No. 9 Trojans Burned by No. 19 Sun Devils|
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Sept. 26, 2014
LOS ANGELES – The ninth-ranked USC women’s volleyball team (7-5, 0-2 Pac-12) was defeated by No. 19 Arizona State (11-3, 1-1) in four sets (23-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-20) at the Galen Center on Friday, Sept. 26. The Women of Troy were unable to stop the Sun Devil attack and dropped their fourth straight home contest of the season.
Junior outside hitter Samantha Bricio scored 26.5 points with 22 kills (5e, 50att, .340) and added two service aces, seven digs, and three blocks (two solo). Sophomore outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu added 12.0 points on 11 kills (4e, 33att, .212) and two blocks. Freshman outside hitter Lauryn Gillis had eight kills (4e, 22att, .182) and seven digs and freshman middle blocker Jordan Dunn finished with seven kills (2e, 10att, .500) and four blocks.
Defensively, the Trojans got 17 digs from sophomore libero Taylor Whittingham and put up 12.0 blocks including six from junior middle blocker Alicia Ogoms who had five assists and one solo. Ogoms also added four kills (0e, 12att, .333) and a service ace. Trojan setters Hayley Crone (26 assists, eight digs) and Alice Pizzasegola (20 assists) had the Women of Troy hitting .273 in the match (58k, 17e) on 150 swings.
For the Devils, Macey Gardner was nearly unstoppable and wrapped her night with 27 kills (7e, 53att, .377) to go with 11 digs. Halle Harker led all players with 21 digs. Mercedes Binns had 14 kills (7e, 29att, .241) and BreElle Bailey had 12 kills (1e, 26att, .423) to also help drive the ASU offense.
The Women of Troy jumped out to a quick 4-0 in the first set, but the Sun Devils were in it for the long haul and fought to get within a point at 9-8 on a kill by Willey. USC led, 13-11, on a quick-set kill from Ogoms, but couldn’t pull away from ASU, which finally caught the Trojans at 18-all. The teams went back and forth for several rallies, but the Devils took the first two-point lead, 23-21. Nwanebu stopped the Sun Devil run before she and Dunn teamed to stuff an ASU attack. Back to serve, Ogoms recorded the ace to seal USC’s 25-23 win. The Trojans had 17 kills (4e, 37att) and hit .351 in the first set and outpaced the Devils’ .244 rate (16k, 6e) on 41 swings.
The Sun Devils broke a 15-all tie in the second set with a big block and held onto their lead to finish with a 25-21 win and evened the match at one set apiece. USC never led in the second but was able to force four ties, the last at 15. Back-to-back kills by Nwanebu and Gillis helped pull the Trojans within a point at 18-17, but Bailey’s crosscourt terminator put ASU up by three, 22-19. Bricio stemmed the tide with a back-row kill and Ogoms knocked down a quick set from Pizzasegola to get USC within two at 23-21, but the Devils put the clamps on and topped things off with a kill from Gardner and a block of Bricio. The Devils hit .209 in the second set (17k, 8e) on 43 swings. USC posted a .154 hitting rate with 12 kills (6e) on 39 attacks but were faced with five ASU blocks.
The Trojans couldn’t find a rhythm in the third set and the Devils never trailed to close out a 25-20 win for a 2-1 lead in the match. ASU led by as many as nine points at 19-10, when Bailey went crosscourt for the point. USC scored the next three, but Bailey continued her onslaught to finish the frame with four kills and a block. The Trojans never gave up and pulled within four points when Bricio scored a kill and an ace, but the Devils won the final point to end the USC comeback. The Trojans had 14 kills (3e) on 32 attacks and hit .344 in the third set. Arizona State logged 20 kills (4e) on just 31 swings for a .516 hitting rate.
Similar to their finish in the third set, the Devils began to pull away from USC at 10-8 as Binns knocked down a kill on a quick set. The Trojans got within a point at 11-10 when Bricio hit the seam for a kill, but could get no closer than two from that point on. Nwanebu’s cut-shot kill got USC within four at 18-14, but Binns and Gardner combined on back-to-back kills to give the Devils a six-point lead, 23-17. The Trojans had three more points to give before ASU shut the door when Gardner put the final ball to the floor. USC hit .262 in the final set (15k, 4e, 42att) and couldn’t stay the course with a Devil squad that posted a .359 hitting percentage with 18 kills (4e) on 39 swings.
The Trojans return to the Pacific Northwest for matches with No. 4 Washington and Washington State. USC starts in Seattle with a 7:30 p.m. PT matchup with the Huskies on Wednesday (Oct. 1) at Alaska Airlines Arena. The Women of Troy then make the trek through the Palouse to face the Cougars on Friday (Oct. 3) at 6 p.m. PT at Bohler Gymnasium in Pullman, Wash. Both matches will be carried live on the Pac-12 Networks.
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.