first_imgA solid start to the 2015 season has propelled the USC women’s volleyball team to new heights in the national rankings. The undefeated Women of Troy (6-0) have jumped from No. 22 in the polls to start the season to         No. 6 overall, heading into the third week of regular season play.Of the six matches already played, USC has defeated three top 15 opponents and earned five straight 3-0 sweeps.“I have really enjoyed the way our kids have played, and I like that they’ve had fun competing,” head coach Mick Haley said.This week, the Women of Troy will carry their undefeated record into the Galen Center when they host the USC Classic Sept. 10-12.Four teams will visit Troy for the three-day tournament, with Utah State, Pepperdine, Idaho State and New Mexico all on the schedule to play USC.USC will begin the tournament facing off against Utah State on Thursday morning.The Women of Troy and the Aggies (2-5) will meet for the first time in nearly 14 years, with USC holding the edge in the overall series record, 7-1.Thursday night, USC will face off against Pepperdine. The Waves (6-1) are coming off their first loss of the season last weekend at the Lipscomb Invitational and will be looking to get back on track against USC. The Women of Troy, however, have gotten the best of the Waves most recently, winning the last five consecutive meetings.It will be another early morning match on Friday for USC when they host Idaho State at 10 a.m.The Bengals (5-2) and the Women of Troy have only met twice, with USC winning both meetings.The Women of Troy will then take on New Mexico on Friday night.The Lobos (4-2) were picked to finish fifth  in the Mountain West Conference this season and are coming off a 2-1 record at the Lobo Classic in Albuquerque. USC leads the overall series, 5-1, and has won the last four matches against New Mexico.The matches against Pepperdine and New Mexico will both be broadcast live on the   Pac-12 Networks.As the team will look to build upon its hot start this weekend, Haley is already very impressed with his team’s play thus far.“I can’t say enough about this team,” Haley said. “Samantha Bricio and Alicia Ogoms as seniors have been really good with their leadership, and to see sophomore Brittany Abercrombie be the kind of player we always thought she could be and more is great.”The all-around play of senior captain Bricio in the early season has also earned her recognition throughout the conference. Bricio won her second straight Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week award this week after being named Most Valuable Player of the 2015 University of Northern Iowa Tournament in Cedar Falls, Iowa.This was the seventh time in Bricio’s career that she has been chosen for MVP honors at a      pre-conference tournament.During the tournament, Bricio became just the sixth USC player to collect 1,000 digs and 1,500 kills in her career.Despite her personal accolades, the All-American outside hitter is quick to praise her team first and foremost.“This team is amazing. We all have a connection, and it has been really fun to play with each other,” Bricio said. “All the work that we’ve been doing in the spring and during the fall is really paying off.”Sophomore opposite hitter Abercombie agreed with Bricio about the team dynamic.“I think our team unity and our fight has been there, so we’ve all just been feeding off of each other and playing really well,” Abercrombie said.When previously asked about his team’s performance early on in the season, Haley said that these pre-conference tournaments could be very telling as the team moves forward.“The first four weeks of the season are kind of ‘foolers’ because people don’t do a lot to prepare for you since they’re trying to prepare their own teams,” Haley said. “But by the time we get to the end of September, we’ll get to know a lot more about our team.”last_img read more