Trojans, and Huskies, and Cougars! Oh, My!|
Oct. 24, 2012
LOS ANGELES - The seventh-ranked USC women's volleyball team wraps up the back half of a four-match home stand as it hosts Washington and Washington State, this weekend. The Women of Troy will have a chance to avenge one of their three losses when the Huskies take the court on Friday. USC was edged in three sets the last time it faced Washington in Seattle and can start the second half of league-play on the right foot by evening the season series.
The Trojans have won six of their last seven matches and are on a three-match winning streak as the Huskies come to Galen Center. USC has just four home matches remaining on the regular-season schedule but the Trojans are 11-1 on their home floor, so far.
USC is led by freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio who puts down four kills per set and ranks sixth in the conference with 4.70 pps. Bricio had 11 service aces, last weekend, and now leads the Pac-12 with 0.41 saps. Senior opposite hitter Katie Fuller is second on the team with 3.49 kps while the Trojans rely on junior libero Natalie Hagglund (4.58 dps) on the defensive side of the net.
Before their current three-match streak, the Trojans had separate three and 13-match streaks. USC can use a successful weekend to build momentum before it embarks on a four-match stretch of road matches through the heart of November.
SCOUTING NO. 5 WASHINGTON: After a 16-0 start, the Huskies have dropped two of their last three. Washington suffered its first setback at Oregon on Oct. 13 before it fell in five sets to a second-ranked Stanford team on Oct. 19, in Seattle. The Huskies are strong at the net where they lead the nation in blocking (3.35 bps). Washington is also the seventh-best team in the country for opponent hitting percentage. Its foes attack at a Pac-12 worst .164 rate. The Huskies also lead the Pac-12 in service aces (1.54 saps, 21st in the nation). Individually, senior Amanda Gil’s league-leading 1.60 blocks per set ranks seventh in the nation. Krista Vansant leads the team (sixth in the Pac-12) in kills with 4.23 kps while setter Katy Beals ranks second in the league for aces at 0.34 saps. Behind Vansant, Kylin Munoz (2.34 kps, .314) and Kaleigh Nelson (2.49 kps, .357) are the Huskies’ second and third options. USC and Washington have split the last 10 matches, but the Huskies claimed a 3-0 win in Seattle in the first meeting of the regular season on Sept. 28.
SCOUTING WASHINGTON STATE: The Cougars have lost all 10 of their conference matches since finishing the non-conference schedule on a nine-match winning streak. Washington State is coming off a close five-set loss to No. 2 Stanford at home on Oct. 21. After dropping the first and second sets, 25-14, 25-17, the Cougars stiffened up to earn a pair of 25-21 wins in the third and fourth sets before the Cardinal claimed a 15-10 win in the final frame. Jaicee Harris leads the Cougars in kills (4.12 kps) and service aces (20) and ranks seventh in the Pac-12 for points (4.62 pps). Harris also leads the league in double-double matches with 11, this season. Marcelina Glab ranks ninth in the conference in blocks with 1.29 bps and adds 2.01 kps. Rachel Todorovich is second on the team in kills (3.14 kps). Ver’Leea Hardaway ranks eighth in the Pac-12 for hitting percentage (.344) and averages 1.05 blocks per set. USC has lost just one set to the Cougars during its current six-match winning streak and claimed a 3-0 win over WSU in the last meeting at Pullman, Wash., on Sept. 30.
MATCH RECAP (COLORADO): The Trojans completed the weekend sweep in a three-match victory over Colorado (25-16, 25-19, 25-18) as freshman OH Samantha Bricio had 12 kills and four service aces to lead the way. The Trojans looked to its middle attack for production and got it as junior MB Alexis Olgard earned nine kills (2e, 16att) for a .438 hitting percentage. Freshman middle Alicia Ogoms and senior middle Natasa Siljkovic added six kills without an error as the Trojans posted a .255 hitting rate for the match. Sophomore setter Hayley Crone had 22 assists and six digs while freshman setter Cinnamon Sary played in just her second match of the season and came up with 14 assists and six digs of her own. Junior OH Sara Shaw added eight kills (3e, 23att, .217) for the Trojans who were rarely tested in the three-set victory. The Buffaloes made several short runs but USC weathered the attack and emerged with its third consecutive three-set sweep.
900: USC'S 3-0 win over Colorado on Sunday, Oct. 21, was the program's 900th all-time victory. The Women of Troy are now 900-304-4 in 36 seasons. Head coach Mick Haley has been on USC's bench for its 600th, 700th, 800th, and now 900th wins.
BRICIO CONNECTS FOUR: Freshman OH Samantha Bricio became the first-ever USC player to be named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week when she was selected following her performance at the Texas A&M Invitational. She has since gone on to win the award three more times. Bricio had a coming-out party in College Station, Texas, when she helped the Women of Troy to a 3-0 record to open the season and was named the tournament MVP. One week later, she was selected for the award again after she helped the Trojans to a 3-0 weekend at the Luxe City Center Trojan Invitational where she was also honored as an all-tournament team selection. Following a pair of stellar performances against Arizona and Arizona State, Bricio received her third Freshman of the Week nod on Oct. 8, and was selected as the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week and the Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week (Oct. 9). Most recently, Bricio received the Freshman of the Week award (Oct. 22) after a weekend in which she served 11 aces in six sets.
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 303-67 in 12 seasons with the Trojans for a .819 winning percentage. He now needs just 8 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.
WINNING FORMULA: The Trojans' win over California of Oct. 12 guaranteed the 22nd consecutive winning season for the program. USC's 22 straight winning seasons is tied for 10th best all-time in NCAA history. It is also tied for ninth-best among active streaks. The next victory for Troy will secure the 10th 20-win season under head coach Mick Haley; the program's 29th time in 37 years.
SENIOR STREAK: Seniors Natasa Siljkovic, Katie Fuller, and Erin Yoder have never lost to Washington or Washington State at Galen Center. The Trojans have successfully defended home court against the Huskies and Cougars in each of the last three seasons.
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 Guadalajara, 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.
POCKET ACES: Freshman OH Samantha Bricio served up a career-high seven service aces in a win against Utah on Oct. 19, at Galen Center. It was one off the school record and the most aces by a Trojan since All-American Asia Kaczor had eight at Oregon State on Nov. 9, 2007. Bricio topped off the weekend with four more against Colorado for a grand total of 11 service aces in six sets (1.83 saps). She now leads the Pac-12 with 29 and a 0.41 saps average.
BLOCK PARTY: Junior middle blocker Alexis Olgard put up a wall against Arizona State on Oct. 7 as she knocked down a career-high 11 blocks (two solo, nine assists). The 11-block outing was the most by a USC player since Bethany Johansen had 13 against Oregon on Sept. 22, 2006.
DIGGIN' THE SCENE: Junior libero Natalie Hagglund was selected as the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 8 after she accounted for 49 digs in just seven sets of play as USC took out Arizona and Arizona State. The All-American libero averaged 7.00 dps on the weekend. It was her first such conference award and made her the first USC libero to win Player of the Week honors since Debora Seilhamer was selected on Oct. 24, 2005.