No. 5 Trojans Knock Off Notre Dame to Win USC Classic
LOS ANGELES - Powered by a career-high 21 kills from senior opposite hitter Katie Fuller, the fifth-ranked USC women's volleyball team (9-0) captured the 2012 USC Classic Tournament title with a 3-0 victory (26-24, 25-22, 25-19) against Notre Dame (5-4) at the Galen Center on Saturday, Sept. 8. Fuller attacked at an incredible .486 clip (3e, 37att) and was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
"The team's fight was one of the most encouraging things we saw, tonight," said head coach Mick Haley. "We just finished. What a great comeback. I thought Fuller was amazing, but we had some great performances from all of our players and our setting was wonderful in this match."
Fuller was one dig short of another double-double performance and added two blocks for the Trojans. Sophomore setter Hayley Crone dished out 43 assists and had 12 digs to log her sixth double-double of the season. Bricio was second on the team with 12 kills (5e, 30att, .233), but the Trojans also had solid contributions from juniors Alexis Olgard and Sara Shaw whom each had eight kills. Ogard attacked at a .400 rate (2e, 15att) and had two blocks while Shaw hit .208 in the match (3e, 24att).
The Fighting Irish got 14 kills from Jeni Houser (2e, 26att, .462) and 13 kills from all-tournament team selection Toni Alugbue (4e, 26att, .346).
The first set was tied 11 times, and the lead changed hands seven times before a winner was finally decided. USC went up by two points, 15-12, on a trio of Irish errors, but that lead only lasted until Notre Dame made a run to go up, 20-19. The Irish seized set point at 24-22, but the Trojans fought back to claim a 25-24 lead on a pair of kills by Bricio. Fuller rose up to clean house when she knocked down the final point to seal a first-set victory. The Trojans attacked at a .342 rate in the first set and had 19 kills (6e) on 38 swings while the Irish posted a .333 attack percentage on 30 attempts (14k, 4e).
After trailing by as many as five points, the Trojans went on a run capped by a shot down the line by Fuller that put USC up by a point, 23-22. Fuller terminated the next rally with another devastating line shot before Crone served up a service ace to seal a 25-22 win in the second set. USC's offense was only marginally better than the Irish offering, but it was enough to give the Trojans a 2-0 lead in the match. The Women of Troy trailed Notre Dame by as many as six points at 10-4, and by five later, 20-15, but continued to plug away and tied the score for the fourth time at 22-all on the first of three straight kills by Fuller.
The Trojans never trailed and were rarely threatened in the final set. Notre Dame got within a point at 10-9, but USC ripped off a run through which Bricio turned in three kills and a service ace to go up, 15-10. Troy maintained its distance from there on out and went up by seven points when Olgard turned a quick set from Crone into points with a kill down the middle of the court. Another Bricio kill gave USC set point at 24-17 before Olgard came around for the final kill of the match. USC posted a .429 hitting percentage in the final set with 18 kills (3e, 35att) and out-did the Irish attack which had 14 kills (3e, 33att, .333) for the win.
USC is on the road for the TCU Molten Invitational next weekend. The Trojans will head to Fort Worth, Texas, to face Lehigh, Prairie View A&M, and tournament host Texas Christian. Please visit USCTrojans.com for more information.
2012 USC Classic All-Tournament Team
Holly Franks, Cal Poly
Toni Alugbue, Notre Dame
Katie Hoekman, San Diego
Alaysia Brown, San Diego
Natalie Hagglund, USC
Samantha Bricio, USC
Katie Fuller, USC (MVP)