No. 2 USC Hosts Streaking Seventh-Ranked Stanford
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*** USC PRE-MATCH HAPPY HOUR ***
Fans! Join us for special pre-match HAPPY HOURS at the Galen Center Founders' Room 90 minutes before every Friday home match. Beat the traffic, relax, and enjoy a cash bar and bar food items made to order. The following home matches will feature these special happy hours: vs. Stanford (Oct. 4), vs. Washington State (Oct. 25), vs. Oregon (Nov. 8), vs. Arizona (Nov. 22). Fight On!
Oct. 3, 2013
LOS ANGELES - The No. 2-ranked USC women's volleyball team (12-1, 2-0 Pac-12) will face its stiffest test of the season as it hosts defending conference champion No. 7 Stanford (10-2, 3-0) at Galen Center for a Friday-evening bout, Oct. 4, on the Pac-12 Networks. The Women of Troy and the Cardinal put winning streaks on the line as they face each other for the 82nd time with first serve set for 8 p.m. PT.
The Trojans have won six straight matches for the second time, this season, while Stanford comes into the matchup on an eight-match streak that includes 3-0 victories over then 16th-ranked Arizona State and No. 16 UCLA.
USC has won three of its last five head-to-heads with the Cardinal and is 6-6 in home matches with Stanford under head coach Mick Haley. The Trojans' next victory will be Haley's 1,100th career win as a women's collegiate head coach (including seven years at Kellogg CC).
Speaking of streaks, the Trojans currently hold a 13-match home winning streak (dating to Oct. 5, 2012) and are 97-10 in all-time matches at the Galen Center since it opened in 2006. The Trojans' longest Galen Center winning streak lasted 30 matches between Oct. 13, 2006, and Oct. 11, 2008. USC went undefeated (17-0) at home in 2007.
Offensively, USC's weaponry is spread across eight different hitters. Freshman OH Elise Ruddins leads the team and ranks ninth in the Pac-12 with 3.35 kps. Sophomore OH Samantha Bricio puts up 3.20 kps and is the conference leader for service aces (32) at 0.73 saps. Clocked at over 50 miles per hour, Bricio has had five matches, this season, in which she has posted three service aces or more and ranks eighth in the Pac-12 at 4.38 points per set.
Freshman OH Ebony Nwanebu is third on the team with 2.98 kps and also ranks third with 0.80 blocks per set. At the other outside position, senior OH Sara Shaw is recording 2.10 kps and is second on the team with 2.52 dps. Junior OH Emily Young has become a steady force for the Trojans with 1.85 kps.
Defensively, the Trojans lean on senior All-American Natalie Hagglund who puts up 4.69 digs per set (second in the Pac-12). Senior MB Alexis Olgard leads the team with 1.16 bps and is also an offensive threat with 1.84 kps with a .418 hitting percentage that ranks fourth in the conference and 21stt in the country. Junior MB Hannah Schraer is just a shade behind with 1.11 bps and puts up 1.22 kps.
LAST TIME OUT: The Trojans passed their first conference road test with a 3-0 sweep (25-22, 25-21, 25-13) of Utah in Salt Lake City on Sunday (Sept. 29). USC handed the Utes just their second loss of the season behind 20.0 points from sophomore OH Samantha Bricio who had 16 kills and four service aces while posted a .324 hitting percentage. Senior libero Natalie Hagglund led the defensive effort as she put up 18 digs. The Trojans put up a higher team hitting percentage than their opponent for the 13th time in 13 matches, this season.
SCOUTING STANFORD: The seventh-ranked Cardinal (10-2, 3-0 Pac-12) has won eight straight matches and dropped just two sets since suffering its only two losses of the season. Stanford dropped a pair of four-set decisions against an eighth-ranked Florida (Sept. 7) and a sixth-ranked Texas team (Sept. 8) in Austin, Texas. It has since completed 3-0 sweeps against Air Force, Yale, Army, Cal Poly, No. 16 Arizona State, and No. 16 UCLA. Stanford returns three All-Americans (senior MB Carly Wopat, sophomore MB Inky Ajanaku, and senior OH Rachel Williams) from a squad that won the school's 15th conference title in 2012. The defending league-champions are led by Wopat and Williams, who each average 3.11 kills per set. Wopat's .485 hitting percentage leads the Pac-12 and ranks fourth in the nation. Ajanaku is hitting .423 (3rd in the league). Wopat (1.43 bps) and Ajanaku (1.42 bps) also rank third and fourth in the Pac-12 for blocks (13th and 14th in the NCAA). Sophomore setter Madi Bugg runs the Cardinal offense and is second in the Pac-12 with 11.62 assists per set (10th in the country). Junior libero Kyle Gilbert puts up 4.69 digs per set and ties for second in the league with USC's Natalie Hagglund.
