No. 4 USC Hosts No. 11 UCLA to Kick Off Pac-12 Season
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*** USC-UCLA PRE-MATCH BUFFET ***
Fans can enjoy a special pre-match buffet meal at the Galen Center's Founders' Room on Wednesday evening. The special buffet opens at 5:30 p.m. PT and is available to the general public at $20 per person. Reservations can be made by e-mailing USCGalenEvents@gmail.com with your name and the number in your party. Wednesday's menu includes farmer's market salads, fresh fruit salad, barbecue chicken, corn on the cob, macaroni and cheese, jalapeno corn bread, grilled mini bratwurst, beef sliders with house-made potato chips, and a dessert assortment.
Sept. 23, 2013
LOS ANGELES - The rivalry has returned. This Wednesday (Sept. 25), the fourth-ranked USC women's volleyball team (10-1) will open Pac-12 Conference play as host to crosstown rival UCLA (9-1) at 7 p.m. PT. The Women of Troy and the 11th-ranked Bruins meet in the 100th match of the historic series before a live national audience on ESPNU with Adam Amin and Karch Kiraly on the call.
The Trojans have won four straight (12 consecutive sets) since an up-and-coming San Diego squad shocked them on the road. USC is 9-3 in conference openers under head coach Mick Haley with six of those league-opening matches against the Bruins. The Trojans hold a 5-1 lead in head-to-head conference openers against UCLA. Overall, the Trojans lead the all-time series, 53-46, and are 20-18 in home matches against the Bruins. USC also owns a slight 4-2 edge over UCLA in matches at the Galen Center.
Both teams are even in the last 10 meetings and have split wins in each of the last two seasons. USC swept the season series in 2010 and UCLA swept in 2009. They also split in 2008. Under Haley, the Trojans are 17-8 against the Bruins and ran up their longest winning streak of the series with 11 wins from 2001 to 2005. Under the direction of coach Haley, USC is 10-4 in home matches against UCLA.
The Women of Troy also look to defend a home winning streak of 12 matches dating back to Oct. 5, 2012. USC is 96-10 all-time at the Galen Center with a .906 winning percentage on its home floor.
Offensively, USC's weaponry is spread across eight different hitters. Freshman OH Elise Ruddins leads the team and ranks eighth in the Pac-12 with 3.41 kps. Sophomore OH Samantha Bricio puts up 3.14 kps and is the conference leader for service aces (26) at 0.70 saps. She has four matches, this season, in which she has posted three service aces or more and ranks seventh in the Pac-12 at 4.32 points per set.
Freshman OH Ebony Nwanebu is third on the team with 2.82 kps and also ranks third with 0.85 blocks per set. At the other outside positions, senior OH Sara Shaw is recording 2.17 kps and is second on the team with 2.49 dps. Junior OH Emily Young has become a steady force for the Trojans with 1.75 kps.
Defensively, the Trojans lean on senior All-American Natalie Hagglund who puts up 4.55 digs per set (third in the Pac-12). Senior MB Alexis Olgard leads the team with 1.17 bps and is also an offensive threat with 1.75 kps with a .416 hitting percentage that ranks seventh in the conference. Junior MB Hannah Schraer is just a shade behind with 1.13 bps and puts up 1.03 kps.
At the heart of the USC offense, setters Hayley Crone (5.97 aps) and Alice Pizzasegola (5.21 aps) run the show. Head coach Mick Haley is closing in on his 1,100 win as a women's collegiate head coach (including seven years at Kellogg CC). He has 1,097 as the Pac-12 season begins.
SCOUTING UCLA: The 11th-ranked Bruins (9-1) have won four straight matches since dropping a 3-0 decision to a then No. 9-ranked Hawai’i team on the islands. UCLA needed five sets to take out Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State and defeated a 24th-ranked Creighton team in four. The Bruins have played all of their matches away from home and will only play their first home matches on Oct. 2 and 4 when Stanford and California visit Los Angeles. Junior OH Karsta Lowe powers the Bruin offense at 4.11 kps (fifth in the Pac-12). She also ranks sixth in points per set at 4.58 pps. Senior MB Mariana Aquino leads the team and ranks fifth in the league in hitting percentage (.434). Aquino adds 1.76 kills per set and is the UCLA leader in blocks (1.11 bps). Senior OH Kelly Reeves is second on the team with 2.94 kps and is also second on the team in digs (2.97 dps). Sophomore OH Maddy Klineman ranks third on the squad with 2.22 kps. The Bruins run a 6-2 offensive system, which has made use of three different setters, this season. Most recently, junior transfer Monica Stauber (5.22 aps) and freshman Jordan Robbins (6.00 aps) have taken then reigns while junior Megan Moenoa still holds a 5.94 aps average. Defensively, sophomore Karly Drolson leads the team with 3.07 dps. In his fourth year, UCLA head coach Mike Sealy is 84-24 with a .778 winning percentage.
The Trojans and Bruins will be meeting for the 100th time since USC women’s volleyball became a scholarship sport in 1976. The Women of Troy own a 53-46 overall record in the series and are 20-18 in home matches. Under head coach Mick Haley, USC has won 17 of 25 meetings with UCLA. The teams have split the last 10 meetings and have split the season series in each of the last two years. Additionally, USC is 9-3 in conference openers under Haley with six of those league-opening matches coming against the Bruins. The Trojans hold a 5-1 lead in head-to-head conference openers against UCLA. USC is 10-4 in all home matches against the Bruins and is 4-2 in the Galen Center since 2006.
FRESH AWARDS: Each of USC’s freshmen outside hitters has been named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week, this season. Ebony Nwanebu was selected for the first week of the year when she helped carry the Trojans to three big wins at the Mortar Board Premier tournament. She averaged 3.75 kps and 1.12 bps in the victories. Elise Ruddins was chosen for weekly freshman honors for the week of Sept. 9-15 following a breakout weekend in which she had 38 kills (5.43 kps) including 24 against UC Santa Barbara at the USD Tournament. Ruddins logged nine kills in the first set alone against the Gauchos. Nwanebu and Ruddins earned the Trojans’ sixth and seventh weekly freshman certificates. Samantha Bricio was named Freshman of the Week five times in 2012.
HALEY CLOSING IN ON 1100: Head coach Mick Haley is just three victories from recording his 1,100th as a women’s collegiate head coach. He has 324 with USC, 522 with Texas, and 348 with Kellogg CC.
TROJAN TRACKER: 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.