No. 5 USC Punishes Panthers in 3-0 Sweep of No. 23 Northern Iowa
Aug. 31, 2012
LOS ANGELES - On a night when senior opposite hitter Katie Fuller went off for a career high 19 kills, the fifth-ranked USC women's volleyball team (4-0) produced a 3-0 sweep (25-18, 25-20, 25-16) of No. 23 Northern Iowa (3-2) in the third match of the 2012 Luxe City Center Trojan Invitational at Galen Center on Friday, Aug. 31.
Fuller attacked at a .457 rate (3e, 35att) and added seven digs and four blocks to her final line. The Trojans also received valuable contributions from their outside hitters, who each posted double-doubles. Junior Sara Shaw terminated 16 plays with kills (6e, 32att, .312) and had 10 digs while freshman Samantha Bricio put up 13 kills (3e, 36att, .278) and 10 digs.
Sophomore setter Hayley Crone notched a different type of double-double as she logged 38 assists to go with 10 digs. Junior libero Natalie Hagglund led the team with 15 digs and senior middle blocker Natasa Siljkovic was effective at the net with five blocks.
For the Panthers, Krista DeGeest had nine kills (1e, 14att, .571) and Candice Burke led all players with 20 digs.
The Trojans opened up the match on a tear as they scored six unanswered points, but the Panthers replied to chip away at the USC lead. A UNI service ace pulled it to within two points at 13-11, but a second Panther ace completely erased the Trojan lead and knotted the set at 13-all. Shaw broke the tie when she put down a ball from Siljkovic, but it was Fuller who extended the lead to three with a pair of kills of her own. The Panthers scored the next point but got no closer as USC went up by as many as seven points at 23-16 when Bricio went off-speed on the left side for a kill. Bricio knocked a ball off the UNI block to end the set, 25-19, for USC. The Trojans posted a .300 attack rate in the first set with 18 kills (6e) on 40 attempts. The Panthers had a .071 outing on 28 swings (7k, 5e).
Bricio added six of her kills in the second set without error on 12 swings to help the Trojans to a 25-20 win and a 2-0 lead in the match. Though USC walked away with the set at the end, Northern Iowa put up a fight throughout and led by as many as three points at 12-9. It took 10 rallies, but the Trojans finally broke through and reclaimed the lead when Bricio tipped a shot out of the back row for the kill and a 17-16 USC advantage. The Women of Troy extended to a four-point lead when Fuller knocked a shot off the Panther block to make the score, 23-19. Fuller and junior middle Alexis Olgard teamed up for a block to put the Trojans at set point before Olgard polished off the set with a kill on a quick-set from Crone. The Trojans added 18 kills to their total in the second set (5e, 42att) and attacked at a .310 rate. UNI was held to a .146 hitting percentage on 41 swings (12k, 6e) as the Trojans posted 4.0 blocks in the second set.
The third set was little of a contest as the Trojans ran ahead from the get-go. Fuller went high off Panther hands to push USC ahead, 5-1, and went down the line twice in a row to make the score 7-2. Northern Iowa got within five points at 11-6, but Shaw went off for five kills in 10 rallies to help USC grab a 17-10 lead. Even as the Panthers made a bid to get back into the set, their own mistakes had them facing a nine-point hole at 21-12. Shaw went down the line for a kill and a 24-15 lead before USC closed out the set for a 25-16 win. The Trojans posted a .286 attack rate in the third set with 17 kills (5e, 42att) and held the UNI attack to its 10 kills on 41 swings (6e) with a .098 hitting percentage.
The Trojans are back in action with matches against Boston College (4-2) and Mississippi State (2-2) on Saturday, Sept. 1. USC gets the Eagles in a 10 a.m. PT match and the Bulldogs at 8 p.m. Earlier in the day, Northern Iowa defeated Boston College and Boston College defeated Mississippi State; each in four-set outcomes. Please visit www.USCTrojans.com for more information and links to live stats and audio streams.