THE MATCHUP: The Trojans and the Cardinal will meet for the 82nd time. Stanford leads the all-time series, 57-23-1, but USC has won three of the last five matches. The teams have split matches in each of the last two years with the home team winning each time. The Trojans are 14-18 in home matches against the Cardinal and are 6-6 in matches under head coach Mick Haley.
STANFORD HEAD COACH JOHN DUNNING: Stanford head coach John Dunning is in his 13th season with the Cardinal. He holds a 351-63 (.848) mark on The Farm and is 788-165 over the course of his career. A member of the AVCA Hall of Fame (2011), Dunning has guided the Cardinal to two NCAA titles and seven conference crowns in his 12 seasons at the helm.
HALEY CLOSING IN ON 1100: Head coach Mick Haley is just one victory from recording his 1,100th as a women's collegiate head coach. He has 326 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.
LIKE A BROKEN RECORD: Senior libero Natalie Hagglund is poised to become the program's all-time leader in career digs, this season and the second player ever to reach the 2,000-dig plateau. She has 1,917, and currently sits in second place behind just Debora Seilhamer who logged 2,071 in her prolific career. Hagglund moved into the Pac-12's top 10 career leaders in digs and is ranked ninth. Her 4.70 career dps rank second in program history. Hagglund owns three of the top 10 single-season school records for digs: third (613 in 2012), fourth (596 in 2011), and ninth (497 in 2010 as a freshman). A season ago, Samantha Bricio set the ninth-best single-season mark for kills with 491 and took the second-most attempts in a single season at USC (1,325). Bricio's 43 service aces also tied for seventh most in a single season and her 567.0 points ranks seventh in a season for Troy. Setter Hayley Crone enjoyed the program's eighth-best single year with 1,337 assists while middle blocker Alexis Olgard recorded the ninth-best single-season hitting percentage at .394.
ACE IN THE HOLE: Sophomore OH Samantha Bricio leads the Pac-12 and is third in the NCAA in service aces with a remarkable 0.73 saps average. After leading the conference (43, 0.36 saps) in 2012, she has already posted 32 aces in 2013. Her 43 aces as a freshman tied for seventh most in program history. USC's single-season record for aces is 59 shared by April Ross (2003) and Nancy Hillman (1988). Ross also holds the Trojan record for highest single-season average with 0.52 saps in 2003.
TROJANS IN TV LAND: The Women of Troy will appear in at least 18 televised matches, this season. With the arrival of the Pac-12 Networks, over 90 conference matches are scheduled for air. The Trojans are slated to appear 16 times on Pac-12 Networks: six times at Galen Center, and 10 times as the road team. Four of USC's appearances on the Pac-12 Networks will be distributed to a national audience. The Trojans also played in front national audiences in two matches on ESPNU: Sept. 18 vs. UC Irvine and Sept. 25 vs. UCLA.
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. She was also recognized for the week of Sept. 23-30 after the Trojans opened Pac-12 play with wins over UCLA and Utah. Nwanebu led USC with 17 kills against the Bruins. 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.
ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS: Three Benjamins to be exact. Head coach Mick Haley earned his 300th win at USC in 2012. His 311th victory made him the winningest coach in program history. He is 326-721 in 13 seasons with USC for a .821 winning percentage. Haley surpassed legendary coach Chuck Erbe who logged a 310-121-3 record in 12 seasons as USC's head coach from 1976-77 and 1979-88. Haley's 300th win with Troy gave him at least 300 wins at three different schools: Kellogg Community College, Texas, and USC.
HOME, SWEET HOME: The Trojans have enjoyed the comforts of home to the tune of a 97-10 (.907) all-time record at the Galen Center. Unfortunately, when it comes to the volleyball court, the Women of Troy are less than hospitable to their visitors. The Trojans went 12-1 in home matches in 2011 and completed the 2012 home schedule with a 17-1 mark. In 2007, USC was 19-0 at home on the way to an appearance in the NCAA national semifinal match.