No. 4 Women of Troy Suffer 3-1 Setback to No. 3 Washington|
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Oct. 28, 2013
LOS ANGELES - The fourth-ranked USC women's volleyball team (18-3, 8-2 Pac-12) had its 16-match home winning streak snapped at the hands of No. 3 Washington (17-1, 9-1) in a four-set loss (25-23, 23-25, 25-19, 25-22) at Galen Center on Sunday, Oct. 27. The Huskies grabbed first place in the Pac-12 with the win and sent the Women of Troy into a tie for second place with Stanford.
Five Trojans reached double digits in points led by 17.0 from sophomore outside hitter Samantha Bricio who put up 16 kills (8e) on 36 swings for a .222 hitting percentage. She also had a service ace and dug up 15 balls to log her fifth double-double of the season; the 16th of her career. Bricio was put through her paces as she received the lion's share of Washington's serves: 53. The Trojans earned kills on 18 of her passes and picked up six more on her 15 digs.
Senior outside hitter Sara Shaw also posted a double-double outing with 14 kills (3e, 35att, .314) and 14 digs. It was her fourth of the season and the 12th of her career. Senior middle blocker Alexis Olgard had 12 kills (3e, 21att) and attacked at a .429 rate to go with a pair of blocks while junior middle Hannah Schraer added seven kills (0e, 15att) with a .467 hitting percentage to go with four blocks. Freshman outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu added nine kills (2e, 28att, .250).
USC out-dug the Huskies, 72-64, thanks to a match-high 23-dig performance by senior All-American libero Natalie Hagglund. Her third dig of the match moved her into seventh place in Pac-12 history as she passed Husky great Candace Lee who had 2,038 career digs.
Despite Hagglund's heroic performance, Washington was able to decode the Trojan offense and out-blocked USC, 8-6. Junior setter Hayley Crone had 28 assists and seven digs and freshman setter Alice Pizzasegola picked up 25 assists to go with five digs, but the Trojans were out-hit by an opponent for just the second time this season. Washington finished with a .291 hitting percentage (67k, 19e, 165att) over USC's .276 hitting (62k, 20e, 152att).
For the Huskies, Krista Vansant carried the load as she passed 44 balls and still came up with match-high honors on 22 kills (8e, 58att, .241) to go with seven digs. Washington also got strong production out of middle Lianna Sybeldon who posted 15 kills (3e, 26att) for a .462 hitting percentage and had a match-high five blocks. Kaleigh Nelson added 13 kills (6e, 36att, .194) while Kylin Munoz had her way on offense with nine kills (0e, 21att) with a .429 hitting rate.
In a first set of scoring runs, the Huskies had the last burst to complete a 13-5 string and earned a 25-23 win. USC seized early control and really began to pull away on a 4-0 run that put the Trojans up 12-8 when Schraer blocked Cassie Strickland's attack. USC continued to roll and tied the bow on a 10-4 run to go up by six points at 18-12, but two kills by the Huskies stymied the Trojan offensive. Washington continued to chip away at the USC lead and caught the Trojans for the set's fourth tie at 22-all. The Trojans scored the next point, but a pair of back-to-back kills gave the Huskies set point at 24-23 before a USC error sealed the win for Washington. Both teams hit .244 in the opening frame as the Huskies scored 16 kills (5e) on 45 swings and USC had 18 kills (7e) on 45 attempts.
The Huskies were on the prowl in the second set and raced out to a four-point led when Vansant earned back-to-back kills with a tool shot followed by a cut shot. Washington held its lead until USC scored three straight points, the last of which came on a line-shot by Nwanebu, to tie the score at 10. UW went on another short run to lead by three and maintained its lead through the heart of the set. Bricio went high hands for a kill to get the Trojans within a point at 18-17 and crushed one off a Husky defender to keep USC within striking distance at 19-18. Shaw swooped in and tooled the UW block to tie the score at 19-all before an ace by Bricio flipped the lead to USC's side of the scoreboard at 20-19. Shaw tooled another block and then earned a pair of kills through holes in the Husky block to give the Trojans a two-point cushion at 23-21. Shaw's last tool-shot gave USC set point at 24-22. Washington saved one set point before Olgard came through on a quick-set kill to close out a 25-23 win for the Trojans. USC posted a .371 hitting rate in the second set with 15 kills (2e) on 35 swings. UW had 17 kills (5e, 41att) for a .293 hitting rate.
The Huskies ran away with a 25-19 win in the third set as they built a lead as large as seven points at 16-9 on a kill by Nelson. The Trojans tried to close the gap and had a pair of kills by freshman outside hitter Elise Ruddins and Olgard help pull them within five at 19-14, but Washington kept the pressure on. Vansant came to life down the stretch and provided four kills to help lift the Huskies to victory. Her kill stretched the Washington lead to six at 23-16 but the Trojans never stopped fighting. Schraer ran on a slide play and delivered a six-pack shot to Katy Beals before Nwanebu went down the line to keep USC alive with a five-point deficit at 23-18. Vansant tipped her next shot to give Washington set point at 24-18, but Nwanebu saved one with a kill before Vansant earned one more point for the 25-19 win. USC hit .235 in the third with 13 kills (5e, 34att) while the Huskies posted a .279 rate on 43 swings with 17 kills (5e).
USC controlled the fourth set at the outset and grabbed a 6-1 lead when Olgard earned a kill to top off three straight points. The Trojans led by six, 10-4, on another Olgard kill, but the Huskies retaliated to rip off a 10-0 run and go up by four themselves, 14-10. Bricio's kill finally ended the long Washington rally and got the Trojans back into the set. USC needed every swing by Bricio as she went off hands twice to pull USC within two at 16-14, and again at 17-15. The Huskies never batted an eye even though the Trojans made several overtures to tie the score. USC got within a point at 20-19 on a kill by Ruddins, and trailed by a point, 21-20, on another Bricio kill, but that was as close as the Trojans got. The Women of Troy needed another point from Bricio to stave off a set-point opportunity and got a kill from Schraer to get within two at 24-22. It wasn't enough as Vansant shut things down on her final kill of the night. USC hit .263 in the final frame (16k, 6e, 38att) but couldn't stay with UW's offense, which had 17 kills again (4e, 36att) for a .361 rate.
The Trojans open the second half of the Pac-12 season with matches in the Bay Area this week. USC takes on defending conference champion Stanford (15-4, 8-2 Pac-12) on Wednesday, Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m. PT. The match will be broadcast live from Maples Pavilion to a national audience on Pac-12 Networks. The Trojans will also face California (13-6, 6-4) on Friday, Nov. 1, at Haas Pavilion, in Berkeley, Calif. The USC-Cal match will be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks regionally. Please visit USCTrojans.com for more information and a complete schedule.