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Volleyball Goes Dancing

USC women's volleyball earned its 26th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament this year after posting an 18-13 record in the regular season.

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The NCAA selected the The Women of Troy for an at-large berth, so they will face Hawai'i in the first round of the tournament at the Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis on Friday. The last time USC faced Hawai'i, the Trojans escaped with a 3-2 win in the Aloha State.

USC will have a tougher road in the tournament than last year, when it earned the No. 1 overall seed before being upset by Kansas in the regional championship match.

Follow the team on Twitter for more information!


Shoe-In for Notre Dame

USC football is partnerning with the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work to conduct a sneaker drive dedicated to tackling homelessness.

Head coach Clay Helton and his wife, Angela, have begun to work on a multi-faceted initiative to help members of the homeless community in Los Angeles. In the month of November, their goal is to collect 5,000 pairs of sneakers, with a special emphasis on large men's sneakers.

"There are so many misconceptions about the homeless," Angela said. "Many people are working and doing the best they can for their children. Clay and I wanted to help. We wanted to do our part."


Final Home Stand for Trojans

USC women's volleyball hosts its last two matches of the regular season tomorrow and Saturday against Oregon State and Oregon.

Click here for the full preview!

The Trojans will honor its seniors, Elise Ruddins (pictured), Taylor Whittingham and Alice Pizzasegola, before the Oregon game on Saturday.

They have guided the team to a 17-10 record this season, including wins over Oregon State and Oregon earlier this season. The seniors, as well as young players like Khalia Lanier, will be key in USC's final push to make the NCAA Tournament.

Click here to purchase tickets to USC's final homestand!

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Meet Khalia Lanier

USC women's volleyball freshman Khalia Lanier was one of the most decorated prep stars in the country before coming to Troy. Since arriving, she's made an immediate impact, leading the team (and all freshmen in the Pac-12) in kills and total points.

The Scottsdale, AZ native has dreams of playing in the Olympics, but is focused on winning a national championship with USC first.

Here is Lanier on why she chose USC, what it means to be a Trojan and more:

Vote for Zach and Taylor!

zach class.jpgTwo Trojan student-athletes were named finalists for the 2016 Senior Class Award in their respective sports today, and Trojan fans can vote to help them win.

Football captain Zach Banner and women's volleyball captain Taylor Whittingham made the 10-person lists, which reward senior student-athletes for excellence in the community, in the classroom, in character and in competition.

Banner, the only Pac-12 player to make the final cut in football, is currently working on his second Bachelor's degree (in sociology), after earning a communication degree from USC earlier this year. He is frequently involved in USC's community programs, including a recent partnership with Trojan Outreach and the CFP Extra Yard for Teachers charity, during which he spoke to local elementary schoolers about the importance of education and helped present a local teacher with a $10,000 check. Banner missed two games to injury this season, but has helped lead an offensive line that's given up the fewest sacks in the Pac-12 this year. He earned All-Pac-12 first team honors in 2015.

Whittingham, who leads her team and ranks third in the conference in digs per set (4.94), is one of three Pac-12 women's volleyball players to be named finalists. This season, the communication major moved up to fourth in USC history with 1,609 career digs and counting. Off the court, Whittingham has led the women's volleyball team in number of service projects, including a day spent with patients at CHLA. She also served as a team leader during USC's "A Day in Troy" program and as a mentor to local Girl Scouts from 2014-15.

Click here to vote for Taylor and click here to vote for Zach!

The fan vote accounts for 1/3 of the total votes toward determining a winner. The other 2/3 comprise NCAA Division I coaches and national media members. Fan voting will be open until Dec. 12.

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Taylor's CLASS

Senior libero Taylor Whittingham of USC women's volleyball was recently named a Senior CLASS Award candidate for the 2016 season.

Click here for the full release!

Whittingham is one of 30 candidates for the award, which stands for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School. The award is given annually to an NCAA Division I senior who shows excellence in the community, the classroom, in character and in competition.

Whittingham, a team captain, has excelled on the attack and on defense this season, leading the team with .27 aces per set and 4.91 digs per set. The Rancho Santa Margarita, CA native recently moved up to fourth on USC's all-time digs list, with 1,548 and counting.

Last season Whittingham was named a Volleyball Magazine third-team All-American, An AVCA All-Pacific South Region selection and a Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention. She built on those this year by winning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 3 --- the third such honor in her career.

