No. 1 USC Sends Ducks South For 10th Straight Victory|
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Oct. 13, 2013
EUGENE, Ore. - The No. 1-ranked USC women's volleyball team (16-1, 6-0 Pac-12) won its season-long 10th consecutive match on a 3-0 victory (25-23, 25-18, 26-24) over No. 22 Oregon (10-6, 3-3) at Matthew Knight Arena on Sunday, Oct. 13. Trojan head coach Mick Haley recorded his 1,200th career coaching victory with the win; a mark that includes a 97-32 record as the men's coach at Kellogg Community College.
The Women of Troy are off to their best start to a season and the program's best start to league matches since 2006 when the team was 17-1 and 6-0.
Four Trojans reached double digits in points to help USC win for the eighth time in nine meetings with the Ducks. Freshman outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu led the way with 12.5 points as she had a team-high 11 kills (2e, 33att) and hit .273 to go with three blocks. Sophomore outside Samantha Bricio put up 11.5 points on nine kills (7e, 33att, .061), a service ace, and three blocks while senior middle blocker Alexis Olgard nabbed nine kills without an error (16att) for a .562 hitting percentage to go with two blocks for 10.0 points.
USC setters Hayley Crone (20 assists, 3 digs) and Alice Pizzasegola (16 assists, 4 digs) helped the Women of Troy to a .240 hitting percentage in the match (43k, 14e, 121att). USC outhit its opponent for the 17th time this season as senior libero Natalie Hagglund had 21 digs; her fifth match with over 20 this year. The Trojans also put up 10 blocks to help keep Oregon down at a .150 hitting rate (44k, 25e, 127att).
For the Ducks, Ariana Williams led all players with 13 kills (4e, 29att, .310) and was followed by Canace Finley's 12 kills (7e, 30att, .167). USC was able to slow Liz Brenner who finished with 10 kills (7e, 22att) for a .136 hitting percentage and 11 digs. Amanda Benson tied for match-high honors with 21 digs for Oregon.
The Trojans went up by three points in the first set, 7-4, when Shaw went through the hole for a kill and the Ducks committed a hitting error, but Oregon pushed back to tie the score at nine-all when Finley earned back-to-back kills. The Ducks took a two-point lead at 13-11 when Finley rolled a shot to the ground, but the Trojans went on a 4-0 run on Bricio's serves with two kills from Nwanebu. Olgard collected a pair of kills to push USC in front, 19-16, but the Ducks mounted another run to tie the score at 20-all. Bricio's crosscourt kill broke the tie but the teams traded blows through the final seven points. Nwanebu saved the day as her tip kill knotted the score at 22 before she bounced a crosscourt ball for a 24-22 lead. Nwanebu put the final ball of the set off the Duck block to secure a 25-23 win for the Trojans. USC hit .350 in the opening set with 17 kills (3e) on 40 swings and put up four blocks and 16 digs (eight from Hagglund) to hold Oregon to a .222 hitting percentage (17k, 7e, 45att).
By the time Olgard's quick-set kill made the score eight-all, it was the sixth tie of the second set. Pizzasegola set Schraer quick for another kill that broke a 10-all tie, and the Trojans never looked back. USC nursed their lead into a three-point advantage when Bricio hit the hole for a kill and Schraer bounced another quick set off the ground to put the Trojans up, 19-16. Pizzasegola went quick to Schraer for another kill and a 21-17 lead before Schraer and Bricio teamed up to stuff Finley's tip shot for a 23-17 Trojan lead. Nwanebu tooled the Duck block for set point at 24-18 and then Bricio served up an ace to complete a 25-18 win. The Trojans were efficient with 13 kills (2e, 26att) and a .423 hitting percentage in the second set. Oregon had 14 kills but hurt itself with nine hitting errors (34att) for a .147 hitting rate.
USC collected six kills on the first eight rallies of the third set and raced out to a 6-2 lead as Olgard unloaded on a quick set from Pizzasegola for a kill. Olgard had four kills through USC's first eight points and the Trojans rolled out to a 10-5 lead as Schraer earned a kill. The Ducks solidified their defense and mounted a comeback to pull within two points at 11-9 on another Finley kill, but Emily Young'scrosscourt kill and Shaw's kill off an overpass put the Trojans up by five at 15-10. USC went up by seven, 19-12, when Bricio and Schraer blocked Brenner's shot and claimed an eight-point lead at 21-13 on Bricio's kill out of the back row, but the Ducks went on a tear that produced a 9-0 run to tie the score for the first time at 21-all and gave Oregon its first lead at 22-21. Only Duck errors slowed them down, but a USC error gave Oregon set point at 24-23 before the Trojans stuffed Williams on consecutive slide attempts for a 25-24 lead and match point. The Ducks committed a costly final error to close the books on a 26-24 decision in favor of USC. Both teams struggled offensively in the final frame as USC put up 13 kills (9e) on 55 swings for a .073 hitting percentage. Still, the Trojans had four blocks and dug up 25 balls to outpace the Oregon attack which went .064 (12k, 9e, 47att) in the third.
The Trojans remain on the road next week and will head to the Copper State for matches at Arizona State (Friday, Oct. 18) and Arizona (Sunday, Oct. 20). Both matches will be carried live on the Pac-12 Networks. Please check your local listings for availability and visit USCTrojans.com for more information and a complete schedule.