Dec 8, 2012; Louisville, KY, USA; The Oregon Ducks mascot reacts during the finals of the NCAA Womens Volleyball Championship against the Texas Longhorns at the KFC Yum! Center. Texas defeated Oregon 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon Volleyball: Ducks Can Make a Statement Hosting #23 UCLA and #1 USC

Oregon Volleyball started the season ranked #8 after being the National Runner Up ending last year with a loss to Texas in the NCAA Championship game. This year has seen some growing pains for a team that still has some leaders from last season including Senior Lauren Plum and Junior Liz Brenner. Oregon, now two weeks into the Pac 12 season are 9-5 on the year and 2-2 in the Pac 12 Conference with a big challenge coming to Matthew Knight Arena this weekend. Oregon welcomes 23rd ranked UCLA on Friday at 8 and #1 USC on Sunday at 3pm. The Ducks have some momentum after playing one of their better games of the year on the road this past weekend at Arizona State. Oregon upset the then 15th ranked Sundevils. They set several season and career highs in the match including 14 blocks, the most in a game since 2010. Liz Brenner against Arizona State had 17 kills and is averaging over 4 per game this season. The Oregon Junior had 22 kills against Arizona last Friday. The toughest test of the Pac 12 season comes to their house this weekend.

Here’s a look at the Bruins and the Trojans.

The UCLA Bruins(9-4, 0-4 Pac 12) are currently ranked 23rd in the nation and have yet to win a game in the Conference. Freshman Jordan Robbins is hitting .583 and the team is hitting at .258. The Bruins last match against the California Golden Bears was close, but they weren’t able to get the victory. UCLA did out hit the Golden Bears .429 to .400 but lost the match. The team heads to Eugene looking for it’s first Conference Win of the 2013 season.

The USC Trojans(14-1, 4-0 Pac 12) come into Eugene as the #1 team in the Country and this week swept the Pac 12 Conference Weekly Awards for last week’s effort.

USC women’s volleyball seniors Alexis Olgard and Natalie Hagglund, and freshmanEbony Nwanebu swept Pac-12 weekly honors for the week of Sept. 30-Oct. 6. Olgard was named the Offensive Player of the Week and Hagglund received Defensive Player of the Week honors. Nwanebu was chosen for Freshman of the Week distinction for the third time, this season. Trojans also swept the weekly awards a year ago on Oct. 8, 2012. All three Trojans were instrumental in USC’s success, this weekend. The Women of Troy stunned a seventh-ranked Stanford squad and snapped the Cardinal’s eight-match winning streak in a 3-0 sweep on Friday evening. The Trojans then battled out a tough five-set match with California and emerged victorious to preserve their own eight-match winning streak. With the wins, USC is off to its best start in league matches (4-0) since 2006 when it went 6-0.

If Oregon can take care of business and keep UCLA from getting its first Conference victory then Sunday could be the day that Oregon gets back into the Pac 12 race in a big way. Beating the Trojans at home alone would be sweet, but taking down the #1 team in the country would make a statement.

Oregon hosts UCLA on Friday night at 8pm(ESPNU), and USC on Sunday(3pm, Pac 12 Networks).

Oregon Ducks This Week:

PAC-12 Football Weekend Recap (Week 6)
Mariota Named Pac-12 Offensive Player Of The Week
ESPN College Gameday Heads To Seattle This Week For Oregon At Washington

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Tags: Ducks General Liz Brenner Oregon Volleyball UCLA Volleyball USC Volleyball

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