Ernest Hemingway often referred to the valley of Val Trebbia in Northern Italy as one of the most beautiful places in the world. Massive green trees dot the valley, while the crystal clear Trebbia River flows slowly through the basin. In this valley sits a small town named Rivergaro, with roughly 7,000 inhabitants. Twice a year, USC sophomore setter Alice Pizzasegola returns to her hometown to relax with her family.Italy’s best · Sophomore setter Alice Pizzasegola has racked up 513 assists and 91 digs thus far. Head coach Mick Haley noticed Pizzasegola after the native of Rivergaro, Italy, sent highlight tapes to several NCAA programs. – Matthew Woo | Daily Trojan Pizzasegola fell in love with the river and would do anything she could to stay in the water.“I think it is my habitat. I can stay in the water for hours and just relax there,” Pizzasegola said. “Every time I see a swimming pool, I just have to jump in it.”At the age of four, Pizzasegola enrolled in a swimming club called Nuotatori Piacentini. She competed for seven years until she realized that she didn’t like competing against the clock. She still loves to swim, but at the age of 10 she found her true calling: volleyball.Today, Pizzasegola is a sophomore setter for the USC women’s volleyball team. Already a two-year starter, she has come a long way from her Italian home.As a little girl, Pizzasegola met former All-American Stanford volleyball player Ogonna Nnamani, who told Pizzasegola to go to the United States after high school to study and play volleyball. Pizzasegola was skeptical and had no idea what would be in store for her.During her last year of high school, her father asked her about heading overseas. Though this caught her off guard, her dad pushed a little bit, and Pizzasegola started to consider the idea of coming to the United States for college.Since she was an international student, the recruiting process was extremely difficult. Few college coaches in the United States traveled to Italy to watch her play, so Pizzasegola had to create recruiting videos, send them to colleges and hope that someone liked what they saw.With a little bit of luck after a setter quit the team, USC had an opening and head coach Mick Haley quickly sent associate head coach Tim Nollan and his wife to Italy to scout Pizzasegola.“[Nollan] thought she could work into a very good player for us and was a very good team player,” Haley said. “She also really wanted an education in the United States.”One night, Pizzasegola received a call from Nollan offering her a scholarship to USC. Soon after, she moved halfway around the world to Los Angeles.Not knowing anyone in the United States, she roomed with fellow freshman teammates Elise Ruddins, Ebony Nwanebu and Taylor Whittingham. On her first night, Pizzasegola went to sleep early because she was jetlagged while the others went out. They returned home with McDonald’s and woke up Pizzasegola. She walked into the kitchen and yelled her first English word to her teammates — nuggets. The nickname has stuck with her.The next three months would be the hardest she ever faced. Living in a dorm room and feeling homesick, Pizzasegola contemplated returning home to be with her parents and her brother, Filippo. But she found comfort in the gym with her new family, the USC women’s volleyball team.Being in the States for such a short time, Pizzasegola spoke very little English and had to pick up the language quickly in order to communicate with her teammates on the court. It was difficult for her to learn before an unlikely hero came to her rescue.“Graduate manager Umberto Gatti is also from Italy, and he could speak fluent Italian with her and got us over the hump,” Haley said. “Umberto [Gatti] was critical in this process because he made her comfortable every day. When she couldn’t understand the English slang he would fill her in and point her in the right direction.”As she began to learn the language, Pizzasegola became the second setter in USC’s 6-2 offense. During her freshman year she accumulated 701 assists and did what she always wanted to do — contribute.This thought finally occurred to Pizzasegola in last year’s regional final game against No. 3 Washington.“It was the biggest game ever,” Pizzasegola said. “I waited my entire life to play in a game like that, and I thought, ‘I am going to play in the most important game of my life.’ We lost, but afterwards I realized I made it. I was still crying but I knew I made it with my teammates, my coaches and by myself.”Even after that tough loss, what has never faltered on the court has been her attitude. While playing the sport she loves, she can be seen smiling, jumping around after a great play and always staying positive. Her teammates notice and admire her positive attitude.“She is a strong girl, and she always has fight in her, which is something I really admire,” Ruddins said. “No matter what point it is in the game, she always has that fire in her, and she is so supportive.”Though this season has not gone exactly the way the Women of Troy wanted it to, Pizzasegola has kept her positivity throughout. She still believes that her team can win a National Championship. So far this season, Pizzasegola has 513 assists and 91 digs.There is no doubt that Pizzasegola has pushed through obstacles in her life and come out stronger because of them, and always with a smile wide across her face.
