USC Advances to NCAA Round of 16 with 3-0 Win Over Saint Mary's
Nov. 30, 2012
LOS ANGELES - For the fifth time in seven years, the USC women's volleyball team (29-5) has advanced to the NCAA Championship Round of 16. The fourth-ranked and sixth-seeded Women of Troy defeated Saint Mary's College (18-11) in three sets (28-26, 25-16, 25-19) in the second round on Friday, Nov. 30, at Galen Center.
The Trojans will draw the winner of a second-round match between Wichita State (23-9) and 11th-seeded Kansas (26-6) set for Saturday, Dec. 1. USC and that winner will meet in the Austin Regional semifinal set for Friday (Dec. 7) at Gregory Gym on the campus of host University of Texas. The Trojans are 10-1 in all-time NCAA tournament matches in the state of Texas.
USC's victory over Saint Mary's helped the Trojans match their win total from a year ago with their 29th. USC can secure the program's eighth 30-win season with its next victory.
Junior middle blocker Alexis Olgard was all over the court as she logged 14.0 points. She hit .500 with six kills (1e, 10att) but did most of her damage on the defensive side of the net as she posted 10 blocks; six solo. Her six solo blocks are the most by a Trojan since All-American middle blocker Emily Adams had six in a five-set match with Stanford on Nov. 2, 2002, at the Lyon Center. Olgard's solo-block performance is also the fifth most by a USC player. Including Adams, she is tied with four other players who also had six in matches prior to 1995.
At the pins, senior opposite hitter Katie Fuller had 15 kills (1e) on 29 swings to hit .483 for match-high honors. Fuller also had six digs and got in on two blocks. Freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio notched her 11th double-double performance of the year with 14 kills (3e, 29att, .379) and 12 digs. Bricio also served up a pair of aces to bring her season total to 40, which pulls her into a six-way tie on USC's single-season service aces ladder. On the season, Bricio is up to 1,263 attempts which puts her at fifth all-time in single-season attacks at USC.
Sophomore setter Hayley Crone was on point as she delivered for 42 assists to go with six digs. Crone had her hitters going strong without a single error in the opening set. The Trojans finished the match with a .398 hitting percentage on 98 attempts (47k, 8e). Defensively, junior libero Natalie Hagglund had 11 digs to move her into fourth for single-season digs at USC. She now owns two of the top four single-season records with Debora Seilhamer.
For the Gaels, Jordan Shaw led the way with 13 kills (4e, 29att, .310) and 11 digs. Kristina Graven was held down in the first set, but she came alive in the latter sets to log 11 kills (1e, 33att) and hit .303 with six digs. Gabby Jolly collected nine of her kills in the first set and finished with 12 (7e, 23att, .217). The Gaels hit .237 in the match with 46 kills (18e, 118att).
Offensively, the Trojans had a flawless first set as they posted 18 kills (0e) on 35 swings to hit .514. The Gaels didn't go quietly, though, as they fought for the set's sixth lead change at 26-25 when Jolly knocked down her ninth kill of the opening frame. USC answered to tie the set for the 12th time on a quick-set kill by Olgard before Bricio crushed a shot across the court to give the Trojans set point, 27-26. Out of a timeout, Olgard blocked Jolly's offering for her third solo block of the set to clinch a 28-26 win for USC. The Gaels also had a strong set with 24 kills on 50 swings, but had five errors to log a comparatively low .380 rate. It took 20 rallies before either team committed a hitting error. Saint Mary's also had four service errors as the Trojans came out winners in the serve and pass game.
The Trojans broke a three-all tie in the second set on three straight kills; one cross-court from Bricio followed by a pair of kills by freshman middle blocker Alicia Ogoms, but the Gaels fought back to tie the score for the fifth time at nine-all as they blocked a back-row attempt by Bricio. Junior outside hitter Sara Shaw tooled the SMC block to put the Trojans up, 10-9, and USC never trailed the rest of the way. The Trojans continued to put up a strong block and earned five in the set led by four from Olgard alone. Olgard and Fuller teamed to block Corp for a five-point lead at 14-9 and went up by five, again, when Ogoms knocked down an overpassed ball for a kill and a 20-15 lead. Bricio's 40th ace of the season gave the Trojans a 23-15 lead before a line shot by Shaw set USC up with set point at 24-16. A Gael error sealed the second set and a 2-0 lead for USC. The Trojans posted a .357 hitting rate with 15 kills (5e) on 28 attacks and held the Saint Mary's attack to a .034 rate with nine kills (8e, 29att).
Saint Mary's tried to keep pace with USC in the final frame, but the Trojans broke a three-all tie when Fuller went high-hands for a kill. Ogoms got the next point before Fuller served straight at Graven for a pair of service aces to create a four-point USC lead at 8-4. The Trojans continued to push and gained a six-point lead, 13-7, on Olgard's sixth solo block of the evening. The Gaels gave fight but their own errors held them back, and then Fuller's 15th kill on a shot down the line gave USC a 19-12 lead. Olgard and Fuller teamed to block Corp to push USC's lead to 23-16, but Saint Mary's scored three straight points until a Gael serve went long to end the match. The Trojans hit .314 in the final set with 14 kills (3e, 35att) while the Gaels were .205 with 13 kills (5e, 39att).
For more information on the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship, please visit www.NCAA.com.