No. 3 Women of Troy Top TCU in Four-Set Thriller
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Sep 6, 2013
MILWAUKEE, Wis. - The third-ranked USC women's volleyball team (4-0) rose to the challenge and held off TCU (3-2) in four sets (25-9, 25-18, 24-26, 28-26) at the Al McGuire Center on Friday, Sept. 6, in the Marquette Challenge. Sophomore outside hitter Samantha Bricio carried the Women of Troy to victory with a match-high 23.0 points on 16 kills (5e, 40att) and six service aces to go with two blocks. Bricio also had 15 digs to log the first Trojan double-double of the year.
Senior outside Sara Shaw produced 10 kills (6e, .118) on 34 swings and added nine digs and a pair of aces while freshman outside Elise Ruddins knocked down 10 kills (4e, 18att) and hit .333 to buoy the USC offensive effort.
In the middle, senior Alexis Olgard hit .467 with eight kills (1e, 15att) and junior Hannah Schraer had six kills (3e, 10att, .300) and led all players with five blocks. USC's setters split the workload as junior Hayley Crone dished out 26 assists and had four digs while freshman Alice Pizzasegola earned 27 assists to go with a service ace and five digs. Defensively, senior libero Natalie Hagglund held down the fort with a match-high 28 digs.
For the Horned Frogs, Ashley Smith led the way with 17 kills (4e) on 44 swings for a .295 hitting percentage and logged a double-double with 19 digs. Setter Alexia Heist had 22 assists and 12 digs for TCU while Yvonne Igodan put up eight kills (3e, 30att, .167) and Stephanie Holland had seven kills (2e, 20att, .250).
The first set was a track race for the Trojans who got in front by six points (10-4) on four straight kills by Olgard, Bricio, freshman outside Ebony Nwanebu, and Shaw. Nwanebu finished the match with seven kills (4e, 30att, .100) and four blocks. USC never trailed and ripped open a 16-point lead at 24-8 before Nwanebu's kill put the first set away. Olgard and Shaw each had four first-set kills but junior outside Emily Young added three (0e, 4att, .750) to help give USC a .500 hitting percentage in the opening frame (18k, 2e, 32att). The Trojans sided out at a 77-percent rate and held the Frogs to a .056 hitting percentage on 36 swings (6k, 4e) thanks in large part to Hagglund's 11 digs.
TCU kept things much closer in the second set as it forced a fifth tie score at five-all, but USC had other ideas and went on a 4-0 run on three kills by Bricio and one by Young to lead, 12-8. Bricio went off in the second set to log seven kills (1e, 9att) and a pair of service aces while Young added four kills to finish the day with seven kills (1e, 11att, .545). The Trojans continued to keep their distance even as the Horned Frogs made a push to get within two points at 18-16. Shaw served two straight aces to get USC in front by four once more at 22-16 before Bricio's kill gave Trojans set point at 24-18. Sophomore middle blocker Alicia Ogomstopped off the set with her kill as the Trojans posted a .237 hitting rate in the second stanza (16k, 7e, 38att). On the other side of the net, the Horned Frogs recorded their best hitting set with 11 kills (3e) on 26 swings for a .308 rate.
It appeared to be more of the same at the outset of the third set as Hagglund served seven straight rallies to build a 10-4 USC lead, but TCU stayed the course to earn a 26-24 win. A pair of kills by Ruddins kept the Trojans in front by four, 14-10; another Ruddins kill made the score 19-15 for USC. She had six kills in the third set alone. Late in the set, the Women of Troy seemed to seize control and held a 22-15 lead on yet another kill from Ruddins, but the Frogs came to life and slowly chipped away at USC with a 4-0 run. Ruddins came to the rescue once more to stop the bleeding, but a 3-0 run by TCU got it within a point at 23-22. Igodan's kill forced the fifth and final tie of the set at 24-all before a Frog block and a USC error put the set in TCU's hands. The Frogs had just 12 kills on 41 swings (6e, .146) but logged 21 digs and five blocks to keep the Trojans at bay. USC had 15 kills but did itself in with 13 errors (54att) for a .037 hitting percentage.
Set four was nearly a carbon copy of set three as USC claimed another quick 10-4 lead. The Trojans let a five-point lead slip away as the Frogs scored three straight to make the score 13-10, but USC stood fast to get in front by seven points, 21-14, when Crone connected with Bricio for a kill. Schraer and Nwanebu teamed up to stuff an attack by Smith for an eight-point USC lead, but TCU had another answer as it went on a 9-1 run to knot the score at 23-all. Crone popped a quick set to Olgard for a kill to stop the bleeding, but the Frogs kept on coming and score was tied four more times. Back-to-back kills by TCU gave the Frogs a short-lived lead at 26-25 but a service error breathed new life into the Trojans with a 26-all tie. A Horned Frog error pushed USC ahead, 27-26, before Pizzasegola connected with Ruddins for the final kill of a 28-26 decision. USC hit .289 in the fourth frame with 18 kills (5e, 45att) and outpaced the TCU offense which logged 16 kills (5e, 42att) for a .262 hitting rate.
USC will turn around to face host Marquette at 7 p.m. CT (5 p.m. PT) in its final match of the Marquette Challenge. The Trojans will also face Northern Illinois in a separate match on Saturday (Sept. 7) in DeKalb, Ill., at 1 p.m. CT (11 a.m. PT). For more information and a complete schedule, please visit USCTrojans.com.