Sixth-Seeded USC Set to Face Wichita State in Austin Regional Semifinal
Dec. 3, 2012
LOS ANGELES - Sixth-seeded USC (29-5) has drawn Wichita State (24-9) in the round of 16 of the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship. The Women of Troy and the Shockers face off in the Austin Regional semifinal hosted by the University of Texas in a 5 p.m. CT (3 p.m. PT) match at Gregory Gym on Friday, Dec. 7. The winner plays in the regional championship set for Saturday, Dec. 8, at 8 p.m. CT (6 p.m. PT) and faces either third-seeded Texas (25-4) or 14th-seeded Florida (27-4). The Longhorns and the Gators play their semifinal match at 7 p.m. CT on Friday.
All-session passes are available for purchase at $22 for reserved seating, $14 for general admission adults, and $10 for general admission students and youth. Single-session tickets are $10 for reserved seating, $8 for general admission adults, and $5 for general admission students and youth. Tickets may be purchased online at www.TexasSports.com; by phone at (512) 471-3333; or in person at the UT Athletics Ticket Office in Bellmont Hall (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.) or at Gregory Gym starting one hour prior to each match.
USC is making its ninth appearance in the round of 16 in 12 years under head coach Mick Haley. The Trojans have advanced to the regional final round seven times out of the nine chances and have gone on to appear in the national semifinal six times; three times since 2007.
The Trojans were one of seven teams to earn a pair of sweeps in the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament, last weekend. USC joined Florida, BYU, Oregon, Penn State, Nebraska, and Stanford as the only teams that have yet to drop a set in postseason play. The Trojans made short work of Fairfield before earning a tough three-set win over Saint Mary's College at the Galen Center.
USC is led by AVCA Pacific Region and Pac-12 Freshman of the Year outside hitter Samantha Bricio and All-American junior libero Natalie Hagglund. Bricio is averaging 4.10 kps and 4.70 pps, this season while Hagglund puts up 5.03 dps.
HOMETOWN HERO: Don't ask junior outside hitter Sara Shaw for tickets, this weekend. She is making a homecoming appearance and will get to play in front of family and friends in her hometown of Austin. Shaw was a four-year letterwinner at Austin's Westlake High for coach Al Bennett where she helped the team to three straight Class 5A state final appearances. She also played club volleyball for the Austin Juniors and was on the 17s Mizuno squad that won the 2008 USA Junior Olympic Girls' Volleyball Championship title.
TEXAS SUCCESS: The Trojans hold a 10-1 mark in postseason matches played in the state of Texas. USC went 8-0 in Austin to win the 1976 AIAW Championship. The last time the Trojans won the NCAA title, it defeated Minnesota and Florida in Dallas to claim the 2003 crown. USC's only postseason loss in the state came last year in a five-set defeat at the hands of Illinois in the national semifinal match held in San Antonio.
THIRD TIME'S A LONE STAR CHARM: Each of USC's two pre-conference road tournaments, this season, took place in the state of Texas. The Trojans now return to the Lone Star State where it is 6-0, this year. In its first tournament, USC defeated Texas A&M, Texas State, and North Dakota. In the second go-round, the Trojans beat TCU, Lehigh, and Prairie View A&M. In sets, USC went 18-1 in the state.
COACHING CAROUSEL: USC head coach Mick Haley owns a pair of national titles to show for his time as the head coach of the Texas Longhorns. While at Texas, Haley faced USC four times and split wins and losses with the Trojans. Current Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott was USC's interim head coach during the 1999 and 2000 seasons while Haley was serving as the coach of Team USA. Jerritt finished his two years with a 50-12 mark and led USC to a share of the 2000 Pac-10 title on its way to an appearance in the NCAA national semifinal match. Since the two traded places, the teams have only met twice. In 2007, fifth-seeded USC took out fourth-seeded Texas in three sets in the NCAA's Florida Regional title match. The Longhorns got revenge in a sweep the following season in the 2008 Runza/AVCA Showcase in Omaha, Neb. If the two teams meet in the Austin Regional final, it would take place on the same date as the 2007 matchup (Dec. 8). It would be the ninth meeting in a series history that dates back to USC's first year of women's volleyball (1976) in which the Trojans hold a 5-3 advantage.
USC POSTSEASON RECORDS: The Trojans are making their ninth appearance in the NCAA regional semifinal in 12 seasons under head coach Mick Haley. It is the 11th time that USC has advanced to the round of 16 since the tournament field was expanded to 64 teams in 1998. USC is 68-26 in NCAA tournament matches for a .723 winning percentage and is 114-33 in all-time postseason matches.
AVCA HONORS FOR THREE: Freshman OH Samantha Bricio was named the AVCA Pacific Region Freshman of the Year to add to her numerous accolades. She became the first Trojan frosh to earn all-regional team honors since setter Taylor Carico was selected in 2006. Bricio is USC's fourth regional Freshman of the Year and joins Falyn Fonoimoana (2010), Carico (2006), and April Ross (2001). Senior opposite hitter Katie Fuller, and junior libero Natalie Hagglund were each also chosen to the All-Pacific Region team. Fuller was an honorable mention selection a year ago while Hagglund makes her second appearance on the team. Last season, Hagglund became USC's first-ever AVCA All-American libero. All three players are now eligible for All-America honors while Bricio is also in the running to become the program's first-ever National Freshman of the Year.
SHOCK MANAGEMENT: Though he is a native of Italy, USC student manager Umberto "Umbi" Gatti came to Troy from Wichita State where studied business for two years. He is in his first season as the student manager for the Women of Troy and is now a third-year student at the Marshall School of Business. As a player, Gatti played middle blocker for Italy's Volley Altair Club as well as Volley Dueville. He also served as an assistant coach for his uncle's club Volley Altopiano.
PERENIAL POSTSEASON PARTY GOERS: USC received its 35th postseason selection since the program's inception in 1976. The Women of Troy have won six national championships (1976, 1977, 1980, 1981, 2002 and 2003) and have appeared in back-to-back national semifinal matches: three times in the last five years, and seven times in the last 12 seasons. 2010-11 marked the first back-to-back final four appearances for the Trojans since they made three straight appearances from 2002-04. It is USC's 22nd consecutive selection to the NCAA Tournament where it is 68-26 (.723) overall. The Trojans are 114-33 (.776) overall in postseason play.
PAC-12 POSTSEASON ACCOLADES: Freshman OH Samantha Bricio and junior libero Natalie Hagglund headlined a group of six Trojans who received postseason honors from the Pac-12 Conference. Bricio became USC's sixth conference Freshman of the Year while Hagglund was named the Pac-12 Libero of the Year for the second straight season. Both Bricio and Hagglund were named to the All-Pac-12 Conference team; USC's 83rd and 84th all-conference recipients. Bricio was also an All-Freshman team selection. Senior opposite hitter Katie Fuller, junior OH Sara Shaw, and junior MB Alexis Olgard were each all-conference honorable mention while freshman middle blocker Alicia Ogoms was an all-freshman team honorable mention.
CLASSROOM WARRIORS: Four Trojans were named to the Pac-12's All-Academic team as honorable mentions. Junior libero Natalie Hagglund headlined the group one week after she was selected for Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-District 8 first-team honors. Hagglund is a communications major with a 3.44 grade-point average. She was joined by seniors Natasa Siljkovic and Erin Yoder, and sophomore Emily Young. Siljkovic is a middle blocker who will graduate with a degree in international relations. Yoder--a service and defensive specialist holds a 3.50 GPA in human performance. A setter/opposite hitter, Young is majoring in business administration with a 3.47 grade-point average.