Trojans Set to Close Regular Season on the Road|
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Nov. 21, 2016
LOS ANGELES -- The USC women's volleyball team (18-11, 10-8 Pac-12) concludes the regular season with a pair of pivotal road matches this week. The Trojans head to Pullman, Wash., to face No. 25 Washington State (20-10, 10-8) on Wednesday, Nov. 23, at 7 p.m. PT at Bohler Gymnasium, and then wrap up their schedule against crosstown rival No. 8 UCLA (23-5, 14-4) at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday, Nov. 26, at 5 p.m. PT. The Trojans and the Bruins will meet for the 108th time live on Pac-12 Los Angeles.
With just two contests left, and holding the No. 43 spot in the NCAA's latest ratings percentage index (RPI), the Trojans seek the wins they need to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament for the 26th straight year (34th overall). USC will have played six of its final eight matches on the road when they face the Bruins.
LAST TIME OUT: The Women of Troy split home matches with Oregon State (W, 3-2) and No. 19 Oregon (L, 3-1) last week. USC dropped the first two sets against the Beavers and came back to win against an 0-2 deficit for the first time since Aug. 26, 2011, when the Trojans took down a No. 12-ranked Minnesota in five sets. Senior MB Elise Ruddins had a career night with 25.0 points and scored on 23 kills (.677 hitting percentage). She became the first Trojan middle blocker to record as many kills since All-American Emily Adams reached the same total in 2003. Both of the Trojans' setters logged double-doubles against Oregon State and USC posted its highest single-match total for blocks (15.0) led by a career-best 11-block performance by junior MB Jordan Dunn. On Senior Night facing the Ducks, the Trojans fought tooth and nail to get the first set, but found themselves on the short end of a 25-23 decision in the second. Oregon took over and came away with a pair of convincing wins to seal a four-set victory at Galen Center.
1,000 SHIPS: USC's win over Arizona State (Oct. 5) was the program's 1,000th all-time victory. The Trojans became the 17th program in NCAA Division I women's volleyball history to reach the 1K milestone. USC is the owner of six national championships (three AIAW and three NCAA) and has won eight conference crowns including two since the inception of the Pac-12 in 2011. Head coach Mick Haley has led USC to each of its 100-match milestones since the program's 600th win. The Trojans won their 800th, 900th, and 1,000th all in home matches under Haley's direction.
ROAD WARRIORS: The Trojans are 9-2 in matches away from Galen Center this season. USC has played nine true road matches. The Trojans also earned a pair of neutral-location sweeps over Sam Houston State and Oakland in a tournament held in Houston.
A TOUCH OF CLASS: Senior libero Taylor Whittingham is one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. Whittingham is one of three Pac-12 student-athletes among the group of finalists and is only the second USC finalist in the award's history (Natalie Hagglund, 2013). Current staff members Katie Fuller (2012) and Kendall Bateman (2011) were each candidates for the award in their senior seasons.
PIZZA PIE: Senior setter Alice Pizzasegola was selected to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District 8 Team this season. She is a two-time Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention and holds the team's highest grade-point average at 3.44. Pizzasegola is one of just six NCAA Division I student-athletes from CoSIDA district 8 to be chosen to the team (one of 51 nationally) and will graduate in May 2017 with a degree in international relations.
900 CLUB: Head coach Mick Haley reached the 900-win mark in NCAA Division I women's volleyball last season. He ranks fourth in career DI wins (932) among active coaches behind only Penn State's Russ Rose, Hawai'i's Dave Shoji, and Navy's Larry Bock. Haley is in his 33rd season as a Division I coach, but has 40 years of overall coaching experience and is 1,280-326-1 (.797) in all matches including men's and women's at Kellogg Community College.
FRESH PHENOM: Freshman OH Khalia Lanier was the Gatorade High School National Player of the Year in 2016 and has produced 13 double-doubles in her first collegiate season. She was named the Pac-12's Freshman of the Week on Oct. 17, following a week when she scored her ninth double-double and secured a new career high with 23 kills against Oregon. She the Most Valuable Player at USC's second tournament, the Radisson Classic, and was on each of the Trojans' pre-conference all-tournament teams. Lanier, who averages 3.89 kills and 4.32 points per set is the only freshman to rank among the top 10 in the Pac-12 in each of those statistical categories.
BUT FIRST, 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, Snapchat, and Periscope by searching for @USCWomensVolley.
DIGGIN' DEEP: Senior libero Taylor Whittingham became the 16th Trojan to cross the 1,000 career-dig plateau last season. On the first weekend of the 2016 season, she moved into 10th all-time in the USC record books. She now has 1,686 career digs and ranks fourth among all-time Trojans. She needs 17 digs to move ahead of All-American OH Katie Haller (1990-93) who had 1,702 digs in her career and sits in third place behind only All-American liberi Debora Seilhamer (2,071 digs; 2003-06) and Natalie Hagglund (2,362 digs; 2010-13).
HIT `EM UP: Senior MB Elise Ruddins leads the Pac-12 in hitting percentage (.433) with 196 kills (41 errors) on 358 attempts. USC's single-season record is .451 held by Leslie Devereuax who had 245 kills (35 errors) on 466 attacks in 1985. In a match against Oregon State (Nov. 18), Ruddins scored 23 kills (.677 hitting); the most by a USC middle blocker since three-time All-American Emily Adams had 23 in 2003.
DEEP DISH PIZZA: Senior setter Alice Pizzasegola has served up 2,537 career assists in four seasons. She needs just eight more to move into ninth place all-time in the USC career record books ahead of Sue Peters (2,544; 1989-92). As a freshman, Pizzasegola teamed with Hayley Crone (previously 10th place in USC history) in a 6-2 system to help the Trojans advance to the NCAA Los Angeles Regional Final.