No. 6 Trojans Seek Bay Area Split Against Golden Bears
Oct. 11, 2012
BERKELEY, Calif. - The No. 6 USC women's volleyball team looks to split road matches in the Bay Area with a win against California on Friday. The Women of Troy suffered just their third loss of the season in a 3-0 sweep at the hands of a fourth-ranked Stanford squad in a mid-week battle.
The last time the Trojans left Northern California without a win was in 2009 when they dropped back-to-back four-set decisions to No. 4 Stanford and No. 14 Cal. Last year, USC swept both matches against the Golden Bears on the way to claiming the first-ever Pac-12 title, but Cal has won three of the last eight meetings and has pushed USC to five sets in four of their losses over the course of the last 10 matchups.
USC has had to open Pac-12 play with one of the toughest roads of any team in the league. Each of the teams the Trojans have lost to has been ranked as high as No. 1, No. 2, and No. 4, in the coaches poll. Troy is no stranger to this type of adversity, though. Last year, following a three-set loss at Stanford, the Trojans clobbered California in three sets, one day later, to start a 12-match winning streak that took them all the way to the NCAA semifinals.
The Trojans, many of whom are amidst midterm exams, will need strong bounce-back performances from their pin hitters and solid contributions in the middle to pass their mid-season test against the Bears.
MATCH RECAP (STANFORD): The Trojans ran into a fired up Stanford squad on the road and were out-played in a 3-0 sweep at Maples Pavilion. The Cardinal put up 13 blocks and had 59 digs to hold USC to a season-low .085 hitting percentage. The Women of Troy had their three-match winning streak snapped by No. 4 Stanford (25-18, 25-16, 25-18) as the Cardinal neutralized USC's outside attack. Junior outside Sara Shaw led all players with 13 kills (5e, 32att, .250) and junior libero Natalie Hagglund had 20 digs, but it wasn't enough as Stanford posted a .350 attack rate in the match (44k, 9e, 100att). Freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio had 10 kills but at the expense of 12 errors (47att) for a negative .043 hitting rate. Senior opposite hitter Katie Fuller was held to six kills with seven errors on 26 attempts (-.038). Two Cardinal players shared the bulk of the Stanford digs as Kyle Gilbert had 22 to lead all players and Jordan Burgess had 19. Brittany Howard had nine digs but was a menace to the USC defense as she earned 12 kills (0e) on 29 swings for an outstanding .414 hitting percentage.
INTER(NATIONAL) RECOGNITION: Freshman OH Samantha Bricio was named the Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week on Oct. 9 in conjunction with her selection as the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week and her third award as the conference Freshman of the Week. She became the seventh different Trojan to receive the national weekly award and it was the eighth time a USC player was chosen. Bricio, a native of Guadalaja, Mexico, is the fourth international player to win the award for Troy. Alex Jupiter (Paris, France), Asia Kaczor (Wroclaw, Poland), and Jasmina Marinkovic (Uzice, Serbia), were her predecessors.
SCOUTING CALIFORNIA: Stricken by injuries, the Bears have struggled through the early portion of the season. Cal has split matches in each of the three previous Pac-12 weekends, losing the first and winning the second. The Bears have been without last year's starting libero Robin Rostratter all season and did not have All-Conference opposite hitter Correy Johnson for several matches. Most recently, junior outside hitter Adrienne Gehan suffered an injury that kept her out of the lineup during Cal's 3-0 win over Oregon State. Gehan's 3.35 kps leads the team, but senior middle hitter Shannon Hawari puts in 2.38 kps and ranks fifth in the conference (.368) for hitting percentage. Transfer setter Joan Caloiaro puts up 9.47 aps and freshman outside hitter Nikki Gombar has 19 assists to lead the squad. The last time the two teams met, the Trojans swept the Bears at Haas Pavilion on Oct. 29, 2011. USC is 19-7 as the road team against Cal and has won each of the last two matches in Berkeley, Calif.
USC SWEEPS PAC-12 WEEKLY HONORS: Following a pair of victories over Arizona (3-0) and Arizona State (3-1), USC players swept a trio of Pac-12 weekly awards. Freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio won her third Freshman of the Week award and became the first frosh to win both that award and the league's Offensive Player of the Week honor on the same week. Junior libero Natalie Hagglund took home her first-ever Player of the Week award as the conference's defensive selection. She became the first USC libero to win a weekly award since Debora Seilhamer was chosen on Oct. 24, 2005. The two awards were USC's 50th and 51st all-time (Freshman of the Week awards do not count towards a school's total all-time tally).
CLASS ACT: Senior opposite hitter Katie Fuller is one of 30 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make positive impacts as leaders in their communities. To be eligible, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. The candidate class will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot that will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one candidate.
ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS: Three Benjamins to be exact. Head coach Mick Haley earned his 300th win at USC when the Trojans defeated Arizona State in four sets on Oct. 7. He is 300-67 in 12 seasons with the Trojans for a .817 winning percentage. He now needs just 11 more wins to eclipse the program's winningest coach Chuck Erbe who logged a 310-121-4 record in 12 seasons as USC's head coach from 1976-77 and 1979-88. Haley's 300th win with Troy gives him at least 300 wins at three different schools: Kellogg Community College, Texas, and USC. 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.