Women's Volleyball
    USC Hosts Stanford and Cal in Final Home Matches

    Sophomore libero Taylor Whittingham ranks second in the Pac-12 in digs at 4.69 dps.

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    Nov. 11, 2014

    Match #25
    No. 21 USC (14-10, 7-7) vs. No. 1 Stanford (24-0, 14-0)
    Galen Center | Los Angeles, Calif.
    Wednesday, Nov. 12 - 7:30 p.m. PT
    Series Record: Stanford leads, 58-25-1 (.298)
    Last Meeting: L, 3-1 (Oct. 26, 2014 | Stanford, Calif.)
    Current Streak: Lost 1 | Last 10 Meetings: 5-5
    TV: Pac-12 Net. (Anne Marie Anderson & Holly McPeak)
    Opponent Web: www.GoStanford.com
    Match #26 | SENIOR NIGHT 2014
    No. 21 USC (14-10, 7-7) vs. California (8-16, 0-14)
    Galen Center | Los Angeles, Calif.
    Friday, Nov. 14 - 7 p.m. PT
    Promos: 2000's Night with DJ Malski, $1 Popcorn
    Free admission with USC-Cal football ticket stub

    Series Record:
    USC leads, 53-11 (.828)
    Last Meeting: W, 3-1 (Oct. 22, 2014 | Berkeley, Calif.)
    Current Streak: Won 7 | Last 10 Meetings: 9-1
    Opponent Web: www.CalBears.com
    LOS ANGELES - The No. 21-ranked USC women's volleyball team (14-10, 7-7 Pac-12) hosts its final two regular-season home matches at the Galen Center this week. The Women of Troy will take on an undefeated No. 1-ranked Stanford (24-0, 14-0) on Wednesday (Nov. 12) at 7:30 p.m. PT, in a match that will appear nationally on the Pac-12 Networks and then welcome California (8-16, 0-14), which is winless in the Pac-12, for a Friday-night bout (Nov. 14) at 7 p.m.

    The Pac-12 Networks broadcast will feature Anne Marie Anderson and Holly McPeak on the call. USC's matchup with the Golden Bears will not be televised, but will instead be live streamed on the Pac-12 Networks' USC portal with Paul Duchesne and Dustin Avol on the call. The Women of Troy will celebrate the careers of seniors Hayley Crone, Hannah Schraer, and Emily Young in pre-match ceremonies when USC plays California.

    The road has been bumpy for the Trojans this season, and it doesn't get any easier with the top team in the nation paying a visit to the Galen Center this week From there, despite Cal's record, its history at Galen Center is something special as the Bears have forced the Trojans into five-set matches in six of the eight times they have visited the building. After the pomp and circumstance of Senior Night, the Trojans must finish the regular season with their last four matches on the road.

    The opposition hasn't seen the same USC it saw in the first half of league matches. The Women of Troy, who have employed 14 different starting lineups in 24 matches, have moved from a 6-2 system to a 5-1 hybrid and have made significant changes in their defensive schemes. In five of the last seven seasons, head coach Mick Haley has helped his Trojans post better second-half records.

    Over the course of his 13 completed seasons at USC, Haley's teams have logged at least the same record in both halves of league matches seven times. While he puts a premium on in-season improvements, only once has one of his Trojan squads fared worse in the second part of league matches. That, however, was in 2002 when USC went on to win the first of two back-to-back NCAA titles. USC has only finished with a .500 mark in conference matches once under Haley (9-9 in 2008) but never below. In fact, none of Haley's teams (including those that he coached at Texas) have ever finished below .500 in conference play.

    Despite the return of All-American outside hitters Samantha Bricio and Ebony Nwanebu, the Trojan roster is chock full of inexperience with 11 freshmen and sophomores on the ticket. Sophomore setter Alice Pizzasegola sets the starting rotation for the Trojans and puts up 5.90 aps. Senior OH and setter Emily Young (2.09 aps, 1.31 kps) carries setting duties as she rotates through the front row. With the help of senior setter Hayley Crone through the early part of the season, USC is hitting at a .253 clip (fifth in the Pac-12) through 24 matches with 13.78 kps (6th).

