No. 5 Trojans Sink Titans in Three-Set Sweep|
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Sept. 20, 2013
LOS ANGELES - Behind 15 points from sophomore outside hitter Samantha Bricio, the No. 5-ranked USC women’s volleyball team (10-1) claimed its fourth consecutive victory with a 3-0 sweep (25-19, 25-16, 25-23) of Cal State Fullerton (7-4) at Galen Center on Friday, Sept. 20. Bricio led the Women of Troy with 12 kills (1e, 34att) and a .324 hitting percentage and added three service aces and seven digs.
On a night when USC honored three-time All-American middle blocker Emily Adams by raising her No. 9 jersey to the rafters, senior middle Alexis Olgard came up big with seven kills (1e, 11att) and a .545 hitting percentage to go with three blocks. Freshman outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu had 10 kills (4e, 24att, .250) and a match-high four blocks.
Senior libero Natalie Hagglund put up 17 digs and senior outside Sara Shaw added 14 digs to go with a pair of aces and three kills. Junior outside hitter Emily Young had five kills and set out of the back row in the third set to pick up five assists. Junior setter Hayley Crone had 14 assists and five digs while freshman setter Alice Pizzasegola had 17 with five digs. USC’s trio of setters helped the Trojans log a .233 hitting percentage in the match with 44 kills (14e) on 129 attacks. The Trojans have posted a better hitting percentage than their opponent in all 11 of their matches, this season.
The Titans were led by Alyse Hensley who had nine kills (4e, 28att, .179) and 14 digs in the match. Both Leah Best (8k, 3e, 22att, .227) and Holland Crenshaw (8k, 1e, 17att, .412) had eight kills apiece. McKenna Painton led her team with 17 digs while Paige Reed had 16. The Titans were held to a .107 hitting percentage with 32 kills (20e) on 112 swings.
The first set was tied nine times before Olgard earned a kill to push the Trojans ahead, 15-14, and give USC the lead for good. Shaw served an ace on the next rally and was followed by a crosscourt kill from Bricio to extend the Trojan lead to three at 17-14. Nwanebu tooled the Titan block for a kill to give USC a 20-16 lead before a pair of back-to-back service aces by Bricio put the Trojans up by six at 23-17. Junior middle blocker Hannah Schraer connected with a quick set from Crone to give USC set point at 24-19 before a Titan error sealed a 25-19 win for the Trojans. USC posted a .250 hitting percentage in the first set with 13 kills (4e) on 36 swings and outpaced the Titan attack, which hit for .184 (12k, 5e, 38att).
The Trojans were rarely challenged in the second set and pulled out to a 15-8 lead thanks to a 5-0 run that was sparked by a kill from Shaw and topped off by three straight kills by Olgard. USC continued to control the set and went up by seven, 19-12, on a crosscourt kill by Bricio. Nwanebu and sophomore middle blocker Kiara Wright teamed up for a block to put the Trojans up by nine points, 23-14, before Wright’s kill on a slide play ended the set, 25-16, for USC. The Trojans logged 16 kills (3e) on 45 swings to post a .289 hitting percentage in the second set and had four blocks to hold CSUF to a .000 hitting rate (9k, 9e) on 34 attempts.
USC took control of the third set early on and scored three straight points as Young earned back-to-back kills for a 6-2 lead. Nwanebu tattooed a Titan defender to give the Trojans a 9-6 lead, and scored two in a row to put USC up, 11-8, but CSUF went on its own run and scored three straight points to knot the score at 11-all. The Trojans couldn’t shake the Titans who continued to press the matter to take a 16-14 lead when Bricio registered her only hitting error of the evening. Bricio atoned for her mistake when she blasted a shot down the line to put USC back on top at 17-16. Her kill gave USC a two-point cushion at 20-18 and the Trojans extended their lead to three on a couple of occasions before Young’s kill ended the set, 25-23, and sealed the 3-0 sweep for USC. The Trojans registered their worst hitting set of the match with 15 kills (7e, .167) on 48 attacks but still outdid the Titan effort of .125 (11k, 6e) on 40 swings.
The Trojans will open Pac-12 play, next week, as hosts to crosstown rival UCLA. The 11th-ranked Bruins are 9-1 and dropped their only match on the road against a then ninth-ranked Hawai’i squad. USC and UCLA will take the court for a 7 p.m. PT match at Galen Center on Wednesday, Sept. 25. The match will be carried live by ESPNU. Please visit USCTrojans.com for more information and a complete schedule.
Natalie Hagglund | Sr. Libero
On the team’s performance against Cal State Fullerton
On the team’s younger players stepping up
On making third-set adjustments
Mick Haley | USC Head Coach
On overcoming some of the team’s struggles as the match progressed
On what the team needs to improve on before it plays UCLA in the Pac-12 opener