Soccer Standouts

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pac-12player-prisock.jpgTwo USC women's soccer players were named Pac-12 Players of the Week yesterday, rewarding their performances in the Trojans' two weekend wins.

Click here for the full release.

The conference named Ally Prisock (pictured) the Defensive Player of the Week and Sammy Jo Prudhomme the Goalkeeper of the Week.

Prisock, a sophomore from Rancho Cucamonga, CA, picks up her first-ever Player of the Week award. She was a member of the Pac-12's All-Freshman team last season, having started each of USC's 23 contests. This season, she anchors a USC defense that's allowing just over half a goal per game.

Prudhomme, meanwhile, racks up her second consecutive player of the week award and her fourth overall. She had five saves in USC's two wins this weekend, and has been credited with four shutouts this season.


Meet Jack Jones

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USC_FOOTBALL_FALL_CAMP_080416-6080.jpgName: Jack Jones

Position: CB

Class: Freshman

Size: 5-foot-11, 170 pounds

Age: 18

High School: Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, CA)

Game: Jack Jack is the latest electrifying talent to join the Trojans. He can affect the game any number of ways, but most prominently, Clay Helton wants him to be a shutdown cornerback. While he learns the tricks of the trade at the college level, Jones is seeing immediate time on kick return (wearing No. 84) where he has the speed and shiftiness to bust a big play at any time.

Prep Career: Jones was a versatile player in high school, racking up 23 tackles, 1 INT and 4 deflections his senior year in addition to 42 receptions for 837 yards and 11 TD, plus occasional punt and kick return duties. He made 2015 Prep Star All-American Dream Team, USA Today All-California First Team, and was a All-American, in addition to numerous other accolades.

Helton on Jones' aspirations to win the Heisman Trophy: "The thing that I really appreciate about all these freshmen that are coming in is their confidence. Just watched them running down on kickoff --- there's no fear. There's four of them lined up and they're all flying ... They feel like they're the best in the world. And that's the approach you've got to take."

Fun Fact: Jones announced his college decision on Snoop Dogg's talk show.

Here is Jones on what he's learned since coming to USC and who he looks up to on the team...

2016 #USCtotheNFL Week 1

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The first week of the 2016 NFL season is over, and many of USC's 36 representatives in the NFL made a big impact in their season openers.

leonard-nfl-week1.jpgThe Best

Leonard Williams, DE, Jets

After a 2015 season which put him in the conversation for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Williams appears ready to take command in 2016. Williams had a monster performance in his season opener, racking up 6 tackles and 2.5 sacks --- a career-high and the most in the NFL after Week 1. Williams' Jets couldn't pull off the win, though, as the Bengals went ahead on a late FG and fellow Trojan Josh Shaw hauled in an INT on the Jets' final drive to seal the victory for Cincinnati.

Best of the Rest

Josh Shaw, CB, Bengals - 4 tackles, 1 INT (sealed victory for Bengals)

Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals - 24/37, 271 yards, 2 TD, 104.7 passer rating

Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles - 4 receptions, 47 yards, 1 TD

Shareece Wright, CB, Ravens - Game-high 11 tackles (all solo), including 3 TFL

Clay Matthews, LB, Packers - 3 tackles (including 2 TFL), 1 sack

Nick Perry, LB, Packers - 3 tackles (including 2 TFL), 1 sack

Malcolm Smith, LB, Raiders - 8 tackles (4 solo), 1 TFL

T.J. McDonald, S, Rams - 8 tackles (all solo), game-high 4 TFL

Pride of Polynesia

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Two Trojans have been selected as finalists for the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017.

lofa.jpgUSC alums Riki Ellison and Lofa Tatupu (pictured, #58) are two of the 18 finalists chosen from a list of more than 200 nominees. Five of the current 18 will be inducted early next year.

Ellison, known as Riki Gray at the time, played LB at USC from 1978-82. The New Zealand native won a national championship at USC his freshman year and appeared in two Rose Bowls. He earned Pac-10 first-team honors his sophomore year and led the Trojans in tackles his senior year.

Ellison was drafted in the 5th round of the 1983 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, becoming the first Kiwi to ever play in the NFL. He played in SF for seven seasons (1983-89), winning three Super Bowls. He then played for the Los Angeles Raiders for three years (1990-92).

Tatupu, also a linebacker, played at USC from 2003-04, winning national championships both years. After leading the team in tackles in both seasons at USC, he was named an All-American in 2004. He also won many team awards, including USC's Bob Chandler award, Most Inspirational Player Award, John McKay Award and Defensive Weightlifter of the Year Award during his time as a Trojan.

