Bricio Hammers Huskies as No. 3 USC Takes Four-Set Win Over NIU
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Sep 7, 2013
DEKALB, Ill. - USC women's volleyball sophomore outside hitter Samantha Bricio powered the Trojan offense with 20 points on 16 kills (4e, 37att, .324), two service aces, and two solo blocks as the Women of Troy moved to 6-0 on the season with a 3-1 win over Northern Illinois (25-22, 25-22, 19-25, 25-16) at Victor E. Husky Court on Saturday, Sept. 7. The Huskies fell to 3-3.
The Trojans also got eight kills from each of their freshman outside hitters. Ebony Nwanebu had eight (4e, .190) on 21 swings and added three blocks while Elise Ruddins had eight (4e, .211) on 19 attempts and two solo blocks. USC also got seven kills from senior middle blocker Alexis Olgard (3e, 16att, .250) who had a match-high four blocks and five digs.
Junior middle blocker Hannah Schraer earned five kills (0e, 8att) with a .625 hitting percentage and picked up a solo block while home-state heroine Emily Young had five kills including the final point of the match and hit .250 in front of friends and family from nearby Schaumburg, Ill.
Freshman setter Alice Pizzasegola had a career-high 28 assists to go with a service ace while junior setter Hayley Crone dished out 18 assists and dug up seven balls. Senior libero Natalie Hagglund got few touches in the first three frames, but claimed eight digs in the final set to finish with 17.
Sarah Angelos was the offensive catalyst for the Huskies as she posted 13 kills (4e, 28att) with a .321 hitting rate. Mackenzie Roddy was just a shade behind with 12 kills (7e, 44att, .114) and six digs. Justine Schepler led NIU with 13 digs in the match while Alexis Gonzalez ran the offense with 34 assists.
USC started the match with just four errors through two sets but struggled on offense in the third. The Trojans finished with a .270 hitting percentage on 126 swings (51k, 17e) and outdid the Husky attack which posted a .190 hitting percentage on 137 swings (52k, 26e). NIU hit negative in the third set with nine kills and 10 errors (36att, -.028). USC out-blocked the Huskies, 9.0-5.0, and out-blocked its opponent for the fifth time in six matches, this year.
The first set had 10 tie scores and five lead changes, but the Trojans snagged the final lead at 22-21 when Ruddins blocked an attack by Lauren Zielinski. Nwanebu and Olgard teamed up to block Roddy on the next play, but a kill by Tori Halbur pulled the Huskies within a point at 23-22. It wasn't enough as a pair of NIU errors closed the set and gave the Trojans a 25-22 win. USC had 15 kills (4e, 35att) and hit .314 in the opening frame and won despite the Huskies' better .333 hitting percentage (17k, 5e, 36att).
USC seemed to control the second set at the outset, but errors allowed the Huskies back into the game. A 10-all score was broken with a kill from Bricio and the Trojans began to build their lead. Olgard and Nwanebu stuffed Mary Grace Kelly together before Olgard went up alone to block Jenna Radtke as USC rolled out to a 19-13 lead. A timeout by the Huskies brought life to the NIU offense as it embarked on a 9-3 run to catch the Trojans at 22-all on a Roddy kill. The Women of Troy had just enough of an answer to hold off the Husky run as Bricio's kill put USC up for good and a kill and a solo block by Schraer put a 25-22 win on the board. USC was firing on all cylinders in the second with 13 kills and no errors (30att) for a .433 hitting percentage. The Huskies fared better towards the end of the set but finished with a .189 hitting rate on 37 swings (15k, 8e).
The Trojans received a shock in the third when what seemed like a slow-going three-all tie turned into an eight-point Husky lead at 15-7. USC's errors had it hitting negative through most of the set, but it fought back nonetheless. Pizzasegola connected with Bricio for a kill to cut the lead to two at 19-17, but NIU kept its foot on the pedal to get set point at 24-18 on a kill by Angelos. Bricio earned one more point, but Gonzalez finished things off for the Huskies who got on the board with a 25-19 win in the third set. NIU had 11 kills (3e, 28att) for a .286 hitting percentage in the third while the Trojans overcame a slow start to finish with 12 kills (8e, 33att) and a .121 hitting rate.
NIU held a 7-5 lead in the fourth frame before a kill Nwanebu sparked the Trojan offense which went ahead, 8-7, on a service ace by Pizzasegola. USC was unrelenting as it went up by five points, 16-11, on a Schraer kill. The Huskies got no closer than four points at 19-15 as USC pulled away for the 25-16 win. Young knocked down the final point of the day off a set from Pizzasegola to close out the Trojans' stay in the Midwest. USC hit .214 in the fourth set with 11 kills (5e, 28att) and held the Husky attack to a negative .028 rate (9k, 10e, 36att).
After playing their first six matches in the Midwest, the Trojans will return to Southern California for their next six matches beginning with three in San Diego at the USD Tournament (Sept. 13-14) at Jenny Craig Pavilion. USC plays eight of its next nine matches in Southern California including its home opener at Galen Center against UC Irvine on Sept. 18 (7 p.m. PT). Please visit USCTrojans.com for more information and a complete schedule.