Off the court, she holds a 3.0 GPA as a communication major and is a two-time Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention selection. She has been involved in service projects at the Los Angeles Children's Hospital and has served as a team leader and counselor for USC's annual inner-city outreach program, A Day In Troy. She also has been an active counselor for the Girl Scouts program in 2014-2015. This summer, Whittingham was joined the Pac-12 All-Star Team, which visited China to play and to put on on free volleyball clinics.

The 10 finalists for the award will be announced later in the regular season.


Split Sweeps

USC women's volleyball ended up on both the winning and the losing end of a sweep this weekend at the Galen Center.

On Friday, the 25th-ranked Women of Troy took down Cal in three close sets (25-22, 25-21, 25-18). Senior libero Taylor Whittingham (pictured) helped lead the team to victory with a match-high 11 digs. Her efforts catapulted her into fourth place on USC's all-time digs list.

The Trojans couldn't get it done on Sunday against Stanford, though, falling in three sets just as close as Friday's (25-22, 25-19, 25-21). Freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier finished with 11 kills, five digs and two blocks in the loss.

USC is now 14-7 and 6-4 in Pac-12 play. The Women of Troy have back-to-back matches at the Galen Center against Utah and Colorado on Friday and Saturday. Click here for tickets!


Lanier Leads the Way

Freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier earned Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors for leading USC to two road wins this weekend, over Oregon and Oregon State.

On Friday, the Women of Troy earned a four-set upset of No. 16 Oregon in Eugene. Lanier posted a career-high 23 kills and added eight digs and a block to lead all players with 23.5 points.

Lanier earned a double-double in USC's tilt with Oregon State on Sunday to help the Trojans sweep the Beavers. She finished with 16 kills, 12 digs, two blocks and an ace. Alyse Ford also posted a double-double. The win was USC's first sweep of a conference opponent this season and helped the Women of Troy stay undefeated on the road this year (7-0).

Despite leading all Pac-12 freshmen in kills (4.01 per set), service aces (0.25 per set) and points (4.52 per set), this is Lanier's first Freshman of the Week award from the conference.

Lanier and the Trojans host four conference opponents to close out October, starting with Cal on Friday at 6 p.m.


Volleyball Nets 1,000

Last night, USC women's volleyball won its 1000th match as a program in a 3-1 victory over ASU at the Galen Center.

Click here for the full recap!

The Women of Troy improved to 11-5 on the season, with a 3-2 mark in conference play, and became the 17th women's volleyball program in NCAA Division I history to earn 1,000 wins.

Freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier led the way with her eighth double-double of the season (career-high 22 kills, 11 digs). Opposite hitters Niki Withers and Alyse Ford also racked up double-digit kills.

The Women of Troy won the first two sets easily (25-15 and 25-18), but dropped a close third set (25-27). They roared back in the fourth, jumping out to an early 7-2 lead, and Ford put up the final kill to seal USC's 1000th victory.

The win was just another milestone for head coach Mick Haley, who has led the program to their 600th, 700th, 800th, 900th and now 1000th win.

Click here to watch highlights of the match!

USC photographer John McGillen captured all the best moments from USC's historic win:

Grand Expectations

Sitting on 999 wins as a program, USC women's volleyball has two chances to get to a grand this week.

The No. 22 Trojans (10-5, 2-2 Pac-12) set up at home against Arizona State (7-9, 0-4) tomorrow and Arizona (10-6, 2-2) on Friday. Both matches are at 7 p.m. at the Galen Center. USC enters the week fresh off two road wins over Colorado and Utah, after dropping their first two conference matches.

USC has been hot against these two teams recently, boasting an 8-2 record in the last 10 matches over ASU and 9-1 in the last 10 against the Wildcats.

Click here to purchase tickets to what could be USC's 1,000th win!


Wonderful Whittingham

Taylor Whittingham, a senior libero on USC's women's volleyball team, earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honors for her efforts against Colorado and Utah this weekend.

After missing the last two matches due to injury, Whittingham came back to lead the team in digs in both contests this weekend, with 19 against the Buffaloes and 28 against the Utes, for an average 5.22 digs per set.

Whittingham, one of USC's team captains, has now registered 20+ digs in six matches this season. Overall, she leads the team with 222 digs (4.83 digs per set).


Big Bounce Back

After dropping its first two Pac-12 matches, USC women's volleyball bounced back with two wins over ranked opponents over the weekend.

Freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier led the way with a career-high 18 digs, plus 19 kills and three blocks in the 23rd-ranked Trojans' 3-1 win over No. 20 Colorado.

