No. 3 USC Puts Record to Test Against No. 8 Stanford|
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Sept. 25, 2015
LOS ANGELES -- The third-ranked USC women's volleyball team (13-0, 1-0 Pac-12) will put its unblemished record on the line when it heads north to face No. 8-ranked defending conference champion Stanford (7-2, 1-0) on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 4 p.m. PT. The match will be carried live on the Pac-12 Networks (LA, Bay Area, and National) with Anne Marie Anderson and former USC beach volleyball volunteer assistant coach Dain Blanton on the call.
The Women of Troy opened their Pac-12 schedule with a resounding 3-0 win over rival UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. It was the 11th straight-set sweep for the Trojans, who are 13-0 to start a season for the fifth time under the direction of head coach Mick Haley. USC improved to 4-0 against teams ranked in the top 15 (at the time of meeting) and moved to 11-4 in 15 conference openers with Haley.
The Trojans and the Cardinal will meet only once this season due to the new Pac-12 scheduling procedures. USC and Stanford will face each other in the Bay Area, but not in Los Angeles. At the end of the season, the Trojans will host California for the final match of the regular season, but won't play the Golden Bears in the Bay Area.
USC finished 10th in the final 2014 league standings and dropped both matches to the Cardinal last fall. The Trojans fell, 3-1, at Maples Pavilion, and were swept at Galen Center. Stanford is the only Pac-12 opponent that USC does not own a winning win percentage against. The Cardinal leads the all-time series, 59-25-1, and has won four of the last five meetings on The Farm. The Trojans bring a balanced attack to the road that is led by senior outside hitter Samantha Bricio who ranks first in the country for points (6.15 pps) and service aces (0.83 saps). Bricio needs just eight kills to move into fifth place on USC's career ladder, and into a tie with Lonise Norfleet (1,636 kills; 1987-90).
SCOUTING NO. 8 STANFORD (7-2, 1-0 Pac-12): has won four straight matches since dropping back-to-back 3-0 matches to No. 1 Penn State and North Carolina on the road. The Cardinal was picked to repeat as the Pac-12 champion and is led by 15th-year head coach John Dunning who has guided the program to two NCAA titles and eight conference championships. Freshman opposite hitter Hayley Hodson produces 3.55 kps to go with 10 service aces on the season. Senior outside hitter Brittany Howard is second on the team with 3.19 kps. The Cardinal leads the Pac-12 and ranks fifth in the country in blocks. Sophomore middle blocker Ivana Vanjak logs 1.55 bps while sophomore Merete Lutz earns 1.24 bps. Stanford hits .263 on the season thanks to senior setter Madi Bugg who ranks fourth (10.03 aps) in the Pac-12 in assists. Freshman libero Halland McKenna leads her team with 3.48 dps. The Cardinal leads USC, 59-25-1, in the all-time series and is the only Pac-12 opponent to hold a winning percentage in meetings with the Women of Troy. The teams are 5-5 in the last 10 meetings but Stanford earned a pair of victories in 2014; a 3-1 win on The Farm, and a 3-0 win at Galen Center. Prior to the two wins, USC had won three straight over Stanford. The Trojans have won only once in their last five trips to Maples Pavilion.
LAST TIME OUT: The Trojans maintained their undefeated record with a 3-0 sweep (25-22, 25-12, 25-19) of crosstown rival UCLA and claimed the first five points in the race for the BMW Crosstown Cup, an annual contest between USC and UCLA for sports supremacy in the city of Los Angeles. The Women of Troy improved to 13-0 to start a season for the fifth time in 15 years under head coach Mick Haley. Senior OH Samantha Bricio had 14.0 points to lead the Trojans on 10 kills, a service ace, and four blocks (two solo). Freshman OH Alyse Ford introduced herself to the rivalry with a match-high 11 kills while the Trojans worked efficiently to hit .267. USC never trailed in the match and held the Bruins to a .056 hitting percentage in the match; the second lowest by a Trojan opponent this season. In the middle, junior MB Elise Ruddins hit .500 with eight kills and picked up four blocks. Senior MB Alicia Ogoms finished with five kills and hit .400 with five blocks. The victory helped the Trojans improve to 11-4 in Pac-12 openers under Haley, and to 31-9 all-time in conference openers.
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 461-211-2 (.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 198-65 (.753) under head coach Mick Haley in the past 15 seasons.