No. 3 Huskies Block Out No. 4 USC For 3-1 Win
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Nov. 15, 2013
SEATTLE - The fourth-ranked USC women’s volleyball team (22-4, 12-3 Pac-12) dropped a four-set decision (25-15, 21-25, 25-21, 25-17) to No. 3 Washington (23-1, 15-1) at Alaska Airlines Arena on Friday, Nov. 15. The Huskies snapped the Trojans’ four-match winning streak and maintained a perfect 11-0 mark in home matches, this season. UW won its 13th straight match despite a double-double performance from sophomore outside hitter Samantha Bricio who had a season-high 21 kills (7e, 41att, .341) and 15 digs.
Washington’s win puts it in the driver’s seat for the Pac-12 title with just four matches remaining on the regular-season schedule.
Freshman outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu added 14 kills (5e, 25att) on a .360 hitting night to score 15.5 points and senior outside Sara Shaw put up nine kills and 13 digs. Setters Hayley Crone (25 assists) and Alice Pizzasegola (26 assists) had the Trojans hitting .197 on the night (58k, 29e, 147att) but couldn’t connect with their middle blockers who were held in check with eight kills between them tonight.
Senior libero Natalie Hagglund rallied the Trojans and led all players with 19 digs, but the Huskies rarely hit to her and did most of their damage on the defensive side of the net as they out-blocked USC, 19-7, in the match.
For the Huskies, Krista Vansant led the way with 21 kills (3e, 48att) and a .375 hitting rate. Vansant logged a double-double with 11 digs and picked up six blocks. Kaleigh Nelson did some major damage as she posted 14 kills (3e, 30att) with a .367 hitting rate. Middle blocker Lianna Sybeldon scored 11.5 points with five kills (0e, 16att, .312) and led all players with 10 blocks (three solo).
The Huskies threw the first punch with a 4-0 run in the first set and never let the Trojans get going as they ran off with a 25-15 win. USC got within a point at 8-7 when freshman outside hitter Elise Ruddins tooled the Washington block and Bricio went off-speed for a kill, but the Huskies had a response and ripped off a 5-0 run to lead, 13-7, on Cassie Strickland’s serves. Only a service error slowed the Washington attack and helped the Trojans come within three points at 15-12. The Huskies used a block to spark another run as Nelson ripped open the first set with four straight kills and a 20-12 Washington lead. USC saved a pair of set points, but one final error sealed the Trojans’ first-set fate. USC collected 12 kills in the opening frame (9e) on 39 swings for a .077 hitting percentage while the Huskies posted a .314 rate with 13 kills (2e) on 35 attempts.
Junior middle blocker Hannah Schraer pulled the second set into a four-all tie when she put a quick set from Pizzasegola to the ground. Bricio scored the next three points on kills and powered the Trojans to a 9-6 lead when she served up an ace. Bricio tooled the Husky block for a 13-10 USC lead before she went down the line to create a five-point gash at 15-10. Washington clawed its way back into the set slowly and got within three at 18-15 when Kylin Munoz earned the kill, but USC responded with three straight kills capped by another kill by Bricio to grab a 21-15 lead. On the other side, UW completed a 3-0 run with a Vansant kill to get within three at 21-18 and put up a pair of back-to-back blocks to threaten USC’s lead at 21-20, but the Bricio teamed with senior middle blocker Alexis Olgard to stuff Munoz and pull the Trojans out to a 23-20 lead. Bricio’s tip shot found the ground for set point at 24-20 before she topped off the 25-21 win with her ninth kill of the set. The Trojans hit .286 in the second frame and put up 16 kills (6e) on 35 swings. Washington had 11 kills (3e) on 33 attacks for a .242 hitting rate.
Washington grabbed the first two-point lead of the third set on a Nelson kill, but the Trojans used back-to-back kills from Nwanebu and Olgard to tie the score for a fourth time at seven all. Munoz terminated on an overpassed ball to give the Huskies the last lead it would need as UW completed a 25-21 win to go up, 2-1. Washington’s block came together and earned three points on five rallies to create the Huskies’ largest lead of the set at 16-8. USC wasn’t done though as a Ruddins kill and a pair of blocks helped the Trojans climb within four points at 18-14. Washington tried to run away again, but a couple of errors and a Nwanebu crosscourt kill got USC within two points at 21-19. The Trojans needed another block to stay within two at 22-20, but that was as close as they would get as Munoz tied the bow on a 25-21 win with a kill. Both teams put up 15 kills on 34 attacks in the third set. The Huskies hit .294 with five errors and USC hit .206 with eight.
The Huskies scored the first three points of the fourth set and never trailed to complete a 25-17 win. It took a UW error to get the Trojans on the board and Bricio’s kill down the line kept USC afloat, but Washington continued to hold a solid advantage on the blocks to create a quick six-point lead at 8-2. The Trojans needed a pair of kills to stem the tide and stayed within five when Nwanebu tooled the Husky block, but in the blink of an eye, Washington had an eight-point lead at 14-6. USC’s freshmen showed their mettle as Nwanebu scored and Ruddins earned a pair of points on kills to get the Trojans within five at 14-9. Washington kept its distance even as USC pushed to shave away the Husky lead. Nwanebu went crosscourt to get the Trojans within four at 20-16, but the Huskies kept their foot on the pedal powered by Nelson’s resurgence and sealed the win as she earned three kills in the final four rallies to close out Washington’s 3-1 victory. UW maintained its stellar hitting percentage in the fourth set with 12 kills and just one error (34att) for a .324 rate. The Huskies posted four blocks to keep the Trojans down at a .205 hitting percentage (14k, 6e, 39att).
The Trojans get a day between matches before they face Washington State (16-11, 3-11 Pac-12) in the Palouse. USC and WSU will face off at 1 p.m. PT on Sunday (Nov. 17) and be shown regionally (Los Angeles and Washington) on the Pac-12 Networks with Krista Blunk and Kelli Tennant on the broadcast. Please visit USCTrojans.com for more information and a complete schedule.