On Saturday, USC earned a hard-fought, five-set win over No. 25 Utah. Lanier posted another double-double --- her seventh of the season --- and senior middle blocker Elise Ruddins (pictured) hit .727 plus a career-high three solo blocks.

USC is now 10-5 overall and 2-2 in Pac-12 play. Next, the Trojans set up for what could be the program's 1000th win on Wednesday vs. Arizona State.

That match kicks off at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Galen Center.


Photo Gallery: WVB Falls to Bruins

No. 21 USC women's volleyball saw its eight-match winning streak come to an end in a tight four-set loss to No. 9 UCLA on Wednesday night.

Click here for the recap.

The Women of Troy were led by junior Niki Withers who had 13 kills and freshman Khalia Lanier who posted 12 kills.

Here are the John McGillen photos:

Crosstown Cup Commences

USC women's volleyball will be the first Trojan team to face off against UCLA this season when they host the No. 9 Bruins tomorrow. The 7 p.m. match will mark the start of the 16th Crosstown Cup competition.

Click here for the full match preview.

In 2015, the Trojans took home the Crosstown Cup for the 10th time in 15 years of competition. USC swept UCLA in key sports like football, men's basketball, women's soccer and women's water polo to earn a 115-70 edge in total points.

The women's volleyball team split matches with UCLA last season, so both teams earned 5 points each. In their first meeting, the Trojans swept the Bruins, but the tables turned later in the year when No. 13 UCLA upset top-ranked USC.

This year, UCLA enters the matchup at 9-1 and is ranked No. 9 in the nation, while USC is ranked No. 21 at 8-3. The Crosstown Cup begins when the teams face off tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the Galen Center.


Volleyball Sets Up at Home

USC women's volleyball returns to the Galen Center this week to host the 2016 Pac-12 Challenge.

Click here for the full preview.

The No. 21 Trojans have picked themselves off the mat, winning six straight after dropping their first three matches of the season. They took home the title at the USC Radisson Classic and the Rice Adidas Invitational and now they prepare to face Oklahoma and Maryland this weekend.

Freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier (pictured), junior opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie and senior middle blocker Elise Ruddins, all of whom earned all-tournament honors last week, will be key in topping the Sooners and the Terrapins.

Lanier, who was the 2016 Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year, 20 leads the team with 125 kills and 10 service aces this season. Ruddins, meanwhile, has posted a team-leading 32 blocks.

The Trojans face Oklahoma at 8 p.m. tonight and Maryland at 8 p.m. on Saturday.


21 Pilots

Heading into the 2016-17 season, representatives from each of USC's 21 sports met on top of the AT&T Center for the annual "All 21" photo shoot. The AT&T Center, just two miles from campus, overlooks the skyline of downtown Los Angeles, where the Trojans call home.

Top row, from left to right: Nick Bell (men's water polo), Nina Kelty (lacrosse), Rebekah Ent (cross country), Anika  Apostalon (women's swimming), Eric Sloan (men's track & field), Courtney Jaco (women's basketball), Karen Chung (women's golf), Lucas Yoder (men's volleyball), Reed Malone (men's swimming), Brianna Daboub (women's water polo), Sara Hughes (beach volleyball), Jeremy Martinez (baseball)

Bottom row, from left to right: Zach Banner (football), Zoe Katz (women's tennis), Jordan McLaughlin (men's basketball), Amalie Iuel (women's track & field), Madara Strautmane (rowing), Nick Crystal (men's tennis), Collin Pollard (men's diving), Taylor Whittingham (women's volleyball), Savannah Levin (women's soccer), Sean Crocker (men's golf), Madison Witt (women's diving)

Trojans Live: Stanford Preview

With another big game due up Saturday at Stanford, USC head coach Clay Helton and sophomore linebacker Cameron Smith stopped by Trojans Live to preview the Pac-12 opener.

Click here for Helton on Trojans Live!

Also, USC women's volleyball has won six consecutive matches, so senior captain Taylor Whittingham explained how the Women of Troy have turned it around.

Click here for Whittingham on Trojans Live!

Here is Smith's interview on rehabbing his knee injury, the difference between last year's defensive system and this year's, plus much more:


USC women's volleyball swept the Rice Adidas Invitational over the weekend to extend its winning streak to six straight matches.

The Trojans, who moved up three spots to No. 21 in the nation this week, only dropped one set in the tournament. They opened up by topping Sam Houston State in three sets. The next day, they swept Oakland before beating host Rice in four sets to claim the tournament title.

