Trojans Set to Host Jiangsu China in Exhibition Match
Aug. 27, 2012
USC vs. Jiangsu, China (Exhibition)
Luxe City Center Trojan Invitational
LOS ANGELES - The fifth-ranked USC women's volleyball team will play its first match in the friendly confines of Galen Center, this week. Before the Women of Troy host the Luxe City Center Trojan Invitational, USC will welcome in the Jiangsu Province team from China in an exhibition match on Tuesday, Aug. 27. The match will be the first-ever live women's volleyball event to broadcast on the new Pac-12 Networks.
Although the team returns the services of junior All-American libero Natalie Hagglund as well as All-Pac-12 honorable mention senior opposite Katie Fuller, the Trojan roster is ripe with youth. USC will be breaking in a new setter, and has to replace the production of last year's AVCA National Player of the Year with the departure of All-American outside hitter Alex Jupiter.
Hagglund was last year's Pac-12 Libero of the Year and is USC's first-ever All-American libero. She will be called upon to captain a squad the welcomes four new freshmen to the fold. In a changing of the guard, sophomore setter Hayley Crone will take the reigns of the offense from last year's Pac-12 Setter of the Year; Kendall Bateman. Bateman holds the USC record for career assists and is a two-time All-America selection.
Crone will have many weapons to distribute the ball to. On the right side, she can go to Fuller who averaged 2.83 kps as a junior last season. Crone will also have her pick from a trio of experienced middle blockers in senior Natasa Siljkovic, junior Alexis Olgard, and sophomore Hannah Schraer. On the outside, junior Sara Shawwill assume a bulk of the offensive load to fill the void left by Jupiter.
JIANGSU CHINA SCOUTING REPORT: Since its establishment in 1958, 64 years of history has brought about tremendously successful nationwide acclaim for the Jiangsu Women’s Volleyball Team. One of the most developed and affluent areas in the lower part of the Yangtze river delta that adjoins Shanghai City, Jiangsu Province has become recognized for its sports administration, and the coaches and players that have come out of it.
Jiangsu has the distinct honor of having been the home of many world-renowned players including Ms. Jinfana Sun and Ms. Jieyun Zhang, who were each setters for the Chinese National Team in the 1980’s and members of the FIVB World Champion, and 1984 Olympic Gold Medal winning squads. In the 1990’s, Ms. Yue Sun and Ms. Aihua Qiu served as hitters and helped lead China to a silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic games. Ms. Ruirui Zhao was also one of the players that helped China clinch the championship at the 2004 Athens Olympic games.
Currently, the team is composed of many young and talented athletes, including 21-year-old Ruoqi Hui, and outside hitter from the national team who helped China secure its berth to the London Olympic games. Ms. Yun Zhao, Ms. Qian Lu, and Mr. Hui Li were each national and junior national team recruits. Most recently, Jiangsu won the 2008 National Volleyball Championship of China and was the champion of the 2012 National Volleyball Grand Prix.
TOURNAMENT RECAP (TEXAS A&M INVITATIONAL): The Women of Troy put on an impressive display as they opened up the 2012 campaign with a trio of victories in College Station, Texas. First, USC made short work of North Dakota to earn its first sweep of the young season. Senior opposite Katie Fuller led the way with 14 kills (7e, 36att, .194) from the right side while junior outside hitter Sara Shaw shored up the left-side attack with 12 kills (2e, 24att, .417). Junior libero Natalie Hagglund led the team with 12 digs in a match that saw the Trojans start a pair of true freshmen. USC dropped its first set to host Texas A&M, 28-26, but was able to recover and turned in a four-set victory as four players logged double-digits in kills. Freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio had her coming out party as she led the way with 14 kills (4e, 38att, .263) to go with eight digs. Fuller had 13 and Shaw had 11. Hagglund turned in 23 digs in her second match, but the defensive star of the match was senior middle blocker Natasa Siljkovic who had a career-best nine blocks to go with five kills. The Trojans finished off the weekend in Texas with a 3-0 sweep of Texas State. Bricio continued to impress as she put up 16 kills (3e, 31att, .419) to go with 10 digs for her first double-double. Fellow frosh middle blocker Alicia Ogomstacked on nine kills (1e, 13att, .615) in the winning effort. Hagglund, Fuller, and Bricio were each named to the All-Tournament Team with Bricio taking home MVP honors.
YOUNG GUNS: The Trojans will look for early contributions from its stable of talented freshmen. With a squad of just 13 players, and the need to replace some major firepower along the net, first-year and second-year players will be called upon to play roles if USC is to successfully defend its Pac-12 title. The Women of Troy welcome in setter Cinnamon Sary (Newport Beach, Calif.), Samantha Bricio (Guadalajara, Mexico), Alicia Ogoms (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada), and Kiara Wright(Houston, Texas).
TOURNAMENT HONORS: In just her first-ever collegiate tournament, freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio was named the MVP of the Texas A&M Invitational. Junior libero Natalie Hagglund and senior opposite hitter Katie Fullerjoined Bricio as members of the all-tournament team.
FIRST THINGS FIRST: The Trojans celebrated the first-ever Pac-12 championship a year ago as they completed a 20-2 record in league play. The first-ever Pac-12 crown was USC's seventh conference title overall. The Women of Troy also claimed Pac-10 titles in 2000, '02, and '03. The Trojans' last of six national titles came in 2003 when the squad went 35-0 to win the second of back-to-back championships.
ALL-AMERICAN GIRLS: The Women of Troy have had 64 All-America selections in their storied history. Last year, USC added four more to its list of award winners as Kendall Bateman, Alex Jupiter, Natalie Hagglund, and Lauren Williams were each named to All-America teams. Jupiter was chosen as the Pac-12 Player of the Year and the AVCA National Player of the Year, while Bateman was named the Pac-12 Setter of the Year, and Hagglund was selected as the Pac-12 Libero of the Year. Hagglund became USC's first-ever All-American libero.