    Regardless of who is setting, Bricio is a favorite target. She leads the team and ranks seventh in the league with 4.17 kps. Her range out of the back row extends beyond the end line where she tacks on 0.77 service aces per set to rank first in the conference and second in the entire nation. Bricio ranks fourth in the Pac-12 for points (5.22 pps) and has racked up 68 service aces this season. With 196 aces, she has already become USC's all-time career leader in aces and ranks second in Pac-12 history by just two (Daiva Tomkus, UCLA, 1986-89).

    A force on the right side, Nwanebu is averaging 3.07 kps (.225) this season and recorded back-to-back 20-kill matches against Oregon State (.513 hitting without an error) and California. Nwanebu has also begun rotating through the back row and picked up her first two career double-doubles this season. Fellow sophomore OH Elise Ruddins has started the last seven matches to help the Trojans with 1.47 kps (2.09 dps).

    Off the bench, a pair of freshmen outside hitters played major roles for the Trojans' rotation early on and could help load the court with players that can score at any time. OH Lauryn Gillis started USC's first 17 matches and collects 2.22 kps (.179). Gillis also ranks fifth on the team with 1.94 dps. OH Brittany Abercrombie has appeared in 30 sets and hits .231 with 1.87 kps.

    Defensively, the Trojans have gotten strong production from junior MB Alicia Ogoms who leads the team with 0.98 bps. Ogoms also delivers on the offensive end with 1.56 kps and a .362 hitting percentage which ranks sixth in the Pac-12. The Women of Troy can also go young in the middle with freshman Jordan Dunn who has posted 1.12 kps to go with a .400 hitting rate this season. Senior MB Hannah Schraer scores 1.12 kps (.353) and 0.73 bps for the Trojans. In the backcourt, sophomore libero Taylor Whittingham (4.69 dps) anchors the Trojan defense and ranks second in the Pac-12 for digs.

    SCOUTING STANFORD: No. 1-ranked Stanford (24-0) is 14-0 in the Pac-12 but needed five sets each to beat Arizona and Arizona State at home last week. Junior MB Inky Ajanaku powers the Cardinal offense with 3.54 kps (ninth in the Pac-12). Ajanaku is also eighth in conference in points per set (4.20 pps), and fourth in blocks (1.18 bps). Freshman MB Merete Lutz collects 2.48 kps to pair with Ajanaku. The Cardinal's pin threats include junior OHs Jordan Burgess (3.04 kps) and Brittany Howard (2.18 kps). Swinging from the opposite is senior Morgan Boukather who puts up 2.56 kps. Junior setter Madi Bugg has recorded 1,029 assists (11.97 aps) to run Stanford's traditional 5-1 offense. Bugg ranks first in the country league in assists per set. On defense, senior libero Kyle Gilbert has logged 435 digs (4.78 dps) to lead the Pac-12.

    USC-STANFORD SERIES HISTORY: The Women of Troy are 25-58-1 in their all-time series with the Cardinal. They are 15-18 against Stanford at home; 7-6 in those matches under head coach Mick Haley. USC is 5-5 in its last 10 meetings with the Cardinal and has won three straight at the Galen Center.

    STANFORD HEAD COACH JOHN DUNNING: Head coach John Dunning is in his 14th season with the Cardinal. He boasts an 811-169 career record, with a 392-67 (.854) record on The Farm. He has coached 18 All-Americans and four AVCA National Players of the Year and has led Stanford to seven Pac-12 titles. His teams have reached the national championship match in six of his 13 seasons as head coach.

    SCOUTING CALIFORNIA: California (8-16) is winless at 0-14 in conference play. In their last matches, the Golden Bears dropped a four-set decision to ASU and lost, 3-0, to Arizona at home. Senior OPP Christina Higgins powers the Cal offense with 3.75 kps (eighth in the Pac-12). Higgins also ranks ninth in points (4.00 pps). The Bears also get production at the pins from freshmen OHs Ashten Smith-Gooden and Christine Alftin who are hitting 2.24 kps and 2.15 kps, respectively. California gets its contributions from the middle from junior MB Lillian Schonewise (2.70 kps) and junior MB/OH Lara Vukasovic (1.77 kps). Sophomore setter Alyssa Jensen runs the Golden Bears' offense with 1,034 total assists for the season (11.12 aps). She ranks fifth in the conference in assists per set. Cal's defense is led by sophomore libero Maddy Kerr with 4.19 dps (fifth in the Pac-12).

