USC Looks to Send Ducks Home on Friday-Night Flight
Sept. 21, 2012
LOS ANGELES - The eighth-ranked Ducks fly into Los Angeles with a perfect 10-0 record to face an undefeated USC team on Friday evening. Something has to give. The Women of Troy just knocked off the top-ranked team in the country and have not lost to an Oregon team at home in 21 meetings. The last time the Ducks flew back to Eugene with a victory over USC was in 1990.
The second-ranked Trojans continue to climb the charts following a 3-1 victory over crosstown rival UCLA, but the Ducks pose different challenge. The experienced squad is led by senior outside hitter Alaina Bergsma who ranks second in the Pac-12 for kills (4.62 kps) but is at the top of the list for service aces (0.45 saps) and points (5.31 pps). The Ducks top the conference in kills (15.74 kps), assists (14.65 aps), but also have the best hitting percentage (.326) thanks to junior setter Lauren Plum who leads the league in assists (12.88 aps).
Oregon has won its last 10 straight sets not to mention 10 straight matches and is coming off a 3-0 sweep over conference rival Oregon State on Wednesday. The last time USC took on the Ducks, it was a sweep for the Trojans who won, 25-21, 25-17, 25-23, on Nov. 12, 2011, in Eugene, Ore. Oregon put up a fight and went down after four sets the last time it visited Galen Center. If the Women of Troy are to keep their perfect record in tact and extend their winning streak over the Ducks, they will have to find a way to slow down the Oregon offense.
1-2 PUNCH: For just the second time in the history of the storied USC-UCLA rivalry, the Trojans and Bruins met as Nos. 1 and 2 in the national rankings on Wednesday, Sept. 19. USC claimed a four-set victory over UCLA, 28-26, 25-20, 24-26, 25-17. The other matchup occurred on Oct. 19. 1984, when the Women of Troy also took a two-set lead at home against UCLA, but the Bruins came back to complete a five-set victory, 14-16, 9-15, 15-13, 15-10, 15-4. The last previous time that USC was involved in a 1-2 match, a second-ranked Trojan team fell in five sets to a top-ranked four-time defending NCAA champion Penn State team, 21-25, 21-25, 25-20, 25-22, 15-8, in Happy Valley on Aug. 27, 2011.
TROJANS IN TV LAND: The Women of Troy will appear in at least 15 televised matches, this season. With the arrival of the new Pac-12 Networks, over 80 conference events are scheduled for broadcast, this fall. USC had the honor and privilege of being part of the first-ever live women's volleyball event on the new networks on Tuesday, Aug. 28, when it hosted Jiangsu China in an exhibition match. The Trojans are slated to appear 13 times on Pac-12 Networks; five times at Galen Center, and eight times as the road team. The Sept. 19 rivalry match against defending NCAA champion UCLA was broadcast by ESPNU with Sam Gore and Karch Kiraly.
NO. 8 OREGON SCOUTING REPORT: The No. 8 Ducks are one of eight remaining unbeaten teams in the nation. Oregon has dropped just four sets on the way to its 9-0 record. In their only five-set test, the Ducks came back from two sets down to knock off No. 24 Ohio State on the road, 17-25, 21-25, 25-14, 26-24, 15-10. Oregon has won its last seven sets and swept a pair of teams over the weekend (Saint Mary's College and Portland State). Senior outside hitter Alaina Bergsma ranks second in the conference with 4.65 kills per set and is the top player in service aces (0.46 saps). Sophomore outside Liz Brenner is 10th in the league with 3.74 kps. Junior setter Lauren Plum tops all players in the Pac-12 with 12.55 aps and senior libero Jacob Haley is eighth in the league with 3.45 dps. USC is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings against Oregon and owns a seven-match winning streak. The Trojans swept the last meeting, 3-0 (25-21, 25-17, 25-23), on Nov. 12. The Women of Troy are on a 21-match home winning streak and have not lost at home against the Ducks since 1990.