stadium on that side in place of the bleacher seats.
  • Here is Helton's press conference in full:

Racking Up Miles

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After netting three wins to open up MPSF play, USC's ninth-ranked women's lacrosse team hits the road this weekend looking for two more.

Click here for the full preview!

Tomorrow at 1 p.m., the Trojans take on Oregon in Eugene, where USC has never lost. The very next day, USC play in San Diego, CA against the SDSU Aztecs at 6 p.m.

These games represent the first time this season that USC plays on back-to-back days -- valuable practice for the upcoming MPSF Tournament.

Tomorrow, the Trojans will go up against the only player in the MPSF averaging more points per game than USC's own Michaela Michael in Oregon's Shannon Williams. While Michaels, the back-to-back-to-back MPSF Offensive Player of the Week, boasts 40 goals and 12 assists, Williams has netted 37 goals and 18 assists.

Follow the Women of Troy on Twitter and Instagram for updates!


Throwback Thursday

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USC baseball aims to snap a four-game skid with a series against Stanford this week.

Click here for the full series preview!

Freshman Chris Clarke gets the start on the mound this evening to kick off the series. Two sophomores will get the start on Friday and Saturday, in CJ Stubbs and Marrick Crouse, respectively.

While the Trojans are looking for consistency in their pitching game, their defense has kept them afloat. USC boasts the seventh-best fielding percentage in the nation at .983.

While USC is 15-12 on the season and right in the middle of the pack in the conference standings, Stanford is 15-9, ranking third-to-last.

Tonight's 6 p.m. matchup will feature a Throwback Thursday deal, where fans can receive a Barry Zito snapback hat.

Tomorrow is Free Dog Friday, where the first 200 students in attendance receive three free hot dogs.

On Saturday, USC hosts the annual Kids Take Over The Ballpark event.

Click here to see all of USC's baseball promos this year!

Go North

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This weekend, the Trojan men's tennis team heads to the Bay to continue Pac-12 Play.

Click here for the full preview!

No. 5 USC topped Oregon and Washington this weekend to start 2-0 in conference competition, and aims to improve upon that record against No. 19 Stanford and No. 12 Cal.

Despite inexperience, two freshmen have provided a consistent boost for the Trojans this season. Riley Smith has won 11 straight for a 15-1 overall dual match record in his first year at Troy, while Brandon Holt has held his own on the top two courts and managed a 12-4 record and a No. 19 national ranking.

Holt and Smith (pictured) have proven a formidable duo in doubles, reaching a No. 11 national ranking with a 13-2 record on Court 1.

Holt, Smith and the Trojans face Stanford tomorrow at 3 p.m. and Cal on Saturday at 1 p.m. Follow the team on Twitter and Instagram for updates!


Going For 100

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usc-beach-volleyball-2017-zuma-ucla-mcgillen-7466.jpgUSC beach volleyball seniors Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes have the chance to win their 100th consecutive match together during the front end of USC's double header on Friday.

Click here for the full preview!

Claes and Hughes' winning streak stretches back over two years, beginning on April 2, 2015. Between then and now, the duo has won 99 straight matches -- all but eight in straight sets -- including the 2015 AVCA Pairs National Championship and the 2016 Pac-12 Pairs Championship. Their 118-3 overall record together makes them the winningest pair in USC beach volleyball history.

Claes and Hughes' success on Court 1 has helped the Trojans win back-to-back national titles en route to 50 consecutive dual match victories.

No. 1 USC is 20-0 this season heading into Friday's matches against Washington and No. 15 Arizona State.

Claes and Hughes have a shot at 100 when they take on the Huskies' top team at 4 p.m. on Friday. Should they prevail, they go for 101 against the Sun Devils at 6 p.m. Both matches take place at USC's Merle Norman Stadium. Admission is free.

Stream the game on Pac-12+ or follow the top-ranked Trojans on Twitter and Instagram if you can't be there.

Enfield Extended Thru 2023

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Fourth-year USC men's basketball head coach Andy Enfield, who has guided the Trojans to back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths and the most victories in a season in program history, has had his contract extended through the 2023 season, USC athletic director Lynn Swann announced today.

"With Andy Enfield as our head coach, we have built consistency and stability in our men's basketball program," said Swann. "Extending Andy's contract will allow that consistency and stability to continue. The record-setting season we just had is proof that Andy has established the USC program as an annual contender on the national level."

