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Pac-12 Adds Sand Volleyball

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The Pac-12 is the first major conference to officially sponsor women's sand volleyball, making it the 23rd varsity sport. The Conference of Champions has a good place to start with USC coming off an undefeated national championship season.

Here is the official release from the Pac-12:
The Council also voted to make women's sand volleyball a Pac-12 sponsored sport effective this upcoming academic year (2015-16), making it the Conference's 23rd sport and becoming the first major conference to sponsor sand volleyball. Eight member institutions currently sponsor the sport, well above the Conference threshold of six teams to consider sport sponsorship. In a related decision, sand volleyball will have a Pac-12 championship in the spring of 2016. The format of the championship will be based on the to-be-established NCAA automatic qualification requirements. This past year, USC capped an undefeated season with its first AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball Team Championship.
 
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Father's Day Sweepstakes

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Enter to win a USC Father's Day dream package in the next 24 hours, complete with the Trojan Athletic Fund game day experience, a pregame locker room tour and so much more.

Click here to enter now!!

We will announce the winner tomorrow on Facebook.

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Lamont Simmons Transfers

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Former USC cornerback Lamont Simmons announced that he will be transferring out of the program. The Florida native redshirted his only season as a Trojan.

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92 Days to Kickoff

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Three months from today, Traveler runs again.

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Foundation for Success

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How has Caryl Smith Gilbert turned around USC track & field in two short years? In a word...recruiting.

If the Trojans are in the running for the NCAA title on either the men's or women's side next week in Eugene, the freshmen will be a big reason why.

As examples, Ky Westbrook and Deanna Hill are the only freshmen to qualify for the NCAA Championships in both the women's 100m and 200m sprints. Kendall Ellis is the only freshman in the women's 400m, while Nick Ponzio represents his entire class in the men's shot put.

Also on the men's side, Ricky Morgan is one of two freshmen in the 400m, Robert Ford is one of two in the 800m, and Marquis Morris is one of two in the 110m HH. Plus, jumpers Adoree' Jackson (long jump) and Randall Cunningham (high jump) sprung onto the scene from day one to qualify for the NCAA Championships.

During the 2015 outdoor season, USC has had four athletes set school freshman records, after claiming the first-season record in three indoor events.  Six of USC's nine men to qualify individually for the NCAA Championships are freshmen, as well as four of the 12 women, in six individual events and as parts of both relays.

Westbrook (left) and Hill (right) are at the core of track's talent reload.
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Sabs and GuGu

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USC women's tennis stars Sabrina Santamaria and Giuliana Olmos, who led the Women of Troy to a perfect 10-0 record in Pac-12 play this season, were named ITA All-Americans. Santamaria finishes her career as a five-time All-American (three singles and two doubles), while Olmos picked up her first honor.

Click here for more.

Olmos (pictured) will be asked to lead the squad next season as the senior ace, finishing her junior campaign ranked No. 15 in the country. The Women of Troy also return three top freshmen, and head coach Richard Gallien reeled in the No. 4 recruiting class in the nation.

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Nygaard Named Men's Volley Head Coach

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Jeff Nygaard, who has been an assistant coach at USC men's volleyball for the past five seasons, will move over into the big chair after being named the head coach by athletic director Pat Haden. Nygaard brings an elite resume as a three-time Olympian and two-time collegiate MVP on a pair of national championship teams.

Click here for the full story.

"We are delighted to name Jeff as our head coach," said Haden.  "As we researched candidates, we sought input from a wide spectrum of the volleyball community, including at the highest levels of USA Volleyball and collegiately, as well as with our men's volleyball alumni.  We consistently heard Jeff's name come up and how highly he is regarded.

"He is an outstanding X's and O's coach who is well respected by his peers for his volleyball knowledge and coaching ability.  He is of high character and comes strongly endorsed by our current and recent student-athletes.  He has experience at USC, which will help him hit the ground running as he puts together a coaching staff and starts recruiting.  And, most importantly, he has a keen desire and passion to lead us to national championships.  We look forward to him returning the Trojans to that level."

Said Nygaard:  "I am humbled and thrilled to accept this amazing opportunity, and I am excited about USC's future.  We will take the groundwork that has been put down here in the past and take it to a championship level, which is where USC's heritage is and where it belongs.  That is my goal moving forward."

Nygaard, 42, replaces Bill Ferguson, who was USC's head coach the past 9 years before it was announced on May 8 that he would not return. He said he will name his assistant coaches in the near future.

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All-American Seniors

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USC men's tennis will have to replace a decorated class of seniors next season as the trio of Yannick Hanfmann, Jonny Wang and Roberto Quiroz all picked up All-American honors.

Click here for the complete story.

Hanfmann was named an All-American for singles (third time) and doubles (second time), while Wang (pictured) is a first time singles honoree. Quiroz picked up his second All-American recognition for doubles.

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Father's Day Deal for the Trojan Faithful

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor 

Give your dad the ultimate Father's Day gift with the Trojan Athletic Fund Experience package for either of the first two home games of the 2015 USC football season. Take your dad behind-the-scenes with a pregame locker room tour, including a specialized locker room nameplate just for him, and receive a signed poster from head coach Steve Sarkisian. The package also includes two VIP tickets to the game, two Cardinal & Gold Party tailgate passes and a parking pass.
 

The package is available for the home opener against Arkansas State or the following week against Idaho, but this limited-time offer only lasts until June 10. 

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Second Best

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor 

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USC men's golf finished its memorable 2015 campaign on Wednesday with a loss in the national championship match to LSU, ending the best season in program history. The Trojans upset many top competitors in their run to the title match including No. 2 Texas and No. 4 Illinois before falling to the No. 9 Tigers. 


With their eyes set on the program's first-ever NCAA men's golf title, the Trojans kept every match close throughout the morning, but could not finish the task, ultimately losing, 4-1, to LSU. Senior Eric Sugimoto wanted to end his USC career on a high-note and secured the only point for the Trojans in the championship match. He's had an impeccable playoff run, winning his match against Illinois and ending his match against Texas with a tie when time was called. The senior also led USC both days during stroke play at 2 under. 

Fortunately, USC returns all but one member of its NCAA runner-up roster next season, and the team can now turn its attention to bringing home the program's first national championship in 2016. The valuable postseason experience gained by sophomore Rico Hoey and freshman Sean Crocker is sure to help the Trojans as they look ahead to next year. Hoey was up early in his match on Wednesday, but found himself down one after 11 holes before rallying to make a valiant comeback down the final stretch that ended when he halved 17. Freshman sensation Sean Crocker also showed promise throughout most of the day, staying square until he dropped three in a row on 14, 15 and 16. 

"I think it's great that four of the guys will be here next year," said sophomore Bobby Gojuangco, who won both of his matches against Illinois and was tied when LSU clinched the championship match. "We've all had such a great week and played seven straight days of really good golf. I think next year is going to be really good." 

This championship run is the closest USC has ever come to a national title, previously finishing in third place seven times, most recently in 2008.