No. 3 USC Opens Pac-12 Play with Rival No. 13 UCLA|
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Sept. 22, 2015
LOS ANGELES -- The third-ranked USC women's volleyball team (12-0, 0-0) will open the Pac-12 schedule with the program's 105th meeting against crosstown rival No. 13 UCLA (9-1, 0-0). The Trojans and the Bruins meet in primetime at 7:30 p.m. PT on Wednesday, Sept. 23, at Pauley Pavilion, and will be shown live on the Pac-12 Networks with Anne Marie Anderson and Tammy Blackburn on the call.
USC is 12-0 to start a season for the seventh time in 15 years under the direction of head coach Mick Haley. It is the Trojans' best start to a season since the 2012 squad went 13-0 to open the year. Each of USC's 2007 and 2010 teams won 12 matches to begin the season and finished among the NCAA's final four teams in December. During this 12-0 run, the Women of Troy earned 30 consecutive set victories to match the program's longest streak under Haley.
As the Pac-12 schedule begins, the Trojans have a chance at redemption following a 10th-place finish in the league standings in 2014. The Women of Troy won the first-ever Pac-12 title in 2011 and finished third in each of the subsequent seasons. It won't be an easy road as the Pac-12 boasts seven teams ranked in the top 20 with four in the top 10, including defending champion Stanford at No. 8.
Last season, the Bruins swept the regular-season series with a 3-0 win at Galen Center and at five-set victory at Pauley Pavilion. In 2013, the Trojans earned both victories but in 2012 and 2011, the teams split regular-season meetings. USC leads the all-time series, 55-49, and has won six of the last 10 meetings. The Trojans are 20-22 in matches as the visitor but are 8-5 in Westwood under Haley. Since 2001, the USC-UCLA match at Pauley Pavilion has gone to five sets four times. Three of those times, USC has emerged victorious.
LAST TIME OUT: The Trojans tied the program mark for consecutive set victories under head coach Mick Haley by extending to a 30-set streak. Despite having that streak snapped by Oklahoma, USC came away with a pair of victories in the Oklahoma Invitational to raise its record to 12-0 for the seventh time in 15 seasons with Haley. USC needed four sets to take out the Sooners and then swept Maryland for the team's 10th 3-0 victory of 2015. Senior OH Samantha Bricio led the Trojans in scoring in both matches and tallied five service aces against the Terrapins to mark the 16th in her career that she has reached the five-ace mark in a single match. Freshman OH Alyse Ford also contributed mightily to the victories with a career-high tying 13 kills on a scorching .769 hitting night against Maryland. The Trojans hit .460 and .493 in the two matches and out-blocked and out-dug both teams in their final pre-conference matches. The wins also marked the seventh time that the program has finished non-conference pre-league matches unscathed under Haley. In four of the previous six times, the team went on to advance to the national semifinals and twice won the NCAA title.
LET ME TAKE A #SELFIE: Get social with the Women of Troy this season. Fans can follow and interact with the USC women's volleyball team on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Periscope by searching for @USCWomensVolley.
USC VS. THE PAC: The Women of Troy have a 460-211-2 (.684) all-time record against teams from the Pac-12. In fact, USC has a winning record against 10 of its Pac-12 opponents, with Stanford the exception. The Trojans have never lost a match to conference foe Colorado in 10 meetings. In league play, the Women of Troy are 197-65 (.752) under head coach Mick Haley in the past 15 seasons.
LET'S GET THIS STARTED: In 39 seasons, the Trojans are 30-9 in conference openers, from the WCAA (Western Collegiate Athletic Association) to the Pac-West, the Pac-10, and now the Pac-12. USC is 18-4 in home conference openers and 12-5 when the conference schedule opens on the road. In the eight previous times that the Trojans have opened their league run against rival UCLA, USC is 6-2. Under head coach Mick Haley, USC is 10-4 in conference openers.