No. 5 USC Devours Anteaters in Three|
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Sept. 19, 2013
LOS ANGELES - The fifth-ranked USC women's volleyball team (9-1) marched past UC Irvine (7-4) in a three-set sweep (25-18, 25-15, 25-19) at Galen Center on Wednesday, Sept. 18. It was the home opener for the Women of Troy who moved to 95-10 all-time at their home arena.
Senior outside hitter Sara Shaw anchored the Trojan offense with 10 kills (3e, 16att) as she hit .438 and picked up seven digs. All-American senior libero Natalie Hagglund led all players with 11 digs.
The Women of Troy hit .258 in the match (40k, 15e, 97att) and improved to 12-0 in their all-time series with UCI. The Trojans also spoiled a homecoming for USC legend and current Anteater head coach Paula Weishoff who fell to 0-3 all-time against her alma mater.
Sophomore outside hitter Samantha Bricio added nine kills (3e, 24att, .250) and seven digs and had two of USC's service aces. Freshman setter Alice Pizzasegola had the Trojans' other two service aces and dished out 14 assists to go with five digs. On the defensive side of the net, senior middle blocker Alexis Olgardput up six blocks including a pair of solo stuffs.
USC's freshmen hitters also contributed to the win as Ebony Nwanebu had eight kills (2e, 17att) and a .353 hitting percentage and Elise Ruddins came in to log four kills (2e, 8att) and a .250 hitting rate.
For the Anteaters, Arielle Manz had a team-high eight kills (2e, 13att, .462) while Shannon Fleming put up six kills (2e, 14att, .286) and a match-high seven blocks (one solo). Marisa Bubica also had six kills (5e, 17att, .059) while Aly Squires and Arden Davis each tied for team-high honors with 10 digs apiece. As a team, UC Irvine posted a .129 hitting percentage with 31 kills (19e) on 93 swings.
USC topped its opponent in hitting percentage for the 10th time in 10 matches, this season, and also posted more blocks than an opponent (10.0-9.0) for the seventh time this year.
The Trojans never trailed on the way to a 25-18 win in the first set. USC led by seven at 10-3 when Olgard crushed a quick set from Pizzasegola for a kill and went up by eight, 11-3, on junior outside Emily Young's line shot. The Anteaters made a bid to get back in the set and got within five on a kill by Manz to make the score 14-9 but the Trojans pushed back and went up by nine points, 19-10, when Shaw sent a kill shot down the line. Though USC seemed in control, the Anteaters made another mad dash to get with five once more at 22-17 before their own errors did them in. The Trojans closed the set with a .211 hitting percentage (15k, 7e) on 38 swings and held the Anteaters to .182 (11k, 5e, 33att).
UCI earned the first point of the second set, but USC quickly wrestled that lead away and earned three straight kills topped by a crosscourt shot from Bricio to make the score 10-4 and force an Anteater timeout. Out of the huddle, UC Irvine regrouped and cut into the Trojan lead to get within four points at 11-7, but three kills from Nwanebu, an ace by Bricio and a run that ended with Olgard putting a ball down off an overplayed dig had USC up by 10 points at 21-11. Bricio bounced a cut shot off the floor to give the Trojans set point at 24-12 before UCI earned three straight points, but another Anteater error closed out a 25-15 win for USC. The Trojans hit. 333 in the second frame with 13 kills (2e, 33att) led by four kills from Bricio. UCI took the same number shots as in the first set and finished with the same .182 hitting rate (11k, 5e).
USC rolled out to a 10-5 lead in the third set on a pair of back-to-back kills by Nwanebu to neutralize a UCI attack that had centered on Manz. Irvine's Cassidy Pickrell earned a kill and served out the next four points to pull the Anteaters to within three at 11-8 as Fleming scored on a slide play. Fleming's service ace later pulled UCI within a point at 12-11, but that was as close as the Anteaters would get. Though it stayed in striking distance, two kills by Ruddins kept UCI down by four points at 18-14. Shaw went up for a solo block against Bubica and then returned an overpass for a point to get USC a seven-point lead at 21-14. Nwanebu's crosscourt kill gave the Trojans match point at 24-17 but again it was a UCI error that sealed its fate as USC won, 25-19, in the third. The Trojans hit .231 in the third set with 12 kills (6e, 26att) and posted six blocks to hold the Anteaters to a .000 hitting percentage (9k, 9e) on 27 attacks.
The Trojans are back in action as hosts to Cal State Fullerton (7-3) on Friday, Sept. 20, in a 7 p.m. PT match. It is the final non-conference test for USC before it opens the Pac-12 schedule against crosstown rival UCLA on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m. on ESPNU. Please visit USCTrojans.com for more information and a complete schedule.