Week 13 is shaping up to be another interesting betting slate. Six different games have spreads of a field goal or less, and the seven other games have spreads of a touchdown or more. There’s also only one double-digit spread (Redskins-Panthers). Meanwhile, only one game (Chiefs-Raiders) has an over/under over 50 points (51), while four others have totals under 40. More than at any other time this season, it’ll be important for you to trust your process in an attempt to identify edges. Luckily, BetQL can help out in that area. Our subscribers can view NFL ATS picks from BetQL’s model and make the most informed, data-driven wagers possible. Let’s get into some of the Sunday slate’s top options. WEEK 13 FANTASY RANKINGS:Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker All data presented is as of Wednesday morning. You can track all NFL line movement on BetQL’s Line Movement Dashboard. Figures below calculated by wagering one unit on each touted bet with -110 spread odds.NFL Week 13 Betting Picks: Spread pick of the weekJets (-3.5) at Bengals The Jets are soaring! They’ve scored 34 points in each of their past three games and are riding a three-game winning streak into this matchup against the winless Bengals. Cincinnati has already named Andy Dalton its starting quarterback for this matchup, but it most likely won’t matter much against a surging New York defense that allowed 17 points to the Redskins in Week 11 and then just three points to the Raiders last week. The Jets even knocked Derek Carr out of that contest due to his general ineffectiveness. Sam Darnold’s passing offense is clicking, and Le’Veon Bell has a dream matchup against the NFL’s worst run defense. Further, after one or more UNDERs this season, the Bengals are 0-6 ATS (their game against the Steelers stayed under the total last week). The momentum is squarely in the Jets’ favor heading into this contest.WEEK 13 PPR RANKINGS: Running back | Wide receiver | Tight endNFL Week 13 Betting Picks: Moneyline pick of the weekPatriots (-170) at Texans The Patriots are 10-1, in need of a statement win after Lamar Jackson and the Ravens have been anointed as the team to beat, and have a very frustrated Hall-of-Fame quarterback that knows their offense needs to be better. It’s hard not to trust New England’s incredible defense and believe that Brady and company will figure things out in this road contest against one of Bill Belichick’s former disciples, Bill O’Brien. Consider some of these trends working in the Patriots’ favor: New England is 23-2 in their last 25 games against terrible defenses (teams that allow six or more yards per play), 53-8 in its past 61 games against poor passing defenses (teams that allow seven or more passing yards per attempt), 28-8 in its past 36 games in which it’s coming off of a low-scoring offensive game (in which it scored 14 or fewer points), and 36-9 in its past 45 games against AFC South opponents. You can find more trends like those on BetQL’s Patriots-Texans game page, as well as updated odds, schedule analysis, injuries, and more. Per BetQL’s NFL Public Betting dashboard, the Patriots’ moneyline has received 41 percent of total bets, but a whopping 93 percent of the total money, which proves the sharps are all over New England.WEEK 13 DFS LINEUPS:FD Cash | FD GPP | DK Cash | Y! Cash | Y! GPP NFL Week 13 Betting Picks: Over/under pick of the weekVikings at Seahawks UNDER 49If you like a ground-and-pound style of football, you’re going to want to tune into this one. Minnesota ranks third in the NFL in rush-play percentage (50.2 percent) while Seattle ranks fifth (46.4 percent). While both of their passing offenses have shown bright spots at various points of the season, each team’s offensive scheme requires establishing the run. Therefore, expect the clock to keep moving without an abundance of scoring, especially since both defenses rank in the top 10 against the run (Vikings rank sixth, allowing 94.2 rushing yards per game, Seahawks rank 10th, allowing 101.5 rushing yards per game). You can find all of BetQL’s NFL over/under picks on their Totals spread dashboard.