Enfield led the 2017 Trojans to a 26-10 mark, the program's most wins in a season. In 2017, USC got off to a 14-0 start, its best start since the 1971 season, and Troy went undefeated during non-conference play for just the sixth time in school history. The Trojans, who made consecutive NCAA trips for the first time since 2008-09, won a pair of games in the 2017 NCAA tourney.

Enfield has seen his USC teams increase their win totals each season. In 2016, USC was 21-13 and earned its first NCAA berth in five years. USC's 47 combined wins in the last two seasons is the most in a two-year stretch in school history.

In addition to the success on the court, the USC's men's basketball program has excelled in the classroom and three times has established the team record for highest grade-point average in a semester.

"Our coaching staff is proud of our players' development and accomplishments both in the classroom and on the court," said Enfield. "With the core of veteran returnees and incoming talented freshmen, we are excited about the future of USC basketball."


Good Thymes

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Yesterday, USC senior Just'N Thymes was named the Pac-12 Track & Field Men's Track Athlete of the Week.

Click here for the full release!

Thymes' honor marks the third week in a row that USC has won a Pac-12 Athlete of the Week award, after Deanna Hill (March 28) and Nick Ponzio (March 21).

Thymes earned recognition for placing second in the 100m dash at the Texas Relays with a time of 10.08 (+2.1) -- the second-fastest time in the nation this season. He also anchored USC's sixth-place 4x400m relay team.

The Phoenix, AZ native is having an impressive year after missing the entire 2016 season with a leg injury.

Next up for the Trojans is the Battle on the Bayou in Baton Rouge, LA on Saturday.


2017 Spring Practice #10: Notes

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With spring football more than halfway over, the Trojans focused on tempo and backed up situations in practice on Tuesday.
  • usc-football-spring-2017-mcgillen-6542.jpgUSC head coach Clay Helton announced that senior guard Viane Talamaivao underwent elbow surgery today after a slight tear to the bicep, but noted that he expects Talamaivao to be ready for camp and the 2017 season opener.
  • Helton said he's trying to make the best of one of his veterans' injury. "It hurts us a little bit offensively when you have that kind of experience out, but it's a great opportunity for some young guys to get out there and get extra reps," Helton said. "I look at Andrew Vorhees and Roy Hemsley getting those types of reps with the 1s -- those are valuable."
  • Helton stressed the importance of training linemen at multiple positions on the heels of Talamaivao's injury news. Vorhees, Hemsley and Chris Brown have all practiced at both tackle and guard during spring ball. "By multi-training your guys, I think you make yourself a better asset," Helton said. "Not only for this league, but the next league also."
  • Behind the offensive line, redshirt freshman Vavae Malepeai (pictured) has been getting increased reps in the absence of injured vets Ronald Jones II and Aca'Cedric Ware. "Even though older guys like Rojo and Ced are injured right now, they take the time to actually watch what we're doing on the field," said Malepeai. "So when I come to the sideline they do a great job of taking that leadership role and informing me on what I did wrong, what I did great.
  • While learning from his teammates, Malepeai is also adjusting to a new running backs coach in Deland McCullough. The redshirt freshman described McCullough as "intense" at times, "but then again there's times where he takes the drill and slows it down so we can understand why we're doing it," Malepeai said. "He really takes care of us."
  • Fellow redshirt freshman Velus Jones Jr. has also seen his playing time increase this spring. The wideout said his chemistry with QB Sam Darnold is "getting to the top" despite the defense catching on to the offense's plays during spring ball.
  • While Jones and redshirt freshman wideout Tyler Vaughns were impressive as usual, offensive coordinator Tee Martin dubbed today Michael Pittman's best practice, punctuated by Pittman hauling in a high ball in a third down situation.
  • Thursday's practice will take place at the LA Memorial Coliseum for the first time this spring.
  • Here is Helton's full press conference:

Trojan Tribune: Michael Hutchings

Written by Michael Hutchings, USC football senior captain

USC_Football_Notre_Dame_Coliseum_2016_McGillen_6454.jpgI have always been real.

My parents were like that with me as a child. They wanted me to be realistic with myself and set realistic goals.

After college football, I knew that my NFL chances were slim to none, so I just played my odds and decided to pursue another profession that motivates me. I would be more of a free agent type, which would put me behind. I just figured I'd get ahead by starting my commercial real estate career in investment sales at 21-years-old instead of waiting until I was 23 or 24.

Once I made that decision, accepting a job offer in the middle of my senior season, it freed me up. I was good. I was relaxed. I had my plan set for after school, and I just played. I was playing with zero pressure. I was just playing football and having fun because I knew it was my last few games playing football.

It could not have worked out any better. My final college tackle was 3rd-and-4 in the Rose Bowl, stopping Saquon Barkley in the backfield, and forcing a punt that led to the game-tying drive. To go out as a captain, win the Rose Bowl and just the season we had, it was a dream.

USC_Football_Rose_Bowl_2017_PSU_McGillen_3544.jpgI want to stay around USC and stay involved still with the athletic program, with football. I really used the game as a platform. I want to relay that message to everyone that goes through here. There's 85-90% of us that don't go to the NFL. Let's use it as a platform to still be successful even if you don't fulfill your ultimate dream of playing professionally. Let's still be successful in the business world.

That's definitely why you choose USC and that's what they preach to you during recruiting. I did not really see it until I was proactive going on an internship hunt and going on a job hunt. That's when I met so many people that were powerful in Los Angeles that were connected to USC. Once you start meeting different people, they want to introduce you to more USC alums and it becomes a cycle. That's what happened with me. JK McKay set me up with my internship sophomore year and ever since then, I have been meeting people in the real estate industry that were connected to USC.

Business leaders gravitate towards student-athletes, not because of the prestige of it, but because of the work load that we take on. We have transferable skills that allow you to go into the work force. We are used to structure. We are used to the daily grind of being challenged. As my gap got smaller for my NFL chance, I had to widen my range of transferable skills for the business world, including showing leadership as a captain.

I think being personable was the main reason that I was chosen by my teammates. I formed a relationship with pretty much every guy in the locker room. I could have a conversation with any of my teammates and know a little bit about them. That relates to any field you are in. It's just relationships. I take pride in having good relationships and keeping strong bridges with anybody around me.

The veterans before me, like Hayes Pullard and Devon Kennard, showed me the way. I kind of just did what those guys passed down to me. The goal is to continue the fountain of youth so everybody understands how this works. You want guys to look back and say, 'This guy really helped me a lot.' Whether it is something small or something huge, on the field or off the field, I just want them to be able to take one thing from me.

USC_Football_Rose_Bowl_2017_PSU_McGillen_4866.jpgI will miss the locker room. You are with the guys 12 hours a day. I enjoyed the work leading up to your test every Saturday. Every week, you had something to look forward to as far as a new challenge. Hopefully, I have something like that as far as a new challenge in my new job, but the weekly test was fun for me.

What I won't miss are the 5 a.m. wake-up calls and morning team runs throughout the summer, but I think that's what helped shape me. I would go to team runs at 6 a.m., go to my internship and then come back for 7-on-7 sessions in the evening.

I am somebody that if you are going to do something, be all in. I am motivated by the people that come behind me. I want to set an example for them. That's what really drives me.

I am going to have some fun and travel Southeast Asia after the semester and then begin my new job in July. I am looking forward to the challenges ahead for me and my teammates. You will see me. I'll be around. I cannot wait to watch this team and program continue to grow and succeed.

Proud to be a Trojan for life. Fight On!


Never Too Early to Get Excited

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Mere seconds after the college basketball season ended on Monday night, every media publication raced to release its way-too-early Top 25 ranking for next season and many of them looked favorably upon the Trojans.

Here's a list of where USC men's basketball stands in the perception of the national media entering the offseason:

No. 6 The Big Lead

No. 10 Fansided

No. 11 USA Today

No. 11 Jon Wilner

No. 12 CBS Sports

No. 12 FOX Sports

No. 13 Jon Rothstein

No. 13 Sports Illustrated

No. 14 Yahoo! Sports

No. 14 NBC Sports

No. 14 SB Nation

The Trojans earned their moment in "One Shining Moment," but they'll looking for more screen time next year.

Megens Again

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For the second week in a row, USC women's water polo freshman Maud Megens has been named the MPSF Newcomer of the Week.

Click here for the full story!

In USC's win over No. 4 Arizona State last week, Megens notched two goals, three assists and two steals. She has 48 goals for USC on the season, second only to senior Stephania Haralabidis' 72.

Megens and the Trojans are 25-0 on the season heading into Saturday's 5 p.m. match against No. 2 Stanford.

