No. 7 USC Upends No. 5 Washington in Five-Set Thriller
Oct. 26, 2012
LOS ANGELES - In a battle of Pac-12 heavyweights, a five-set slugfest went the way of the seventh-ranked USC women's volleyball team (20-3, 8-3 Pac-12) as the Women of Troy took out No. 5 Washington (17-3, 8-3) on Friday, Oct. 26, at Galen Center. The match went back and forth before the Trojans put the clamps on to pull out a 23-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-23, 15-10 victory. The win gives USC its 10th 20-win season under 12th-year head coach Mick Haley; the 29th time the Trojans have crossed the 20-win plateau in 37 seasons.
Rightfully so, freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio had the final point of the match to notch her career-high 30th kill of the night (12e, 74att). Bricio attacked at a .243 clip and enjoyed her seventh double-double of the season with 12 digs. On the other side of the court, senior opposite hitter Katie Fuller knocked down 12 kills and had nine digs.
USC also got a career night out of junior outside hitter Sara Shaw who was one kill shy of tying her season best as she finished with 15. Shaw came up big on the defensive side of the ball as she dug up a career-high 30 balls to post her third double-double of the year.
Sophomore setter Hayley Crone directed the offense and handed out 51 assists to go with 11 digs for her ninth double-double while junior libero Natalie Hagglund outdid everyone on the court with a career-high 34 digs.
For the Huskies, Krista Vansant led the offensive charge with 22 kills (10e, 80att, .150) while middle hitter Lianna Sybeldon came in for four sets to nab nine kills (2e, 17att, .412). Washington logged points on 20 blocks as middle blocker Amanda Gil had 15 assists.
The Trojans grabbed the first lead of the first set and gained a 9-7 advantage when Bricio went down the line for a kill. Vansant's attack went long to give USC a 10-7 lead right before the Huskies made a push to knot the score for a fourth time at 10-all. Though the Trojans fought to stay within striking distance, Washington held a four-point lead at 21-17. Two straight kills for Troy cut the Husky lead to two but Bricio rose up out of the back row to knock down a kill after Hagglund laid out for a big dig to save the point. Three plays later, Shaw tooled the UW block to tie the score at 23-all but the Huskies claimed the final two points to walk away with a 25-23 win. USC had 17 kills (6e, 37att) for a .297 hitting percentage in the first set while the Huskies had 16 kills (3e, 43att) for a .302 rate.
The teams traded barbs at the outset of the second set, but USC went up by three points at 14-11 on a cross-court kill by Bricio. Washington's defense brought it back into a 14-all tie, but the Trojans went up by three, 17-14, when Bricio went high-hands out of the back row for another kill. USC kept the pressure on and won three straight points to go up by four on a service ace by Crone. The Huskies stayed close and were within a single point as late as 22-21 when Vansant went down the line for a point, but Bricio tooled the Washington block for USC's 23rd point and closed the set when the blasted a shot through the Husky block for a 25-22 win. Both teams hit .200 in the second set with 14 kills (6e) on 40 swings each.
Washington never trailed in the third set and led by as many as seven points at 23-16, but the Trojans fought to win the next three and saved three set points to trail, 24-22, but the Huskies closed out the set on a kill by Kylin Munoz for a 25-22 win. Washington led by four points, 13-9, when Vansant earned a kill off the USC block, but the Trojans came back to tie the set at 13 and 14-all before the Huskies took control of the set for good. Troy posted a .068 hitting rate as the Huskies put up a big block to hold USC to just 11 kills with eight errors on 44 swings. Washington had 12 kills (8e) on 46 swings for a .087 hitting rate in the third.
The Trojans came out firing on all cylinders to start the fourth set and earned a big 5-1 lead as Bricio knocked down one of her kills, but the Huskies slowly chipped away at the USC lead and turned an 8-4 gap into a one-point deficit as Vansant tooled the block for a kill and a 9-8 score. The Trojans stayed ahead as Shaw took a set from Crone and terminated the rally for a 12-9 lead, but Washington stayed the course and pulled into a 13-all tie. USC went ahead several times before the Huskies earned another tie at 18-all and took a two-point lead at 20-18 on back-to-back blocks. After a USC timeout, the Trojans scored four straight points to turn the tables and hold a 22-20 lead on a kill by Shaw. The teams traded blows until Bricio crushed the ball to the ground for the final point of the set and a 25-23 USC win. The Trojan offense produced 17 kills (9e) on 49 attacks for a .163 hitting percentage in the fourth set while the Huskies had 13 kills (4e) on 46 attacks for a .196 hitting rate.
Much like the rest of the match, the final frame was close nearly the whole way. At eight-all, the score was tied for the seventh time on a kill by Sybeldon. Bricio broke that tie with a kill before Shaw served up an ace for a 10-8 lead. Washington earned a point to make things interesting before the Trojans ran away with the score for a 15-10 victory. A kill by Fuller gave USC an 11-9 lead before Bricio went off the block for a 13-10 lead. On the final rally of the match, Fuller's serve came back over the net when Gil tipped a ball. Hagglund dug Washington's last offering so sophomore setter/opposite Emily Young could set Bricio on the outside. Bricio went hard off the Husky block to claim the final point of the match and seal USC's five-set win.
The Trojans will play matches on back-to-back nights for the first time since mid-September when they host Washington State (10-13, 0-11 Pac-12) in a 7 p.m. PT match at Galen Center on Saturday (Oct. 27). Please visit www.USCTrojans.com for links to a live stream via the Pac-12 Network portal.