No. 4 Trojans Hold Off No. 22 Golden Bears For Bay Area Sweep
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Nov. 1, 2013
BERKELEY, Calif. - Powered by a 25-point outing from sophomore outside hitter Samantha Bricio, the fourth-ranked USC women's volleyball team (20-3, 10-2 Pac-12) completed a Bay Area sweep for the first time since 2006 as the Women of Troy took out No. 22 California (13-7, 6-5) in four sets (25-23, 24-26, 25-12, 25-23) at Haas Pavilion on Friday, Nov. 1. It is the first time since 2003 that the Trojans have claimed the regular-season series against both Stanford and California and just the third time in program history (2000, '03, '13).
Bricio filled up the stat sheet with her fifth straight double-double outing on 14 kills (6e, 30att, .160) and 13 digs. It is her seventh double-double of the season and the 18th of her career. On the defensive side of the net, Bricio posted career highs in solo blocks (4), block assists (4), and total blocks (8.0).
While she was outstanding at the net, Bricio also did plenty of damage from behind the service line where she collected five aces to seize first place in USC's single-season record books. In one stretch, she served four aces in six rallies and passed Trojan greats Alex Jupiter (57 aces in 2011), Nancy Hillman (59 in 1988), and April Ross (59 in 2003). Bricio also moved into a ninth-place tie with Keao Burdine (2001-04) for career aces at USC with 104.
In another stellar defensive performance, senior libero Natalie Hagglund rarely let the ball drop as she collected another 36 digs. That total equaled the eighth most in a single match by a USC player: a record that is shared by five different players, one of which is Hagglund herself.
The Women of Troy also received strong contributions from senior middle blocker Alexis Olgard and freshman outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu for the second straight match. Olgard had 10 kills (2e, 23att) and hit .348 to go with six digs, a service ace, and six blocks, while Nwanebu produced 15.5 points with 13 kills (3e, 33att) and hit .303 to go with an ace, three digs, and three blocks.
Senior outside hitter Sara Shaw dug up a season-high 18 balls and added six kills while junior middle blocker Hannah Schraer also had six kills (2e, 15att, .267) to go with five blocks. Freshman outside hitter Elise Ruddins came up with nine kills (6e, 30att, .100) and posted two blocks to garner 10.0 points.
The Trojans out-hit their opponent for the 21st time in 23 matches thanks to the efficient work of their setters (60k, 20e, 192att, .208). Junior Hayley Crone handed out 20 assists to go with six digs while freshman Alice Pizzasegola recorded 29 assists to go with a career-high 11 digs for the first double-double of her career.
For the Bears, Adrienne Gehan led the way with 19 kills (5e) on 68 swings for a .206 hitting percentage to go with 20 digs. At the other pin, Christina Higgins got 13 kills (6e, 37att, .189) but Cal went often to its middles and received 10 kills from Lara Vukasovic (3e, 27att, .259). The Bears also got nine kills from Lillian Schonewise but it came at a cost as she also logged nine errors (36att) to hit .000 on the night. Michelle Neumayr added 17 digs while Maddy Kerr had 12, and Mary McKennon had 10. The Trojans kept setter Joan Caloiaro out of the offense as much as possible and forced her to dig a career-high 26 attacks. Still, Caloiaro dished out 45 assists but the Bears were only able to hit .138 (54k, 27e, 196att).
USC seized control of the first set and rolled out to an 8-2 lead when Olgard drilled a ball to the ground off a quick set from Pizzasegola, but the Bears stayed the course and cut the Trojan lead to a single point at 10-9 on a pair of kills by Gehan. USC was unfazed and produced another big lead at 16-10 when Schraer went quick for a kill and Gehan's crosscourt shot went wide. This time, Cal weathered the storm and fought back to get within a point at 19-18 when the Bears blocked Olgard. Olgard atoned for her hitting error and crushed her next set to the ground for a kill, but the Bears caught the Trojans at 20-all and took a two-point lead, 22-20, on a Neumayr ace and a kill by Schonewise. USC earned four kills on the final six rallies to complete a 5-1 run for the 25-23 win. A pair of tool-shot kills by Ruddins and Bricio pulled the score into its third tie of the set at 22-all, but Ruddins went down the line to break a 23-all tie and give USC the last lead it needed. Nwanebu went crosscourt for her fourth kill of the first set to seal the win. USC had 14 kills (5e) on 45 attacks to hit .200 in the first and put up four blocks to hold Cal to a .080 hitting rate with 13 kills (9e) on 50 attempts.
