No. 8 Trojans Put Panthers Away to Claim UNI Tournament Crown|
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Sept. 5, 2015
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - The eighth-ranked USC women's volleyball team (6-0) won its sixth straight match and claimed the UNI Tournament title with a 3-0 win (25-19 25-14, 25-16) over Northern Iowa (2-4) at the McLeod Center on Saturday, Sept. 5. The Women of Troy ran their set streak to 17 consecutive victories and had three players selected to the all-tournament team including senior outside hitter Samantha Bricio who was chosen for MVP honors. Senior middle blocker Alicia Ogoms and junior libero Taylor Whittingham were also named to the all-tournament team.
USC's seniors powered the Trojans to the win as Ogoms led with 15.0 points and Bricio had 14.5. Ogoms finished with eight kills (1e, 16att) and a .438 hitting percentage to go with seven blocks (three solo), eight digs, and two service aces. Bricio had 11 kills (5e, 27att, .222) and secured her third double-double of the season (44th career) with 13 digs to go with three service aces and a block. Whittingham collected 18 digs in the match.
Freshman outside hitter Alyse Ford added seven kills (2e, 27att, .185) and two blocks, and sophomore opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie had five kills (1e, 20att, .200). In the middle, junior Elise Ruddins knocked down six kills (1e, 12att, .417) and had two blocks. USC's setters directed the Trojans to a .272 hitting percentage with 42 kills (11e) on 114 attempts. Freshman Baylee Johnson had 19 assists, seven digs, four kills (1e, 11att, .273), two service aces, and two blocks; and junior Alice Pizzasegola had 14 assists, an ace, and four digs.
For Northern Iowa, Kayla Haneline collected eight kills (4e, 27att, .148) to lead the Panthers. Jaidyn Blacnhfield had six kills (3e, 16att, .188). Setter Heather Hook finished with a double-double on 27 assists and 10 digs to go with a pair of kills and libero Amie Held totaled 20 digs but had three receiving errors.
USC built a quick 6-0 lead to open the match, but a 6-0 surge by the Panthers knotted the score at eight-all. The teams went back and forth until Bricio's back-row kill pushed the Trojans ahead by three, 20-17. UNI tried to close the gap but ran out of opportunities when Ogoms shut down a Panther attacker for the block and a 25-19 USC win.
With the score tied at two in the second set, Bricio served three aces and had a kill to help get the Trojans in front by six, 8-2. USC extended its lead to nine points (15-6) on a big double-block by Johnson and Ogoms, but UNI trimmed the lead back to six at 19-13. The Trojans tightened the screws and finished off the set with a 6-1 run for the 25-14 victory and a 2-0 lead in the match.
Despite the closer start to the third set, the Women of Troy were seldom threatened as they cruised to a 25-16 win for the sweep. Ford's kill helped break things open at 12-8, before another block by Ogoms turned USC's lead into six at 20-14. Ogoms turned on the offense and picked up two kills before Ford's terminator put the Trojans at match point, 24-16. An attack error by the Panthers sealed their fate and gave USC the win.
The Trojans return home to host the USC Classic at the Galen Center; a three-day tournament in which they will face Utah State (10 a.m.) and Pepperdine (8 p.m.) on Thursday, Sept. 10, and Idaho State (10 a.m.) and New Mexico (8 p.m.) on Friday, Sept. 11. The Pepperdine and UNM matches will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Networks.
To purchase season or single-match tickets for USC home matches, visit GetTrojanTix.com or call (213) 740-GOSC. For more information on the USC women's volleyball team and a complete schedule, please visit USCTrojans.com and follow @USCWomensVolley on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Periscope.