USC had three players (middle blocker Elise Ruddins, opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie and outside hitter Khalia Lanier) named to the all-tournament team. Ruddins, who finished the weekend with 25 kills and 16 blocks, was named the MVP of the tourney. The Laguna Beach, CA native had a career-high nine blocks and a career-best .688 hitting percentage against Rice.

USC head coach Mick Haley now has 398 wins at USC, with the opportunity to get to 400 in the upcoming Pac-12 Challenge, where USC hosts Oklahoma and Maryland.

State of Troy: September 2016

Each month, we interview USC Athletic Director Lynn Swann to get his take on the hot topics around Heritage Hall.

Swann on the Alabama game...

USC_Football_Bama_mcgillen_LRDSC_6199.JPGOne game, especially the first game, does not make a season and does not break a season. Everyone in the Trojan Family would have liked to have been on the right side of an upset win over the No. 1 team in the country, but we are a better football team than the score indicated. The lopsidedness of the score was an indication of a few mistakes, broken assignments and playing against an extremely talented and deep football team. We can correct those mistakes. Most teams in college football make their greatest improvement between the first and third games of the season. We are looking for a lot of improvement in terms of assignments, not making mistakes and playing better football in the second game of the season against Utah State. I think we are a much better football team than we showed Saturday. Our ultimate goal is to win the Pac-12 and have a chance to be in the Rose Bowl. All other things come as a result of achieving that goal.

Swann on the fighting spirit needed by all Trojans...

What we do and what we say is 'Fight On' and that's exactly what we do in the next game. You pick your head up and learn from the mistakes. You find the resolve to come back and play the next week. We always learn more from the difficult things we endure in life than the easy wins. We celebrate the victories, but we learn from the mistakes. As a demonstration of that mindset, every Friday here is 'Fight On Friday', so wear your Cardinal and Gold proudly. Come support all our teams and show your Trojan pride wherever you are.

Click here for tickets to USC vs. Utah State at the Coliseum.

Swann on women's soccer and women's volleyball bouncing back with winning weeks...

I watched the women's soccer team play earlier this year, and they looked extraordinary solid and talented. They are working on a few bugs to be a more cohesive team and a unit, but there's some remarkable talent out there. They have a great opportunity this week to host a Top 10 North Carolina team on Sunday (1 p.m.) at McAlister Field. And later this season, the Women of Troy will play a showcase game against UCLA at StubHub Center. Women's volleyball got off to a slow start, trying to replace some key players from last season. They have some young players who will have the chance to stand up and fight and do well. They have begun that process.

Click here for tickets to USC vs. UCLA at StubHub Center.

USC_Womens_soccer_pepperdine_mcgillen_082816_DSC_5171.JPGSwann on No. 2 men's water polo and head coach Jovan Vavic...

Jovan has a great record and a unique style. He is very forthright and honest about his approach with the student-athletes. They have responded, obviously by their record, extraordinarily well. He is a demanding coach and his players have a huge track record to live up to and they don't shy away from it. You have got to admire that. He will continue to press and to push to get the most out of the young men and women who are under his charge. And, I look for him to continue to be successful.

Swann on the Los Angeles Rams' season starting...

It is a growing relationship between USC and the Rams. In general, there are different crowds going to each game, so everyone needs to be aware that there will be more traffic and activity around campus on NFL game days. Plus, along with the Rams, we have introduced new security measures this season, including metal detectors and a clear bag policy.

Click here for more on the new safety measures.

Swann on appreciating the life of a student-athlete...

Our student-athletes are extraordinarily busy. I get in the John McKay Center to work out at 5:30 a.m. and there are always student-athletes already training and starting their day. The dedication is impressive. You couple that with a full class load and participating in campus activities like fraternities and sororities and organizations, the daily schedule gets pretty stretched.

Volleyball Bounces Back

After getting swept in its season-opening tournament, USC's women's volleyball went 3-0 this weekend to get back on track. The Women of Troy topped Kentucky, Northern Iowa and Creighton to win the USC Radisson Invitational.

USC swept No. 23 Kentucky on Friday to earn its first win of the season. Freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier finished with a match-high 13 kills to open an impressive tournament showing.

Lanier also led the way with 16 kills in USC's win over Northern Iowa on Saturday. The Trojans topped the Panthers in four hard-fought sets.

USC was tested in its final match of the weekend against No. 22 Creighton, and showed resilience in a five-set victory. After another outstanding performance (21 kills, 17 digs, 2 service aces, 2 blocks), Lanier was named the tournament MVP.

The Trojans hit the road for the Rice Adidas Invitational this weekend, where they hope to keep their winning streak alive.

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