USC Eclipses CSUN to Advance to NCAA Regional Semifinal
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Dec. 6, 2013
LOS ANGELES - The sixth-seeded Women of Troy (28-5) swept through Cal State Northridge (24-7) in three sets (25-19, 25-18, 25-18) in the second round of the 2013 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship at the Galen Center on Friday, Dec. 6. The win propels the Trojans into the regional semifinals for the 10th time under the direction of head coach Mick Haley.
It was a history-making day for sophomore outside hitter Samantha Bricio who led the team with 14.5 points and moved into 10th place in single-season points at USC with 505.0. Bricio also collected two service aces to mark her 31st match this season (of 33) with at least once ace; her ninth straight. More impressively, Bricio touched a 26-year-old record of 80 aces in a single season and tied Kiyomi Morino (1987) of Arizona for third place in Pac-12 history.
At the net, Bricio let all players with 11 kills (3e, 28att) with a .286 hitting percentage and added seven digs and a pair of blocks. The Trojans also got a big contribution from junior middle blocker Hannah Schraer who posted nine kills (0e, 12att) to hit .750 to go with one block.
The Trojans' defensive standouts were senior libero Natalie Hagglund who had 13 digs to lead the team and senior middle blocker Alexis Olgard who posted four blocks and moved into ninth place at USC in career blocks with 385. Olgard added five kills (0e, 12att) and hit .417. At the pins, freshman outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu put up four kills (0e, 18att) for a .222 hitting rate and served an ace to go with four digs and two blocks.
Senior outside Sara Shaw added six kills (1e, 17att, .294) and four digs while freshman Elise Ruddins posted five kills (1e, 12att, .333) to go with a pair of blocks. The Trojans hit .340 in the match with 40 kills (6e, 100att) thanks to the setting of junior Hayley Crone (20 assists) and freshman Alice Pizzasegola (11 assists). It was the 30th time that USC posted a higher hitting percentage than its opponent.
For CSUN, Casey Hinger had a match-high 11 kills (7e, 26att, .154) and four digs. Natalie Allen had six kills but hit .000 with six errors on 21 attacks. Allen tied for match-high honors with 13 digs. Kelcie Randazzo also had 13 digs but was aced twice. Mahina Haina posted eight kills (4e, 21att, .190) and had four digs. Setter Sydney Gedryn had 31 assists and five digs for a CSUN team that hit .144 (40k, 24e) on 111 swings.
Bricio scored three kills in a four-rally span and blasted her last shot through a hole for a three-all tie. The Matadors fought and went ahead by two, 6-4, but the Trojans tied the score for a fourth time at six-all when Shaw went up solo and stuffed an attack by Allen. Schraer knocked down an overpassed ball for a kill and a 7-6 lead and USC never trailed again en route to a 25-19 win. CSUN got within a point on two occasions but the Trojans began to pull way when Bricio went off high hands for a kill and a 15-10 lead. USC led by five again at 20-15 when Pizzasegola went quick to Schraer who put the ball on the ground for the point. Bricio pushed the Trojans ahead by six at 22-16 when she put up a solo block on Hinger before her cut-shot kill made the score 23-18. USC put up a .394 hitting rate in the first set with 13 kills on 33 attacks without an error and outpaced the Matadors who hit .206 with 15 kills (8e) on 34 attempts.
The Trojans never trailed in the second set and built a lead as large as seven points on three occasions before closing out a seven-point win, 25-18, for a 2-0 lead in the match. Bricio hit the pipe from Pizzasegola for a kill and put a 9-5 lead in USC's hands but the Matadors scored a 4-0 run and pulled within a point at 11-10. Two straight kills by Olgard earned the Trojans a three-point cushion at 15-12, but Bricio was waiting in the wings and crushed two ace serves to extend USC's lead to eight at 20-12. Allen and Haina came to life to help the Matadors mount a short comeback, but Schraer scored two kills including the last for USC's 25-18 win. The Trojans hit .270 in the second set with 13 kills (3e) on 37 swings while CSUN had 13 kills (7e) on 35 attacks for a .171 hitting percentage.
Out of the break, the Trojans made a strong push to get out to a 7-2 lead as Olgard and Ruddins teamed up to block a Matador attack. CSUN tried to cut into USC's lead, but the Trojans rolled out to a six-point lead at 13-7 when Bricio terminated on back-to-back rallies. The Matadors fought to get back in the set but could never get any closer than four points. The Trojans extended to a seven-point lead and seized match point at 24-17 when Crone set Olgard quick for a kill. Bricio did the honors as she put down the final point of the day to seal USC's 3-0 victory. The Trojans collected 14 kills (3e, 30att) and hit .367 in the third set. The Matadors started strong but were plagued by errors down the stretch to finish with a .071 hitting rate (12k, 9e) on 42 swings.
The Trojans must wait until Saturday evening (Dec. 7) to find out whom their next opponent will be. USC will host the Los Angeles Regional Championship at the Galen Center next weekend (Dec. 13-14). Please visit USCTrojans.com for more information and NCAA.com for an updated bracket.