No. 1 USC Eyes Pac-12 Crown as No. 13 UCLA and Cal Visit Galen|
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Nov. 24, 2015
No. 1 USC (29-1, 17-1) vs. No. 13 UCLA (22-6, 13-5)
Match #32 | SENIOR NIGHT 2015
LOS ANGELES -- The Pac-12 championship is on the line this week as the No. 1-ranked USC women's volleyball team (29-1, 17-1 Pac-12) hosts rival No. 13 UCLA (22-6, 13-5) at the Galen Center on Wednesday (Nov. 25) at 8 p.m. PT. The Women of Troy can clinch at least a share of the conference crown with a win over the Bruins and would secure valuable points in the BMW Crosstown Cup competition. The Trojans-Bruins matchup can be seen live on Pac-12 Network and Pac-12 Los Angeles with a call by Anne Marie Anderson and Dain Blanton.
After the midweek battle with its rival, USC closes the books on the regular season with a match against California (9-20, 3-15) on Black Friday (Nov. 27) at 4 p.m. PT. The Women of Troy will honor seniors Samantha Bricio, Eve Ettinger, and Alicia Ogoms in pre-match ceremonies. Wins against both UCLA and Cal would secure an outright league title; USC's first Pac-12 championship since 2011. The Trojans-Bears match will also be carried live on Pac-12 Los Angeles and Pac-12 Bay Area with Kevin Barnett and Holly McPeak on the broadcast.
Also on the line this week: head coach Mick Haley can reach the 30-win mark for the 12th time in his NCAA DI career (17th time overall). He has previously reached 30 wins with the Trojans three times (2002, '03, '12).
Bricio continues to power the Trojan offense and leads the country in kills (5.08 kps), service aces (0.75 saps), and points (6.21 pps). At the pins, freshman OH Alyse Ford (2.75 kps) and sophomore OPP Brittany Abercrombie (2.48 kps) bolster USC's offensive firepower. Senior MB Ogoms leads the Pac-12 in blocks (1.47 bps) while junior libero Taylor Whittingham is the Pac-12 leader for digs (4.86 dps).
NO. 13 UCLA (22-6, 13-5 Pac-12) split back-to-back five-set matches last weekend; the Bruins' third five-setter in four matches. UCLA leads the Pac-12 in digs (16.81 dps) and ranks third in assists (13.43 aps) and kills (14,17 kps). UCLA is led by junior OH Jordan Anderson who is second in the league for kills (4.64 kps) and points (4.92 pps). Freshman setter Zana Muno is third in assists (10.25 aps) and junior libero Taylor Formico is third for digs (4.50 dps). Junior MBs Claire Felix (1.94 kps, .360) and Jennie Frager (1.37 kps, .273) are also strong contributors. Felix is seventh for hitting percentage and Frager is eighth in blocks (1.18 bps). Sophomore OHs Reily Buechler (3.49 kps) and Jessyka Ngauamo (2.55 kps), and junior OH Haley Lawless (1.90 kps) are all scoring threats. USC leads the all-time series with UCLA, 56-49; 6-4 in the last 10 meetings. Overall, USC is 21-19 against UCLA in home matches and is 6-3 at the Galen Center. UCLA is coached by sixth-year head coach Michael Sealy who led the Bruins to the NCAA title in 2011.
CALIFORNIA (9-20, 3-15 Pac-12) has lost seven straight and is 3-21 in sets during that span. The Golden Bears are 1-8 on the road this season. Senior MB Lillian Schonewise ranks fifth in the Pac-12 for hitting percentage (.371) and leads the Bears with 3.08 kills per set. Junior setter Alyssa Jensen is fifth for assists (10.00 aps) and puts up 2.06 digs per set on defense. Cal's leading defender is junior libero Maddy Kerr who ranks sixth in the Pac-12 for digs (4.17 dps). Senior OPP Lara Vukasovic (2.63 kps), sophomore OH Christine Alftin (2.35 kps), and freshman OH Carmen Annevelink (2.28 kps) are the Bears' other scorers. Junior MB Jenelle Jordan (0.89 bps) leads Cal in blocks and contributes 1.91 kills per set on offense. The Trojans will meet the Bears just once this season but hold a 53-12 all-time record over California. USC is 27-3 as the home team and 8-1 against the Bears at Galen Center. However, led by 17th-year head coach Rich Feller, Cal earned a five-set win at Galen in the teams' last meeting in 2014.
LAST TIME OUT: The Trojans won their seventh straight match with hard-fought road victories over No. 23 Arizona (3-1) and No. 24 Arizona State (3-2). USC swept the season series against both teams (4-0) for the first time since 2011. Senior OH Samantha Bricio produced her 14th double-double of the season with 24 kills and 17 digs against the Sun Devils and moved three spots into seventh for career kills in Pac-12 history (1,966). Freshman setter Baylee Johnson notched her team-leading 15th double-double of the season with 35 assists and 12 digs in the win over ASU. Bricio served three aces against Arizona and four aces against ASU to mark the 41st and 42nd times in her career that she has had at least three aces in a single match. Sophomore OPP Brittany Abercrombie was solid on the attack with 11 kills (.345) against the `Cats and 12 more (.385) against the Devils. Junior libero Taylor Whittingham produced her 27th and 28th matches in double digit digs with 22 and 14.
KILLED IT: Senior OH Samantha Bricio became USC's record holder for career kills on Thursday, Nov. 12, in a match against Oregon State in which she finished with 13 kills. Her final kill of the contest came off a pipe set from freshman setter Baylee Johnson and gave her 1,919 as she overtook the former record holder (Alex Jupiter, 2008-11). Bricio now has 1,966 career kills and is also the Trojans' record holder for points (2,401.5), attacks (5,195), and service aces (291). She is the Pac-12 record holder for career aces and currently ranks seventh in Pac-12 history for kills and is fourth in attacks.
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.
900 CLUB: Head coach Mick Haley reached the 900-win mark in NCAA Division I women's volleyball with the team's 3-1 win over Arizona State on Oct. 16. He ranks third in career DI wins (910) among active coaches behind only Penn State's Russ Rose and Hawai'i's Dave Shoji. Haley is in his 32nd season as a Division I coach, but has 39 years of overall coaching experience and is 1,258-313-1 (.801) in all matches including men's and women's at Kellogg Community College.