No. 1 Trojans Host Lions and Dons For Senior Day|
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April 8, 2015
LOS ANGELES - The No. 1-ranked USC women's sand volleyball team (15-0) will face Loyola Marymount (2-8) and San Francisco (8-5) in its final home duals of the spring on Thursday (April 9) at Merle Norman Stadium. The Women of Troy will meet the Lions for a third time this year when the teams take the sand at 2:30 p.m. PT. USC will then face the Dons for the first time in a 4 p.m. match. Both duals are scheduled for broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks with J.B. Long and Holly McPeak on the call.
The Trojans will honor their senior class in pre-match ceremonies preceding the USC-LMU dual. Seniors Eve Ettinger, Meg Norton, Bria Russ, Alexa Stonish, and Emily Young will each be presented by the Trojans' coaching staff one last time on the sand at Merle Norman Stadium.
USC has not lost to Loyola Marymount in 12 all-time meetings and have only ever dropped a single match within any individual dual. The Trojans will meet San Francisco for the first time. The Women of Troy have amassed a 67-8 overall record in dual matches this spring and have held strong with a 15-0 mark at court five. At No. 4, sophomores Nicolette Martin and Allie Wheeler are 14-1. Ettinger and Norton have also produced a 14-1 mark at court three. Sophomore Sophie Bukovec and junior Alexa Strange are 12-3 on court two, and sophomores Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes own a 21-3 overall record with a 12-3 line on the top court.
Following the two home duals, USC will take on Santa Clara (6-2) and Boise State (3-8) at 10 a.m. and noon PT respectively on Saturday (April 11) in the USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge at Hermosa Beach Pier in Hermosa Beach, Calif.
LAST TIME OUT: The Women of Troy ran the gamut last week with a 5-0 win over Concordia, a 4-1 win over Loyola Marymount, and a 3-2 win over No. 3-ranked Pepperdine to stay undefeated. USC won matches over the Eagles and the Lions at Merle Norman Stadium and later became the first team ever to defeat the Waves at Zuma Beach when sophomores Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes delivered the clinching point in the 3-2 win over Pepperdine. The 15 straight wins is the best start to open a season by the Trojans and is just six short of the program's longest winning streak of 21 set in 2014.
CARDINAL GOLD CLASS: The Trojans will celebrate their seniors in pre-match ceremonies prior to the USC-LMU match (April 9). The members of the class are quite varied in overall experience but it does include the first-ever four-year member of the USC sand volleyball team. Eve Ettinger left her indoor career following her freshman fall season (2011) and has played in each of the Trojans' four seasons on the sand. While she is the first senior of that stature that the Women of Troy will bid farewell to, she is joined by Emily Young as members of the inaugural USC sand squad. Young also played in the spring of 2012, but left the team for two seasons in order to concentrate on her indoor game. Alexa Stonish joined the Trojans in 2013 as a sophomore transfer from Stetson while Bria Russ dropped her indoor career to play exclusively on the sand in 2013 as well. The youngest Trojan in USC's senior class is Meg Norton who was an indoor national champion with UCLA before she transferred to USC to play on the sand this season as a graduate student.
SCOUTING REPORT: Loyola Marymount (2-8) started the season ranked No. 6, but has fallen short of expectations with eight losses. The two victories were 4-1 decisions over Bakersfield and Pacific. At the top court, Betsi Metter and Sara Sponcil own two wins over USC's Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes. The Trojans are 12-0 in all-time meetings with the Lions. San Francisco (8-5) is on a three-match streak with wins over Sacramento State, Pacific, and Cal Poly. USC will meet the Dons for the first time. USF and LMU will meet in a neutral match at Merle Norman Stadium following their matches with the Trojans. USC has met both Santa Clara and Boise State once each and earned 5-0 victories over both Bronco squads at neutral sites in 2014.
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 Women of Troy seized the top spot in both polls on March 23 following their victory over then No. 1-ranked Hawaii on the road. 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 21-3 overall (12-3 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 nine out of 15 dual matches this season. In fact, USC is 15-0 at five, in dual matches and is 67-8 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 39-8 all-time record has played together before this spring. The other four Trojan pairs lined up in duals are newly formed for 2015.