No. 4 Trojans Trek to Corvallis for Tuesday Beaver Bout
Nov. 20, 2012
CORVALLIS, Ore. - The fourth-ranked USC women's volleyball team carries a five-match winning streak into the final week of the regular season and can make head coach Mick Haley the winningest coach in program history with its next victory.
The Women of Troy jumped four spots from No. 8 to No. 4 in the final regular-season coaches poll and has just two matches remaining to secure at least a share of second place in the Pac-12. The Trojans will sandwich the Thanksgiving holiday between a Tuesday night fight with Oregon State and a Friday night season finale at UCLA's newly renovated Pauley Pavilion.
USC's meeting with the Beavers will be the only one of the year due to the Pac-12's new scheduling practices, but the Trojans won 29 of the last 30 matches against Oregon State. USC is led by the league's top libero in junior Natalie Hagglund who puts up 5.01 digs per set and just received her third Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week award of the season.
Outside hitter Samantha Bricio took home her fifth Pac-12 Freshman of the Week award this week and ranks fourth in the conference for kills (4.12 kps). Senior opposite hitter Katie Fuller (3.23 kps) and junior outside Sara Shaw (2.96 kps) shore up the offense which hits .258 on the season under the guidance of sophomore setter Hayley Crone (11.03 aps).
SCOUTING OREGON STATE: Since going 10-2 in pre-league tournaments, the Beavers have won just four matches. Oregon State’s only victory in its last 10 outings was a 3-1 win at Washington State on Nov. 16. Because of the Pac-12’s new scheduling practices, the Trojans and Beavers will only meet once, this season. The Beavers average 1.27 aces per set. Senior outside hitter Camille Saxton ranks eighth in the league with 0.28 service aces per set. Saxton also leads the Beavers in kills with 3.62 kps. Junior libero Becky Defoe is second in the Pac-12 for digs (4.99 dps) while sophomore middle Arica Nassar ranks ninth in blocks with 1.17 bps. The Beavers earn points on 2.67 blocks per set to rank fifth in the Pac-12. Senior DS Alyssa O’Neil ranks ninth in service aces with 0.26 saps. USC has prevailed in 29 of the last 30 meetings with Oregon State and is currently on a seven-match winning streak. The Trojans have not dropped a set to OSU since 2008 and are 44-8 in the all-time series with a 21-5 mark in Corvallis, Ore.
SCOUTING NO. 5 UCLA: The Bruins had won nine of 10 matches before they fell to then-No. 1 Stanford in four sets on Nov. 16. UCLA has lost six matches, this season; none back-to-back. The Bruins are the most efficient team in the Pac-12 with a .302 hitting percentage and rank second in kills (14.90 kps) and assists (13.92 aps). Senior outside Tabi Love is the Bruins’ go-to weapon. She ranks second in the league in kills (4.54 kps) and points (4.94 pps). Senior opposite Rachael Kidder is no slouch either. She ranks seventh in the Pac-12 in kills (4.02 kps) and points (4.49 pps). Sophomore middle Zoe Nightingale hits .376 (ranked fourth) and is the league’s fifth-leading blocker at 1.31 bps. Senior libero Bojana Todorovic is eighth in the league for digs with 3.96 dps. The last time the Trojans and Bruins met, it was a matchup of the top two ranked teams in the country. Second-ranked USC earned a four-set win (28-26, 25-20, 24-26, 25-17) at the Galen Center on Sept. 19. The Trojans own the series edge, 53-45, and are an even 19-19 all-time as the visiting team.
WEEKEND RECAP (STANFORD/CALIFORNIA): The Trojans closed the book on the 2012 regular-season home schedule with an emphatic four-set win over then-No. 1 Stanford and a thrilling five-set win against upstart California. USC upended the Cardinal to avenge one of its four losses this season thanks to a career night from junior libero Natalie Hagglund who had 44 digs. She was one short of tying the all-time USC single-match record set by Debora Seilhamer in 2004. Her 44 digs was also the most ever by a Trojan in a four-set match. Offensively, freshman OH Samantha Bricio had 19 kills and logged her 10th double-double of the year with a career-high 22 digs. Junior middle blocker Alexis Olgard matched her career high with 12 kills (no errors) and a career-best 10 digs for her first-ever double-double. One night later, the Trojans celebrated seniors Katie Fuller, Natasa Siljkovic, and Erin Yoder, in the final home match of the regular season. With emotions running high, the Golden Bears capitalized to go up, 2-1, but USC fought back to force a fifth set with a 29-27 win in the fourth. Bricio poured in another 22-point performance with 18 kills, two aces, and two solo blocks, to buoy the Trojans to a thrilling victory; their fifth in a row.
900: USC'S 3-0 win over Colorado (Oct. 21), was the program's 900th all-time victory. The Women of Troy are now 907-306-4 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 310-69 in 12 seasons with the Trojans for a .818 winning percentage. His next win will make him the program's winningest coach. Chuck Erbe 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 gave 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.
DIGGIN' THE SCENE: For the third time, this season (and in her career), junior libero Natalie Hagglund was selected as the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week on Nov. 19. She had a career-high 44 digs in a match against No. 1 Stanford (11.00 dps) and averaged 7.00 dps in two wins. Hagglund was also honored on Oct. 29 following a remarkable weekend against UW and WSU. She was also named 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. Each of her three awards are her first such honors and made her the first USC libero to win Player of the Week honors since Debora Seilhamer was selected on Oct. 24, 2005.
SHE'S GOT FIVE ON IT: 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 four 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). On Oct. 22, Bricio received the Freshman of the Week award after a weekend in which she served 11 aces in six sets for wins against Colorado and Utah. On Nov. 19, she was selected for the award a fifth time following a strong weekend in which the Trojans upset No. 1 Stanford and earned a five-set win against California.