Women's Volleyball
    No. 8 Trojans Fight Off Bear Attack For Five-Set Win on Senior Night
    Senior opposite hitter Katie Fuller had 14 kills and 10 digs on Senior Night.
    Senior opposite hitter Katie Fuller had 14 kills and 10 digs on Senior Night.

    Nov. 16, 2012

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    LOS ANGELES - For the fifth time in six years, the Trojans went five sets in a home match against California and prevailed. This time, the eighth-ranked USC women's volleyball team (26-4, 14-4 Pac-12) upended the Golden Bears (14-14, 8-10), 23-25, 25-21, 18-25, 29-27, 15-11, on Friday, Nov. 16, at the Galen Center, as the Women of Troy celebrated Katie Fuller, Natasa Siljkovic, and Erin Yoder on Senior Night.

    Cal has not knocked off a USC team in Los Angeles since 2004 when a 17th-ranked Bear squad swept the Trojans, but came oh-so-close yet again with match points to work with in the today's fourth set. USC fought on and fought back to clinch a 29-27 win in the fourth and denied the Bears a chance in the fifth as they pulled away for the 15-11 win.

    Fuller posted her seventh double-double of the year with 14 kills (6e, 45att) and 10 digs, but the Trojans were buoyed by a strong performance from freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio who had 18 kills (4e, 60att) and hit .233. Bricio also had two solo blocks, two service aces, and nine digs as she led all scorers with 22.0 points.

    Junior outside hitter Sara Shaw had two solo blocks as well and added 13 kills (6e, 45att) and 27 digs to log her sixth double-double of the year. Fellow junior Natalie Hagglund had 19 digs while junior middle Alexis Olgard was the model of efficiency with 11 kills (1e) on 21 swings and three blocks. Sophomore setter Hayley Crone dished out 44 assists and had 11 digs to earn her team-high 11th double-double of the season.

    For the Bears, Shannon Hawari led the way with 20 kills while outside hitter Adrienne Gehan posted 19 kills with 16 digs. Christina Higgins shored up the Cal offense with 14 kills while opposite hitter Correy Johnson came up with 11 kills (1e, 28att). Setter Joan Caloiaro had 69 assists and 23 led Cal with 23 digs. Thanks to Caloiaro, the Bears out-hit the Trojans, .266 to .250, but committed errors at crucial moments of the match to allow USC to claim its fifth straight victory.

    The teams were tied nine times in the first set before the Bears got a two-point lead at 11-9. The Trojans continued to tussle and got consecutive points from freshman middle Alicia Ogoms when she terminated a play on a quick set and then blocked Gehan on her own. Cal went ahead by two points, again, at 13-11 when Caloiaro dumped her pass for a kill but the Trojans knotted the set for an 11th time at 13-all on another solo block by Ogoms. Cal pushed ahead and led by two points at 21-19 when Johnson stepped out on a slide play for a kill but USC reeled off four straight points to grab a 23-21 lead as Fuller went off the block for a point. The Bears responded and scored the next three points; two on Hawari kills. Cal completed its comeback on a block to close out a 25-23 win. The Trojans out-hit the Bears, .317 to .261, and out-blocked Cal, 5.0-1.0, but still surrendered the first set to the Bears.

    USC took control of the second set and raced ahead by six points at 12-6 on three straight points; a cross-court kill by Fuller, a service ace by Hagglund, and a kill down the line from Shaw. Cal picked away at the Trojan lead, and got within three points at 13-10, but USC scored three straight points to lead by six, again, at 16-10. This time, Olgard, Fuller, and Bricio did the damage. The Bears rallied and tried to stay within striking distance, but the Trojans held steady to go up, 23-17, on back-to-back kills from Shaw. Cal had one last fight in it as the Bears got to 21 points before Fuller ended the set to even the match at one-all on a kill from the left side. The Trojans had 17 kills in the second set (3e) on 38 attacks for a .368 hitting percentage while the Bears 14 kills (3e) on 35 swings to log a .314 hitting rate.

    The Bears controlled the tempo of the third set though the Trojans stayed within a point until they trailed, 10-9, on a back-row kill from Fuller. In a flash, Cal went ahead by six points to lead, 15-9, on a Caloiaro kill. USC fought back to cut the Bears' lead to three on three straight points through which Shaw earned a cross-court kill and then served an ace ball at the Cal libero. Bricio then went cross-court to get the Trojans as close as they would come. Bricio's cross-court kill brought USC within four points at 21-17, but the Cal offense continued to churn and got set point at 24-18 on a two-footed kill from Hawari. Higgins tooled the USC block to close out a 25-18 win and give the Bears a 2-1 lead in the match. The Trojans hit .216 in the third (11k, 3e, 37att) but couldn't keep pace with the Cal offense as the Bears logged a .415 rate with 21 kills (4e) on 41 attempts.

    The Trojans led by as many as five points in the fourth set at 14-9 when Ogoms and Fuller teamed up to stuff an attack by Gehan, but the Bears hung around and slowly chipped away at the USC lead. Gehan had her attempt returned by Olgard for another Trojan point to make the score 18-15, but the Bears weren't done. Three rallies later, the score was tied at 18-all. It was just the second tie of the set, and the Trojans reclaimed the lead quickly, but Cal kept coming and took set point at 25-24 on a Gehan kill from the left side. Fuller went down the right sideline to tie the score at 25-all, and terminated from the right side, again, to give the Trojans set point at 27-26. Bricio went high-hands off the Cal block to put the Trojans in front, 28-27, before Hawari's attack went wide to seal a dramatic 29-27 win for USC. The Trojans had 17 kills (5e, 52att, .231) while the Bears posted 21 kills and a .236 hitting percentage (21k, 8e, 55att) in the fourth.

    After she had eight kills in the fourth set alone, the Bears figured out how to stop Hawari and gave up just two kills to four errors to the senior middle from Cal. Still, a kill by Hawari tied the fifth-set score at four-all and allowed the Bears to hold one last lead at 5-4. Bricio's tip-shot kill earned a five-all tie before Shaw went up to roof an attack by Hawari to put the Trojans up for good. Bricio aced Gehan and took a set from Hagglund to earn a kill out of the back row to push the USC lead to three points at 8-5. Shaw rejected another Hawari offering a few rallies later to put the Trojans in front, 11-5, but the Bears made a move to cut the lead to three points at 12-9 as Shaw got one her own attempts sent back. Bricio tooled the Bear block out of the back row for a 13-9 USC lead and went off Cal hands once more to clinch the match for the Trojans in a 15-11 fifth-set win.

    USC heads to Corvallis, Ore., for one night to face Oregon State (14-15, 4-13 Pac-12) at Gill Coliseum, on Tuesday, Nov. 20, with an 8 p.m. PT start. Following the Thanksgiving holiday, the Trojans will close out the regular season with a road contest at UCLA's new Pauley Pavilion on Friday, Nov. 23, at 6 p.m. Both matches will be carried live on the Pac-12 Networks. Please visit www.USCTrojans.com for more information.