    USC-CAL SERIES HISTORY: The Women of Troy own a 53-11 overall record in their series with the Golden Bears, and are 27-2 all-time in home matches. The Trojans have won their last seven meetings against Cal with a 9-1 mark in the last 10. Despite their winless record at the Galen Center, the Bears have pushed the Trojans to five sets six times in the last eight years. USC's only non-five-set wins over Cal at the Galen Center came in 2006 (four sets) and 2011 (three sets).

    CAL HEAD COACH RICH FELLER: In his 16th year with the California volleyball program, head coach Rich Feller has led his team to 12 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, including six appearances in the regional semifinals, two national semifinals, and one NCAA title match (2010). He has coached 15 All-America selections and was named the AVCA National Coach of the Year in 2010, and the Volleyball Magazine Coach of the Year in 2007 and 2010.

    LET ME TAKE A #SELFIE: 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.

    HI, MOM! I'M ON TV: The Trojans will appear on live television broadcasts in 22 of 30 regular-season matches this season. USC matches at the USC Classic and the Pac-12/Big Ten Showcase, and all but three of the Trojans' conference matches will be carried by the Pac-12 Networks. USC's regular-season finale at UCLA will be broadcast live on ESPNU. In addition, the Trojans appeared on the West Coast Conference's digital network (TheW.tv) in the Community Bankers Volleyball Classic in Stockton, Calif., and on the new SEC Network's digital platform when they played Kentucky in the Commonwealth Classic in Lexington, Ky.

    LAST TIME OUT: USC split road matches in the mountains over the weekend. The Trojans suffered an upset 3-0 sweep at the hands of a surging Utah squad but turned things around to post their own straight-set win over No. 21-ranked Colorado. The Women of Troy beat the Buffaloes with a well-balanced attack led by a 20-kill outing from junior OH Samantha Bricio (7e, 41att, .317). Bricio added a pair of service aces and eight digs while sophomore OH Ebony Nwanebu posted 12 kills (.194) an ace, and five digs for 14.0 points. In the middle, junior MB Alicia Ogoms collected 10 kills on just 13 swings without an error for a .769 hitting percentage and matched her career high with 14.0 points. The Trojans remained undefeated against the Buffaloes all-time with a 10-0 record and maintained a perfect 21-0 mark in sets against CU since Colorado joined the Pac-12 in 2011.

    RECORD WATCH: Junior OH Samantha Bricio needs just two service aces to match the Pac-12 career record of 198 set by UCLA's Daiva Tomkus (1986-89). She has posted 68 aces this season and has reached the six-ace mark in four separate matches including an eight-ace outing against Utah (Oct. 11) that matches USC's single-match record. Bricio already owns USC's career record, the school record in a single season (85 in 2013), the second-most so far this season, and the ninth most (43) in 2012. Her 85 aces was third in Pac-12 single-season history.

    SENIOR NIGHT: In their final regular-season home match, the Trojans will celebrate the careers of seniors Hayley Crone, Hannah Schraer, and Emily Young. The trio started their careers as part of a five-player recruiting class that was ranked 10th in the nation. They have since left an indelible mark on the program with a trip to the 2011 NCAA final four, and back-to-back appearances in the NCAA regional finals (2012-13).

    SCHOLASTIC HONOR: Senior setter/outside hitter Emily Young was named to the 2014 Capital One CoSIDA All-Academic All-District 8 First Team last week. With her selection, she becomes eligible for selection as a CoSIDA Academic All-American. Young holds a 3.69 undergraduate grade point average and will complete a bachelor's degree in business administration from USC's prestigious Marshall School of Business in December. She has also begun coursework towards a master's degree in communication management from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.