Watch the Throne

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

The No. 1 USC women's sand volleyball team is carrying a program-best 24-match win streak into the AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championships this weekend in Gulf Shores, Ala. Having captured the last two pairs titles, the Women of Troy are now seeking their first-ever team national crown, and just four more match wins will get them there. 

USC is looking to put an exclamation point on a season that featured 16 5-0 sweeps and saw two of its pairs reach 30 wins. The duo of Sara Hughes and Kelly Claes boast a 36-3 record entering this weekend, and Eve Ettinger and Meg Norton are close behind with a record of 30-5. 

The team is coming off of its 2015 Pac-12 Invitational title weekend where it beat Arizona State (4-1) and No. 10 Arizona (5-0, 5-0) twice to seize the crown. Hughes and Claes, along with the pair of freshman Jenna Belton and senior Bria Russ, swept the Invitational's pairs championships to finish regular season play.

Amongst the eight-team field at the national championships this weekend is second-seeded Hawaii, Florida International, defending champion Pepperdine, Georgia State, Florida State, Long Beach State and top-seeded USC's first round opponent, Stetson. 

The Trojans face the Hatters on Friday at 6 a.m. PT and the quarterfinal match will be played later that same day. The championship match is set for Saturday at 2 p.m. PT. 

The pairs competition features the top duos from each of the schools in the team competition as well as 10 other teams regarded as the 'Best of the Rest' from schools not in the team competition. First-round pairs matches will start at 6 a.m. PT on Sunday with the championship match scheduled for 12 p.m. that same day. 

Here are sophomores Sara Hughes, Nicolette Martin and Allie Wheeler with their own AVCA Championship preview...

NFL Draft Schedule

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Good luck to all the Trojans hoping to make their NFL dreams come true this week. We will be covering the NFL Draft on our official Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, plus the RipsIt blog.

On television, ESPN and NFL Network have dueling coverage of all seven rounds.

Round 1 - Thursday starting at 5 p.m. PT

Rounds 2 and 3 - Friday starting at 4 p.m. PT

Rounds 4 thru 7 - Saturday starting at 9 a.m. PT


Eight Great

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

For the first time in program history, eight USC women's water polo players earned All-MPSF honors. Among the group, leading scorer Monica Vavic became the first Trojan ever to record four All-MPSF First Team selections. 

This season alone, Vavic has scored 94 goals to lead the conference in scoring. She is already USC's all-time top scorer, and with 285 career goals, she is currently just two away from the MPSF career record. 

Also earning honors are senior Eike Daube and sophomores Ioanna Haralabidis and Stephania Haralabidis who were each placed on the All-MPSF Second Team. Freshman goalie Victória Chamorro seized All-MPSF Honorable Mention as well as a spot on the All-MPSF Newcomer Team, alongside Brianna Daboub, Melissa Bergesen and Brigitta Garnes. 

The Women of Troy now look toward their 12th consecutive NCAA appearance where they will face Hawaii in a first round game on May 8. The game begins at 1:45 p.m. PT in Palo Alto at Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center.


Tennis Tourney Time

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For the first time since 1985, USC women's tennis is the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, which begins for the Women of Troy on May 9 at Marks Stadium against Youngstown State. The men's team is seeded seventh as the Trojans begin defense of their title on May 8 also at home against Idaho.

Click here for more.

Both the men's and women's tournaments will be held in Waco, Texas, starting with the Sweet 16. If the seeds hold, the men are on a collision course to face the host, No. 2 Baylor, in the national quarterfinals, while the Women of Troy are also projected to meet No. 8 Baylor in the Elite Eight.

After a 21-2 season, the Pac-12 champion women's team enjoyed watching the selection show:

Good on the Green

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

Freshman USC men's golfer Sean Crocker tied for sixth at this year's Pac-12 Championships, helping to lead the Trojans to a fourth place finish overall. The team combined for a 72-hole 17-over 1417 at the tournament, which wrapped up on Wednesday at the Palouse Ridge Golf Course in Pullman, Wash. 

Crocker shot 68 in his final round to earn sixth overall at even 280 for his seventh top 10 finish this year. His final round score gave him a team-best 17 rounds in the 60s this season. 

The Trojans bested UCLA by 25 shots, giving USC 10 points in the season-long Crosstown Cup battle which encompasses all sports. Currently, the Bruins lead 95-65.

USC learns where it will play its NCAA Regional on Monday, May 4. The Trojans have advanced out of regional play and into the NCAA final for eight straight years. 


Trophy Sweep

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USC women's lacrosse head coach Lindsey Munday (pictured) and sophomore attacker Michaela Michael were named the MPSF Coach and Player of the Year, bringing home the first major hardware in the program's three-year history. The accolades are richly deserved for a duo that led the Women of Troy to a program-best second place finish in the conference.

Click here for the complete release.

The Women of Troy also placed seven Trojans on the all-conference team: Amanda Johansen, Caroline de Lyra, Courtney Tarleton and Michael (first team); and Nina Kelty, Kylie Drexel and Gussie Johns (second team).


NFL Draft Eve

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On the night before the NFL Draft, a reminder that the USC legacy does not end at graduation. We are Trojans for life.

Playing for It All

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No. 8 USC men's volleyball controls its own destiny. The Trojans know that one win puts them in the NCAA Tournament discussion, while two more victories makes it a certainty.

The Trojans next task is to defeat No. 2 UC Irvine on the road in the MPSF semifinals (Thursday at 7:30 p.m.). The Anteaters were the regular season conference champions, but USC has already proven that there is nothing between the sides.

USC and UCI played the maximum five sets in both meetings this year. The Trojans won in Irvine on January 23, and the Anteaters returned the favor in the Galen Center on March 3. The rubber match will likely decide USC's fate this season.

2015 NFL Draft Preview: Leonard Williams

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The NFL Draft begins Thursday. Until then, we will profile the Trojans most likely to hear their names called.

What else is there to say about Leonard Williams? "The Big Cat" is poised to become the 78th first round pick in USC history (more than any other school), and his Top 5 projection means he could be the highest Trojan taken since Matt Kalil in 2012 (No. 4 overall).

How did he get to this lofty perch on the eve of draft day? Williams made the bold decision to move coast-to-coast, arriving from Florida as a humble teenager with the physical skills and work-ethic to make an impact from day one in Los Angeles.

What can the NFL team that selects Williams expect over the next decade? If it is anything like his USC career, the defensive end has the ability and versatility to play a dominant role in any system. He is a physical presence defending the run and an explosive pass rusher.

A Swimming Success

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The 35th annual Swim with Mike at USC raised another $930,000 and counting for the Physically Challenged Athletes Fund, as more than 2,000 guests flooded into the Uytengsu Aquatics Center.

Click here for the recap!

The day of fun in the sun was documented in the video below set to the tune of "No More Wheelchairs" by Swim with Mike alum Daryl Holmlund.