Though they dropped the first set, the Bears seemed to hold momentum as the second set began and grabbed an early lead at 3-1, but the Trojans came back to wrestle that lead away and went up, 7-5, when Bricio and Schraer blocked Gehan out of the back row. Gehan's kill down the line broke a seven-all tie and sparked a 6-1 Cal run that put USC down five points, 13-8. Schraer stopped the bleeding when she ran out on a slide play for a kill off a Crone back-set, but it took the Trojans until 17-all to tie the score when Bricio and Schraer got together to reject Schonewise. The Bears didn't blink and went ahead by four points to claim set point at 24-20 on a Higgins kill. A Cal service error put the ball back into the Trojans' hands with Nwanebu serving. Despite not having a setter on the floor, the Trojans fought back to get three points and knot the score at 24-all. It was all for naught however as Vukasovic earned a kill to put the Bears up, 25-24, and served an ace to seal the final point of a 26-24 win. USC was just inches from stealing the second set despite a .164 hitting percentage off 15 kills (6e) and 55 attacks. The Bears were .192 on offense with 17 kills (7e) on 52 swings.
Tied at three in the third set, the Trojans embarked on a 5-0 run that culminated in a service ace by Olgard to lead, 8-3, and never looked back. The Bears got within four at 9-5 when Gehan went crosscourt for a kill, but Schraer's slide caught Cal off guard to put USC up, 10-5, and sent Bricio behind the baseline with the serve in hand. From there, Bricio blew things up as she served four aces in six attempts through the heart of a 7-0 USC run. The Trojans went up by 11 when Nwanebu went crosscourt for a kill and maintained their 11-point lead when Bricio did the same. USC grabbed a 12-point lead at 21-9 when Shaw rose up out of the back row and went off-speed for a kill. The Bears earned a few more points, but a pair of solo blocks by Bricio and then by Schraer gave USC set point at 24-11. Schonewise saved one with her kill on a slide play but Schraer did the same on the other side of the net to finish off a 25-12 USC win. The Trojans hit .273 in the third frame with 13 kills (4e) on 33 swings and outpaced Cal's .051 rate (7k, 5e, 39att).
Olgard tipped her set to the ground to knot the score at five all before she and Bricio blocked Schonewise to break that tie and push the Trojans ahead in the fourth set. Following a seven-all tie, the Trojans took out the toolbox and earned three straight kills: two by Bricio and one by Ruddins. Bricio went up by herself and stuffed Schonewise again to help get USC in front by four at 11-7. The Bears pushed back and got within a point at 11-10, but even though Gehan single-handedly tried to bring her team back, USC never let Cal get equal. Gehan's cut shot pulled the Bears within a point at 13-12 and her tool shot brought Cal to within one at 15-14. The Trojans settled down and ran their offense to pull ahead by four points at 20-16 thanks to kills by Olgard and Bricio. Bricio tipped a shot over the Cal block to score a 21-18 advantage for the Trojans, but the Bears kept coming and got within two points on back-to-back Gehan kills. Nwanebu stretched the lead back to three (23-20), but Higgins went down the line for a kill and got Cal within a point at 23-22. Nwanebu went terminal on the next rally to give the Trojans match point (24-22) and while Vukasovic saved one with her kill, Nwanebu ended any chance of a Cal comeback with the final kill of the match. USC posted 18 kills (5e, 59att) and a .220 hitting rate to stay in front of a hard-charging Bear squad that had 17 kills (6e, 55att) and a .200 hitting percentage in the fourth.
The Trojans return to Southern California for matches against No. 23 Oregon (12-9, 5-6 Pac-12) and Oregon State (9-12, 0-10) at Galen Center next weekend. Please visit USCTrojans.com for more information and a complete schedule.