No. 3 Trojans Set to Clash with Cougars
Sept. 29, 2012
PULLMAN, Wash. - The third-ranked Women of Troy (13-2, 1-2 Pac-12) will try to regain their footing in a rare Sunday-morning matinee matchup against Washington State (10-5, 0-3). First serve is set for 11:30 a.m. PT on the Pac-12 Networks with Kevin Barnett and Kelli Tennant on the broadcast from Bohler Gymnasium.
USC dropped its sixth consecutive set and was swept in two straight matches for the first time since October of 2009 following a 3-0 loss to an undefeated fifth-ranked Washington squad. The Cougars are in much the same boat as losers of three straight. Prior to these streaks, WSU had won nine consecutive matches in pre-conference tournaments and the Trojans were winners of 13 straight.
The last time USC suffered back-to-back losses, it won 16 of its next 17 matches. The Trojans have earned victories in 12 of their last 14 visits to Pullman and posted 3-0 road wins over the Cougars in each of the last two seasons. Overall, USC is 9-1 in its last 10 matchups against WSU with a five-match winning streak.
A native of Eastern Washington (Spokane, Wash.) junior middle blocker Alexis Olgard is making just her second homecoming appearance with the Trojans. She didn't make the trip a year ago after undergoing knee surgery but the last time Olgard played in Bohler, the frosh middle had seven kills on 11 swings for a .545 hitting percentage with two solo blocks as USC earned a 3-0 win on Oct. 2, 2010.
MATCH RECAP (WASHINGTON): In their third consecutive match against a top-10 opponent, the Trojans suffered a 3-0 sweep at the hands of an undefeated fifth-ranked Husky squad at Alaska Airlines Arena. It was the second straight loss for a USC team that had won all 13 of its previous matches. The Trojans won several statistical battles for much of the match but were unable to close out sets when it counted most. The Huskies drew from the energy of a record crowd and capitalized on USC errors to come away with a 25-23, 26-24, 25-21 win. Senior opposite hitter Katie Fuller logged her 10th match of the season with double-digit kills with 12 (6e, 24att, .250) and eight digs while freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio overcame a slow start to finish with 11 kills (3e, 25att, .320) and seven digs, but it wasn't enough as USC did itself in with 12 service errors and eight reception errors. Washington's win pushed its record to 13-0 (4-0 in the Pac-12); its best start to a season since 2009 when the Huskies were 15-0 and 5-0 in league matches.
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 since 2005 and are on a two-match winning streak.
OLGARD HOMECOMING: Junior middle blocker Alexis Olgard returns to her native Eastern Washington when the Trojans face the Cougars in Pullman, Wash., on Sunday, Sept. 30. Olgard attended Mead High School in Spokane, Wash., just 75 miles from the campus of Washington State. At Mead, Olgard won three state championships (2006, '07, and '09). During her senior year, she was a finalist for Prep Volleyball's National Player of the Year honors and was a Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 selection.
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 teamed 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 297-66 in 12 seasons with the Trojans for a .818 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.
FRESH START: The 2012 Trojans are a fountain of youth with a pair of freshmen seeing major playing time. Outside hitter Samantha Bricio has started all 15 matches and was an instant sensation as winner of back-to-back Pac-12 Freshman of the Week awards. Middle blocker Alicia Ogoms has started eight of USC's matches and played in 33 of 50 sets.
GLASS HALF FULLER: Senior opposite hitter Katie Fuller has shouldered much of the offensive load for the Trojans this season. With the departure of Alex Jupiter and Lauren Williams, Fuller stepped in and became the go-to pin hitter for USC. This season, she has logged career numbers for kills (21 twice) and digs (18). She has had 10 matches with double-digit kills and led USC in points in seven matches so far.