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.”
PNG are favorites to win gold in the Pacific Games as they have piled 114 points in their last three matches and conceded only 4.The host country did not come out of the blocks firing like their previous encounters, only scoring two tries.Ase Boas and Wartovo Puara Jnr were the try scorers.With the scores 10-0 at half time, Samoa could sense an upset.In the second half, Samoa tried to play field possession with early kicks out of their half.But bulldozing run from the PNG boys were too much for Samoa to handle, setting the mode for four tries from Isreal Eliab, Boas, Bland Abavu and Sailas Gahuna.In the early round three match, Tonga beat Cook Islands 14-10.