No. 4 Women of Troy Top Toppers in 3-0 Sweep
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Aug 31, 2013
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The fourth-ranked USC women’s volleyball team (2-0) cruised to a 3-0 sweep (25-23, 25-18, 25-18) of No. 21 Western Kentucky (1-1) on Saturday, Aug. 31, at Holloway Gymnasium in the Mortar Board Premier hosted by Purdue. The Women of Troy were led by sophomore Samantha Bricio’s 15 points as the outside hitter racked up nine kills (1e, 18att) and a .444 hitting percentage to go with three service aces and four blocks (two solo).
Freshman outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu followed up her big debut with another strong showing as she led all players with 13 kills (2e 24att, .458). Fellow frosh outside Elise Ruddins showed off her skillset as she posted eight kills on just 14 swings (1e, .500). The Trojans also got contributions from senior outside Sara Shaw who had five kills (1e, 12att, .333), and senior middle Alexis Olgard who had four kills (1e, 8att, .375) to go with four blocks.
Defensively, USC enjoyed another big outing at the net as it out-blocked the Hill Toppers, 11-3. Junior middle Hannah Schraer had a career-best three solo blocks to go with three kills (0e, 7att, .429) while senior libero Natalie Hagglund led the team with eight digs in the match. USC’s setters shared the load as junior Hayley Crone had 20 assists and freshman Alice Pizzasegola had 19 assists to go with five digs.
For Western Kentucky, Noelle Langenkamp led the way with nine kills (4e, 21att, .238) while Lindsay Spears recorded seven kills (0e, 8att, .875). The Lady Toppers also got six kills apiece from Heather Boyan (4e, 14att, .143) and Paige Wessel (1e, 12att, .417). WKU setter Melanie Stutsman put up a double-double with 25 assists and 10 digs and added a pair of service aces for the Toppers.
USC used a balanced attack to claim a 25-23 win in the first set as six hitters each had at least two kills. The Toppers ran ahead by five points at 13-8 as Stutsman earned a kill. It was an uphill climb for the Trojans who trailed by five again at 15-10, but they slowly chipped away at the WKU lead and pulled within a point at 18-17 following a pair of kills from Shaw. Bricio went up to stuff an attack by Stutsman to knot the set for the seventh and final time at 18-all. Ruddins’ kill pushed the Trojans ahead by three points at 22-19 and a kill by Nwanebu put set point on USC’s side of the court at 24-22. The Toppers saved one set point but were done in by their own error as the Trojans sealed a 1-0 lead in the match. Despite four errors, the Trojans hit .367 in the first set on 30 swings (15k). Five USC blocks held WKU’s offensive output to a .226 hitting percentage (14k, 7e, 31att).
Olgard zeroed in on an overpassed ball to knock down a kill and give USC a 5-2 lead in the second set, but three straight kills by Langenkamp knotted the score at five-all. A pair of USC blocks and a Ruddins kill stretched the Trojan lead to four at 10-6, and it was a foot race to 25 from there. The Women of Troy went error free on offense in the second set and posted a .577 hitting rate with 15 kills on 26 attacks. Bricio and Nwanebu each had four kills and Ruddins had three to lead the Trojans. Bricio also had a service ace and the USC defense posted four blocks. Lagnenkamp tried to get her team back into the set with a pair of kills that got WKU within two at 16-14, but the Trojans held the Toppers off and secured a 25-18 win on Bricio’s ace. The USC defense was stingy as it allowed just nine kills (6e, 24att) for a .125 rate.
WKU held a 7-4 lead in the early goings of the third set, but USC had other ideas in mind as a service ace from sophomore middle blocker Alicia Ogoms knotted the score at eight all. The scored was tied at 10-all, as well, but that’s when the Trojans began to pull away. With USC up, 15-12, Ogoms made her presence felt once more as she turned a kill and then rejected Langenkamp to open up a five-point Trojan lead, 17-12. Pizzasegola set Ruddins on the right side for a kill that put USC in front, 22-15, and it was just about lights out for the Hill Toppers. Crone connected with Bricio on a set that earned the Trojans a kill and a 25-18 win in the third. USC was efficient once again with a .412 hitting rate (16k, 2e, 34att) and outpaced the Toppers’ .294 effort (13k, 3e, 34att).
The Trojans wrap up play at the Mortar Board Premier with a 7:30 p.m. ET (4:30 p.m. PT) match against Alabama A&M (0-2). For more information, complete stats, and schedule, please visit USCTrojans.com.