The Seahawks drafted Tatupu in the 2nd round of the 2005 NFL Draft. In six seasons in Seattle, Tatupu was a three-time Pro Bowler, an All-Pro selection in 2007 and a Super Bowl champion in 2006.

Clay Helton Q&A - Stanford

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As a new week begins, the Trojans turn their attention to Stanford, the reigning Pac-12 champions. USC fell to the Cardinal twice last season, but the recent rivalry has see-sawed back-and-forth with the last seven regular season games being decided by 10 points or less.

Here is Helton's early impressions on the Cardinal, Christian McCaffrey and more:

High Performer: Cameron Smith

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Freshman All-American LB Cameron Smith has been even better through two games as a sophomore. Despite losing the end of last year and the offseason to knee surgery, the Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year is leading the conference in tackles.

Along with OLB Porter Gustin, he paced the team in tackles against Alabama, and then Smith led all Trojans in stops with 13 in the home opener versus Utah State. He also picked up his first tackle-for-loss against the Aggies.

The Trojans will need Smith to step up again this week when they travel up to Stanford. USC limited Cardinal star Christian McCaffrey to 115 rush yards in the first meeting last season when Smith played, but the 2015 Heisman finalist obliterated the Trojans for 207 rush yards in the Pac-12 Championship Game with Smith sidelined.


Lusty Lachlan

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USC's Lachlan Edwards was named MPSF men's water polo player of the week following his impressive performances in the Trojans' three weekend wins.

Click here for the full release.

Edwards, who earned second-team All-American honors as a sophomore last year, led the team with 11 goals scored in three games this weekend. The Melbourne, Australia native now ranks second on the team with 12 total goals. Last year, his older brother, Blake, led the team in scoring. Though Blake is nearly three years older than Lachlan, both are juniors on the team, since Blake transferred in after playing collegiately in Australia, while Lachlan was recruited straight out of high school.

Trojan fans can check out the Edwards brothers and the men's water polo team when they play at Stanford on Saturday at 1 p.m. --- four hours before the football team kicks off at Stanford Stadium.


Hometown Hero

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Written by Grace DeWitt, USC blog contributor

The chance to compete in an Olympics is every athlete's dream. The chance to compete in an Olympics for the host country, in your hometown, in an event your country has never participated in before? Unimaginable. But that was exactly the opportunity for junior Victoria Chamorro, goalie for Women of Troy water polo.

Grace DeWitt (GD): What was your first thought when you learned that Rio would be hosting the Olympics?

Victoria Chamorro (VC): "It was 2009 when I found out. I had started to play water polo a year earlier - I was really new to the sport. I was really happy because the Beijing Olympics had just ended and I had watched and thought, 'Wow, I can play in the Olympics at home in the future,' like a 'when I grow up...' kind of thought. It came true when I joined the national team and later sank in that I actually could be a part of the Olympic team. It was awesome; it was really motivating."

GD: When did you find out you'd be playing for the Brazilian team?

VC: "The last cut was in July of this year. I had already been on the national team for two years with the coach that would be the Olympic coach, but I didn't know if I would be going to the Olympics or not because there would only be two goalies going and there were three trying out. The other two were much older than me, 10 years older. It was the first time that the Brazilian team was going to Olympics. I knew that I had it in me, but I still didn't know if I would be selected. Even though I had played more than the other two goalies, anything could happen. But I was selected, and I was really emotional."

USC_Water_Polo_ASU_031415_MCG6674.JPGGD: Did you bump into other Trojans while you were there?

VC: "Yes! Water polo had a lot of Trojans, for both women's and men's. I met up with my friend, goalie McQuin [Baron], who is also from the class of 2018. I also met up with two women's water polo players from Team USA, Kaleigh Gilchrist and Kami Craig, Kostas [Genidounias] from Greece, and many others. It was really cool to see how strong the USC program is and how many Olympians we send to every Olympics. I was really honored to be part of this group that represents USC water polo in the Olympics. To come back here and be a part of a group that studies here, are Olympians, and play for USC --- it's really gratifying. It's an honor."

GD: You played against Kaleigh and Kami, how was that?

VC: "Kaleigh shot a penalty shot against me. Kami missed one against me. I was doing an interview and then she stopped me and was like 'Dammit, it was the intimidation factor,' because she was swimming and swimming and she didn't stop. She got too close, lost the angle and then she just like...boom. I didn't even have to touch it! It went off the corner; she just missed the cage. I was like, 'Alright!' and she was like, 'Oh, that was embarrassing.' I knew Kaleigh before the Olympics from here at school, but Kami was always someone whose playing I admired a lot. Today we're friends and they're really cool. We always talk at championships because we're both from USC. Playing against them is...interesting (laughs). It's really cool. But they are Americans, so at game time I'm not thinking whether they're from USC or not. But after the game it's all respect, admiration for others from the same school, friendship. So it's really cool. It's cool to see, to have two people that passed through the same process of college as me, and to arrive at this level, earn gold medals, and Kami three medals!"

