#USCtotheNFL: 2015 NFL Combine Preview

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

USC has seven players headed to the 2015 NFL Combine in Indianapolis this week to be measured, interviewed and tested as a crucial step on their path to the 2015 NFL Draft. The prospects, headlined by DE Leonard Williams who is expected to be an early first round pick, will participate in a variety of drills including the 40-yard dash, bench press and vertical jump from Friday, February 20 to Monday, February 23.

Click here to follow the results of each Trojan participant.

We will also be updating results all week on Twitter and providing daily recaps here on the USC RipsIt blog.

The full group of Trojans, which ties Oregon for the most invitees in the Pac-12, features Williams, WR Nelson Agholor, RB Buck Allen, LB Hayes Pullard, CB Josh Shaw, LB J.R. Tavai and TE Randall Telfer. Workouts for tight ends, offensive linemen and special teams players get underway on Friday.


MVB Moves Ahead

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

After splitting last week's two-match series with No. 7 BYU, the No. 2 USC men's volleyball team has turned its attention to the first match against UCLA of 2015. The 9-2 Trojans travel to UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday (7 p.m. PT) before returning to Los Angeles on Sunday to face the Bruins in Westwood at 7:30 p.m. PT.

Junior Alex Slaught led the Trojans in the two matches against BYU, finishing with 43 total kills including a career-high 24 in USC's victory on Thursday. Slaught, Micah Christenson and Robert Feathers will look to lead the team as it nears the second half of the 2015 season.

Here is the weekly check-in with head coach Bill Ferguson...

Photo Gallery: Baseball's Opening Sweep

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USC baseball got the season off to a cracking start with a weekend sweep of Towson at Dedeaux Field. The Trojans' bats matched the Southern California weather heating up to the tune of 35 runs over the three games.

Click here for the recap.

Junior A.J. Ramirez paced the hit parade with three doubles driving in five runs, but he was not the only Trojan benefiting from a profitable weekend at the plate. Garrett Stubbs, Dante Flores and Bobby Stahel picked up five hits apiece, while Stahel, Blake Lacey and Jeremy Martinez collected four RBIs each.

USC looks to run its winning streak to four with a short road trip to Cal State Fullerton today (6 p.m. first pitch). The Trojans have a busy week ahead as they return to host Kentucky (Thursday at 6 p.m.) and Oakland (Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.) at Dedeaux Field.

Here are the John McGillen photos from Sunday's sweep of Towson:

A New Rival

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By USC men's tennis' standards, the Trojans cruised in the 2014 NCAA Title Match against Oklahoma. Peter Smith's program is known better for last shot drama, but USC handled the Sooners 4-2 in Athens, Georgia, last spring.

However, despite the setback on the biggest stage in collegiate tennis, Oklahoma does not appear to be going anywhere. The Sooners made a statement this weekend taking down USC, winners of five of the last six national championships, in the finals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships by flipping the score 4-2 in their favor.

The Trojans will hardly be deterred by an early season setback, but they know that a new rival has emerged on the scene after so many years battling Virginia for national hardware. No. 1 USC did enjoy a successful week in Chicago, picking up dual match victories over Penn State, Ohio State and Georgia, led by senior Eric Johnson, who was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week.


Photo Gallery: Women's Tennis' Winning Weekend

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

USC women's tennis continued its strong start to the 2015 campaign this weekend, upsetting No. 11 Vanderbilt, 4-3, and shutting out No. 25 Texas, 7-0, at Marks Stadium. While the entire team fought hard to clinch both victories, freshman Madison Westby stepped up to play the best weekend of tennis in her USC career.

Click here for the full recap of the Vanderbilt dual match and here for the full recap of the Texas dual match.

The excitement began on Saturday in the doubles portion of the competition, as USC narrowly secured the point thanks to the duos of Scandalis/Olmos and Westby/Smith, who won their matches 8-4 and 8-6 respectively. Vanderbilt then went on to win three of the first five singles points, putting the pressure on Westby to clinch her match and the victory in the dual match along with it. Westby battled back from a 4-6 loss in her fist set to win the next two 6-3 and seize an upset for USC.

On Sunday, Westby and partner Gabby Smith dismissed their doubles competition quickly, winning 8-2, to help the Trojans earn the doubles point against Texas. The freshman made quick work of her singles match as well, taking the first singles point after a 6-0, 6-2 victory. USC defeated Texas 7-0 for its fifth shutout of the season.

Westby was awarded Pac-12 Player of the Week honors for her phenomenal performance in both wins. She is now on a five-match singles win streak, boasting a 13-4 overall singles record this year.

Here are the John McGillen photos from the Women of Troy's dominating victory over Texas...

