No. 2 USC Snaps Stanford Streak With 3-0 Sweep of Cardinal
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Oct. 4, 2013
LOS ANGELES - Four Trojans scored in double digits as the second-ranked USC women's volleyball team (13-1, 3-0 Pac-12) upended No. 7 Stanford (10-3, 3-1) in three sets (25-21, 25-15, 27-25) at Galen Center on Friday, Oct. 4. The Women of Troy outpaced the Cardinal attack, .358 to .245, and posted seven blocks to come up with their seventh straight victory and snapped an eight-match streak held by Stanford. The win is the 1,100th in USC head coach Mick Haley's career as a women's collegiate head coach.
Freshman outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu led all players with 13 kills (3e, 28att) as she hit .357 in the match and added a service ace for a match-high 15.0 points. Sophomore outside Samantha Bricio posted 14.0 points as she had 11 kills (2e, 28att) with a .321 hitting rate. She also notched three service aces to mark the sixth time that she has recorded at least three in a single match, this season.
USC's seniors were key to the Trojans' victory as middle blocker Alexis Olgard dropped nine kills (0e, 14att) to register a .643 hitting percentage and led the team with five blocks; one solo. Senior libero Natalie Hagglund had a match-high 14 digs while senior outside Sara Shaw posted her second double-double of the season with 10 kills and 10 digs. USC's setters had the Trojan offense humming as junior Hayley Crone handed out 25 assists to go with five digs and freshman Alice Pizzasegola recorded 18 helpers.
Junior middle blocker Hannah Schraer was particularly efficient on the night as she put up a season-high eight kills (0e, 13att) for a .615 hitting percentage. Junior outside Emily Young added two kills and had four blocks for the Trojans.
For the Cardinal, senior middle blocker Carly Wopat led the way with 11 kills (3e, 19att, .421) while sophomore middle Inky Ajanaku had 10 kills (4e, 16att, .375) and three blocks. Rachel Williams added nine kills (2e, 25att, .280) for Stanford while Jordan Burgess led her team with 12 digs.
Nwanebu's kill down the right sideline broke a three-all tie in the first set and put the Trojans in front for the last time. Bricio's cut shot bounced off the ground to put USC in front, 8-5, and Olgard's kill off a quick set from Crone stretched the Trojan lead to five at 15-10. The Women of Troy led by as many as six points on several occasions, but the Cardinal closed to within two at 22-20 when a shot by Shaw went long. Out of a Trojan timeout, Nwanebu went down the line for her fourth kill of the opening frame followed by Shaw's off-speed shot to the coffin corner to give USC set point at 24-21. Olgard teamed up with Young to reject Burgess' attack and seal the Trojans' 25-21 win in the first set. USC hit .350 in the first set (17k, 3e, 40att) and recorded four blocks to hold Stanford to a .186 outing (15k, 7e, 43att).
Stanford started with the second-set lead, but Bricio wouldn't be denied as she ripped a shot off a Cardinal defender to knot the score at six-all. Young went high-hands to hand the lead to the Trojans for good at 8-7. Nwanebu crushed a ball to the ground before Bricio blasted a pair of service aces off Stanford passers to give USC a commanding eight-point lead, 16-8. The Trojans were relentless as Shaw's tool shot opened up a nine-point gash at 20-11. Several service errors stalled both teams until Schraer terminated to give USC a 24-14 advantage. Brittany Howard's kill saved one set point, but Schraer had another kill in her as she tacked up the final point in a 25-15 USC win. The Trojans hit .429 in the second set with 16 kills (1e) on 35 swings and out-did the Stanford attack, which registered a .258 hitting rate (12k, 4e, 31att).
Out of the break, a rejuvenated Cardinal team quickly seized control of matters and earned the first three points of the third set, but Nwanebu earned her third kill in six rallies to pull USC within a point at 5-4. Stanford was unfazed by the Trojans' comeback bid and stuffed Nwanebu on successive attempts to roll out to an eight-point lead at 16-8. USC chipped away at the lead but Stanford maintained a six-point distance until Nwanebu went high-hands for a kill and served an ace to get the Trojans within four at 18-14. Shaw's tool-shot got USC within three before Olgard went on a tear to earn a kill, a solo block, and a block assist with Young to bring the Trojans within a single point at 19-18.
The third set saw its first tie score at 19 when Wopat's offering went wide. USC quickly jumped on the situation and went up by two, 21-19, when Bricio went through the Stanford block for a point. Bricio bounced a shot crosscourt to give USC a 23-22 lead before Nwanebu's roll-shot brought the teams to match point, 24-23. Stanford fought back and took a 25-24 lead when Ajanaku earned a quick-set kill, but Shaw tooled the block, and Olgard put one on the ground to put USC at match point, 26-25. Ajanaku couldn't get her attack over the net on the final rally of the match to close out a 27-25 win for the Trojans. USC started the third set slowly, but overcame six hitting errors (four off Stanford blocks) to post a .311 hitting percentage (20k, 6e, 45att). Stanford had its best hitting set with 16 kills (5e) on 36 swings for a .306 percentage.
The Trojans are back in action against California (9-3, 2-1 Pac-12) in a Sunday afternoon tilt (1 p.m. PT) at Galen Center on the Pac-12 Networks with Anne Marie Anderson and Tammy Blackburn on the call. The first 2,000 fans in attendance will receive a special replica jersey T-shirt. Please visit USCTrojans.com for more information and complete stats.