GD: Describe your emotions playing in your country, in your hometown.

VC: "I have so much to say. First, arriving at the Olympic Village, I already started to cry with my colleagues from here. Afterwards, at the Opening Ceremonies, it was amazing entering Maracana with everyone screaming, singing, Maracana packed. I'm going to get goosebumps thinking about it right now. It was a lot of emotions altogether. I thought a lot about my family, everything I had been through to get to that point, when training was hard, nut at the same time, a lot of happiness to be living in that moment. I was looking up at everything, enjoying the moment. After, in the first game, I was very confident the whole time, very happy, ready, I didn't feel nervous, I didn't feel any pressure. Nerves hadn't hit me at all. It was only my motivation --- to be home, with 10,000 people watching in the stadium. And even when I played, it was very emotional. It was a unique feeling. I had never felt that way in my life."

GD: Did you have a lot of family there watching you at the stadium?

VC: "Yes! My mother and father, my best friends from my childhood, my friends from my Brazilian club team, my aunt, cousins; lots of people."

GD: What was your favorite part of the games?

VC: "The Brazilian fans. The crowd was amazing. Every goal, every time I had the ball they would scream my name. It was such a vibe, they cheered for me the whole time. It was awesome to play with everyone supporting and rooting for you. For me, at least, I didn't feel intimidated, I felt very happy. I was home. Everything changes when you think, 'Wow, everyone is in Brazil playing my sport, which isn't well known here, with 10,000 people watching,' It was very motivational. It was really special."

GD: Did you feel like your team had an impact on the sport in Brazil?

VC: "It was the first women's water polo team from Brazil, a young team with with young players like myself. Other girls were much older, more than 30 years old. It was a milestone in the history of my sport in the country. Our team didn't have a lot of help from the confederation. No investments; they cut it off from us. And even so, the team was able to represent the country well. We were able to show the world of water polo that talent exists in Brazil and that if we had a little bit more incentive from the confederation, we can be a team that can fight for a medal. All the teams had difficult games against us. Brazil was winning until the half against a majority of the teams, so it wasn't easy. Everybody saw Brazil through different eyes, in a different way, with more respect for Brazil's women's water polo. To be part of that impact is very rewarding and I hope that we are in the next Olympics."

GD: Any other thoughts from the games?

VC: "To represent USC in the Olympics, to represent Brazil in Rio, my home, was a special experience. I'm never going to forget it. It changed and impacted my life in many respects: as an athlete, as a person. I'm happy to value Rio as my home. I think the Olympics were very beautiful. I was a little afraid about the structures and security, but it was very positive. I think everything was really beautiful. Everything was alright and made a great impression for everyone who went, especially for me since I'm from Rio. The Olympic spirit definitely will be with me forever and I definitely want to go to Tokyo 2020 now. My hands can't wait."



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USC women's volleyball swept the Rice Adidas Invitational over the weekend to extend its winning streak to six straight matches.

The Trojans, who moved up three spots to No. 21 in the nation this week, only dropped one set in the tournament. They opened up by topping Sam Houston State in three sets. The next day, they swept Oakland before beating host Rice in four sets to claim the tournament title.

USC had three players (middle blocker Elise Ruddins, opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie and outside hitter Khalia Lanier) named to the all-tournament team. Ruddins, who finished the weekend with 25 kills and 16 blocks, was named the MVP of the tourney. The Laguna Beach, CA native had a career-high nine blocks and a career-best .688 hitting percentage against Rice.

USC head coach Mick Haley now has 398 wins at USC, with the opportunity to get to 400 in the upcoming Pac-12 Challenge, where USC hosts Oklahoma and Maryland.

Wicked Weekend for Water Polo

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USC men's water polo enjoyed an utterly dominant weekend, outscoring its opponents 67-7 in three games.

On Saturday morning, No. 2 USC hosted No. 6 UC Santa Barbara at Uytengsu Aquatics Center, and beat the Gauchos with ease in a 14-3 win. The Trojans didn't skip a beat, heading to La Verne, CA for the Inland Empire Classic the next day. USC opened up with a 27-3 win over Whittier and ended the day with a 26-1 win over La Verne.

Lachlan Edwards led the Trojans with 11 goals over the weekend, and 19 Trojans scored in total. On the defensive side, USC continued its streak of not allowing more than 3 goals in any game this season.

The Trojans have now opened up their season 5-0 in the last 15 consecutive seasons.

Rachel Bennett was at Uytengsu to capture USC's first win of the weekend. Check out her photos here: