No. 10 USC Drops Four-Setter to No. 4 Wisconsin in Pac-12/Big Ten Showcase|
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SEATTLE - The 10th-ranked USC women's volleyball team (6-3) dropped a hard-fought four-set decision, 21-25, 25-17, 25-17, 25-21, to No. 4 Wisconsin (9-0) in the Pac-12/Big Ten Showcase at Alaska Airlines Arena. In a bid to push for a fifth set, the Women of Troy fell short and suffered the team's third straight loss.
The Trojans got 17.5 points from junior outside hitter Samantha Bricio who put up 11 kills (5e, 46att, .130) to go with 22 digs and six service aces. It was Bricio's fifth double-double of the season and the 27th of her career. Bricio's six service aces marks the fifth time in her career that she has had six in a single match. It was also the 10th time that she has broken the five-ace mark and the 21st time she has had three or more.
Sophomore outside Ebony Nwanebu added 12 kills (3e, 29att, .310) and a service ace for 13.0 points. Defensively, the Trojans got 19 digs from sophomore libero Taylor Whittingham while freshman outside Lauryn Gillis had seven digs and a pair of blocks including USC's only solo block. Gillis finished with 8.5 points with seven kills (5e, 42att, .048).
In the match, USC hit .173 with 44 kills (16e) on 162 swings as senior setter Hayley Crone posted 17 assists and sophomore setter Alice Pizzasegola had 16 assists. Each setter also recorded service aces.
The Badgers had four players in double digits for kills led by Courtney Thomas who had 14 (3e, 25att, .440). Haleigh Nelson (12k, 1e, 18att, .611) and Dominique Thompson (12k, 1e, 29att, .379) had 12 kills apiece. Kelli Bates added 11 kills (5e, 29att .207) for Wisconsin, which hit .320 in the match (62k, 15e, 147att). Thomas had 14 digs and Bates had 19 as each player logged double-doubles. Taylor Morey led all players with 29 digs. Setter Lauren Carlini finished with 55 assists and had 10 digs for a double-double. Carlini also added three kills and a pair of service aces.
The Trojans turned a 10-all tie (the seventh tie of the first set) into a quick six-point lead, 16-10, thanks to four straight service aces from Bricio. The Badgers fought back and got within a point at 18-17, but Nwanebu went crosscourt to stop the Wisconsin push. Nwanebu went back to serve up an ace for a 21-18 lead but the Badgers stayed closed until Bricio knocked down a kill for a 23-20 lead and then did it again for a 24-21 lead. Wisconsin committed the final error of the set to seal a 25-21 win for the Trojans. USC had nine kills (4e, 34att) and hit .147 in the opening frame and used its aggressive serving to win despite Wisconsin's 13 kills (6e, 36att, .194).
The two teams were tied at seven in the second set when the Badgers reeled off three straight to seize the lead for good. Wisconsin finished with a 25-17 win to even the match at one set apiece. UW led by six points, 16-10, before Nwanebu went high hands to stop the bleeding, but the Badgers went up by eight, 22-14, on three straight kills; two by Thompson. The Trojans used three straight kills to get within five, 22-17, with a pair from senior outside hitter Emily Young, but the Badgers fended off the Trojan push to complete the win. Wisconsin posted a scorching .412 hitting rate in the second set with 15 kills and just one error on 34 swings. USC hit .167 with 14 kills (6e) on 48 attempts.
Trojan miscues did them in in the third set. A pair of errors put a 7-5 lead into the Badgers' hands and UW never looked back on the way to a second 25-17 win. Bricio tooled the Wisconsin block to get USC within two at 12-10, but the Badgers were unrelenting and went up by five, 19-14, when Bates sent a kill shot down the line. The Trojans came within five just once more on a kill from junior middle blocker Alicia Ogoms, before Wisconsin went up by seven, 22-15, on a Thompson kill. Bricio saved one point for the Trojans on her sixth ace of the night before a pair of kills sealed the Badgers' win. Wisconsin hit .351 in the third with 15 kills (2e) on 37 swings while the Trojans hit just .098 with nine kills (5e) on 41 attempts.
USC looked like it was on its way to forcing a fifth set as it led, 13-9, in the fourth on a pair of back-to-back Nwanebu kills, but the Badgers stayed in it and got within three at 18-15. The Trojans pushed to get a 20-16 lead on a Bricio kill that found the deep corner of the UW court, but with Carlini back to serve, the Badgers crushed USC's hopes for a fifth as they completed a 9-1 run for the 25-21 win. The Trojans had their best offensive outing in the fourth with 12 kills (1e, 39att) and a .282 hitting rate, but Wisconsin was unstoppable down the stretch and finished with a .325 hitting rate (19k, 6e, .325).
The Women of Troy are back in action against Maryland (7-2) at 5:30 p.m. PT on Friday, Sept. 19, to conclude the Pac-12/Big Ten Showcase. For more information on the USC women's volleyball team and a complete schedule, please visit USCTrojans.com and follow @USCWomensVolley on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.