Women's Volleyball
    No. 5 USC Sweeps North Dakota in Season Opener
    Sophomore setter Hayley Crone had 43 assists in her first collegiate start.
    Sophomore setter Hayley Crone had 43 assists in her first collegiate start.

    Aug. 24, 2012

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    COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The fifth-ranked USC women's volleyball team opened the season with a 3-0 victory (25-20, 25-23, 25-21) over North Dakota in the first match of the Texas A&M Invitational at Reed Arena on Friday, Aug. 24. Led by senior opposite Katie Fuller who had 14 kills (7e, 36att, .194), the Women of Troy won their 10th season-opening match in 12 years under head coach Mick Haley.

    As a team, the Trojans hit .301 in their first outing with 52 kills (18e) on 113 attacks. Junior outside hitter Sara Shaw added 12 kills (2e, 24att, .417) to log 12.5 points. USC started two freshmen and received strong contributions from each of them. Outside hitter Samantha Bricio enjoyed a successful collegiate debut with seven kills (2e, 18att, .278) and added eight digs. Middle blocker Alicia Ogoms had five kills (1e, 9att) and hit .444 in her first college match.

    The Women of Troy maintained a consistent attack in the middle as senior Natasa Siljkovic posted a career-high six kills (3e, 11att, .273) in just the second start of her collegiate career. Sophomore middle Hannah Schraer had five kills (1e, 9att, .444) and two blocks.

    In the first start of her career, sophomore setter Hayley Crone put up 43 assists to go with six digs. On defense, the Trojans were held together by junior libero Natalie Hagglund's team-high 12 digs.

    The Sioux were led by Lisa Parlich who had 11 kills (2e, 25att, .369) and Lexi Robinson who terminated 10 plays (3e, 22att, .318). North Dakota hit .227 in the match with 31 kills (11e) on 88 attempts.

    The Trojans came out of the gate strong and built an 11-6 lead in the first set on Fuller's fourth kill of the opening stanza. North Dakota closed to within a point at 16-15, but was never able to tie the set as USC pulled away for a 25-20 win that was wrapped up by Fuller's eighth kill of the set. The Trojans hit .289 in the first set with 19 kills (8e, 38att). The Sioux put up a .296 hitting percentage but USC held them to just 10 kills (2e, 27att) for the win.

    USC showed the same urgency in the second set as it built a 14-8 lead. But, again, North Dakota mounted a comeback and tied the set at 17-all to force the Trojans' hand. USC fought back to claim the next three points, but the Sioux had an answer as they pulled within a point once more at 24-23. With the set on the line, Shaw terminated the next rally to give the Trojans a 25-23 win. USC had 16 kills in the second frame (7e, 39att, .231) and outhit North Dakota, which had a .156 percentage (11k, 6e) on 32 swings.

    North Dakota had different plans in the third set as it raced ahead to a 12-8 lead. After a timeout, the Trojans regrouped and reeled off a 9-3 run that gave them a 17-15 lead. The teams traded barbs down the stretch and found themselves locked in a 19-all tie, but USC made the next move to seize match point when Bricio served up an ace for a 24-21 lead. Shaw sealed the deal on her kill to complete the Trojans' sweep. USC's efficiency yielded a .389 hitting percentage in the final set (17k, 3e, 36att) while its defense held the Sioux to a .241 outing (10k, 3e) on 29 swings.

    The Trojans will be back in action against tournament host Texas A&M at 7:30 p.m. CT (5:30 p.m. PT) on Friday, Aug. 24. Please visit www.AggieAthletics.com for links to live stats and streaming video.