No. 4 Trojans Score Sixth Straight Win in 3-0 Sweep of Utah
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Sept. 29, 2013
SALT LAKE CITY - USC women's volleyball sophomore outside hitter Samantha Bricio put up 20.0 points with 16 kills and four service aces to help the fourth-ranked USC women's volleyball team (12-1, 2-0 Pac-12) complete a 3-0 sweep (25-22, 25-21, 25-13) of Utah (12-1, 1-0) at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Sunday, Sept. 29. The Women of Troy passed their first conference road test and won their sixth match in a row.
The Trojans also got nine kills (2e, 17att) and two blocks from freshman outside Ebony Nwanebu who hit .412 in the match. Junior outside Emily Young matched her career high with eight kills (3e, 16att) and junior middle Hannah Schraer added seven kills (2e, 16att, .312) to go with four blocks in the match. Senior outside Sara Shaw had five kills and a service ace but made her presence felt on the defensive side of the ball with 14 digs.
Defensively, senior libero Natalie Hagglund posted a match-high 18 digs and dished out seven assists. She had 12 digs in the second set alone to help USC hold the Utes to a .205 hitting rate in the match (36k, 13e, 112att). USC's setters were on point as junior Hayley Crone (16 assists) and freshman Alice Pizzasegola (19 assists) helped the Trojans put up a .280 hitting percentage (49k, 16e, 118att). USC has out-hit its opponent in all 13 matches, this season.
For Utah, Shelby Dalton was an offensive catalyst as she led the team with 10 kills (1e, 22att) and hit .409. Morgan Odale enjoyed a solid outing with eight kills (2e, 28att, .214) while Erin Redd-Brandon and Alli Spurrier each had six kill apiece.
The Utes couldn't get out of their own way to start the match and committed enough errors to give the Trojans a 6-3 lead, but Utah fought through the rough to tie the set at seven-all on a pair of kills from Makenzie Moea'i. USC went in front by three, 11-8, when Bricio crushed a shot through a big hole in the Utah block, but the Utes had another answer and went ahead, 12-11, when Odale earned a kill off the USC block. The Trojans trailed until three straight USC kills put the lead in the Trojans' hands for good. First, Young went crosscourt to tie the score at 16-all before Bricio went high-hands to tool the Ute block and then completed the 3-0 run with an off-speed shot for a kill that forced a Utah timeout. Schraer connected with Crone's set on a slide play to push the USC lead to 22-19 before Bricio's back-row kill gave the Trojans set point at 24-20. The Utes saved a pair before Bricio came out of the back row again to end the set, 25-22. USC put up a .389 hitting percentage in the first set with 19 kills (5e, 36att) and outpaced Utah's .314 hitting rate (15k, 4e, 35att).
Utah controlled the second set to start, but Nwanebu and Schraer teamed to block Bailey Bateman and force the set's fifth tie at eight-all. Schraer put a ball to the ground on an overplayed dig to give USC the lead before Hagglund's set earned Nwanebu a kill. Two service aces from Bricio and another kill by Schraer gave the Trojans a five-point lead at 14-9, but the Utes erased almost all of that lead as a Spurrier kill pulled Utah within a point at 17-16. USC stood its ground and went up by four, 21-17, when Young earned a kill with her cut shot. Three straight Trojan kills including back-to-back from Nwanebu put USC up, 24-19. Odale saved a pair of set points with kills but Nwanebu returned to crush the final ball of the set for a 25-21 win. The Trojans hit .217 in the second set (16k, 6e) on 46 swings and overcame Utah's five blocks. Hagglund was all over the court to post 12 second-set digs and help USC hold the Utes to a .178 rate (13k, 5e, 45att).
The Trojans seized early control of set three as a Pizzasegola dig led to a Hagglund set that Bricio blasted out of the back row to produce an 8-4 USC lead. The Utes fought back but committed three straight errors to put an 11-6 lead into the Trojans' hands. USC didn't let up and earned five kills on the next nine rallies to come up with a 17-9 lead when Nwanebu followed a Bricio service ace with a kill shot down the line. USC opened up another eight-point lead, 20-12, when Olgard dug an attack to Pizzasegola who quick-set Olgard for a kill. The Trojans scored the next four points as Young earned a kill, Shaw served an ace, and Bricio put down a pair of kills; one through a hole and the other on an off-speed touch. USC led, 24-12, but Spurrier's kill saved one match point before a Utah serve went long to close out a 25-13 win for the Trojans. USC had 14 kills (5e, 36att) to hit .250 in the third set and out-distanced itself from the Utes who had just eight kills (4e, 32att) for a .125 hitting rate. The Utes committed four service errors, a blocking error, and were aced three times in the final frame to complete the Trojan sweep.
The Women of Troy are back in action with home matches against seventh-ranked Stanford (9-2, 2-0) on Friday (Oct. 4) and California (8-3, 1-1) on Sunday (Oct. 6) at Galen Center. Both matches will be carried live on the Pac-12 Networks. Please visit USCTrojans.com for more information and check your local listings for broadcast availability.