USC Falls to No. 17 UCLA in Regular-Season Finale|
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Nov. 28, 2014
LOS ANGELES - The USC women's volleyball team (15-15, 8-12 Pac-12) dropped a five-set decision (25-21, 19-25, 20-25, 25-19, 15-12) to No. 17 UCLA (20-11, 11-9) at Pauley Pavilion on Friday, Nov. 28. The Women of Troy finish the regular season in 10th place in the Pac-12 but are still in search of a possible postseason bid into the NCAA tournament.
Junior outside hitter Samantha Bricio led the team with 21 kills (6e, 55att, .273) and had 11 digs to post her 17th double-double this season (39th of her career). Bricio added a service ace and three blocks (one solo). Junior middle blocker Alicia Ogoms knocked down a career-best 12 kills (2e, 21att) and hit .476 for 14.0 points with three blocks (one solo).
Sophomore outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu finished with 11 kills (3e, 45att, .178), nine digs, and two service aces. Fellow sophomore outside Elise Ruddins picked up seven kills (1e, 32att, .188) and had a pair of solo blocks.
The Trojans hit .287 (61k, 12e, 171att), but lost a match with a higher hitting percentage for the first time this season. Sophomore setter Alice Pizzasegola dished out 32 assists and had a career-high 13 digs for her fifth double-double of the season (sixth of her career). The Trojans had 10 blocks and got 20 digs from sophomore libero Taylor Whittingham and 11 digs from sophomore defensive specialist Anne Marie Schmidt. Senior setter Emily Young had five kills (.714) and put up 18 assists to go with two blocks (one solo).
For UCLA, Karsta Lowe finished the night with 32 kills (9e, 72att) and a .319 hitting percentage to go with 13 digs. Taylor Formico led all players with 26 digs while Claire Felix had 14 kills (3e, 23att, .478) and two blocks. Olga Strantzali topped off the Bruin attack with 14 kills (2e, 26att, .462).
Tied for a 12th time in the first set, the Bruins cleared the first hurdle with a 7-3 run that turned an 18-all tie into a 25-21 win. Lowe scored four of the last five points including three kills in a row to seal the win. USC hit .278 in the first set with 14 kills (4e, 36att) but stalled at 21 as UCLA topped off the first with a .282 hitting rate on 39 swings (16k, 5e).
Facing an 8-6 two-point deficit in the second set, the Trojans roared through a 7-1 run to lead, 13-9, thanks to three kills by Ogoms, and one each from Nwanebu and Bricio. USC opened up a seven-point lead thanks to a 4-0 run that started with a pair of kills by Ruddins. Senior middle blocker Hannah Schraer served her second ace and Young tapped one down to give the Trojans a 21-14 advantage. The Bruins fought back with a 3-0 run, but Bricio's pipe-shot kill stopped UCLA in its tracks before Nwanebu tooled the block for set point. Lowe's long ball sealed a 25-19 win for the Trojans. USC hit .371 in the second frame with 16 kills (3e) on 35 attacks and outpaced UCLA's .273 hitting rate (14k, 5e, 33att).
The Trojans never trailed in the third set and pushed ahead, 2-1, in the match with a 25-20 win. USC led by as many as six points on several occasions and went up, 15-9, when Ruddins stuffed Felix on a slide play. The Trojans earned an 18-12 lead when Bricio crushed a pipe set from Pizzasegola for the kill, but the Bruins were never done. USC led by five, 21-16, when Young dumped her pass for the kill, but Strantzali put together a pair of kills to get UCLA within three at 21-18. Schraer scored on a slide to give the Trojans set point at 24-20 before one more Bruin error closed the books on set three. USC posted a .300 hitting rate in the frame with 14 kills (2e, 40att) to UCLA's .167 (17k, 9e, 48att).
The Bruins broke open a four-point lead at 14-10 in the fourth when Strantzali knocked down back-to-back kills. It was part of a 6-2 run for UCLA, which never trailed from that point on. Ruddins tooled the block and Pizzasegola served up an ace to get the Trojans within four at 20-16 before Ogoms got USC within three at 21-18 on her quick-set kill. Lowe took over for a pair of kills before the Bruins shut things down for a 25-19 win to even the match at two sets apiece. UCLA hit .406 in the fourth set with 17 kills (4e, 32att) and held the Trojans to a .176 outing (9k, 3e, 34att).
UCLA never trailed in the fifth set and rolled out to a five-point lead at 9-4 on a kill by Lowe. USC got within four at 10-6 on a pipe-set kill by Bricio and closed the gap to three at 12-9 when Ogoms knocked down an overpass. The Trojans got only as close as two at 13-11 when Bricio tooled the block and Lowe hit the net on her attempt. It was Lowe and Bricio back and forth down the line as Lowe put up her 31st and 32nd kills to seal the victory. USC had eight kills and no errors (26att) to hit .308 in the fifth set, but UCLA logged 12 kills (4e, 28att, .286) to win.
The Women of Troy will learn their postseason fate on Sunday (Nov. 30) during the NCAA's selection show set for 5:30 p.m. PT on ESPNU. For more information on the USC women's volleyball team and a complete schedule, please visit USCTrojans.com and follow @USCWomensVolley on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.