No. 7 USC Claims Sweep of Crosstown Rival UCLA
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Nov. 27, 2013
LOS ANGELES - The seventh-ranked USC women's volleyball team (25-5, 15-4 Pac-12) completed its first regular-season series sweep of crosstown rival UCLA (15-14, 6-13) since 2010 with a 3-0 win (25-22, 25-11, 25-13) at Pauley Pavilion on Wednesday, Nov. 27. The Women of Troy earned a 3-0 sweep over the Bruins for the first time since 2004 and did it in Westwood for the first time since 2002.
The Trojans brought a balanced attack to out-hit the Bruins, .396 to .125. It is the 27th time in 30 matches that USC has posted a higher hitting percentage than its opponent. The Trojans played relatively error-free volleyball and out-blocked the Bruins to preserve a dominating victory.
Sophomore outside hitter Samantha Bricio led all players with 15.5 points and collected 12 kills (3e, 27att) for a .333 hitting percentage to go with two service aces and two blocks. Freshman outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu also had 12 kills (1e, 23att) and hit .478 in the match to go with her four digs.
Defensively, senior libero Natalie Hagglund set the tone with a match-high 16 digs and contributed a pair of points with a service ace and a kill on a dig that ended up on the Bruins' floor. Senior middle blocker Alexis Olgard had eight kills (1e, 16att) for a .438 hitting percentage and put up three blocks. Junior middle blocker Hannah Schraer had four kills (1e, 6att, .500) and four blocks and freshman outside hitter Elise Ruddins had four kills (1e, 11att, .273) and two blocks.
USC's setters had the Trojans hitting at a .396 clip in the match with 43 kills (7e) on 91 swings as junior Hayley Crone led the way with 23 assists and seven digs. Freshman Alice Pizzasegola added 10 assists.
For the Bruins, Karsta Lowe led all scorers with 11 kills but was held to a .107 hitting percentage. Setter Megan Moenoa had 30 assists and six digs while Karly Drolson led her team with 12 digs. Kelly Reeves posted just three kills and hit .000 on 10 attacks but had nine digs. Maddy Klineman added seven kills (5e, 25att, .080) and Claire Felix posted eight kills (5e, 16att, .188).
The Bruins took control of the first set and rolled out to a pair of three-point leads, but the Trojans used a 4-0 run to knot the score at eight-all when senior outside hitter Sara Shaw went high hands for a point. USC took a 10-9 lead when Bricio flew out of the backcourt to crush a pipe set from Crone for the point, but the Bruins went ahead by two, 14-12, when Bricio's shot went long. Down, 18-16, the Trojans mounted a big comeback and scored six unanswered points as Shaw served. Nwanebu earned four of her five first-set kills in the final 10 rallies and went head-to-head with Klineman who had three of her six kills through that stretch. USC's 22-18 lead was short lived as UCLA trimmed it away with a 3-0 run on two kills by Klineman and a block. Out of a timeout, USC went to Nwanebu for a crosscourt kill before Bricio found the corner of the court to give the Trojans a 24-21 lead. Klineman saved one set point with a tip kill, but Nwanebu had the last word as she went off the block to score the last point in a 25-22 win. The Trojans put up 14 kills (4e) on 32 attacks for a .312 hitting percentage while UCLA had 16 kills (6e) on 35 attacks for a .286 rate. The Bruins earned 19 of their points but were undone with five service errors.
The Trojans quickly put a strangle hold on the second set with a 7-1 run to open up and never let up to finish a 25-11 win for the 2-0 lead in the match. USC had a little bit of luck on its side as Hagglund's dig went over the net and found the floor for the Trojans' seventh point. Behind Bricio's serve, the Trojans ran out to a 12-4 lead as she aced Reeves. Schraer put a pair of quick sets on the ground for a 16-7 USC lead that sparked a 10-1 run which included three kills by Nwanebu and another ace by Hagglund. Olgard and Bricio teamed to block Klineman's shot for a 22-8 lead before Olgard went quick to create a 23-9 USC gap. A Bruin error put set point in the Trojans' hands and while they were able to save two points, it was far too large a deficit to overcome as Olgard's kill tied the bow on the 25-11 victory. USC went error free in the second set with 16 kills (0e) on 34 swings for a .471 hitting percentage. The Trojans put up three blocks and dug up 16 balls to hold UCLA down at .067 in the set with eight kills (6e) on 30 swings.
The third set opened up as a tug-of-war between the two sides as Nwanebu and Olgard earned two kills apiece to keep the Trojans in a four-all tie. Ruddins went down the line to break that tie and Shaw and Schraer teamed to block Lowe and sent the Trojans on the way to their sweep. Shaw's ace put USC on top by five points at 11-6, and the Trojans seized total control of the match on Nwanebu's crosscourt terminator for a 10-point lead at 17-7. Nwanebu did the same for a 19-9 lead and Ruddins followed suit for a 20-10 lead. Bricio served up her second ace and Olgard knocked a shot down off an overpassed Bricio serve to put the Trojans up by 12 at 22-10. The Bruins played some tough defense to earn the next couple of points, but Bricio crushed a pipe set from Pizzasegola for a 24-12 lead and match point. Lowe had one more kill in her, but Ruddins ended things when she put down the final point of the match for the 25-13 win in the final frame. USC hit .400 in the third set with 13 kills (3e, 25att) and was rarely threatened by UCLA which posted 10 kills against 10 errors for a .000 hitting rate on 31 attacks.
USC returns home for the regular-season finale against Colorado (17-12, 9-10 Pac-12) at 2 p.m. PT on Friday, Nov. 29. The Women of Troy will honor seniors Sara Shaw, Natalie Hagglund, and Alexis Olgard in pre-match ceremonies when they face the Buffaloes. Please visit USCTrojans.com for more information and a complete schedule and results.