No. 4 Trojans Tripped Up by No. 7 Bruins
Nov. 23, 2012
LOS ANGELES - The fourth-ranked USC women's volleyball team (27-5, 15-5 Pac-12) had its six-match winning streak snapped by No. 7 UCLA (22-7, 14-6) in four sets (19-25, 25-23, 25-17, 25-29) on Friday, Nov. 23, at Pauley Pavilion. The Women of Troy were led by senior opposite hitter Katie Fuller who had 18 kills (6e, 40att) and hit .300 with eight digs.
The Trojans will finish the Pac-12 season in either a tie for second place or alone in third place depending on the outcome of a match between second-place Oregon and Oregon State.
Junior middle blocker Alexis Olgard had 11 kills (3e, 21att) and hit .381 in the match to go with a pair of blocks. Freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio logged nine kills (10e, 48att) but hit negative for the first time in her career as the Bruins put up 17.5 blocks in the match. Sophomore setter Hayley Crone had 39 assists and five kills (0e, 8att, .626) while junior libero Natalie Hagglund led all players with 23 digs.
For UCLA, senior Rachael Kidder had 18 kills (10e, 56att, .143) and nine digs while senior Tabi Love finished with 16 kills (5e, 48att, .229). Love had nine kills in the first set alone. Zoe Nightingale had a career-high 14 blocks (three solo) to spur the Bruin defense which held the Trojans to a .178 hitting percentage in the match (53k, 24e, 163att).
The Trojans raced out to a 5-1 lead in the opening set when freshman middle blocker Alicia Ogoms and Fuller teamed up to send back an attack by Kidder, but UCLA erased the USC lead as Kidder served up an ace to knot the score at five all. Bricio showed off her serving chops and earned an ace to put the Trojans up, 8-7, and USC never looked back. The Women of Troy created a five-point gash at 15-10 on a block assist by Olgard and Bricio, but the Bruins responded to get within two points at 19-17 as a Bricio attack went long. Bricio atoned for her error to terminate on a cross-court kill that put USC back on track. Crone dumped her pass from junior outside hitter Sara Shaw to earn a kill before she set Olgard who bounced her attack off the Bruin court for a 23-19 lead. A pair of UCLA errors closed out USC's 25-19 first-set win. The Trojans hit .345 in the first frame with 12 kills (2e, 29att) and had four blocks to hold the Bruins to a .100 hitting percentage (14k, 10e).
USC had the hot hand top open the second set and rolled out to a 7-2 lead as Bricio went high-hands to notch a kill and force a quick UCLA timeout. The Bruins came within a point on a cross-court kill by Karsta Lowe, but Olgard delivered a kill on a quick set before Shaw earned an ace to get the Trojans a three-point lead at 12-9. UCLA responded with a 3-0 run to tie the set for the third time at 12-all on a tip-kill from Nightingale. The Bruins went up by as many as two points at 15-13 on a kill by Kidder, but the Trojans knotted the set at 15-all when Crone dumped a dig to get her fourth kill of the night. Bricio tooled the UCLA block before Shaw went high-hands and sophomore setter Emily Young dumped her pass for a kill to put USC up, 18-16. The Bruins hung in the match and tied the score five more times; the last of which came after a long rally that ended in a kill for Kidder. A pair of USC errors set UCLA up with set point at 24-22. Fuller went cross-court for a kill to save one set point, but Love responded to get a cross-court kill of her own and seal the 25-23 win. The Trojans out-hit the Bruins, .240 to .200, in the second set, but had four service errors and were blocked four times.
The Trojans scored the first three points of the third set, but UCLA put a stop to things pretty quick and tied the score at three-all when Bricio was blocked at the net. The Bruins earned points on nine blocks in the third frame and held the Trojans to a .000 hitting rate with 11 kills (11e) on 42 swings. Fuller tried as hard as she could to keep USC in the game and earned seven of her kills in the third set including one she put off the UCLA block to pull the Trojans within a point at 8-7. Bricio blasted a shot off the block to get USC within two at 16-14, but the Bruins continued to put up a big block to keep the Trojans at bay. Bricio went cross-court for a kill to make the score 17-15 for UCLA, but the Bruins were unrelenting and earned blocks on two of the final three rallies to close out a 25-17 win.
USC led, 6-4, in the fourth set until the Bruins closed the gap and tied the score at seven-all. UCLA led for a couple of rallies until Shaw went cross-court for a kill and Olgard tipped a quick set to the ground for an 11-10 USC lead. Olgard did it again to push USC in front, 12-11, before Fuller went down the line for one of her kills and another two-point USC lead at 13-11, but UCLA fought back and got the tie score at 16-all when Bricio's serve went long. From there, it was the Kidder show as she knocked down three straight kills to push the Bruins in front, 20-16. The Trojans cut into the lead by two points with kills from Bricio and Shaw, but untimely errors held USC back as UCLA claimed set point on its 17th block of the night. The Trojans' last point came on an error by the Bruins before UCLA closed out a 25-19 win. UCLA hit .237 in the fourth set (14k, 5e, 38att) and held USC to a .167 outing with 13 kills (6e, 42att).
The Trojans now await selection and seeding in the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championships. ESPNU will air the selection show, live, on Sunday, Nov. 25, at 1 p.m. PT. The Women of Troy have advanced to the national semifinal in each of the last two years; three times in the last five seasons.