USC sweeps Pac-12 volleyball players of the week
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - USC swept the player of the week awards this week for matches played Sept. 30-Oct. 6, the Conference office announced today. The Trojans’ Alexis Olgard was named the Conference’s Offensive Player of the Week, Natalie Hagglund was voted the Defensive Player of the Week and Ebony Nwanebu was tabbed the league’s Freshman of the Week. The trio helped USC stand alone at the top of the Pac-12 standings with a Conference record of 4-0, and a 14-1 overall record.
Senior middle blocker Alexis Olgard (Spokane, Wash.) was the Trojans’ most efficient point producer, generating 31.5 total points of offense to help USC defeat seventh-ranked Stanford in a sweep and overcome Cal in a five-set thriller. Through the two matches, Olgard had 24 kills and hit an impressive .590 with just one error on 39 attempts. She also scored 7.5 points on blocks (2 solo and 11 assists). Against the Cardinal, Olgard spurred the Trojans to an eight-point comeback in the third set to complete the sweep, posting nine kills and zero errors for a .643 hitting percentage to go with five blocks in the match. Against the Bears, Olgard was the catalyst that helped the Trojans earn their eighth-straight victory, coming up with career highs in kills (15) and points (19.5) to go with a solo block and seven assists. Olgard 3.00 kills, 1.62 blocks and 3.94 points per set, while hitting .590.
Two-time All-American senior libero Natalie Hagglund (Encinitas, Calif.) earns defensive player of the week honors after averaging 5.25 digs per set in the wins over the Cardinal and Golden Bears. Hagglund had 14 digs in the hard-fought three-set match against Stanford and came back to tally 28 more against Cal. Hagglund’s defensive presence helped the Trojans post a better hitting percentage than their opponent for the 15th time in 15 matches, this season. She also notched her 13th match in double-digit kills and is closing in on becoming just the second Trojan and ninth Pac-12 player all-time to cross the 2,000 career digs plateau.
Freshman outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu (Lucas, Texas) is the Conference’s freshman of the week for the second-straight week and the third time this season (out of six weeks). Nwanebu was instrumental in the Trojans’ wins last week. She averaged 4.25 kills, 0.88 blocks, 0.38 digs and 0.12 assists with a .415 hitting percentage, helping USC to its eighth-straight win and Hall of Fame head coach Mick Haley to his 1,100th-career win. Nwanebu had back-to-back double-digit kill performances, recording 13 against the Cardinal and a career-high 21 against the Bears. She also had five blocks in the win over Cal, and seven for the week.
It is the first-career weekly recognition for Olgard and Hagglund’s fourth, while USC volleyball players have received 55 player of the week citations, all-time. It is the second time that USC has swept the weekly awards, with the last time being October 8, 2012. This week marks only the third time overall that a school has swept all three nods.
Weekly awards have been selected every week of the season since the Conference began sponsoring women’s volleyball in 1986. It is the third year the Pac-12 has announced an offensive, defensive and rookie honoree. Freshman of the week honors are not included in the all-time totals for each institution.
The Trojans, who were the No. 2 team in the country last week, are on the road this week to start a four-match road swing. USC heads to Oregon State on Oct. 11 and Oregon on Oct. 13 for matches that will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.
OFFENSIVE: Madi Kingdon, ARIZ; Macey Gardner, ASU; Christina Higgins, CAL; Taylor Simpson, COLO; Liz Brenner, ORE; Carly Wopat, STAN; Erin Redd-Brandon, WSU.
DEFENSIVE: Candace Nicholson, ARIZ; Lara Vukasovic, CAL; Nikki Lindow, COLO; Arianna Williams, ORE; Lea Adolph, UTAH.
FRESHMAN: Penina Snuka, ARIZ; Cierra Simpson, COLO; Amanda Benson, ORE;.
2013 Pac-12 Women’s Volleyball Players of the Week
Date: Offensive; Defensive; Freshman
Sept. 2: Karsta Lowe, UCLA; Erin Redd-Brandon, UTAH; Ebony Nwanebu, USC
Sept. 9: Macey Gardner, ASU; Jenna Orlandini, WASH; Kyra Holt, WSU
Sept. 16: Krista Vansant, WASH; Bianca Arellano, ASU; Elise Ruddins, USC
Sept. 23: Madi Kingdon, ARIZ; Becky Defoe, OSU; Penina Snuka, ARIZ
Sept. 30: Krista Vansant, WASH; Nikki Lindow, COLO; Ebony Nwanebu, USC
Oct. 7: Alexis Olgard, USC; Natalie Hagglund, USC; Ebony Nwanebu, USC