USC Dials Up 3-0 Victory Over No. 16 Kentucky at Commonwealth Classic|
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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The sixth-ranked USC women's volleyball team (4-0) leaned on its junior class of outside hitter Samantha Bricio and middle blocker Alicia Ogoms to earn a 3-0 sweep (25-19, 25-17, 25-19) of No. 16 Kentucky (4-1) in the Trojans' first match of the Commonwealth Classic at Memorial Coliseum on Friday, Sept. 5.
Bricio led the way with 16.5 points on 13 kills (3e, 34att) and a .294 hitting night. She also added a pair of service aces, a pair of blocks (one solo) and seven digs. Ogoms had six kills without an error (9att) and hit .667 to go with her match-high seven blocks (one solo) for 10.0 points.
In her first match of the season, sophomore outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu finished with eight kills (2e, 23att) with a .261 hitting percentage and four digs. The Trojans also got six kills (1e, 16att, .312), two service aces, and five digs from freshman outside hitter Lauryn Gillis.
The Trojans hit .313 in the match and finished with 39 kills (8e) on 99 attacks. Senior setter Hayley Crone logged her third double-double this season (16th of her career) with 24 assists and 10 digs to captain the USC offense. The Trojans out-blocked Kentucky, 11.0-2.0 and put up 44 digs, including 12 from sophomore libero Taylor Whittingham, to hold the Wildcats to a .090 hitting night (34k, 24e) on 111 swings.
For Kentucky, Shelby Workman had 13 kills (6e, 37att, .189) while Anni Thomasson (4e, 27att, .074) and Sara Schwarzwalder (3e, 14att, .214) had six kills each. Jackie Napper finished with a match-high 20 digs.
The Trojans never trailed in the first set but had to fight off a UK comeback bid to secure a 25-19 win. USC rolled out to a four-point lead when Gillis served up a pair of aces and Bricio tooled the Wildcat block for the 5-1 advantage. Bricio put another shot through a big hole in the Kentucky block to create an 11-point gash at 20-9, but the Cats began their run there and finished with a kill from Workman to get within five points at 23-18. A service error by Workman stymied the UK run before Nwanebu knocked a shot off the block for the final point of the set. USC hit .314 in the opening set and collected 15 kills (4e) on 35 swings to outpace UK's .162 hitting rate (12k, 6e) on 37 swings.
Despite a slow start offensively, the Women of Troy picked things up in the second set and overcame a pair of three-point deficits to tie the score at 11-all when Nwanebu bounced her shot off the floor. Nwanebu put a pair of kills together to help get USC up by its own three-point lead at 16-13. Bricio took over and crushed a kill of Napper's shoulder for a 17-14 lead before she too earned back-to-back points to build a six-point advantage at 20-14. Ogoms ran a short slide on Crone's backset to give the Trojans a 21-15 lead before Bricio's ace made the score 23-16. The Wildcats did themselves in with a net serve on the final point of the set. USC hit .320 in the second frame and put together nine kills (1e) on 25 swings to go with four blocks. The Trojan defense held the Cats to a negative .028 hitting percentage with 10 kills (11e) on 36 attacks.
USC scored the first five points of the third set, but that only served to spark the Kentucky offense, which pulled within a point at 7-6. The Trojans were caught at 10 when Darian Mack came in and earned a kill, but Bricio went to work and went high hands with her next shot to give USC the lead back and then served up an ace for a 12-10 advantage. USC stretched its lead to four at 16-12 when Gillis tooled the Wildcat block, but Kentucky kept things close and got within two at 17-15 on another kill by Workman. Off the bench, the Trojans got a kill from freshman outside hitter Brittany Abercrombie who turned around to block Thomasson with Ogoms to give USC a 20-15 lead. Abercrombie crushed another shot down the line on a backset by sophomore setter Alice Pizzasegola for a 23-17 Trojan advantage before she and senior middle Hannah Schraer blocked Thomasson for match point at 24-18. Workman tooled the USC block for one last point but Thomasson's final offering went long to seal the 3-0 sweep for the Women of Troy. The Trojans produced 15 kills (3e) on 39 swings for a .308 hitting rate and logged five more blocks to keep Kentucky down at .132 with 12 kills (7e) on 38 attacks.
The Women of Troy will play Creighton (3-1) at 11 a.m. ET and conclude the Commonwealth Classic with a 5:30 p.m. ET match against Northern Iowa (2-3) on Saturday, Sept. 6. The Bluejays defeated Northern Iowa in their only match today. The Panthers dropped two matches; one to Creighton and the other to Kentucky. For more information on the USC women's volleyball team and a complete schedule, please visit USCTrojans.com and follow @USCWomensVolley on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.