No. 4 Trojans Host Cougars In Friday-Night Fight
Oct. 22, 2013
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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!
LOS ANGELES - Finally home after a four-match road stretch, the fourth-ranked USC women’s volleyball team (17-2, 7-1 Pac-12) will sew up the first half of the Pac-12 season with a pair of big tests at the Galen Center, this weekend. The Women of Troy look to bounce back after having a season-long 11-match winning streak snapped in the desert but will have their hands full as Washington State (Oct. 25) and No. 3 Washington (Oct. 27) have other plans in mind.
The Pac-12 Networks will carry both matches live with Anne Marie Anderson (play-by-play) and Tammy Blackburn (commentary) on the broadcast. Friday’s match with the Cougars will be distributed regionally while the Sunday matchup with the Huskies will go out to a national audience.
USC has defeated the Cougars in each of the last seven meetings and has only lost to WSU twice at home (25-2 overall); once in 1986 and once in 1998. Beating the Trojans at the Galen Center is no easy ask. Only five different teams have ever come away from the building with a win over the Women of Troy; only three teams have ever done it more than once. USC is 99-10 all-time at the Galen Center and is on a 15-match winning streak that dates back to Oct. 5, 2012.
The Women of Troy lean on senior All-American libero Natalie Hagglund who leads the Pac-12 with 4.78 dps (2,017 career digs). She became just the second player in school history to cross the 2,000-career dig plateau in the Trojans’ win over the Sun Devils and is set to threaten the school-record of 2,071 digs held by Debora Seilhamer (2003-06). Hagglund recently moved into eighth in Pac-12 career history as she passed UCLA’s Lainey Gera who had 2,009. Last year, in a home weekend against WSU and UW, Hagglund dug up 54 balls (6.75 dps) as the Trojans went 2-0.
Offensively, USC’s weaponry is spread across its six hitters. Sophomore OH Samantha Bricio carries the load as she puts up 3.25 kps and is the national leader for service aces (50) at 0.78 saps. Clocked at over 50 miles per hour, Bricio has had eight matches, this season, in which she has posted three service aces, or more, and ranks eighth in the Pac-12 at 4.37 points per set.
Freshman OH Ebony Nwanebu is third on the team with 3.11 kps (.323) and also ranks third with 0.89 blocks per set. Nwanebu has been nothing short of impressive and has caught the eye of the conference with four Pac-12 Freshman of the Week awards. At the other outside position, senior OH Sara Shaw is recording 2.05 kps and is second on the team with 2.68 dps. Junior OH Emily Young has become a steady force for the Trojans with 1.57 kps and is a threat on second contact as a former setter.
Defensively, senior MB Alexis Olgard leads the team with 1.24 bps and is also an offensive threat at 2.16 kps with a .456 hitting percentage that ranks second in the conference and seventh in the country. Junior MB Hannah Schraer is just a shade behind with 1.16 bps and puts up 1.49 kps.
At the heart of the USC offense, setters Hayley Crone (6.25 aps) and Alice Pizzasegola (5.49 aps) run the show. Head coach Mick Haley recently reached the 1,100-win plateau as a women’s head coach and broke the 1,200-win mark (including wins as a men’s head coach) with USC’s sweep of Oregon.
LAST TIME OUT: The Trojans had their season-long 11-match winning streak halted by an upstart Wildcat squad as Arizona ambushed USC in the desert with a 3-0 sweep. The loss prevented the Trojans from reaching 18-1, which would have been the program’s best starting mark since going 19-0 in 2003 when it won the NCAA title. While it didn’t win, USC was competitive in each set with the Wildcats. Three players reached 11 kills in a balanced offensive attack including freshman OH Ebony Nwanebu who hit .450 in the match and led the team with 12.5 points. Sophomore OH Samantha Bricio logged her third double-double of the season (14th of her career) with 11 kills (.226) and 13 digs.
SCOUTING WASHINGTON STATE: The Cougars (15-6, 2-6 Pac-12) went undefeated in non-conference matches (13-0) but has dropped six matches since league play began. Washington State has been competitive, however, as two of its last five losses have been in five-setters but each of the Cougars’ two wins has taken five sets to secure. They arrive in Los Angeles as losers of three straight (all at home) and will play in just their sixth true road match of the season when they take the floor on Friday. WSU is the Pac-12’s third best team in opponent hitting percentage. They have managed to hold the opposition to a .163 hitting rate throughout the season. Junior MB Ver’Leea Hardaway ranks ninth in the league with a .366 hitting percentage and drops 2.62 kills per set. Junior OH Jaicee Harris puts up 2.68 kps and is second on the team with 3.29 dps. The Cougars’ other pin threat is freshman OH Kyra Holt who leads the team and ranks sixth in the Pac-12 with 4.01 kps and is third on the team with 2.65 dps. Holt also leads the team and is fifth in the conference for service aces (0.37 saps). On the back line, sophomore libero Kate Sommer puts up 3.67 digs per set while senior setter Camryn Irwin dishes out 9.81 aps and is seventh in the Pac-12 in service aces (0.33 saps). Senior MH Marcelina Glab leads the team with 1.04 bps and adds 1.58 kps on the offensive side of the net.
THE MATCHUP: The Trojans and the Cougars will meet for the 56th time. USC leads the all-time series, 43-12, and is on a seven-match winning streak. In fact, the Trojans are 27-2 against WSU since 1998. USC is 25-2 in home matches against the Cougars and has only dropped matches in 1986 and 1998.
WSU HEAD COACH JEN GREENY: Washington State head coach Jen Greeny is in her third season with the Cougars and has compiled a 40-45 overall record while in Pullman. She has amassed a 152-69 record in seven seasons.
TAP THE APP: The USC women’s volleyball program is the first of its kind to release a fully-functional interactive iPad application. The custom built app provides users an inside look at the 2013 Women of Troy and their quest for a seventh national title. The app connects fans and user to player bios, links for live in-match updates, and behind-the-scenes videos that showcase the team's progress through the season. Users can also easily take a look back through the rich history of one of the most elite volleyball programs in the country. It also includes a virtual tour that takes users into the Galen Center and across the USC campus. Download the app through iTunes, today.
HALEY HITS 1100/1200: 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 331 with USC, 522 with Texas, and 348 with Kellogg CC. He has also reached the 1,200th overall victory of his career including a 97-32 mark with the men’s team at 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 and the second player ever to reach the 2,000-dig plateau. She has 2,017, 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 surpassed her freshman mark with 50 in 2013. The 50 aces in a single season ties for fifth 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 record for single-season average is 0.80 saps held by Arizona’s Kiyomi Morino (1987). In just two years, Bricio is also on the verge of breaking into the Trojan top 10 for career aces. Christina Brigman ranks 10th with 97 from 1987-89 but Bricio already has 93 in her career.