No. 10 USC Sweeps Maryland for Haley's 350th Trojan Victory|
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SEATTLE – The 10th-ranked USC women’s volleyball team (7-3) came through with a much-needed three-set win (25-14, 25-15, 25-21) over Maryland (7-4) in the Pac-12/Big Ten Showcase at Alaska Airlines Arena on Friday, Sept. 19. The victory ended a short three-match losing streak and was the 350th win at USC for head coach Mick Haley.
The Women of Troy got 11.5 points from junior outside hitter Samantha Bricio who had five kills (3e, 20att, .100) but put up six service aces in a single match for the sixth time in her career. It was also the 11th time she has had at least five aces in a match and the 22nd time that she has had at least three. Bricio added 11 digs and a block to her final line but was most impressive from the service line where she climbed several rungs in the USC and Pac-12 record books.
With 165 aces, among Trojans, Bricio leapt ahead of April Ross and into second place for career aces. She is now just five aces from tying the program’s all-time mark of 170 set by Nancy Hillman (1985-88). Bricio also catapulted past several historic Pac-12 figures as she moved into a fifth-place tie with Elaine Youngs of UCLA (1988-92). In the process, she went ahead of Ross, Brook Coulter (Cal, 1996-99), and Kim Glass (Arizona, 2002-05).
Freshman outside hitter Lauryn Gillis starred for the USC offense as she put up 13 kills (4e, 22att) and hit .409 to finish with 13.0 points. Sophomore outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu had seven kills (1e, 20att) and hit .300 to go with four blocks and a service ace. Freshman middle blocker Jordan Dunn knocked down four kills (1e, 8att, .375) and had three blocks. Senior setter Hayley Crone had 20 assists and six digs and added a kill as she and sophomore setter Alice Pizzasegola helped guide the Trojans to a .326 hitting percentage with 37 kills (9e) on 86 attacks.
For the Terrapins, Ashleigh Crutcher led the offense with 10 kills (6e, 32att) but hit .125 in the match. Three players hit negative on the night including Emily Fraik who did her part on defense with 10 digs. Hailey Murray had four kills (-.083) and led all players with five blocks.
In the blink of an eye, USC’s 7-6 lead in the first set had ballooned into an 18-7 advantage thanks to an amazing serving run by Bricio. It started when Nwanebu crushed a shot down the line for an 11-7 lead to put the ball in Bricio’s hands at the service line. Bricio went back and served the next seven balls through which she earned five aces and walked through a couple of USC and Pac-12 career records. Bricio scored just one kill in the first set but led the Trojans with 6.0 points. It was her kill that ended the first set, 25-14, for the Women of Troy. USC hit .500 in the opening stanza with 14 kills (1e, 26att) and held the Terrapins to a .120 outing on 25 swings (8k, 5e).
Just like she did in the first set, Nwanebu’s kill for a 3-2 lead was what sparked the Trojans to the last lead they needed. From there, USC rolled out to a 13-3 lead as Nwanebu controlled the tempo from the service line this time. Maryland made a short push but the Trojans stretched the lead back to 10 at 19-9 when Nwanebu and senior middle blocker Hannah Schraer combined to reject a shot from Fraik. Gillis rose up to get a pair of kills and put USC on top, 21-10, before the Terrapins made their last run. UM came up with three big blocks to get within nine at 24-15, but Dunn got it done on a quick-set kill. USC hit .233 in the second set with 12 kills (5e) on 30 attacks and did well to outpace the Terrapins who hit .000 (7k, 7e) on 31 attacks.
Maryland came out with fight in the third set and pushed the Trojans before USC could complete the sweep with a 25-21 win. It wasn’t easy as the Terrapins continually stayed within striking distance and then took their first lead at 16-15. The Trojans tied the score three more times despite Maryland’s 19-17 lead on a kill by Ashlyn MacGregor. Bricio tooled the Terp block to give the Trojans a 20-19 lead but MacGregor tied the score again before Nwanebu and Schraer stuffed Crutcher at the net for the final USC lead. Crutcher went long and Kelsey Hrebenach went wide to put the Trojans in command at 23-20. Maryland got one more point but Nwanebu scored for match point and then Dunn put the final ball to the floor to finish off the 3-0 win. The Terps wouldn’t go quietly and held USC to a .267 hitting percentage with 11 kills (3e, 30att) but weren’t able to come up with enough offense with 13 kills (7e, 39att) and a .154 hitting rate.
The Women of Troy will open Pac-12 play on Tuesday (Sept. 23) as hosts to 22nd-ranked crosstown rival UCLA (7-2). The teams will renew their rivalry at 8 p.m. PT at Galen Center on the Pac-12 Networks with Jim Watson and Amy Gant on the call. USC is 10-3 in conference openers under the guidance of Haley with seven of those league-opening matches against the Bruins. The Trojans hold a 6-1 lead in head-to-head conference openers against UCLA. Overall, the Trojans lead the all-time series, 54-46, and are 21-18 in home matches against the Bruins. USC also owns a 5-2 edge over UCLA in matches at the Galen Center. Following their match against the Bruins, the Trojans will face Arizona State on Friday, Sept. 26, at 6 p.m. PT on the Pac-12 Networks. Fans can purchase tickets at GetTrojanTix.com or by calling 213-740-GOSC.
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.
2014 PAC-12/BIG TEN SHOWCASE ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Krista Vansant - Washington, MVP
Lianna Sybeldon - Washington
Melanie Wade - Washington
Courtney Thomas - Wisconsin
Taylor Morey - Wisconsin
Samantha Bricio - USC
Ebony Nwanebu - USC
Ashleigh Crutcher - Maryland