No. 8 USC Celebrates Seniors on Final Home Weekend|
Nov. 13, 2012
LOS ANGELES - The eighth-ranked USC women's volleyball team will wrap up its regular-season home schedule with a pair of pivotal Pac-12 matches as top-ranked Stanford and California visit the Galen Center. The Women of Troy have won their last three matches and can make a move in the conference standings with just four matches left.
After four matches on the road, the Trojans return to the comforts of home where they are 13-1 this season. USC has won its last six home matches and has dropped just three sets through the course of those matches.
While a late-season push is the team's focus, the Women of Troy will pause to celebrate the careers and contributions of three Trojan seniors when USC and Cal take the court for a Friday-evening bout. Middle blocker Natasa Siljkovic, serving and defensive specialist Erin Yoder, and opposite hitter Katie Fuller will be presented before the match against the Bears.
Fuller has come on strong of late and is still a consistent force for the Trojans with 3.27 kps and 2.20 dps. She is coming off a match in which she served up three aces against the Buffaloes. At the other pin, freshman outside Samantha Bricio continues her impressive first-year campaign as the conference's sixth-leading scorer (4.70 pps) with 4.12 kills per set.
SCOUTING STANFORD: The Cardinal comes to Galen Center on a serious hot streak of 22 straight wins. Stanford last lost on Aug. 31 in a five-setter to a fourth-ranked Penn State squad. The Cardinal is undefeated in league matches at 16-0 and has dropped just two sets in its last six matches. Prior to that, Stanford needed five sets in three straight matches to come away unscathed against UCLA and on the road with Washington and WSU. Stanford’s balanced attack is led by junior middle Carly Wopat who scores at a 2.97 kps rate and leads the league in hitting percentage at .413. Wopat is also the third-best blocker in the Pac-12 with 1.52 bps. Freshman middle Inky Ajanaku is also impressive in both areas with 2.38 kps and fourth in the conference at .373. Ajanaku also ranks ninth in blocks (1.16 bps). Sophomore libero Kyle Gilbert is fifth in the league for digs at 4.27 dps. Stanford has won the last two matchups though USC and the Cardinal split meetings a year ago. The Trojans are 2-8 in the last 10 Cardinal clashes.
SCOUTING CALIFORNIA: The Golden Bears have been an up-and-down team all season and come into the weekend with a .500 mark in the Pac-12. Since Cal dropped a pair of 3-0 sweeps at home to USC and UCLA, the Bears have won five of their last eight matches and might be on a six-match winning streak if it were not for a pair of tough five-set losses. Cal dropped a 16-14 decision at ASU (Oct. 28) and recently took Washington to five before falling, 17-15, at home. Senior middle Shannon Hawari ranks second in the league (.393) in hitting and runs the slide to the tune of 2.68 kps. Not available in the first meeting with USC, junior outside Adrienne Gehan has returned from a leg injury and leads the team with 3.06 kps. On the right side, sophomore outside Christina Higgins puts up 2.75 kps while junior setter Joan Caloiaro ranks sixth in the league with 10.16 aps. The Trojans have won the last three meetings with Cal and are 7-3 in the last 10 matchups. Though USC swept the last home match against Cal, the Bears forced five-set matches at Galen Center from 2007-10.
WEEKEND RECAP (UTAH/COLORADO): The Trojans won their third straight match on the road with a pair of victories among the Rocky Mountains. USC battled for a four-set win over Utah (25-22, 15-25, 25-16, 25-23) and edged Colorado for the first set, 31-29, before cruising to a sweep of the Buffaloes, 25-19, 25-17. The Women of Troy had three players earn double-doubles in the win against the Utes and with four players in double digits for kills. Freshman middle blocker Alicia Ogoms notched a career-best 10 kills against Utah before she had a career-high six blocks against Colorado. Freshman outside Samantha Bricio led the offense with 14 points against Utah and 12 kills against Colorado but senior opposite Katie Fuller had 16.5 points at mile-high altitude with 11 kills (1e, 32att) for a .312 hitting rate against the Buffs. All told, the Trojans were effective in closing out a four-match road swing with three strong wins.
900: USC'S 3-0 win over Colorado (Oct. 21), was the program's 900th all-time victory. The Women of Troy are now 905-306-4 in 36 seasons. Head coach Mick Haley has been on USC's bench for its 600th, 700th, 800th, and now 900th wins.
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 308-69 in 12 seasons with the Trojans for a .817 winning percentage. He now needs just three more wins to eclipse the program's winningest coach Chuck Erbe who logged a 310-121-3 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 Cal on Oct. 12 guaranteed the 22nd consecutive winning season for the program; tied for 10th best all-time in NCAA history. It is also tied for ninth-best among active streaks. USC's five-set win over Washington on Oct. 26 secured the 10th 20-win season under head coach Mick Haley; the program's 29th time in 37 years.
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.