No. 1 Trojans Look to Ground Ducks in Sunday Matinee
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Oct. 12, 2013
EUGENE, Ore. - The Women of Troy (15-1, 5-0 Pac-12) can avenge last year's only home loss when they face No. 22 Oregon (10-5, 3-2) in a Sunday-matinee bout (3 p.m. PT) at Matthew Knight Arena. USC seeks its 10th straight win when it hits the floor against the Ducks. The match will be carried live on the Pac-12 Networks with Kevin Barnett and Kelli Tennant on the broadcast.
In 2012, due to a new scheduling process for the Pac-12, the Trojans and Ducks met just once. It was the first time the teams didn't face each other at least twice in the same season since 1985. Ranked No. 2 and coming off a four-set win over then-No. 1-ranked UCLA, the Trojans were stunned by Oregon in a sweep at the Galen Center. It was the Ducks' first win against USC in Los Angeles since 1990 and became the only home defeat for the Trojans all year.
It will have been more than a full calendar year since their last meeting, but the Trojans can exact revenge with a win on Oregon's home floor. USC leads the all-time series, 47-9, and is 22-4 in Eugene. The Women of Troy improved to 84-7 in matches as the top-ranked team with their win over Oregon State and seek what is called an Ice Cream Sweep at Troy.
USC's current winning streak can be attributed to the consistent play of its seniors and the emergence of its freshmen. Three Trojans were honored by the Pac-12, this week, as the Women of Troy swept the league's weekly awards. Senior MB Alexis Olgard was named the Offensive Player of the Week, while senior libero Natalie Hagglund was chosen as the Defensive Player of the Week for the fourth time in her career, and freshman OH Ebony Nwanebu received her third Freshman of the Week nod in six weeks.
Offensively, USC's weaponry is spread across its six different hitters. Sophomore OH Samantha Bricio carries the load as she puts up 3.24 kps and is the national leader for service aces (43) at 0.78 saps. Clocked at over 50 miles per hour, Bricio has had seven 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.
Nwanebu is third on the team with 3.13 kps and also ranks third with 0.83 blocks per set. At the other outside position, senior OH Sara Shaw is recording 2.15 kps and is second on the team with 2.55 dps. Junior OH Emily Young has become a steady force for the Trojans with 1.67 kps and is a threat on second contact as a former setter.
Defensively, the Trojans lean on senior All-American Natalie Hagglund who leads the Pac-12 with 4.79 digs per set. Olgard leads the team with 1.24 bps and is also an offensive threat with 2.04 kps with a .443 hitting percentage that ranks second in the conference and ninth in the country. Junior MB Hannah Schraer is just a shade behind with 1.08 bps and puts up 1.31 kps.
At the heart of the USC offense, setters Hayley Crone (6.21 aps) and Alice Pizzasegola (5.43 aps) run the show. Head coach Mick Haley recently reached the 1,100-win plateau as a women's collegiate head coach but is poised to break the 1,200-win mark (including wins as a men's head coach) with his next win. He currently has 1,199 overall victories.
LAST TIME OUT: The Trojans went about with a business-like attitude to collect a 3-0 win over Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore. USC earned its ninth straight victory (also its ninth straight over the Beavers) on 16.0 points from sophomore OH Samantha Bricio who had 10 kills (1e, 21att), a .429 hitting percentage, and six service aces. It was the third time in her career that she has had six service aces (or more) in a match as Bricio's serve kept Oregon State off balance all night. The Trojans also got seven kills apiece from freshman OH Ebony Nwanebu (3e, 14att, .286) and senior MB Alexis Olgard (2e, 15att, .333). Senior libero Natalie Hagglund paced the USC defense with 15 digs while junior MB Hannah Schraer had six blocks to go with six kills (1e, 10att, .500).
SCOUTING OREGON: The Ducks (10-5, 3-2 Pac-12) have won two straight since they dropped a pair of league matches to No. 2 Washington (at home) and Arizona in a four-set stunner on the road. Last year's NCAA runner-up has lost two matches at home including that loss to the Huskies and an early-season sweep at the hands of Ohio on the first weekend of the year. A pair of Pac-12 All-Stars lead Oregon's offense. Senior setter Lauren Plum leads the conference in assists (12.13 aps) but hasn't played since the Ducks' loss to Arizona due to a foot injury. Junior setter Shellsy Ashen stepped in to replace Plum and has seen Oregon to its last two wins. Junior OH Liz Brenner ranks fourth in the Pac-12 for kills (4.23 kps) and is third on the team with 2.71 digs per set. Senior MB Ariana Williams is second on the team (4.15 kps) in kills and ranks fourth in the league with a .409 hitting percentage. Williams is also the team's leading blocker with 1.12 bps. Freshman libero Amanda Benson is fourth in the Pac-12 for digs (4.47 dps) but the Ducks also get 2.77 dps from Plum when she is available. Oregon's other offensive weapons include sophomore OH Martenne Bettendorf (3.02 kps, .193) and sophomore OH Canace Finley (2.35 kps, .319) who are third and fourth, respectively, for producing points.
THE MATCHUP: The Trojans and the Ducks will meet for the 57th time. USC holds a 47-9 advantage in the all-time series, but Oregon has won three of those nine matches in the last 10 meetings including a 3-0 sweep of the Trojans at Galen Center last season (Sept. 21, 2012). The teams met just once in 2012 and didn't play in Eugene. USC is 22-4 in all matches in Eugene, Ore., and has won three straight as Oregon's guest.
OREGON HEAD COACH JIM MOORE: Oregon head coach Jim Moore is in his ninth season with the Ducks and has compiled a 176-91 overall record. In his 25-year career, he has amassed over 500 wins (528-247).
HALEY HITS 1100: Head coach Mick Haley recorded his 1,100th win as a women's collegiate head coach on Friday, Oct. 4, as the Trojans defeated Stanford, 3-0, at the Galen Center. He has 329 with USC, 522 with Texas, and 348 with Kellogg CC. He is also within reach of his 1,200th overall career victory when including a 97-32 mark with the men's team at Kellogg CC. He has 1,199.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF SWEEP: The Trojans went 3-0 in a different way on Oct. 7. USC players swept the Pac-12's weekly awards as senior MB Alexis Olgard was named Offensive Player of the Week, senior libero Natalie Hagglund was named Defensive Player of the Week, and OH Ebony Nwanebu was chosen for Freshman of the Week. It is Olgard's first such award, the fourth of Hagglund's career, and Nwanebu's third. Coincidentally, one year ago (Oct. 8, 2012), USC also swept the conference awards as OH Samantha Bricio earned offensive and freshman awards and Hagglund nabbed the defensive award.
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 1,974, 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 4.71 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 NCAA in service aces with a remarkable 0.78 saps average. After leading the conference (43, 0.36 saps) in 2012, she has already matched her freshman mark with 43 in 2013. The 43 aces ties for seventh most in school 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, but that mark is in jeopardy as Bricio continues to roll, this season. The Pac-12 mark for single-season average is 0.80 saps held by Arizona's Kiyomi Morino (1987).
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. USC is 6-0 in televised matches, this season.