No. 3 USC Cuts Down Cougars in 3-0 Sweep
Sept. 30, 2012
PULLMAN, Wash. - Powered by 15 kills from freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio, the third-ranked USC women's volleyball team (14-2, 2-2 Pac-12) ended a two-match skid with a sweep of Washington State (10-6, 0-4 Pac-12) in three sets, 26-24, 25-18, 25-20, at Bohler Gymnasium in Pullman, Wash., on Sunday, Sept. 30.
Bricio hit .367 to nab those 15 kills (4e, 30att) and added seven digs and two solo blocks; one that secured a hotly contested first set for the Women of Troy. Senior opposite hitter Katie Fuller added 10 kills (7e, 22att, .136) for the Trojans who have now defeated the Cougars in six consecutive matchups.
USC also got valuable contributions from junior outside Sara Shaw who had eight kills (3e, 24att, .208) to go with 11 digs and junior middle blocker Alexis Olgard who recorded six kills (3e, 13att, .231) and six blocks; three of the solo variety. Sophomore setter Hayley Crone had 36 assists and six digs with one of USC's three service aces and junior libero Natalie Hagglund finished with 11 digs.
For Washington State, Rachel Todorovich led the way with nine kills (4e, 24att, .208) and Jaicee Harris had eight kills (7e, 35att, .029). Kate Sommer led all players with a match-high 12 digs.
The first set ended as tightly as it began, but in between, the Trojans built a lead as large as five points at 14-9. The Cougars continued to fight and forced the ninth tie of the set at 19-all, but USC responded to go up by two points, 22-20, on a kill by Shaw. WSU wouldn't back down and claimed set point at 24-23 when it blocked an attempt by Fuller, but Bricio tooled the Cougar block for her seventh kill of the first set (1e, 11att, .545) to knot the score at 24-all. One more WSU error put set point in the Trojans' hands. The Cougars ran a slide for middle hitter Marcelina Glab but Bricio was there to shut it down with a solo block and end the set, 26-24. The Trojans had 16 kills but hit .143 in the first set (11e, 35att) while the Cougars posted a .179 hitting percentage on 28 swings (12k, 7e).
Fuller flipped the script on WSU when she took a kill off the Cougar block and then served an ace to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 lead for the Trojans. Washington State tied the score once more but Olgard's kill on an overplayed pass put USC up, 5-4; a lead that it would not relinquish. On the next rally, sophomore setter/opposite Emily Young dumped her pass to get a kill that sparked a 5-0 USC run. Crone's run of serves put the Cougars on their heels as her service ace pushed USC ahead, 14-8, and forced WSU to burn its second timeout. Senior middle blocker Natasa Siljkovic earned a kill on a quick set from Crone to put the Trojans up, 19-10, before Bricio went off the Cougar block to net a 21-12 advantage for the Trojans. WSU wouldn't back down, but USC stood its ground to finish off a 25-18 win and take a 2-0 lead in the match. The Women of Troy had 14 kills (4e, 30att) and hit .367 in the second set while their defense held the Cougars to 11 kills (7e) on 32 swings for a .125 hitting percentage.
Nine rallies into the third set, Bricio crushed a ball crosscourt to give USC a 6-3 lead. The Trojans never trailed and the score was never tied from that point on as USC claimed a 25-20 win to seal the match. Washington State got within a point at 8-7, but the Trojans came up with three straight kills to extend their advantage. Fuller went off the Cougar block for a kill and a 14-9 lead. Later in the set, Bricio earned her second solo block against Glab to create a 20-11 gap for the Trojans. WSU mounted a small comeback, but USC stopped the bleeding with a kill from Shaw at 23-18. Bricio's 15th kill earned set point at 24-19 before Olgard finished things off on a quick set from Crone. The Trojans earned 14 kills (6e) on 43 swings for a .186 hitting percentage and held the Cougars to a .025 outing with 10 kills (9e, 40att) in the final set.
USC returns home to host a pair of matches at Galen Center, this weekend. The Trojans draw Arizona for a 7 p.m. PT match on Friday, Oct. 5, and then take on Arizona State on Sunday, Oct. 7, at 4 p.m. PT.
USC will raise a banner for two-time Olympic silver medalist and two-time NCAA champion libero Nicole Davis when it faces the Wildcats. The Trojans will also host a pre-match dinner and a post-match reception at the Galen Center Founder's Room. When the Sun Devils take the court, the Trojans will raise banners for Olympic beach volleyball silver medalists April Ross and Jennifer Kessy. The USC-ASU match will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks and is also Dads and Daughters night, which features a special giveaway of an apron for fathers and a canvas tote for daughters.