Hastings starred as a defensive specialist at Frisco Centennial High School in Texas, where she was twice named Texas District 9-5A Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year. The Trojans will have to overcome the loss of graduated driver Marin Dasic and possibly the departure of potential Olympians junior drivers Marko Vavic and Hannes Daube. But USC’s offseason additions have the team poised to fill those gaps. While USC football has pledged to “Take Back the West” by recruiting top high school talent in the Southern California area, other USC sports are also gearing up for the fall. Here’s a look at how USC’s soccer, men’s water polo, women’s tennis and women’s volleyball teams have bolstered their 2020 rosters. Koenig and McKee round out a 2020 recruiting class that also includes Naomi Cheong from Las Vegas and Snow Han from China. Last month, head coach Keidane McAlpine announced the addition of nine freshmen and one graduate transfer to the team after 12 players, including offensive contributors seniors forward Natalie Jacobs and midfielder Ashleigh Plumptre, graduated. Gryka hails from Warsaw, Poland and was a member of the Polish National Team in the 2017 FIVB U20 World Championships. Her decorated career as a middle blocker includes three first-place awards at the U18 and U20 Polish National Championships. Other recruits include forward Angeles Escobar from Lancaster, Calif., who scored a record 181 goals across four varsity seasons, and No. 43 2020 recruit midfielder Alexa Gonzalez from Riverside. “[Miller’s] talent in the water is one of a kind, be it his offensive goal-scoring prowess or his defensive ability to cancel the opponent’s best player,” head coach Marko Pintaric said. Women’s volleyball The USC women’s volleyball team has been hot on the recruiting trail this spring. Three new players have signed for the upcoming season: blocker Aleksandra Gryka, libero Samantha Hastings and outside hitter Malaya Jones. The USC women’s tennis team has signed two prized recruits this spring in graduate transfer Clare McKee from Princeton and Scottsdale, Ariz. native McKenna Koenig. Jones spent the first three years of her high school career at San Juan Hills High School in Mission Viejo, Calif., where she helped her team win state championships in 2017 and 2018. After lettering all three years, Jones transferred to Santa Margarita High School, where she earned a spot on the AVCA Under Armour All-American Watch List. “One of the lessons from last year’s injuries was that we needed to retool our depth, and I think this class certainly does that and much more for us,” McAlpine said. The team will also bring in Palo Alto native Talia Grossman and Emily Rhinehart from Fallston, Md. as goalkeepers who both held a goals against average at or below 0.50. They will compete with junior Anna Smith and redshirt junior Emily Cuthbert to fill the gap left by recent graduate Kaylie Collins. Graduate transfer Clare McKee will join USC for the 2020-21 season after playing at Princeton for four seasons (photo via Parsa Bombs | Twitter) Oliver Von Karl from Miramonte High and another Newport Harbor recruit in Blake Jackson will compete for time in the cage this coming season. Jackson will be one to watch after collecting 391 saves as a junior. Men’s water polo Incoming freshman defenders Mary Shin and Anuhea Kane, both from Hawaii, will work to solidify the defensive line. McAlpine was drawn to their situational awareness and communication. “Technically and tactically, they definitely have strengths that will accent our team and help provide different tools, as well as create much-needed depth,” McAlpine said. Women’s tennis Graduate transfer forward Jennifer Westendorf can bring the experience and versatility the young team needs. Westendorf compiled 20 goals and 13 assists at Notre Dame and also played with the Brazilian U-20 Women’s National Team. Koenig is a five-star high school recruit herself, ranking No. 69 nationally. A member of Heisman High School’s back-to-back singles state champion teams from 2017-18, Koenig also captured the doubles state title in 2018 after finishing runner-up the year prior. Koenig also brings experience from multiple victories in national USTA tournaments in both singles and doubles play. McKee spent her senior season as Princeton’s team captain, amassing impressive records of 16-5 in singles and 15-8 in doubles. This followed a three-season stretch in which the former five-star recruit led her team twice in wins. Standout two-meter Max Miller from San Juan will fill the gap left behind by 2020 graduate centers Sam Slobodien and Matt Maier, as well as potential Olympian junior Jake Ehrhardt. Miller ranked No. 7 in all-time scoring for the CIF Southern Section with a career total of 512 goals. Incoming freshman Tony Nardelli will compete with him for time in center as a two-time MVP at California’s Mountain View High School. “Blake’s admiration for the game of water polo and unparalleled desire to compete makes him the defensive backbone [of] every team he has played on,” Pintaric said. “His quick reaction times and great decision-making is a result of his incredible work ethic and his toughness, both mentally and physically.” The men’s water polo team will see plenty of additional talent on its 2020 roster. Drive defenders Tom McGuire from Campolindo and Newport Harbor standout Reed Stemler will allow the Trojans to quickly convert and push their opponents to the perimeter. Soccer After a frustrating 18-14 season cut short in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the Trojans hope these recruits can help the 2020 squad bounce back.
However, he has played a huge part in the Blues run to the Europa League final and is the joint top scorer in this season’s competition with 10 goals.“I always like playing against my old teams,” Giroud, won three FA Cups in five-and-a-half years at Arsenal, told the Daily Mail.“It’s going to be tough, and it could be painful if it’s not going the right way, but you have to put the feelings and memories aside.“I enjoyed the years I spent there. It has been a big part of my career, my first club in England and it will always be special, but now I feel my blood is blue. The same as the national team, blue suits me well.”Giroud, who on Tuesday signed a one-year contract extension with the Blues, says he found no problem in fitting in with his Chelsea team-mates following his reported £18million ($22.9 million) transfer.“I settled in quickly. I felt like part of the family straight away,” said Giroud.“I knew a few of the players and I’m a sociable person, I always try to communicate.”Giroud believes there is a more cut-throat culture at his new club compared to the Gunners and part of the reason why Chelsea have outstripped Arsenal for silverware over the past decade.“Maybe you would get more time at Arsenal. They would be more patient,” he added.“At Chelsea you have to be ready quickly because in terms of trophies it has been the best club in England for the last 10 years.“You don’t have time at Chelsea and when you are young it is quite difficult to find your place.“I don’t want to kill the dreams of these young Chelsea players.“They are very talented, but it makes sense because Chelsea invest more in every transfer window and they buy more top players in the world who are more experienced.”Giroud has scored 17 goals in 62 appearances for Chelsea since joining in January 2018, but has largely been used as an understudy to Gonzalo Higuain since Alvaro Morata’s loan move to Atletico Madrid.Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia added: “We are very pleased that Olivier will be a Chelsea player for another season. “Since joining us 18 months ago, he has at times had to be patient and wait for opportunities, but has still been able to make a positive contribution to the team.“Whether it is his unselfish link-up play or his 10 Europa League goals this season, he has been a crucial member of the squad and we hope he will be able to pick up a second Chelsea winner’s medal in Baku later this month to accompany last season’s FA Cup win.”With Chelsea still facing a two-window transfer ban, subject to an appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the club were keen to retain Giroud to ensure Sarri has attacking options next term.Higuain is set to return to Juventus after a disappointing loan, while Chelsea’s Belgian winger Eden Hazard is being heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Olivier Giroud says blue blood is running through his veins now as Chelsea prepare to play his old club Arsenal in the Europa League final © AFP / Ben STANSALLLondon, United Kingdom, May 21 – Olivier Giroud is relishing the prospect of beating his old Arsenal team-mates when he lines up for Chelsea in the Europa League final in Baku on May 29.The 32-year-old French World Cup winner’s move across London 18 months ago has failed to deliver the regular first team football he hoped after falling behind compatriot Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the pecking order at Arsenal.