No. 5 USC Turns Tables on Texas A&M for Four-set Win
Aug. 24, 2012
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Powered by a match-high 14 kills from freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio, the No. 5 USC women's volleyball team (2-0) rallied from a first-set loss to defeat Texas A&M (1-1) in four (26-28, 25-14, 25-18, 25-20), in the Texas A&M Invitational at Reed Arena on Friday, Aug. 24. The Women of Troy had four players reach doubles figures in kills including Bricio, who continued to impress in just her first day of collegiate volleyball.
Senior opposite hitter Katie Fuller had 13 kills (5e, 38att, .211) and logged her third-career double-double with 11 digs. Junior middle blocker Alexis Olgard was efficient at the net with 11 kills (2e, 23att, .391) while junior outside hitter Sara Shaw compiled 11 kills of her own (6e, 26att, .192) to go with nine digs and a career-best six blocks.
Not to be outdone, junior libero Natalie Hagglund continued her torrid pace as she dug up 23 balls against the Aggies. Sophomore Hayley Crone registered the first double-double of her career on 42 assists and 12 digs. Perhaps most impressive was senior middle blocker Natasa Siljkovic who only had five kills, but posted nine blocks at the net including two that were solo. As a team, the Trojans took 146 swings to get 56 kills (20e) for a .247 hitting percentage.
On Texas A&M's side of the net, the Aggies were buoyed by Lindsey Miller who had 14 kills (3e, 28att, .393). Alisia Kastmo added 11 kills (9e, 43att, .047) and Megan Pendergrast led her team with 21 digs. USC out-blocked A&M, 11.0-5.0 and had 66 digs to hold the Aggies to a .122 hitting percentage (48k, 30e, 148att).
In a first set that ended as tightly as it started, the Aggies were the first team to create any sort of a gap as they capitalized on Trojan errors for a 10-6 lead. USC went on a 6-2 run that concluded when Bricio went cross-court for the kill and a 12-all tie. Still, the Women of Troy either trailed or could only manage a tie score until Siljkovic and Shaw teamed up for a block to give USC a 21-20 lead. It appeared the tide had turned as the Trojans reached set-point, 24-22, on a kill by Bricio, but the Aggies fought back to claim a 28-26 win in the opening frame. Neither team hit particularly well in the first set. The Trojans were undone by a .083 outing with 13 kills (9e, 48att) while the Aggies earned a .152 rate on 46 swings (16k, 9e).
USC shook off the cobwebs to open the second set as it ran away with a 7-0 lead. Not quite so easily turned away, the Aggies rallied for a 12-10 deficit on a kill by Miller. The Women of Troy didn't flinch and created a 10-point gash with a 20-10 lead that had Texas A&M all but done for the set. The Aggies scored a few more points, but Crone found Fuller on the right side for a kill that set USC up with set point, 24-13. Crone and Olgard blocked the A&M attack for the final point of the set and a 25-14 win. The Trojans had a stellar third set with 14 kills (2e, 29att) and a .414 hitting percentage and held the Aggies to a .000 percentage (9k, 9e) on 34 attacks.
USC created a five-point lead in the third set, 10-5, when Siljkovic and Shaw met at the net to block an Aggie attack. A&M stayed within two points through the belly of the set, but the Trojans went up by five points again when Bricio terminated on a set from Crone for a 20-15 lead. A pair of kills by Fuller gave Troy a 24-16 advantage but the Aggies earned a pair of points as they mounted a small comeback. It wasn't enough though as a Texas A&M service error put the third set in USC's hands, 25-18. The Trojan block came to life in the third set to balance its offensive attack which yielded 11 kills (6e, 34att) for a .147 rate. The blocking also helped USC hold Texas A&M to a negative .028 hitting percentage in the third set with nine kills (10e) on 36 attempts.
After two blowout sets, A&M played a much cleaner game to start the fourth and kept the score close. The Aggies grabbed an 11-8 lead on a service ace by Allie Sawatzky, but the Trojans continued to hang around and eventually claimed a two-point lead, 15-13. Olgard earned a kill off a quick set from Crone to push USC ahead, 17-15, but A&M stayed within a pair of points until Shaw's solo block created a 23-18 lead for the Trojans. Crone's service ace gave USC match point at 24-19 and her set to Shaw on the right side provided the Trojans with the final point of the match with a 25-20 win. The Aggies hit .375 in the final stanza with 14 kills (2e, 32att), but the Trojan offense was churning on all cylinders to produce a .429 hitting percentage on 35 attacks (18k, 3e).
The Trojans conclude the Texas A&M Invitational with a 10:30 a.m. CT (8:30 a.m. PT) match against Texas State (0-2) at Reed Arena on Saturday, Aug. 25. Please visit www.AggieAthletics.com for links to live stats and audio.