Follow USC water polo on Twitter and Instagram to stay in the loop as the Trojans shoot for another undefeated season.


Heritage Association Spotlight: Mike Nyeholt

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Written by Fernando Stepensky, USC blog contributor

The Heritage Association Spotlight was created to profile USC student-athlete alumni who have given back to the university.

This month, we sat down with USC All-American swimmer Mike Nyeholt. After breaking his neck in a motorcycle accident in 1981, Nyeholt has continued to support USC Athletics and continues helping other athletes with physical disabilities fund their college dreams through his annual Swim With Mike fundraiser. 

Nyeholt.jpegAlthough the first Swim With Mike event in March of 1981 was called Swim For Mike, and was meant to be a one-time fundraiser to help buy a specially equipped van for Nyeholt, over 30 years later the event has soldiered on. The 37th Annual Swim With Mike event will take place at USC's Uytengsu Aquatics Center this Saturday from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.

The first event raised about $50,000, but now Swim With Mike brings in over $1,000,000 a year to help fund scholarships for these student-athletes to attend college. Originally intended for people that would attend USC, the program has now raised more than $18,000,000 and provided over 200 scholarships to physically challenged athletes at about 100 different universities. All this and more has drastically exceeded Nyeholt's expectations.

Fernando Stepensky (FS): In your own words, what is Swim With Mike?

Mike Nyeholt (MN): It's probably the most incredible fundraising thing that is done by a volunteer organization that has ever been put together. Swim With Mike obviously started when I broke my neck in 1981. Good friends and family members got together out of frustration of me kind of no longer being able to take care of myself anymore because I was confined to a wheelchair. So, they thought they would try and raise some money to help me out and raised an excess of $50,000. Obviously, I was overwhelmed. I used some of the funds to purchase a van, and I made a comment there, that day of the event, that my father was swimming for me that day and I would be swimming in the following years on my own, meaning that I wasn't going to let this setback of paralysis define my life going forward. My thoughts were that I was going to improve, get better, and be back in the pool swimming. 

My good friend Ron Orr, who I had gone to high school with and was my college teammate at USC, took that statement and then I called him up and said, 'Why don't we take the rest of those funds and put it towards a scholarship?' because I certainly wasn't in need of the entire amount of money that they had raised. You put those two things together and that is how Swim For Mike became Swim With Mike. The Physically Challenged Athletes Scholarship Fund has been more than he or I could have ever dreamed it would become. I obviously didn't think it would be going 36 years later, and we've been able to reach out and help so many deserving young men and women get college scholarships after they suffered some sort of traumatic injury.

It also, over the years, motivated me. When you injure yourself like that you have to overcome hardships, you have to get your mind straight again. It's more of a mental battle than it is a physical battle in the early years, and just the fact that we were out trying to help other people that were fighting these battles, we had to fight even harder. 

We have one of the most extraordinary organizations ever and it's all volunteers, and it's about friends of friends of friends and family who reach out and support. Ron likes to call it the ripple effect, which I think is awesome, and, you know, we raise in excess of $1,000,000 a year now-a-days, and put a whole bunch of people through school.

FS: When was the turning point in Swim With Mike where it really started to take off?

MN: I don't know if there was one. Year one led to year two, we raised more money than we did the previous year, and it took us a long time before we could raise $100,000 a year in one event. Then it was $200,000, then $500,000 and then it was a $1,000,000 and now we are successfully raising in excess of $1,000,000 a year. As long as you keep reaching out and helping people and it matters to them, there's a reason that you raise $100,000 and then it gets to 200, to 500, and then $1,000,000, cause you're helping folks and those folks are touched and want to give back and help others.

FS: You have repeatedly donated to USC's swim program. Why is donating to USC Athletics so important to you?

MN: Athletes at USC are given the opportunity, whether they are scholarship athletes or not, to get an incredible education, an incredibly valuable education, particularly when it comes to the Southern California area, and you have an opportunity to take advantage of that education, get a good job and hopefully give back to the university. 

I was very impressed when years ago [former USC baseball player] Mark Prior went on to sign with the Chicago Cubs, and on his initial signing bonus gave about $200,000 back to the USC baseball program. I don't see why, if you have some sort of successful career, be it in athletics or in business or some other career, and you have the ability to maybe give back to the athletic department or athletic program that you participated in, why wouldn't you want to do that? And then that helps them get better athletes and better kids in there, and hopefully then they also take advantage of the great education and get a great career.

FS: You'll also give back in the form of speaking at graduation this year, right? How did that come about?

MN: I am giving the commencement speech at the USC School of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, which came about because of a physical therapist that my mother started using. I got a message from her late that said, 'I was so happy to hear that you had accepted the offer to speak,' so I am assuming that she put my name out, and then Ron Orr accepted it. I hope I am able to do a decent job for those kids.

If you are a member of the USC student-athlete alumni community, or would like more information about the Heritage Association, please click here!

Power Couple

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For the second time this season, USC beach volleyball seniors Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes have been named the Pac-12 Pair of the Week.

Claes and Hughes didn't drop a set en route to a 5-0 mark in dual matches last week and a 3-0 record in pairs competition. The duo is now 26-0 together this season and has won 99 consecutive matches, dating back to the 2015 season.

Claes and Hughes have a shot at No. 100 on Friday when the Trojans host Washington at 4 p.m.

With today's selection, No. 1 USC has earned four of the five Pac-12 Pair of the Week awards this year.


Dive In

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usc-mens-swimming-diving-utah-2017-mcgillen-1246.jpgAfter a successful 2016-17 season, USC men's swimming and diving swept the Pac-12 yearly awards.

Click here for the full story!

Junior Dashiell Enos was named the Pac-12 Diver of the Year after winning the 3-Meter at the Pac-12 Championships and scoring in two events at the NCAA Championships. This year, Enos became the first Trojan since 2009 to earn All-American honors on the board, after finishing sixth on platform at NCAAs.

Freshman Henry Fusaro (pictured) earned Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year. In his debut at the NCAA Championships, Fusaro made the finals in two consolation events -- the 1-Meter and 3-Meter -- finishing ninth and 14th, respectively. Fusaro finished just behind his teammate Enos to earn second place in the 3-Meter at the Pac-12 Championships.

Enos and Fusaro have blossomed under the leadership of head coach Hongping Li, who was named the Pac-12 Men's Diving Coach of the Year for the second year in a row. Li, who also coaches the women's diving team, has directed a combined nine men's and women's divers to a combined 41 All-American honors, eight NCAA titles and 35 conference titles in his 18 years at Troy.

Kids Take Over The Ballpark

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USC baseball takes on Pac-12 foe Stanford this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Saturday's matchup marks USC's "Kids Take Over The Ballpark" event, where a $20 package includes tickets, prizes and opportunities for children to perform gameday activities. See below for more information and click here for tickets!

kids take over the ballpark.jpg

MPSF Masters

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pac-12player-michael3.jpgFor their efforts in USC women's lacrosse's two wins this week, attacker Michaela Michael and midfielder Kaeli Huff were named the MPSF Offensive Player and Rookie of the Week, respectively.

Read the full story here!

Michael, who leads the MPSF in scoring, has now earned the Offensive Player of the Week three weeks in a row. In USC's two most recent wins, she scored 10 goals, had 17 draw controls and added an assist, a ground ball and a caused turnover. The wins represented Michael's 33rd and 34th career hat tricks, the most in USC history. Her 196 career goals are the most in USC lacrosse history as well.

While Michael has earned nine MPSF weekly honors in her career, Huff just earned her first. The freshman from Eastport, NY led USC with a career-high five goals in Friday's win over Fresno State.

Huff, who comes from a family of lacrosse players, has 13 goals on the season.

Michaela, Huff and the ninth-ranked Women of Troy have just five regular season matches remaining, and only one at home: a Friday evening clash with Colorado at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum (April 14 at 5 p.m. on Pac-12 Network).


Green But Golden

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Written by Rachel Frain, USC blog contributor

With a playoff win at the U.S. Mid-Amateur last September, USC men's golf alum Stewart Hagestad cemented a trip to Augusta, GA to compete in a tradition unlike any other: the Masters Golf Tournament.

Hagestad.jpegIn his time at USC, Hagestad rarely started for the golf team. During his senior year he was a reliable reserve, often used if a starter was injured or in a slump. He spent his undergraduate years pursuing a finance degree from the Marshall School of Business, and is now working for Oak Tree Residential, a real estate firm in Manhattan.

So how did Hagestad go from sitting on the bench at USC to securing a spot in the most famous golf tournament in the world?

