No. 1 USC Eclipses Sun Devils in 3-0 Desert Sweep
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Oct. 18, 2013
TEMPE, Ariz. - On the shoulders of junior middle blocker Hannah Schraer's 10 kills and .769 hitting performance, the No. 1-ranked USC women's volleyball team (17-1, 7-0 Pac-12) won its 11th straight match in a 3-0 sweep (25-17, 25-20, 25-15) of No. 22 Arizona State (13-6, 2-5) at Wells Fargo Arena on Friday, Oct. 18. The Women of Troy are off to their best start since the 2006 squad went 17-1 through 18 matches and are 7-0 through seven league matches for the first time since the 2003 team went undefeated (18-0) to win the Pac-10 en route to an NCAA title.
Schraer posted a new season high with 12.0 points and was flawless on offense with 10 kills on 13 swings without an error. She also had four blocks on the night.
Sophomore outside hitter Samantha Bricio was unconscionable as she served five service aces to go with 10 kills (2e, 21att) and a .381 hitting rate for 15.0 points. It was the eighth time this season that Bricio has served three or more aces in a single match. With 49 aces, Bricio moved into sixth place in USC's single-season record books and surpassed April Ross's mark of 46 set in 2002. Bricio is now 10 aces from matching Ross's USC record of 59 in a single season (2003) and is five aces from moving into the Trojans' career top 10.
USC setters had the offense humming as freshman Alice Pizzasegola dished out 16 assists and logged four digs while junior Hayley Crone put up 15 assists and five digs for the Trojans who hit .300 in the match (37k, 10e, 90att). It was the 18th time in as many matches that USC has out-hit its opponent. The Trojans also out-blocked the Sun Devils, 11-5, to hold ASU to a .103 hitting rate (31k, 21e) on 97 attempts.
Senior middle blocker Alexis Olgard added six kills (0e, 10att), hit .600, and tied for match-high honors with seven blocks. Freshman outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu had five kills (2e, 19att, .158) and seven blocks. Senior libero Natalie Hagglund put up a match-high 10 digs.
For ASU, BreElle Bailey led the offense with 10 kills (4e, 24att, .250) and had two blocks. The Trojans were able to neutralize the Sun Devils' big gun as Macey Gardner was held to seven kills (5e, 29att) and a .069 hitting rate. Bianca Arellano ran the Devil offense with 24 assists and picked up eight digs and two kills.
The Sun Devils came out on fire and nabbed the first four points of the match, but a service error put the ball in Bricio's hands. Bricio served the next four points to give the Trojans a 5-4 lead on her ace of Gardner, but ASU reclaimed the lead and went up by three at 9-6 on a block. The Devils maintained their advantage until Bricio tooled the ASU block to knot the score for a fourth time at 11-all. Olgard went quick for a kill off Pizzasegola's set to push the Trojans in front, 13-11, and USC never looked back. Bricio served up her second ace to give the Women of Troy a seven-point lead at 21-14 and Olgard's kill put set point in USC's hands at 24-17. Olgard's play at the net forced a Sun Devil error to give USC a 25-17 win in the first set. The Trojans hit .375 with 12 kills (3e) on 24 swings in the first and out-paced ASU's rate of .111. The Devils closed with 10 kills and seven errors on 27 attempts.
Much like it did in the first set, ASU seized control to begin the second, but the Trojans stayed the course and pulled into a nine-all tie when Bricio crushed a pipe set to the ground. She then went back to serve and followed the kill with her third ace of the match. The Trojans went up briefly when Schraer and Olgard earned back-to-back kills, but the Devils reclaimed the lead and went up by two at 16-14 when Arellano dumped her pass for a kill. Consecutive kills by Bricio netted the fourth tie of the set at 16-all and consecutive blocks by Nwanebu and Schraer gave the Trojans a 19-17 lead they would not give up. Nwanebu went down the line for a kill and a 22-19 lead, but the Trojans stuffed a Sun Devil attack for set point at 24-20. The Devils committed one final error to seal a 25-20 win for USC. The Trojans logged 13 kills (3e) on 30 swings in the second set for a .333 hitting rate. USC's four blocks helped keep the Devils down at a .118 hitting rate (12k, 8e) on 34 attacks.
The Trojans rolled out to a six-point lead at 7-1 in the third set when Olgard and Nwanebu teamed to stuff an attack by Gardner. The Sun Devils mounted a small comeback but USC continued to press and extended its lead to six again at 11-5 on three consecutive kills. The Trojans never relented as they went up by nine through a string of six Bricio serves which included two aces. Schraer's tip kill put USC on top by 10 at 20-10, but the Trojans went up by 11 momentarily on a pair of blocks. Pizzasegola set Olgard quick in the middle for the final kill of the match and a 25-15 win in the third for the sweep. USC logged 12 kills (4e) on 36 swings in the final frame for a .222 hitting percentage but were never threatened by a Sun Devil outing that produced a .083 hitting rate (9k, 6e) on 36 attempts.
The Trojans get a day between matches and will face Arizona (14-5, 4-3 Pac-12) on Sunday, Oct. 20, at the McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz. The Wildcats swept UCLA earlier tonight. The USC-Arizona match will be carried live on the Pac-12 Networks with Krista Blunk and Kelli Tennant on the call. Please check your local listings for availability and visit USCTrojans.com for more information and a complete schedule.