No. 5 Women of Troy Open 2012 Campaign at Texas A&M Invitational|
Aug. 23, 2012
TEXAS A&M INVITATIONAL
No. 5 USC (0-0) vs. North Dakota (0-0)
No. 5 USC (0-0) vs. Texas State (0-0)
LOS ANGELES - The fifth-ranked USC women's volleyball team opens the 2012 season in the Texas A&M Invitational, this weekend, in College Station, Texas. The defending Pac-12 champion Trojans draw North Dakota in a 10 a.m. CT (8 a.m. PT) match at Reed Arena to kick off the year. Under the direction of 12th-year head coach Mick Haley, USC has won nine out of 11 season-opening matches, but the Women of Troy will head into a new era as they bid farewell to a trio of All-American talents.
Outside hitter Alex Jupiter was last year's AVCA National Player of the Year and put up 4.47 kps for the Trojans a season ago. USC also loses the services of the 2011 Pac-12 Setter of the Year in Kendall Bateman. At the net, gone is middle blocker Lauren Williamswho ranked second on the squad in attack percentage and blocks; and third in kills per set.
USC's season-opening bout against the Fighting Sioux will the first meeting between the two programs. The Women of Troy hold a perfect 8-0 record against their other two opponents; 7-0 against host Texas A&M, and 1-0 against Texas State, though they last faced either of these two teams in 2005 and 2006.
With the departure of such a dynamic trio of All-Americans, the Trojans usher in a new era. USC isn't without experience, however, as its first-ever All-American libero returns to lead the squad to the floor. Junior Natalie Hagglund was last year's Pac-12 Libero of the Year, and ranked second the conference with 5.14 digs per set. Senior opposite Katie Fuller comes off an All-Pac-12 honorable mention season in which she averaged 2.83 kps from the right side and ranked second on the squad with 3.24 pps. Sophomore setter Hayley Crone will assume the setting duties, but the Trojans welcome a lot of youth to the court with four new freshmen.