Another Vavic Record

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No. 3 USC women's water polo brought the pain this weekend winning four matches at the Lancer Invitational by a combined score of 106-9. Senior Monica Vavic accounted for nine of the goals in Sunday's win over Pomona-Pitzer, setting the USC single-game scoring record.

Click here for the recap.

Vavic led the team in scoring in all four games, totaling 22 goals on the weekend. She is 14 goals away from becoming the program's all-time leading scorer, the spot currently held by Aniko Pelle (255 career goals).

The Women of Troy will face stiffer competition this weekend at the UCI Invitational, starting Saturday against Santa Barbara.


Photo Gallery: Hoops Back in the W Column

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USC men's basketball snapped its nine-game losing skid with an energetic defensive display against Oregon State at Galen Center on Saturday. The Trojans blocked 9 shots, including 3 each by guards Elijah Stewart and Julian Jacobs, and held the Beavers to 24.2% shooting in the second half en route to victory.

USC heads to Arizona (Thursday at 6 p.m. PT on Pac-12 Networks) and Arizona State (Sunday at 5:30 p.m. PT on Pac-12 Networks) this week.

Here are the John McGillen photos broken into halves from the Valentine's Day victory:

WBB Comeback at Cal

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

The USC women's basketball team overcame an eight-point first half deficit on Sunday to shock the Cal Bears in Berkeley, 65-54. The Women of Troy outscored the Bears 40-21 in the second half to earn their sixth win in Pac-12 play.

To read the full recap, click here.

Seniors Kaneisha Horn and Alexyz Vaioletama led the Trojans in their victorious comeback with 17 points apiece, while Alexis Lloyd added a career-high 14. After splitting the trip to the Bay Area, USC is now 14-11 overall and 6-8 in conference play. The Trojans host Arizona at 7 p.m. PT on Friday and Arizona State at 3 p.m. PT on Sunday at Galen Center.

The team explored the city of San Francisco on its off day on Saturday. Click here to see the Trojans' Valentine's Day video.

And here is sophomore Jordan Adams breaking down Sunday's victory with Lloyd and Horn...

#USCBHM: Brice Taylor

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USC football's first All-American was a one-handed, 185-pound offensive lineman. The one and only Brice Taylor is today's USC Black History Month profile.

Click here to read it!

Brice Taylor.jpg

3-Points: USC 68, OSU 55

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

The Trojans snapped their nine-game losing streak and defeated the Beavers in impressive fashion on Valentine's Day.

Click here for a full recap of Saturday's game.

Love & Basketball

USC has now won five consecutive games on Valentine's Day, a unique streak to be sure, but one that had the team in good spirits on Saturday. The emphasis from the coaching staff heading into the battle with the Beavers was that it was a "must-win" match-up. With three players in double-digits, 19 assists and 38 rebounds, it was clear that each member of the Trojan unit took that mentality to heart. For the first time in a long time, the team played athletic, fast-paced, high-intensity basketball, and it looked very comfortable doing so. USC held Oregon State to just 32.8 percent shooting from the field, including holding leading scorer Gary Payton II to just 5-of-14 from the field for 11 points. "It's big for our team," said head coach Andy Enfield after the game. "The young guys really stepped up today. We had great effort, we made the shots we had to and the defensive effort especially in the second half was impressive."

Stewart's Sweet Tooth

Elijah Stewart was hungry for a good game on Saturday, being inserted into the starting lineup for the first time in over a month. The freshman guard, who has struggled to find his shot recently, hit his first three-point attempt of the game and never looked back, finishing 5-of-10 from the three-point line with 19 points. Stewart was the X-factor for the Trojans, adding three blocks, four assists, and three steals to his final tally. He is now tied for first (with Payton) amongst guards for blocks in the conference with a season total of 26. "Every time I play I look forward to making an impact on the game," explained Stewart. "Starting today gave me a chance to be aggressive from the start. I got to set the tone for the team."

All Heart

Remarkably, USC's two conference wins have come in games that did not feature Jordan McLaughlin. While the Trojans undoubtedly missed the point guard's presence on the court, it seemed as though the rest of the team took it upon itself to step up in his absence. The team's heart was evident from the start of the game but really showed in the second half, putting forth the defensive effort and intensity on both ends of the floor necessary to close out the win. The Trojans had nine blocks (three apiece for Stewart and Julian Jacobs), seven steals, and 20 points off the bench in the scrappy victory. "This team is very resilient," Enfield explained. "I was really happy for our young players to show that they can compete at this level and play well in a Pac-12 basketball game. It's important for our players to get that win. We have to kind of scratch and claw to be in games and I'm proud of them for doing that today."

Here are the SnappyTV highlights from the game including a buzzer-beater first half dunk from Jacobs and a phenomenal off-the-glass alley-oop featuring both Stewart and Jacobs...