No. 3 Trojans Hit the Road for Northwest Pac-12 Bouts|
Sept. 25, 2012
No. 3 USC (13-1, 1-1) at No. 5 Washington (11-0, 2-0)
LOS ANGELES - The third-ranked Women of Troy hit the road for their first Pac-12 road matches, this weekend. For the second match in a row, USC will face an undefeated foe. After they knocked off defending NCAA champion UCLA, the Trojans had trouble with an undefeated up-and-coming Oregon squad on Friday night. The Ducks put the first blemish on USC's record as the Trojans get ready for their first conference matches away from home.
It doesn't get any easier for USC as it faces an undefeated fifth-ranked Washington team on Friday evening (Sept. 28). The Huskies have dropped just two sets all season and were swept in each of their meetings with the Trojans last year so they will be looking for revenge. USC hasn't lost back-to-back matches since the first week of 2011. Something has to give, but USC will be prepared. Last year, the Trojans rebounded from three of their five losses with three-set sweeps of their next opponent. This season, they are 6-0 away from home.
USC's 2011 victory in Seattle snapped a six-match losing streak in the Emerald City. Prior to that, the Trojans had won nine straight matches as guests of the Huskies from 1996-2004. If USC is to build a new streak, it will need stellar performances from its outside hitters. Senior opposite hitter Katie Fuller leads the team in kills (4.07 kps) and is hitting .326, this season. Freshman Samantha Bricio goes the way of 3.70 kps (.278) and leads USC in service aces with 16.
WEEKEND RECAP: In a matchup of Nos. 1 and 2 in the nation, the second-ranked Women of Troy opened Pac-12 play and experienced the highest of highs with a 3-1 win over defending NCAA champion and crosstown rival UCLA on Wednesday (Sept. 19). Led by senior opposite hitter Katie Fuller, who matched her career high with 21 kills, the Trojans outpaced the Bruins, 25-17, in the final set to grab a four-set win in their conference opener. Freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio also matched her career best with 19 kills and junior libero Natalie Hagglund posted 21 digs in the Trojan win. That victory maintained USC's unblemished 13-0 record as it prepared to clash with undefeated eighth-ranked Oregon. The Ducks brought some major firepower and earned a 3-0 sweep in Galen Center for their first road win over the Trojans since 1990. Senior outside hitter Alaina Bergsma led the way with 18 kills while sophomore outside Liz Brenner had 16 kills with just one error (26att) and hit for .577 with nine digs.
SEATTLE STREAK: The Trojans' win in Seattle on Sept. 16, 2011, snapped a six-match losing streak in the Emerald City. As guests of the Huskies, USC had lost six straight matches from 2005 through 2010. Prior to that, the Trojans dominated the road series with nine consecutive wins (1996-2004) and 14 of 15 from 1990 to 2004.
PALOUSE PIT STOP: USC has won 12 of the last 14 matches in which it has faced Washington State in Pullman, Wash. Save a 3-0 loss to the Cougars in 2009, the Trojans have dropped just one set in the Palouse and are on a two-match winning streak.
FAMILIAR VOLLEY VOICE: When the Trojans take the court against the Huskies and the Cougars, a familiar face will be on the sideline. Former USC middle blocker/opposite hitter Kelli Tennant will provide color commentary as part of the Pac-12 Networks broadcast team. She will team with Tracy Warren on Friday (Sept. 28) for USC-Washington, and will be alongside Kevin Barnett on Sunday (Sept. 30) for USC-WSU.
ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS: Three Benjamins to be exact. Head coach Mick Haley is three wins from earning his 300th at USC. He is 297-65 in 12 seasons with the Trojans for a .820 winning percentage. In nine of his 11 completed seasons, Haley has guided the team to at least 20 wins and has never missed the NCAA tournament during his time on campus.