No. 6 Trojans Host USC Classic in First Home Matches|
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2014 USC CLASSIC
No. 10 Florida (3-2) vs. No. 13 San Diego (5-1)
LOS ANGELES - The No. 6-ranked USC women’s volleyball team (6-0) will play its first home matches of 2014 at Galen Center when the Women of Troy host the USC Classic this week (Sept. 11-12). The Pac-12 Networks will broadcast each of USC’s matches in the home-opening tourney.
As part of the tournament, 13th-ranked San Diego (5-1) will face No. 10 Florida (3-2) to start on Thursday (Sept. 11) at 5 p.m. PT. The Trojans and Texas A&M (5-1) will play at approximately 8 p.m. that night. On Friday (Sept. 12), USD will take on the Aggies at 4:30 p.m., and be followed by USC vs. Florida set for 7:30 p.m.
Thursday’s Pac-12 Networks match features Tammy Blackburn and Krista Blunk on the call while Friday’s match will have Anne Marie Anderson and Holly McPeak on the sidelines. The two San Diego matches will have free live audio with Paul Duchesne calling the action and Bill Ferguson and Chelsea Reber along side for color commentary. Links to live audio can be found at USCTrojans.com.
The Trojans are 108-12 all-time when playing in the Galen Center, and went 14-2 last season. The two losses were each to Washington, which is one of just five schools to have ever beaten USC in its own home arena since 2006. The Women of Troy went 19-0 at home in 2007 en route to an appearance in that year’s NCAA semifinals. USC is also 6-1 in home openers since that year.
Already the winningest coach in program history, head coach Mick Haley needs one more victory to reach 350 in his USC career. He is 349-76 (.821) with the Women of Troy and has won more than 300 matches with three different programs (Kellogg Community College, Texas, and USC).
USC is a combined 13-2 against the Aggies and the Gators. The Trojans are 8-0 against Texas A&M, and claimed a 3-1 win over the Aggies in 2012. The last time USC and Florida clashed, it was in 2005, and the Gators won, 3-2. However, in 2002 and 2003, during the Trojans’ back-to-back title seasons, USC knocked off Florida twice each year. In 2002, the Women of Troy beat Florida at a pre-conference tournament, and then did it again in the national semifinals. In 2003, USC started the year with a win over the Gators and then secured the NCAA crown with a 3-1 win in the title match.
The Women of Troy return a host of weapons at the disposal of setters Hayley Crone and Alice Pizzasegola. The team is hitting .282 with 14.00 kills per set. Coming off an MVP showing at the Commonwealth Classic, sophomore OH Ebony Nwanebu is certainly a favorite target and leads the team with 3.70 kps (.390). Junior OH Samantha Bricio puts down 3.00 kps with 2.55 dps, and leads the country in service aces with 0.91 saps.
A pair of freshmen outside hitters has shored the depth of the Trojans’ rotation and loads the court with players that can score at any time. OH Brittany Abercrombie was a Commonwealth Classic all-tournament team selection and holds a .280 kps average while OH Lauryn Gillis knocks down 2.41 kps and is second on the team with 2.86 dps.
Defensively, the Trojans have gotten strong production from junior MB Alicia Ogoms who leads the team with 1.38 bps. Ogoms also delivers on the offensive end with 1.71 kps and a .316 hitting percentage. Senior MB Hannah Schraer is averaging 1.39 kps with 0.67 bps. Sophomore liberos Anne Marie Schmidt (2.00 dps) and Taylor Whittingham (3.72 dps) have shared the load at the position.
LET ME TAKE A #SELFIE: Get social with the Women of Troy this season. Fans can follow and interact with the USC women’s volleyball team on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram by searching for @USCWomensVolley.
LOOK, MOM! I’M ON TV: The Trojans will appear on live television broadcasts in 21 of 30 regular-season matches this season. USC matches at the USC Classic and the Pac-12/Big Ten Showcase, and all but three of the Trojans’ conference matches will be carried by the Pac-12 Networks. USC’s regular-season finale at UCLA will be broadcast live on ESPNU. In addition, the Trojans appeared on the West Coast Conference’s digital network (TheW.tv) in the Community Bankers Volleyball Classic in Stockton, Calif., and on the new SEC Network’s digital platform when they played Kentucky in the Commonwealth Classic in Lexington, Ky.
LAST TIME OUT: USC stayed undefeated and claimed the Commonwealth Classic title in Lexington, Ky. Sophomore OH Ebony Nwanebu was named tournament MVP and was joined on the all-tournament team by junior OH Samantha Bricio and freshman OH Brittany Abercrombie. The Trojans took out 16th-ranked host Kentucky in a three-set sweep to open the tourney with their first victory over a ranked team this year. USC then dispatched of a tough Creighton team in four sets before it fought off a feisty squad from Northern Iowa in three sets to secure the tournament crown. Bricio logged her third double-double this season with 13 kills and 15 digs against Creighton; the 25th double-double of her career. Senior setter Hayley Crone picked up a pair of double-double matches to push her career total to 17.
SCOUTING TEXAS A&M: The Aggies (6-0) claimed three wins at the Baymont Inn & Suites Invitational last weekend, including two 3-0 sweeps of Ohio and Virginia Tech, and a 3-2 win over VCU. Junior outside hitter Angela Lowak leads the team with 2.71 kps with a .166 hitting percentage. Lowak also records 2.33 dps and has eight service aces for the season. Junior MB Shelby Sullivan (2.50 kps) and sophomore OH Emily Hardesty (2.25 kps) are also significant contributors to the Aggies’ offense. Freshman setter Stephanie Aiple, who was named SEC Freshman Player of the Week on Sept. 8, runs the A&M offense with 148 assists (10.57 aps). Sophomore libero Victoria Arenas leads the team with 4.09 dps. The Trojans are 8-0 in meetings with the Aggies. The last one, in 2012, resulted in a 3-1 win at the Texas A&M Invitational.
SCOUTING FLORIDA: No. 10 Florida (3-2) has dropped its last two matches, losing to No. 8 Florida State on the road in five sets, and to No. 3 Texas in four sets at home. The Gators have had a strong showing from freshman MB Rhamat Alhassan. Alhassan leads the team with an outstanding hitting percentage of .500 with 2.05 kps. On Sept. 2, she was named SEC Freshman Player of the Week. Alhassan also played on the USA Volleyball Junior National Team, which competed in Guatemala over the summer. Close behind is junior MB Simone Antwi with a .308 hitting percentage and 2.25 kps. Two other threats from the pins are sophomore RS Alex Holston (3.15 kps) and freshman OH Carli Snyder (2.25 kps). Junior setter Mackenzie Dagostino runs the Gators’ 5-1 offense with 213 assists (10.65 aps). USC leads, 5-2, in meetings with Florida, with the Trojans losing in five sets at their last encounter at the UTSA Dome Rally in 2005.