Since his move to the Big Apple, Hagestad has adopted his own kind of training program. He hits balls on a simulator during the weekdays, plays local courses on the weekends and competes in national amateur tournaments every so often.

Now, Hagestad, whose younger brother, Richard, is a walk-on safety on the USC football team, is preparing for the biggest weekend of his life thus far. In an interview with USA Today, Hagestad reflected on his last visit to Augusta National.

"I got to play it in college, which was obviously a dream come true," said Hagestad. "I was so enamored, but you have to look at it a little differently now. You're in tournament mode."

Although just 25 years old, Hagestad has a great deal of confidence in himself.

"I can keep up with the guys off the tee. If I start rolling in a few putts, I'd like to think I can compete with anybody," Hagestad told USA Today writer Luke Kerr-Dineen.

Every golfer competing in the Masters will participate in a Par 3 competition tomorrow before play begins, and Hagestad will have his father serve as his caddie for the day.

"There isn't any way in the world it wouldn't be my dad," said Hagestad. "He's supported me so much through the years, always been there for me."

The Masters begins on Thursday and continues through Sunday.

USC MVB - Nygaard at the Net: Week 14

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USC men's volleyball split its matches this weekend as the Trojans make their final push toward the MPSF Tournament. USC's 3-0 win over UCSB gave the Trojans a one-game lead over the Gauchos in the race for the eighth and final spot in the tourney.

Hear what head coach Jeff Nygaard had to say about the important win and staying focused in the last two matches of the regular season:

USC to the MLB 2017

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As the 2017 Major League Baseball season opens, six Trojans have found their place on Opening Day rosters.

Five Trojan pitchers will take the mound in the MLB this season: Ian Kennedy (Kansas City Royals), Tommy Milone (Milwaukee Brewers), Andrew Triggs (Oakland A's), Brad Boxberger (Tampa Bay Rays - 10-day DL) and JP Howell (Toronto Blue Jays).

New York Mets first baseman Lucas Duda rounds out the list of Trojans on active rosters today. Duda opened the season with a bang, driving in 3 runs on a double in the Mets' 6-0 win against the Braves.

Mr. 600

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600wins-mtennis (1).jpgUSC men's tennis head coach Peter Smith earned his 600th and 601st career wins this weekend as the Trojans opened up Pac-12 play.

No. 600 came on Friday when his fifth-ranked Trojans swept the Oregon Ducks, a team to which USC has never lost (23-0 all-time).

USC's 6-1 win over Washington on Saturday pushed Smith to 601 career wins. The Trojans won the doubles point easily, then racked up five straight-sets singles victories to earn the win.

Smith, who has the Trojans sitting at 19-3 (2-0 Pac-12) this season, is a five-time national champion as head coach at USC. He's been named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year five times and the ITA National Coach of the Year twice during his 15-year tenure at Troy.

Before coming to USC, Smith spent time coaching at Pepperdine, Fresno State and Long Beach State, where he became the youngest coach in Division I tennis at the age of 23. In his 28-year career, he boasts an overall record of 601-220.

The Trojans are currently the highest-ranked Pac-12 team in the nation, at No. 5. They have five regular season Pac-12 matches remaining before the conference tournament in Ojai, CA at the end of the month.

McGillen Gallery: USC Men's Tennis vs. Oregon

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USC men's tennis opened up its Pac-12 slate with a win over Oregon on Friday by a 5-0 margin.

John McGillen, the official photographer of the Trojans, captured all the best moments at USC's Marks Stadium.

Crew Stays Classy In San Diego

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USC women's rowing opened up the 2017 season with a win and two second-place finishes at the 44th San Diego Crew Classic this weekend.

Click here for the full recap!

The Trojans won the Varsity Four Grand Final with a time of 7:15.03, finishing just over a second ahead of second-place Texas.

In the Varsity Eight Grand Final, they finished second -- just under four seconds behind the Longhorns, with a time of 6:20.55. USC garnered another second-place finish in the Women's Open Grand Final, clocking in at 7:00.45 -- just over six seconds behind first-place Stanford.

USC finished fifth in the Women's Collegiate 2V8+ Final as well.

The No. 13 Trojans take on Loyola Marymount in Marina Del Rey this Saturday.


Evergreen State Split

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USC women's tennis picked up its first Pac-12 victory in a road split with the Washington schools this weekend.

