To prepare for UCLA’s attack, the Trojans are practicing defending against a mix of roll-shots and hard swings. USC struggled to defend this mix of shots against Yale, and UCLA excels at mixing up its hits. Crouch hopes to have a more consistent rotation once everyone is healthy. Just two players for the Trojans have played in all 39 sets this year: last year’s Pac-12 Freshman of the Year setter Raquel Lázaro and senior middle blocker Jasmine Gross. This past weekend, Crouch began that process by subbing just four times all match. Though as the team is fighting through injuries, it is coming closer to full health. Senior opposite hitter Emily Baptista is expected to make her full return this week. Baptista, still recovering from a knee injury, has only played in 10 sets so far this season — all in the Trojan Invitational two weekends ago. The tilt between USC and UCLA will begin conference play for both teams. UCLA enters the match with a record of 5-4 but is coming off two straight 3-0 defeats. The Trojans can now count on consistent contributions from All-American senior outside hitter Khalia Lanier, who recovered from a concussion suffered earlier in the season. Despite missing two weeks of play, Lanier is third on the team in kills with 92 and has posted a .316 kill rate this season. The Trojans’ current starting rotation still lacks experience and faces various injuries — but head coach Brent Crouch sees a silver lining. “So while we haven’t started clicking yet with the starting group, overall I think because people are getting out there and playing a lot … the team-building part is way more advanced than it was last year,” Crouch said. The team’s leader in kills, freshman outside hitter Kalen Owes, sat out in the matchup with Long Beach State. “We were really clicking against Long Beach [State], and I didn’t want to disrupt that flow,” Crouch said. Though the Bruins run a tricky offense, they have only two hitters with over 50 kills this season compared to five for USC. The Bruins’ leading hitter is junior outside hitter Mac May, an All-American honorable mention last year. The return of injured senior opposite Emily Baptista (left) will give an inconsistent USC squad a much-needed boost as it begins conference play. (Tal Volk | Daily Trojan) The Trojans have seen their ranking steadily drop from No. 14 all the way to No. 25 after a shaky 6-4 start. Battered with injuries, the talented roster has yet to reach its full potential. Facing UCLA on the road is always a difficult matchup for any USC team, but the atmosphere at UCLA’s home opener will prove even tougher than usual. “There’s the challenge of the venue, of the energy that will be for UCLA in that match,” Crouch said. “The emotions that are connected with playing your rival and learning how to play our game despite those distractions will be important, and I think we are getting good at that.” “They are going to be fired up to play us,” Crouch said. “We won the last few, but they are always going to be motivated to give us their best.” UCLA mostly runs an offense that includes two setters, meaning there are always three hitters available — making the offense difficult to defend. The Trojans enter the matchup after an up-and-down weekend in San Diego. USC lost in a hard-fought five-set match to USD then bounced back with a dominant sweep of Long Beach State. USC went 2-0 against the Bruins in 2018, sweeping them in the first matchup and winning a five-set battle in the second. USC and UCLA’s storied crosstown rivalry will be renewed Wednesday when the No. 25 Trojans women’s volleyball team travels to Pauley Pavilion.
European champions Germany began their FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup with a hard-fought victory over Ghana.The African side began the brighter, with Fatima Al-Hassan forced Merle Frohms into her first notable save of the day, tipping her header round the post after ten minutes.However, just three minutes later the Africans were behind. Great work by captain Sara Daebritz down the left saw her pick out Venus El-Kassam. Her header was saved but Victoria Adyei could do nothing about Vivien Beil’s follow-up.It was two before 20 minutes had been played, Pauline Bremer taking the ball down on her thigh at the edge of the box before prodding it past Adyei.With a two-goal cushion Germany solidified and looked more composed, eliminating the spaces Ghana exploited early on. The pace of the game suffered as a result.Ghana came out fighting after the break, with Jane Ayieyam getting behind the German backline only to see her shot flash wide of the post. Sherifatu Sumalia, who was outstanding throughout, almost scored a stunning goal from 40-yards with a vicious freekick that Frohms palmed over. Ghana finally broke through though, as Frohms was called into action again diving at the feet of Ayieyam. However Issaka collected the loose ball on the left wing, before a neat turn allowed her to square to Ayieyam who slotted in. Germany held out though to begin Azerbaijan 2012 with a win.The quote“I thought it was a very, very close game. Both teams had a chance to win, but we were very effective – we scored with our first two chances to get a 2-0 lead. We didn’t perform very well towards the end and can play much better.” Anouschka Bernhard, Germany coach
Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Managing Director, Harrison Karnwea, has assured the European Union and other partners that strategies are being devised to improve the forestry sector in order to bring the expectations of partners to reality.Mr. Karnwea made the statement at the Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) meeting held recently in Monrovia and attended by the Head of European Union, Tiina Intelmann, representatives of the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), Ministries of Finance, Agriculture, Justice, the Liberia Revenue Authority, civil society, private sector and key development partners.Mr. Karnwea spelled out his vision to have a well trained, equipped and operational FDA to sustainably manage the forest resource. The FDA vision includes generating revenue from timber and non-timber resources and ecosystem services as well as legally produced timber and finished and semi-finished timber products.Thirty percent of Liberia´s forests, said Karnwea, will be held under conservation status, especially in the Sapo-Tai biodiversity corridor. FDA will also improve the agricultural sector in collaboration with partners to reduce its impact on forests and halt the expansion of the savannah in the north of the country.As part of the vision, Mr. Karnwea said he would also transform FDA into a self-sustaining institution to serve as a catalyst of national development that takes over the services currently provided by SGS and other partners in the end of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) implementation process.Earlier, Madam Tiina Intelmann described 2015 as a crucial year for the global community and the planet, noting that a series of international conferences will agree on financing for development, sustainable development and climate change goals for the next 15 years. The FLEGT VPA between the EU and Liberia could make an important contribution to the joint efforts to tackle climate change.She said deforestation and land use change are the main source of Greenhouse gas emissions in Liberia, but added that good forest governance and law enforcement are critical to the success of efforts to halt deforestation and forest degradation.The objective of the meeting was to jointly review the implementation of the Liberia-EU VPA, take stock of the effects of Ebola on activities and agree on the priorities for 2015. The VPA aims to put in place systems to ensure the legality of Liberia’s timber production and to strengthen forest sector governance. This process expected to last for several years, will promote legal forestry, leading to more sustainable forest management, increased long term revenues for communities and the Government, investment and job creation. The EU has similar agreements with Ghana, the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Indonesia, and the Central African Republic and is negotiating with 9 other countries.Among the issues discussed were the key milestones in the development of the timber legality assurance system, further reinforcement of the legal framework and law enforcement as well as recent developments and challenges in the sector, including community forestry management agreements and transfer of timber revenues to communities. Both Liberia and the EU were happy to acknowledge that the Ebola crisis has not derailed the VPA process, although they acknowledged that it has caused significant delays.Members of the Joint Implementation Unit chaired by Sister Mary Laurene Browne were pleased to see that all stakeholders and support projects have fully remobilized.They also expressed hope that the VPA implementation quickly returns to full speed and that some lost time be caught up. Participants also discussed the synergies between the VPA process and the Liberia-Norway letter of intent on “Cooperation on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) and developing Liberia’s agriculture sector.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)