No. 5 Trojans Win Tug-of-War Against No. 17 Toreros
LOS ANGELES - The fifth-ranked USC women's volleyball team went the distance for the first time this season and came away with a five-set win (25-16, 14-25, 30-28, 19-25, 15-11) over No. 17 San Diego (3-2) in the second match of the 2012 USC Classic Tournament at the Galen Center on Friday, Sept. 7. The Women of Troy moved to 7-0 on the season behind a solid contribution from senior opposite hitter Katie Fuller who had 17 kills (8e, 42att, .214) and a career-high 18 digs on the evening for her third double-double of the season.
The Trojans had four players reach double-digit kills for the second time this year. Freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio had 13 kills (7e, 51att, .118) and 11 digs for her third double-double as well. She also added five blocks (one solo). Junior outside hitter Sara Shaw logged 14 kills (8e, 43att, .140) and had nine digs and junior middle blocker Alexis Olgard had 10 kills (2e, 27att) for a .296 hitting percentage.
Junior libero Natalie Hagglund logged 17 digs while sophomore setter Hayley Crone distributed the ball for 44 assists. For San Diego, Carrie Baird had 16 kills (6e, 44att, .227) and 14 digs, and Alaysia Brown had 14 kills (5e, 29att, .310). USC was out-dug by the Toreros, 85-68; out-hit, .222 to .162, and posted fewer kills than an opponent for the first time this season but still came away with a hard-fought victory.
The Trojans never trailed and controlled the tempo of the first set to the tune of a 19-10 lead as Fuller knocked down a cut shot for the point. USC reached 20 points first when Olgard and Bricio teamed up for a big block. The two got together to reject another Torero attack a few points later to help USC go up, 21-13. USD mounted a short-lived comeback as the Trojans sealed the set, 25-16, with a kill from Shaw. USC only needed 10 kills (4e, 32att) and attacked at a .188 rate in the first set as the Toreros committed six service errors and attacked at a .053 rate (9k, 7e, 38att).
USC couldn't get it going in the second set and posted a .000 attack percentage with seven kills (7e) on 37 swings. The Toreros dug up 20 balls and had four blocks to stifle the Trojan attack. USD logged 15 kills (5e, 34att) for a .294 hitting percentage. Bricio knocked a shot off a Torero defender to knot the set at three-all, but USD took the lead on the next play and never looked back. Two consecutive kills by Baird put the Toreros in front by seven points at 20-13, but she did it again, to give USD a 23-14 lead. San Diego closed out the set with two consecutive blocks and went into the break with the match tied at one-all.
San Diego continued its torrid pace as the third set opened. Up by two, the Toreros earned four kills in the next six plays to go up, 8-4, and force a USC timeout. Only a Bricio kill, ripped out of the back row, ended the USD assault, but only momentarily as the Toreros pushed back and went up by five, 11-6. USC fought, tooth and nail, and got within one point when Shaw's roll-shot terminated a rally. USD had an answer though, as a block and three kills flipped the script and put an 18-14 lead in the Toreros' hands. San Diego held a three-point lead, 23-20, but the Trojans fought on and tied the set at 23-all when Young and senior middle blocker Natasa Siljkovic teamed up to block Baird.
The Trojans grabbed their first lead since the first point of the set when Fuller went cross-court for a kill and a 25-24 advantage, but the set saw four more ties before a USD error put the Trojans at set-point, 29-28. Shaw terminated the next play with another roll shot to give the Trojans a 2-1 lead in the match. USC needed all 21 of its kills in the third set (4e, 53att, .321) to overcome a USD attack that posted 20 kills (6e, 44att) and hit .318.
The Trojans appeared to be on their way to a win as the fourth set opened up to a 5-1 USC lead but San Diego had other plans as it climbed all the way back to tie the set at 10-all. A pair of kills from Fuller gave the Trojans a 12-10 lead, but USD tied the set at 14-all on a big block of Bricio. The Toreros won the next tug-of-war with a kill by Baird and went up, 17-15, for their first lead of the set. USD was unrelenting as it created a six-point gash with a block of Olgard, 21-15. From there, it was an even-water boat race as the Toreros went on to finish out the set, 25-19. USD hit at a .176 rate in the fourth with 13 kills (7e, 34att) and held the Trojans to a season-low negative .028 set (10k, 11e, 36att).
The fifth set started out as tight as they come. Through 12 rallies, the teams were tied at six, but a long Torero serve gave the Trojans a 7-6 lead before a cross-court kill by Shaw delivered the first of any breathing room at 8-6 to USC's side of the scoreboard. It didn't end there. The Trojans scored five straight points, the last of which forced a USD timeout when senior defensive specialist Erin Yoder scored on a service ace. That lead also wasn't enough, however, as the Toreros rallied for a couple of points, but Fuller put an end to the USD run when she earned her 17th kill of the match. San Diego got one more point before Bricio went hard off the block to terminate the play and the match. The Trojans had nine kills (2e, 21att) and hit at a .333 rate in the fifth set. USD had one more error than USC did with nine kills (3e, 21att) and posted a .286 hitting percentage.
In the first match of the day, Notre Dame (5-2) claimed a 3-0 win, 25-17, 25-18, 25-20, over Cal Poly (1-5). The Trojans are back in action against the Mustangs at 10 a.m. PT on Saturday, Sept. 8. Notre Dame and San Diego face off at noon. The evening match between USC and Notre Dame is a White Out match. The first 5,000 fans in attendance will receive a free "WE PLAY" t-shirt.