On Friday, the No. 39 Women of Troy topped Washington State, 4-1.

On Sunday, they ventured to Seattle to take on the No. 35 Washington Huskies. The Trojans won the doubles point and their first two singles matches to jump out to a 3-0 lead, but the Huskies dug in for four hard-fought singles wins to take the match by a 4-3 margin.

With the split, the Trojans moved to 6-8 on the season, with a 1-4 mark in Pac-12 play. This week, they have two chances to improve that record, as they host Utah on Friday and Colorado on Saturday at Marks Stadium.


Good Showing At The Goodwin

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This weekend, USC men's golf earned its sixth straight Top 2 finish, coming in second out of 24 teams at The Goodwin (Stanford G.C.).

The top-ranked Trojans finished nine strokes behind host Stanford, with a 6-over 846 (285-280-281).

USC sat in fourth place after Round 1 and moved into within a stroke of first after a strong second round, but the Cardinal utilized a 7-under 273 final round to take home the title.

Junior Sean Crocker (pictured) led the way for the Trojans, tying for fifth, while sophomore Justin Suh tied for 11th.

The Trojans are gearing up to head north again, with the Western Intercollegiate in Santa Cruz, CA (Pasatiempo G.C.) on the horizon. There, they'll face Stanford again as well as Oregon, Texas, Arizona State and more.


Weekend Warriors

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Over the weekend, USC women's lacrosse racked up two dominant wins to extend its home win streak to 22 straight contests.

The Trojans put up nearly identical performances against both Fresno State and Cal, beating the Bulldogs on Friday by a 21-5 margin and the Bears on Sunday, 21-4.

The wins helped No. 9 USC improve to 9-3 on the season and 3-0 in MPSF action. Sunday's win also marked USC's 20th straight win at McAlister Field and 22nd straight home win, including two games played at the LA Memorial Coliseum.

Click here for the highlights of USC's win over Fresno State and here for highlights of USC's win over Cal!

Senior attacker Michaela Michael scored 10 goals across the two games, giving her 40 on the season -- the most in the MPSF this year. She now boasts 196 career goals, third-most in MPSF history.

The Trojans hit the road for matches at Oregon and San Diego State this weekend before coming home for the final regular-season home match of the season on Friday, April 14 against Colorado. That match will be played at 5 p.m. at the Coliseum.

Check out USC team photographer John McGillen's photos of USC's win over Cal!

Still Streaking

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beach volley 50.jpg
With three wins this weekend, USC's top-ranked beach volleyball team extended its winning streak to an unprecedented 50 consecutive matches.

USC swept all three of its opponents (San Francisco, Saint Mary's and San Jose State) -- not dropping a single set all weekend -- to accomplish the feat.

The back-to-back national champions are now 20-0 on the current season and have not lost since March 11, 2016, when they fell to Florida State.

In the groundbreaking win against San Jose State on Sunday, USC's top duo of Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes also positioned themselves on the brink of an incredible accomplishment. The seniors won their 99th consecutive match together, a streak that extends back for two years (their last loss came on April 2, 2015).

Claes and Hughes get their shot at No. 100 on Friday when USC hosts Washington at 4 p.m., followed by a battle with ASU at 6 p.m. Both matches will take place at USC's Merle Norman Stadium.

Ever Closer

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On Saturday, USC's top-ranked women's water polo team took down No. 4 Arizona State to improve to 25-0 on the season and extend its win streak to 52 consecutive games.

Click here for the full recap!

The Trojans trailed, 2-1, at the end of the first period, but USC shut ASU out in the second to take a 4-2 lead into halftime. In the second half, the Trojans took over, making their way out to an 11-4 win.

Maud Megens, Hayley McKelvey, Ioanna Haralabidis and Brigitta Games all scored two goals apiece to help the Trojans improve on their women's NCAA record winning streak and inch closer to another perfect regular season.

USC hosts just one more home match (Saturday at 5 p.m. vs. Stanford) before hitting the road for its final two games of the regular season. The final three games will be key in determining the Trojans' slot in the MPSF Championships, which begin April 28 on the campus of UCLA.

2017 Spring Practice #9: Clay Helton

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Written by Alexa Palermo

USC took the field on a warm Saturday morning for their ninth spring practice. The Trojans focused on red zone situations in front of a large crowd of coaches.

Watch USC head coach Clay Helton's full press conference after Saturday's practice: