After a sweep of crosstown rival No. 11 UCLA in Westwood and a thrilling five-set victory against No. 8-ranked Stanford in Palo Alto, two of USC’s seniors were named Pac-12 Volleyball Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week.Senior middle blocker Alicia Ogoms was voted as Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week for the first time in her career, while senior outside hitter Samantha Bricio was named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week for a record fourth time this season, a feat that no player in conference history has ever accomplished.The senior duo led then-No. 3 USC to a pair of road victories to start conference play undefeated, while also pushing their record to a spotless 14-0 overall. Now, USC sits towards the top of the AVCA national rankings at No. 2 overall, 20 spots higher than their ranking of No. 22 during the preseason.With the award, Bricio also becomes the most lauded player in USC history, as this marks her seventh time winning Offensive Player of the Week. She is the seventh player in conference history to receive weekly honors seven times or more in her career.On Sunday, the Women of Troy stormed Maples Pavilion and earned a dramatic five-set come-from-behind victory against the Cardinal to keep their perfect record intact and remain undefeated in conference play.It certainly wasn’t a pretty win, with a combined 46 hitting and serving errors on the evening for the Women of Troy, but USC went the distance for the first time this season and was able to pull out the gutsy (26-24, 19-25, 20-25, 25-17, 15-13) victory in Palo Alto. USC now improves to 14-0 on the season and 2-0 in Pac-12 play while Stanford drops to 7-3, 1-1 in conference.Even though his team did not play all that well, head coach Mick Haley thought his players could learn a lot from their performance in a tough environment.“I think this win means we can certainly get a lot better, but now they know how to win when they’re not at their best. They’ve got a great team concept and they’re playing off each other’s enthusiasm,” Haley said.Bricio had yet another career-high performance, this time scoring a personal best of 34.0 points on a game-high 27 kills, 10 digs, three blocks and five service aces. The Women of Troy had 63 kills compared to Stanford’s 56, with Bricio accounting for 43 percent of her team’s kills.“Her performance today is why I think she’s a serious candidate for Player of the Year. When a player steps up like that in every facet — serving, passing, blocking and hitting — you can win a lot of games even when the rest of the team isn’t playing so well. Her play was huge,” Haley said.Ogoms had a whopping nine blocks on the afternoon, good enough for match-high honors, while also adding eight kills on a .438 hitting clip. Junior setter Alice Pizzasegola directed the USC offense with 34 assists and eight digs, while junior libero Taylor Whittingham had a match-high 15 digs.USC’s three freshman starters all provided significant contributions on the afternoon as well. Setter Baylee Johnson filled the stat sheet with a solid all-around effort, adding 17 assists, five kills, nine digs and five blocks, while outside hitter Alyse Ford finished second on the team with 12 kills. Victoria Garrick, a first-year defensive specialist playing in front of her family and friends, tallied 14 digs in the back row to finish second on the team and added one service ace.Haley was proud of how his young players fought throughout the match.“The freshmen really grew up tonight. They had their ups and downs, and each one of them had stuff to work through, but they’re learning how to do it and they’re gaining experience,” Haley said. “When we can win to go with that experience, that just gives them more and more self confidence.”After a tight 26-24 first set victory, USC fell behind in the match after Stanford won two straight sets. This would be the first time all season that the Women of Troy have dropped more than one set in a game. The fourth set, however, went USC’s way with a 25-17 win, forcing the fifth and decisive set. Bricio added six kills in the frame to solidify the 15-13 comeback victory.With the win, USC snapped Stanford’s 27-match home winning streak at Maples Pavilion, their first loss since USC beat them in five sets back in October 2013. The Women of Troy also remain one of five unbeaten NCAA Division I teams this season.USC will now head home for a pair of conference games against the Washington schools. The Washington State Cougars come to the Galen Center on Friday, Oct. 2 at 7:00 p.m. to take on the Women of Troy in the first game of the series. Then on Sunday, Oct. 4, No. 2-ranked USC and No. 5-ranked Washington face off for an afternoon top 10 showdown at 1:00 p.m.“We have to take it one game at a time. Now we have to put this win behind us and think about Washington State next,” Haley said. “They’re going to come to Galen and try and do the same thing we did to Stanford on our home court, so after tonight our focus has to shift to the Cougars.”
It was unraveling rather quickly. Junior wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster had to be helped off the field — status in doubt — redshirt freshman quarterback Sam Darnold had thrown an ill-advised interception and Mike Fafaul, UCLA’s backup quarterback, had thrown a touchdown pass to give the unranked Bruins a lead over the No. 13 Trojans in the second quarter.False alarm, it turned out to be. USC rattled off 29 unanswered points to beat the Bruins 36-14 at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night to win its seventh straight game and keep its Pac-12 South hopes alive. With Utah losing to Oregon earlier on Saturday, the Trojans will claim the Pac-12 South crown if Utah beats Colorado next week.It’s also, of course, a rivalry win — the rivalry win.“It feels great to beat UCLA because it gives us bragging rights, and it’s also a good Pac-12 South win,” redshirt senior offensive tackle Zach Banner said.Darnold threw for 267 yards and two touchdowns, both to senior wide receiver De’Quan Hampton, who had the game of his USC career. Hampton’s three catches for 51 yards was more than the 22 yards he recorded the entire season leading up to Saturday. His score with 9:54 to play in the third quarter gave the Trojans much-needed separation.“I can say it was worth the wait,” Hampton said. “As much frustration, just being the position I was and getting the opportunity — when it came, it was all worth it.”Junior wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster catches a pass against UCLA. He dealt with an apparent hip injury all game long – Nick Entin | Daily TrojanSmith-Schuster appeared to injure his hip region while making a leaping catch in the first quarter. Despite receiving treatment from the bench and making a trip to the locker room, the wide receiver re-entered the game at several points, finishing with seven catches for 76 yards. Head coach Clay Helton said after the game that Smith-Schuster had a hip pointer.USC accrued more than twice the amount of total yards (527 to 226) and rushing yards (260 to 55) as UCLA en route to the Trojans retaining the Victory Bell. Sophomore running back Ronald Jones II led the way with 121 yards and a pair of touchdowns.“I thought that was the key to the game,” Helton said on the efficient rushing offense and defense. “It enabled us to basically hold the ball for 43 minutes and 47 seconds in the game.”It wasn’t entirely smooth sailing. With the game tied at 7-7 in the second quarter, USC appeared to swing the momentum in its favor after sophomore defensive tackle Rasheem Green blocked a UCLA 45-yard field goal attempt. But what followed was an unfortunate sequence of events for the Trojans.Darnold threw incomplete for Smith-Schuster on the first play of the series, but the wide receiver stumbled to the ground after the play and promptly left for the locker room. Two plays later, Darnold was intercepted by Fabian Moreau, who jumped the route of senior Hampton and returned it to USC’s nine-yard line.UCLA took two plays for Faufal to find Lasley again for another touchdown, this one putting the Bruins in front 14-7 and USC in the rare position of trailing early in a game. During their win streak, the Trojans have routinely jumped out ahead and set the tone.“It really showed the maturity of this team,” Helton said. “It did not see any panic with any of the guys.”Instead, the Trojans stayed poised and collected.It didn’t take long for them to respond, thanks to Jones blazing past defenders for a 60-yard touchdown run. Jones stutter-stepped his way into a big hole and the burst through, leaving the Bruins in the dust.“The offensive line did a great job setting up the edge,” Jones said. “Then I just cut upfield and it was off to the races.”After a three-and-out by UCLA, USC took its first lead on a 31-yard connection from Darnold to Hampton. Hampton reached up over Bruins defensive back Randall Gorfoth to bring down an impressive reception. The Trojans took a 20-14 lead after the extra point went off the upright.USC tacked on a field goal before halftime to take a 23-14 lead into the locker room.Adoree’ Jackson runs for a gain on offense in USC’s win over UCLA – Nick Entin | Daily Trojan“I feel like we’ve had a lot of adversity,” Jackson said. “We’ve been ready. When things happen like when they score quick … having that adversity in the past, when things like this hit, we don’t get rocky. We just keep going.”It was an inauspicious start for the Trojans, as UCLA found the end zone less than 90 seconds into the game. Fafaul found Jordan Lasley for a 56-yard touchdown, with Lasley slipping from the tackle of’ Jackson after making the catch.But after allowing 14 first half points, the defense clamped down, shutting down UCLA the rest of the way.“I thought the defense, who really all of a sudden has a hit to them in that first drive, they take a deep breath and the really showed great, great poise,” Helton said.The Trojans answered with a calm nine-play scoring drive, taking advantage of excellent field position at midfield. A spectacular catch by Smith-Schuster set up first-and-goal at the one-yard line, and Jones pounded it in to even the score at 7-7.Sam Darnold threw two touchdowns and two interceptions in the win over UCLA – Nick Entin | Daily TrojanFor all the concern about the early-game struggles, USC quickly erased any doubt of an upset. And though Darnold’s two interceptions raised some eyebrows — his second was a wild launch to the end zone from UCLA’s 44-yard line that was picked off — coaches quickly brushed it off as part of the unpredictability he brings to the table.“Certain animals are born certain animals, and you can’t change it,” offensive coordinator Tee Martin said. “I like that about him. I like that he’s going to push the envelope. He’s going to push the defense and see how much he can get.”Helton added his positives outweigh the negatives.“You take the good with the bad,” he said. “But thank goodness for us, there is a lot more good than there is bad.”USC ends conference play at 7-2 (they face a non-conference opponent, Notre Dame, next week) and will await the result of the Colorado-Utah game, hoping that Utes pull out a victory.“It would be awesome if they could get a win,” Darnold said.
Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. There are no comments posted yet. Be the first one! Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Submitted to Sumner Newscow â€” Jumpstartâ€™s Read for the Record, presented in partnership with the Pearson Foundation, will take place at Wellington Public Library on October 3, 2013.Jumpstartâ€™s Read for the Record is an annual reading celebration that highlights the need for quality early education in America by mobilizing adults and children to set a record for the largest shared reading experience. Record-breakers everywhere will be reading the official book of the 2013 Read for the Record Campaign â€“ Otis by Loren Long â€“ online at www.wegivebooks.org.On October 3,Â at 10 a.m., the library will host a special story time featuring Otis by Loren Long.Jumpstartâ€™s Read for the Record is a call to action to Americans to recognize the importance of quality early education, especially for our most vulnerable children. When children start behind, they tend to stay behind. Wellington Public Library is proud to support this campaign. Lisa Vargas, Youth Services Director, will be available to visit preschools and elementary school classrooms throughout the morning to share the story of Otis.Parents and children that cannot make the 10 AM story time or any other reading around town are still encouraged to participate. A copy of the book will be available to check out in 10-15 minute intervals from the circulation desk so parents can still read the book to their children and record their participation on the record sheet.For more information on this event, please check the website, www.wellingtonpubliclibrary.org, the WPL FaceBook page, or phone (620) 326-2011.Since the campaignâ€™s inception in 2006, more than nine million people have joined local Jumpstartâ€™s Read for the Record reading celebrations; Jumpstart has raised more than $8 million to support its year-round work in preschools in low-income neighborhoods.