LOS ANGELES — The USC women’s volleyball team (17-10, 9-7 Pac-12) hosts Oregon State (11-16, 4-12) and No. 19 Oregon (18-7, 11-5) in its final two regular-season home matches at Galen Center this weekend (Nov. 18-19). With four matches remaining on the schedule, the Women of Troy look to build some momentum in order to secure the program’s 26th consecutive bid into the NCAA tournament (34th overall). USC’s latest NCAA RPI ranking is No. 40.
The Trojans and the Beavers will appear live on Pac-12 Los Angeles and Pac-12 Oregon. USC will honor its senior class in pre-match ceremonies on Saturday (Nov. 19). The Trojans-Ducks matchup will be streamed live on Pac-12.com/live and for the first time on the Twitter+ platform.
LAST TIME OUT: The Women of Troy split matches in the Bay Area to conclude a four-match road swing that began with two matches in Arizona. USC dropped a four-set decision to a No. 9-ranked Stanford at Maples Pavilion, but regrouped to complete a three-set sweep of California at Haas Pavilion. In the loss to the Cardinal, freshman OH Khalia Lanier posted her 13th double-double of the season as she led the Trojans with 18 kills to go with 12 digs. Junior setter Reni Meyer-Whalley tallied her seventh double-double with 30 assists and 13 digs. Despite mounting a furious comeback to win the third set and playing a competitive fourth, the Trojans were unable to overcome the 2-0 deficit in the match with Stanford. USC claimed a close 26-24 win over the Golden Bears in the first set, but seized control of the match to come away with a pair of convincing wins in the second and third. Through the two matches, sophomore OH Alyse Ford scored 4.00 points per set and had 27 kills to lead the Trojans.
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 (931) 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 1,279-325-1 (.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 3.97 kills and 4.41 points per set is the only freshman to rank among the top 10 in the Pac-12 in each of those statistical categories. She ranks fifth in both.
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 1,652 career digs and ranks fourth among all-time Trojans. She needs 51 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 (.423) with 166 kills (35 errors) on 310 attempts. USC’s single-season record is .451 held by Leslie Devereuax who had 245 kills (35 errors) on 466 attacks in 1985.
DEEP DISH PIZZA: Senior setter Alice Pizzasegola has served up 2,490 career assists in four seasons. She needs just 27 more to move into 10th place all-time in the USC career record books ahead of Hayley Crone (2,516; 2011-14). As a freshman, Pizzasegola teamed with Crone in a 6-2 system to help the Trojans advance to the NCAA Los Angeles Regional Final.
HOME, SWEET HOME: The Trojans have enjoyed the comforts of home to the tune of a 138-29 (.826) all-time record at the Galen Center. When it comes to the volleyball court, the Women of Troy are less than hospitable to their visitors. The Trojans went 12-1 in home matches in 2011 and completed the 2012 home schedule with a 17-1 mark. In 2007, USC was 19-0 at home on the way to an appearance in the NCAA national semifinal match.
News courtesy of USC Athletics.