Women of Troy Ready For Six Duals This Week|
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March 23, 2015
LOS ANGELES - The USC women's sand volleyball team (6-0) will play six dual matches this week. The Women of Troy start the week with a Tuesday (March 24) matinee against defending national champion Pepperdine (6-1) at Merle Norman Stadium. First serve is set for 2 p.m. PT. On Thursday (March 26), the Trojans host a tripleheader starting with Bakersfield (6-2) at 3 p.m., followed by a dual with Saint Mary's College (3-4) at 4:30 p.m. All three duals will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks with Anne Marie Anderson and Holly McPeak on the call.
Following USC's pair of duals on Thursday, Bakersfield and SMC will square off at Merle Norman Stadium in a neutral-site battle. The Trojans then hit the road for a pair of matches in Phoenix, at the GCU Sand Courts on the campus of Grand Canyon University. On Friday (March 27), USC and first-year program New Mexico (1-3) will play in a neutral match at 5 p.m., and then the Trojans and the Lopes (4-2) face off at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday (March 28), the Trojans head to Tempe, Ariz., to play Arizona State (2-6) at 3 p.m. PT at the Pera Club.
LAST TIME OUT: The Women of Troy went 3-0 with a trio of 5-0 sweeps on the islands, last week. The biggest win was one over top-ranked Hawai'i, shown on a statewide television broadcast. USC also beat Nebraska and California. Sophomores Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes captured the Queen of the Beach Challenge title.
SCOUTING REPORT: No. 2-ranked Pepperdine (6-1) dropped its only match, 3-2, to Hawai'i, on the islands. The Waves have claimed 4-1 wins over Top 10 teams Long Beach State, Loyola Marymount, and Florida State, and have swept TCU, Bakersfield, and Grand Canyon. Pepperdine won the inaugural sand national championship in 2012 and produced the sport's first-ever pairs' title winners in Caitlin Racich and Summer Ross. In 2013, the Waves' only loss came in the title match. USC beat Pepperdine, 4-1, in 2014, but it was the only blemish on the Waves' march to a second team title. Pepperdine is 7-1 all-time in matches against USC and has a 58-3 all-time record. Bakersfield (6-2) has defeated CSUN twice, Cal Poly, TCU, Mira Costa College, and Irvine Valley College, and lost only to Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount. USC has met the Runners five times in the past two seasons and own a 5-0 record with just one individual match lost during that span. Saint Mary's College (3-4) has beaten San Jose State twice, and Sacramento State. The Gaels have fallen to Pacific, Santa Clara, San Francisco, and Washington. USC's only previous meeting with SMC was in Moraga in 2013 where the Trojans prevailed with a 5-0 win. USC will meet first-year program New Mexico for the first time, but holds a 1-0 mark against both Grand Canyon (2013 at home) and Arizona State (2014 in Santa Monica, Calif.).
TRACK THE TROJANS: Fans of the Women of Troy can follow @USCSandVBall on Twitter for score updates during home matches and select road matches. The Trojans are also active on Instagram (USCSandVBall) and on Facebook (USCSandVBall).
POLL POSITION: USC opened the season ranked No. 2 in the AVCA Coaches Top 10 poll and was tabbed No. 3 in the first-ever DiG Magazine Top 20 poll. The Trojans received their first-ever No. 1 ranking in 2014 and maintained the position for much of the season, before the they fell to eventual AVCA champion Pepperdine in the national semifinals. In 2013, USC started the season ranked third and finished in fourth.
TROJANS IN TV LAND: The Women of Troy appear on television in eight matches this spring. USC's match at Hawai'i was broadcast live on Honolulu's OCSports/OC16 channels. At home, the Trojans' matches at Merle Norman Stadium will be carried live by the Pac-12 Networks on March 24 and 26, and on April 2 and 9. USC holds the distinction as having appeared in the first-ever live broadcast of a women's collegiate dual match on Thursday, March 27, 2014, when USC hosted Cal State Northridge.
CARRYING THOSE CROWNS: Sophomores Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes claimed pairs' titles at both the USC Tournament (March 14) and the Queen of the Beach Challenge (March 21). The duo is 14-1 overall (5-1 in duals) with a perfect 9-0 mark in tournament matches. Hughes is right where she was last season when she and partner Kirby Burnham won the same two titles and then went on to win the USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge crown, the Pac-12 Invitational title, and eventually the AVCA Pairs National Championship.
CALL THE COPS: The Trojans have gone 5-0 in four out of six dual matches this season. In fact, USC is 6-0 at courts two, three, and five, in dual matches and is 28-2 overall in individual matches. The Trojans have produced this mark using only one pair that has collegiate experience together. Only court four where sophomores Nicolette Martin and Allie Wheeler team up for a 32-8 all-time record has played together before this spring. The other four Trojan pairs lined up in duals are newly formed this season.