On Monday, USC freshman outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week for the third consecutive week and the fourth time this season.
Nwanebu’s performance was integral in leading the Women of Troy to sweeps in both matches against Oregon State and Oregon. On Friday against the Beavers, Nwanebu posted seven kills and a .286 hitting percentage over three sets. She also had three blocks to go along with her offensive outburst.
Two days later at Oregon, Nwanebu surpassed her numbers from Friday and had a .273 hitting percentage, two digs, three blocks and a team-leading 11 kills. Across both matches, Nwanebu scored 3.50 points per set, hit .277 and had one block per set.
Nwanebu has stepped up her game at a critical time in the season for the Women of Troy. Over the last three weeks, USC played its first six conference matches of the season. Not surprisingly, the squad has gone undefeated in those six games, posting their best start to conference play in seven years.
Nwanebu is not the only USC freshman to pick up the award during this season. On Sept. 16, outside hitter Elise Ruddins was selected as Freshman of the Week after helping lead the Women of Troy to two wins in the USD Tournament. Ruddins was also named to the all-tournament team that week. The number of weekly honors for the team now stands at seven, as senior middle blocker Alexis Olgard and senior libero Natalie Hagglund won Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week, respectively, one week ago.
Only one player has ever won the honor more than four times since the award’s inception in 2011: USC sophomore outside hitter Samantha Bricio, who won the award five times last season.
Assuming Nwanebu can keep up her current pace, she seems likely to surpass Bricio for most Freshman of the Week honors. USC will travel to Arizona State and Arizona this weekend to try to keep its 10-match winning streak alive.
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